Sunday, 23 December 2012

Corporate lessons from Mythology-1

The modern day Taylor’s scientific management is based on achieving specialization through division of labor. Same way, the knowledge, weapons, wealth and land were supposed to be handled by a specialized Varna during Mahabharat age. The Varna system – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya & Sudhra is a highly debatable subject, on which I intend writing series of blogs, as we go along further in this series.

The next lesson on the concept of trusteeship of business is very well addressed by ‘vidura’ in Mahabharat. The corporate managers are not agents but trustees of the company, argues two professors John Kay and Aubrey Silberston.

‘Dritharashtra’ asks ‘vidura’ for advice on his son Duriyodana’s argument that the throne would have been occupied by Dritharashtra but for his blindness, hence the throne should be succeeded by Duriyodana only.

Vidura replied that sons can inherit only what belongs to the father. The kingdom does not belong to the king, but he only has the responsibility of looking after the welfare of the kingdom. This is the trusteeship concept we are talking today.

As an advisor ‘vidura’ spelt out several principles known as ‘vidura needhi’. Tax collection with a human face, calmness in a crisis, using intellect against temptations, keeping away from jealousy, lust and anger were all the subjects dealt with by ‘vidura’.

To-day’s personality development sessions address diligence, benevolence, forgiving, patience, truth, charity, self restraint, moderation in speech, avoiding negative benchmarking and so on. All these were propagated by vidura, as an advisor in the Mahabharata.

After the war was over, Yudhishtra was crowned and he seeks the advice from Bheeshma on his deathbed. He advised him on how to rule the kingdom. These are the lessons for a CEO of a corporate to-day.

Bheeshma advises on straight forwardness, action oriented approach, self restraint, humility, righteousness, secrecy of plans, intelligence on enemy (competitor intelligence), polite but firm attitude, caring for the welfare of all stakeholders and so on.

Most of the corporate lessons on leadership, personality development, corporate governance were all spelt out by Mahabharata in the last Dwapara Yuga itself.

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