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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Kindly find below the 50th article of mine that has been appearing in the Mumbai Mirror (Times of India) as a weekly columnist.

Its been a wonderful journey to bring out the management secrets of Chankaya - the world's first management guru to the common man.

We thank the Mumbai Mirror and its editorial team for their wonderful support. And not to forget the Chinmaya Mission from where I researched and studied 'Kautilya's Arthashastra'

Regards,

Radhakrishnan Pillai



Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 19th June, 06 (page 22)
DON’T MAKE A DISASTER OF DISASTER MANAGEMENT
- Radhakrishnan Pillai


(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies of Chanakya as discussed in his 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)


Why do disasters or calamities happen? Well, who better to answer this question than the world’s first management guru – Chanakya – who says,


“A calamity of a constituent, of a divine or human origin, springs from ill luck or wrong policy” (8.1.2)

So, whether we look at a state government or a corporate entity, a calamity in any place or department always happens due to two reasons – ill luck or wrong policy.

Ill luck is when a natural calamity occurs and is not in our control. Earthquakes, floods, forest fires, etc might be predicted but certainly cannot be controlled or avoided fully.

However, the second type of calamity is man-made and happens due to mismanagement. Now, while these types of ‘calamities’ cannot be avoided, they can definitely be managed well.

But before we get into that, we need to ask ourselves why does mismanagement by human beings happen? Chanakya gives the reasons too,


“Inversion of excellences, absence, a great defect, addiction, or affliction constitutes a calamity” (8.1.3)

Let us look at each of them in detail:
  1. INVERSION OF EXCELLENCE
Simply put, it means ‘not being excellent’. This happens when a manager is not proficient in his work. To avoid this, he has to be up to date with the latest developments in his own field. He should know both theory and practice, including the latest technical advances.
  1. ABSENCE
If a person is absent on a regular and continuous basis, he will loose touch with what is happening at office. It is very necessary to take breaks from the work life. But, it is equally essential to get back into action once you are back to work. Every person should know how to switch off and come back to work immediately.
  1. A GREAT DEFECT
Sometimes, a bad management team is the cause of calamities. People who are not qualified are placed at the helm. Or a bad decision-maker is made a leader due to influence of power. There could also be some personal defect in the leader which one may not be aware of. During high-pressure situations, such persons can’t do anything. Worse, they run, blaming others if things go wrong.

  1. ADDICTION
Wine, women, wealth and wielding of power! Addictions to anything and everything will always ruin a leader’s clarity of thinking. Therefore, throughout the ‘Arthashastra’, Chanakya emphasises control of senses for the king (leader). Only after controlling oneself can a leader control others.
  1. AFFLICTION
It means causing pain and suffering to others. There are people who create unwanted and unnecessary problem to others. When in a position of power, a person should know how to use it for the benefit of others - not misuse it.

Therefore, it goes without saying that the first step towards effective disaster management is to select the right people, free from the above negativities.
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Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 11th June, 06 (page 21)
SECRECY: THE WINNING WEAPON
- Radhakrishnan Pillai

(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)
Think before they think – that is the rule of warfare. Even in the game of chess, every move of the opponent is studied, analysed and carefully thought upon before making any move. If you are the first to move, have a plan.

And it is this plan that needs to be protected from praying eyes. It goes without saying that, for this, business men should be alert – very alert. While taking up new projects or while executing projects in hand, a high level of secrecy should be maintained.

Kautilya advices,

“Others should not know about any work sought to be done by him. Only those who undertake it should know (about it) when it is begun or even when it is actually completed” (1.15.17)


What you are doing, what you are thinking, and all your moves should not be known to others. One needs to create an aura of secrecy around him self to move ahead, before the rest.

In professional and powerful organisations like the army, the Central Bureau of Investigation, etc till the last moment, no one knows what the next order would be. Only a handful of people are there who work on a strictly-enforced ‘need-to-know’ basis and it is these people who, in turn, call up others supposed to execute subsequent orders.

The call is made at the last moment and is quite sudden for those being asked to go into action. Till the moment of passing on the orders, the seniors keep the plan entirely to themselves.

