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Kautilya’s Arthashastra

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Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

Hi All,

This would be really interesting... I will be posting some articles regularly in this column.. I know the wrtier personally..... & he is really a great guy....

He writes in for Mumbai Mirror.
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Nikhil Gadodia
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Re: Kautilya’s Arthashastra - September 3rd, 2006

IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL LEADERS
- 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)

“I shall not exist, but the work that I started should go on” – That’s what a business tycoon once said. Now, for that work to “go on”, a lot needs to be done and that, too, before we become non-existent.

Great leaders, as they slowly age towards retirement, always focus on the creation of next- generation leaders. You should create your own photocopy to fill your position. If possible, someone better than even you.

That is what Chanakya says,

“He (king) should strive to give training to the prince” (5.6.39)

Leaders at the top should completely focus on developing the potential leaders.

Who is a leader and how to identify him is a challenge by itself. One will realise that a person successful in one area can be a failure in another area. Or one who is successful leader a particular group may be a failure while leading another group for a different task.

But, before we start training and creating leadership programs, it is important to identify the right leaders. You need to ask a few questions that will tell you weather he will fit into the leadership framework.

Some of these have been listed below:

QUESTION: Does he give credit to others when he is appreciated?
OBJECTIVE: The answer will show if he is a team player. A good leader is a good captain. He takes his team along. He knows that human beings have weaknesses and, still, all have to work together to achieve the common goal of the organisation.

QUESTION: Is he firm in his opinions, or does he change his view point every now and then?
OBJECTIVE: To understand if he has clarity in thinking – Does he think through every step before taking up or executing a project? Does he get carried away by the politics in a company?

QUESTION: How does he conduct meetings?
OBJECTIVE: His planning skills – if he is good leader in meetings, he will have an agenda. He will be open to ideas, but will never let the meeting go astray.

QUESTION: Does he command respect and attention of his seniors?
OBJECTIVE: To assess if he and his view points will be accepted by the top management as he takes up higher responsibilities - only a thinking a strategic person will be accepted by seniors.

QUESTION: Given a challenge - how fast does he complete the task?
OBJECTIVE: To understand his resource-management skills: how fast is he in getting things in place? A potential leader will not get stuck with the current problems. He will be a solution-provider, rather than a problem creator.

Most importantly, you should yourself be involved in the process of creating future leaders. After all, it is question of handing over a company you created with your sweat and blood.

(The author is the director of ATMA DARSHAN, a company that provides services, including spiritual tours. He is a management consultant and trainer. He can be contacted at radhakrishnan@...)


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, 14th August, 06 (page 22)
DON’T NEGOTIATE SAFETY AND SECURITY
- 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)


The days of conventional wars are gone when kingdoms or nations were warning with the weapons like swords and later with sophisticated and more disastrous mass destruction weapons. Now the wars are being played between democracies and terrorism. And hence, the nature of these wars is more complex. This is the time when aspects of security cannot be undermined.

Now, the terrorists targets are common men, battlefields are at public places and aims are of disrupting economies. Corporate setups are the soft targets and the only weapon that we have is the vigilance to fight back any such unanticipated disaster.


Chanakya says,

“For the guard not reporting to the city-superintendent an offence committed during the night whether by the animate of the inanimate, the punishment shall be in conformity with the offence, also in case of negligence” (2.36.42)

This means, how an alert security person should be. He has to report He has to report every single offence committed to his superiors. He cannot take any seen or unseen movements for granted. If security official does not do that even the security personal shall be punished.

A special focus has to be given to corporate security personals in the following manner
  1. EXTRA TRAINING

The guards, watchmen and other security people in your organisation have to be given extra training and information about the current scenario. They should be oriented about the changing threats in the mega city like Mumbai. You can also take the help of local police or even intelligence agencies to give them latest updates on security measure taken by the local, state and union government.
  1. SUPPORT THE SECURITY MEN

All employees have to be made aware of the alarming situation we are into. They should cooperate security officials. Being checked up your bags and personal belongings should not be taken as a mea to offend you. Do not feel insulted or ashamed. The security personal is doing his duty. Be a part of the system and help the system to protect us.
  1. WORK AS A TEAM

It is important to note that it is not the duty of only security team. Each