A golden rule to remember in business is that there is a big difference between planning and execution. Make your plan perfect, then execute without delay. There is no point planning when the time has come to execute.

But let’s fact it – keeping secrets is a tough thing to do. However, there are some tips that can help one:
  1. POSTPONE
Whenever you feel like disclosing a plan to someone, remember to postpone the same.

Give yourself at least a day. Once you have done that, you will improve your self control. By practicing this, you will slowly but surely get the confidence to keep things to yourself. Also, learn to observe silence at least half an hour every day to help your thought power rule over your talkative nature.

  1. EXECUTE AND THEN SPEAK

Do not speak and then execute. It should be the other way round. The biggest danger in revealing your plans is that you give the opponent an added advantage to think before you.
  1. THINK AHEAD
On achieving success in any endeavor, we feel like talking about the same to others. Rather, we feel like bragging! The best way to avoid this is to start new projects immediately. Always keep yourself busy with newer plans.

Swami Shivananda, a dynamic saint and the founder of Divine Life Society, put it best when he said, “The only way to keep yourself productive is by having at least a month’s work in front of you”.


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 4th June, 06 (page 22)
BE AN ASSET TO THE BOSS, NOT A THREAT
- Radhakrishnan Pillai

(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)

When graduates fresh out of the various B-schools join any organisation, there is a lot of enthusiasm and drive to prove themselves in the corporate world. They are eager to put into practice what they have learnt.

However, there is a lot, lot more to learn in addition to what one may have already gleaned from books. Real success, after all, will come only after they have proved themselves in the organisations they join.

For this to happen, the first step is to learn from your immediate seniors and bosses. Most important of all - try to be an asset to your senior rather than being a threat.Be a part of their solution, rather than being a problem to them.

Unfortunately, more often than not, excitement is the root cause of the new manages making their bosses uncomfortable and even leaking out vial information not meant to be shared with others.


Kautilya says,

“Just as a serpent, lying in hiding, emits poison at the place from which it expects danger, so this king, having become apprehensive of harm (from you), will ere long emit the poison of anger at you” (1.14.8)

Take care that you and your boss are always working in the same way rather than in conflicting ones. Only then will you be able to grow in your corporate career.

Here are some tips for being an ideal subordinate:
  1. WATCH HIS MOOD
Bosses are always under pressure. Always try to reduce his pressure instead of add into them. You may always want his time, but he may not have that much spare time (even if he wants to) when you really need to talk to him. Hence, whenever you want to tell him something – watch his mood. Don’t just rush into his cabin and start talking. Wait for him to give full attention to you. Then come up with your issues.
  1. KEEP IT SHORT
A subordinate went with a recommendation of 25 pages. The boss said “Summarise the whole thing in one page. In case you cannot do it – that means you have not thought enough”. Think through the issue from all angles. And when you do present it to him, make it short and to the point.
  1. MAKE NOTES
Instead of going to you boss every now and then, make a note of all the small issues. You can go to him either at the start or at the end of the day. You can cover all the issues in one go. That way, your and even his time will be very productive - you can have good discussions and he can take effective decisions.

Finally, let’s be very clear on one thing. All this is not meant to please the boss, but to become a good subordinate who, in a short period of time, can understand the wavelength of the former’s thinking – an important aspect to grow in one’s career.


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 29th May, 06 (page 22)
DO NOT CORRUPT THE UNCORRUPTED MIND
- Radhakrishnan Pillai


(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)


“The corporate world is bad! It’s all dirty politics!!” That’s the general impression most of us have about the senior management. Many companies may indulge in a lot of dirty games to achieve and/or retain power.

They could also resort to such tactics in order to kill competition, to gain more profits or to be in the limelight – all through manipulations.

Obviously, it’s good to hear about ethics and moral values in the classroom and during your management courses. However, when it comes to practice – it is better said than done.

We may write off this in a ubiquitous statement: “Kaliyug hai” (We’re in a bad era)

However, there is hope. Despite all the corruption, there are still a few organisations where values are maintained and principles are adhered to. But for such a thing to happen in all organisations, today’s businessmen have to take a very positive step.

Kautilya advices,
“He should not effect the corruption of the uncorrupted as of water by poison; for, it may well happen that a cure may not be found for one corrupted” (1.10.18)

This thought has to be inculcated right at the start - the day the young managers / trainees join the companies with a hope in their hearts.

Do not corrupt the uncorrupted young minds for they follow what you teach them. Just like children, even people working under you will naturally watch you and copy your actions.

We have to be positive role models, persons who practise what they preach. Just like professors are God for college students, so too immediate superiors are like God for any employee.

A senior person should look at the following tips in order to create a beautiful, uncorrupted organisation:
  1. BE A MENTOR, NOT A BOSS
The era of Boss is over. If you boss over your employees, they will run away the moment they get a better opportunity. In fact, there’s a modern saying in the corporate world: “People do not leave organisations; they leave their bosses”. So be a mentor who guides them.
  1. INTRODUCE SPIRITUALITY
It is the latest trend in the corporate world and disciplines like Yoga and meditation have gained a lot of popularity. Go a step beyond. Invite spiritual people to give talks in your organisation. And just like you have various consultants in your organisation, you can even approach some noble person to be your organisation’s ‘spiritual guide’.

Moid Siddiqui, who is a leading personality in the area of ‘spirituality at work place’, wrote in his book ‘Soul Inc’ that “…..some of the best lessons I learnt about values was by watching by saint-like seniors”.

So set a new trend by your own thoughts and actions.

Always remember - “Another world is possible”….


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 22nd May, 06 (page 22)
WIN WIN POLICY A MUST FOR SUCCESSFUL JVs
- Radhakrishnan Pillai


(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)

The crashing Sensex notwithstanding, foreign direct investments (FDIs) coming into our country are growing day by day. Furthermore, India is still a very attractive destination for investors. An all seem to believe that the Sensex will rise again, bringing the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) back.

But these facts require us to focus on whether we (Indians) are the right people for foreigners to bank on?

One of the ways through which we get foreign direct investments (FDIs) is joint ventures (JVs). This is where a foreign company ties up with an Indian one for business opportunities.

Both of them come together to gain from the partnership.

Kautilya has a word of advice for these situations too.

He says, that for such JVs to succeed, there should be a win-win situation between the two partners:

“In a work that can be achieved with the help of an associate, he should resort to a dual policy” (7.1.18)

Dual policy means a win-win policy.

We require funds for new business opportunities. Thus, an investor becomes an associate.

Any one of the new, private insurance companies could make a perfect illustration for understanding JVs. These young insurance firms are pure joint ventures between an Indian company and a foreign one. Both come together in the field of insurance when the government opened up the sector for FDI.

The Indian partner in the JV has got experience of Indian customers. While, the foreign investor is an expert in insurance. As India is a new market for the latter, it gains knowledge of the market by tying up with its Indian counterpart. While the domestic firm benefits from venturing into another business field, riding high on the years of experience of its foreign backer. This is win-win situation.

Here are some tips on how to get into successful joint ventures:
  1. Be sure of your expertise
Your organistion should be good in one area at least. You should be an expert in that field with a proven track record.
  1. Make a business plan
Make a business plan in order to approach a possible investor for expanding your current business. Make sure that, when you approach him, it has to be a win-win situation. You get the investment and he gets your expertise.
  1. Find like minded partners
Just getting an investor does not solve your problem. Both need to trust each other and should be able to see a value addition by coming into the partnership.

Both the partners should be a support to each while running the business.

“Finally it’s not weather we lost money in our JV that counts”, said an investor, “rather, it’s if we bet on the right person”

Be that right person and, once again set the stock market on fire.


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 15th May, 06 (page 22)
DEATH ON DUTY: LOOKING AFTER THE FAMILY
- Radhakrishnan Pillai


(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)
Life is very precious and the death of a person brings great sorrow to his near and dear ones. However, if he dies while he is on duty, then the death also becomes the responsibility of the employer

Let’s face it: Despite the best safety measures and policies taken to avoid accidents, people do die during work.

Kautilya’s advice for such unforeseen circumstances:

“Of those dying while on duty, the sons and wives shall receive the food and wages. And their minor children, old and sick persons should be helped. And he should grant them money and do honour on occasions of death, illness and birth ceremonials”(5.3.28-30)

For organisations like the defence forces, the government has worked out the compensation to give in such cases. But, what needs to be noted here is that Kautilya wants the employer to not just give financial compensation but, in fact, take on bigger responsibilities.

He suggests that the employer should consider the family of the deceased employee as his own family.

He should not only look into their basic needs of food and financial assistance but also consider the need of the children like education, mentoring and guidance. ‘Honour on occasions’, to use the exact words.

Once, in a highly respected Indian company, an accident occurred killing about 60 people. The media had asked the head of the corporate giant, “How much money are you planning to give to their families?”

His answer was typical of the company’s employer-friendly policies: “It will deend on each family’s need”

Unlike our politicians, who announce a fixed sum of compensation for all families, the top company official had decided to understand the need of each family.

If some one required more money, it was given indeed. Similarly, if some one required assistance in rehabilitation it was provided, if a child needed education, it was taken care of. That approach shows concern.

Here are some tips for facing such situations in today’s scenario:
  1. INSURANCE
Make sure that each of your employees has a life insurance. Have your HR department strictly ensure that each employee has at least one policy in effect.
  1. UNDERSTAND EACH EMPLOYEE
Each person in your organisation has different family needs. Keep a record of their family members: How many persons in the family, what are they doing. Organise family meets, to ensure family- work life balance.
  1. BE THERE
When deaths do happen, be there yourself. Do not just send a manager with a cheque. Be a part of their pain.

As someone has said so beautifully, “In the death of a near one, I often wished for a few words of love, rather than the tears of thousands of people”.


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 8th May, 06 (page 22)
KAUTILYA’S ADVICE ON CHANGING JOBS
- Radhakrishnan Pillai


(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)


Let’s face it: There comes a point in each and every person’s career when he feels like running away from his current routine, almost mundane work. He feels like taking up a higher responsibility and earning more money than what he is currently getting.

For such people Kautilya advices,

“One, conversant with the ways of the world, should seek service with a king, endowed with personal excellences and the excellences of material constituents, through such as dear and beneficial (to the king)” (5.4.1)

Such experienced people, who are equipped with the know-how of their work, should definitely seek higher responsibility. If this is not done, he will feel depressed, stressed and under-utilised.

He should approach the king (leaders of organisations) and, showing him his experience and results achieved in the past, should ask for a better job. Now, changing jobs does not mean changing organisaitons. You can change jobs even within one organisation itself.

However, while doing so, one should keep in mind the benefits that he can bring to the owner not just to himself. It is very important to remember that, while one is being interviewed for higher positions / responsibilities, the interviewer will always consider the benefits the recruiting firm can get. Hence, keep that foremost in mind.

Steps that will help you take up higher responsibility:
  1. GATHER EXPERIENCE
Experience counts a lot in going up in life. Learn from everyone and everything possible. Update your knowledge and gather some good skills. The more experienced you are the better your chances of going up in life.
  1. PREPARE A DOCUMENT
While approaching the people who could promote you or give you new responsibilities, always carry documents which show success in your past endeavors. CVs, portfolios, certificates, press cuttings, reports of the projects you have handled: All these could be helpful.
  1. TALK ABOUT ‘THEIR’ BENEFITS
During the interview, it is very important to discuss about the benefits that you can give to the organisation you are going to work for. Talk in terms of definite numbers. Do a little bit of research and study as you prepare for the interview.

Not to forget that whatever new assignment you are going to take up – you have to leave your mark.

Bob Dole, a former American leader and who ran for US Presidency too, once said, “When it's all over, it's not who you were. It's whether you made a difference”


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Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 1st May, 06 (page 22)

GRABBING THE ‘RIGHT’ OPPORTUNITY..
- Radhakrishnan Pillai


(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)


Is success in business a matter of ‘luck’ or ‘self effort’? It’s a question often asked, especially by those who are struggling to build their companies.

There’s this saying about success being 99 percent hard work and 1 percent luck. But, remember, you will never get lucky till you put in the best of your efforts. Only then would opportunity knock.

Kautilya says that when such an opportunity finally comes, potentially bringing the the success aimed for, you should be alert enough to grab it.

“Time comes but once to a man waiting for an opportunity; that time is difficult for that man to get again when he wants to do his work” (5.6.31)

You might have heard the adage that talks of opportunity not knocking twice, but here’s another interesting one for you: “When opportunity knocks, either we are out or sleeping in!”.

Still, we have to understand that it is not only about the opportunity itself but about the ‘right’ opportunity at that. So how does one recognise this so called right opportunity?
How does one recognise the right opportunity?

Here are some steps to follow:
  1. NOTHING BUT THE BEST
Usually, people who are learning the tricks of the trade feel every opportunity is the best opportunity. It is simply not true. You will have to struggle for a few years and put in your best efforts before you get the ‘knack’ to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, and even the simply ‘better’ from the very ‘best’.
  1. LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’
It’s quite a temptation to say yes to every event that ‘seems’ to be an opportunity. When an opportunity comes- stay clam. Think through it: Is it a profitable venture? Plan a strategy and then decide to capitalise on the same.
  1. JUMP INTO IT
Once you thought through it: Jump into the field right away. Do not think too much after this stage. Just go out and perform your best. You never know if such a chance will come again.

People only see the successful part of a businessman; they never recognise the hardships that he has gone thought to become successful.

Ray Kroc, the founder of Mc Donald’s, was once asked in an interview, “Sir, you were very lucky! You became an overnight success”. Ray remarked, “Yes, that is true. But you do not know how long the night was…!”

After having put your time, energy and efforts to build your dreams, do not quit when success is just right round the corner.

As Swami Vivekananda proclaimed “Awake, arise, Stop not till thy goal is reached”

And for all this, remember, it’s all a matter of timing.


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

hey nikhil they are real good narretion of chanakya `s theory on management ., there is lot to learn from our epics .....and can profitabely be applied in management
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 6th, 2006

Name of paper: MUMBAI MIROR (Times of India)
Date: Monday, 4th September, 06 (page 22)
THE ART OF CONDUCTING EFFECTIVE MEETINGS
- Radhakrishnan Pillai

(This weekly column will explore the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies of Chanakya as discussed in his 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)
Meetings, meetings and more meetings! As you climb higher on the corporate ladder, and your business grows, meetings will become an inevitable part of your life.

Meetings are like a double sword –it can either waste your time or you can scale up your business. It all depends upon how effective you are in conducting meetings.

Chanakya gives us some tips and suggestions on this issue:

“He should declare without loss of time what is in the king’s interest” (5.4.11)

The following are also some tips that can help you at meetings:


1. HAVE AN AGENDA

Most meetings end up as a big waste of time because there is no clear agenda. The purpose of the meeting has to be clear. As given above, the best meetings are the ones that take into consideration the vision of the company, or what is of interest to the seniors.

Preparing an agenda gives a sense of direction for the meeting. If you are the one who is the organiser / host make it a point that the agenda is clearly communicated to others. Also, see to it that the participants are told in advance about the day, time and venue of the meeting to have maximum attendance and least confusion.

As Bill Gates wrote it in his book, ‘Business at the speed of thought’, “Those meetings that are planned well in advance are the most effective ones”


2. GIVE A DIRECTION

You can be open for a brainstorming or a discussion. But that should not allow the meeting to go astray. As a chairperson, you need to give the meeting a sense of direction.

You have to be like a good televison talk-show anchor: when the answers to any question is going out of way, or if the person being asked is talking too much, you cut him off diplomatically, and move ahead to the next question.

3. COME TO THE POINT ASAP!

This is very critical. Meetings need to be started off like any other session. Be casual – ask about how things are, find out if all is well, offer tea, warm up the discussion etc.

However, as the meeting proceeds, it is very necessary to come to the point as soon as possible – ASAP! This is where we have to monitor our time.

Therefore, the success of any meeting lies in having only few and important points in the agenda…Most importantly, as the meetings comes towards the end, make an action plan. Take decisions and execute it. Otherwise it will be like the old office joke, “When our boss has nothing to do – he calls a meeting!”


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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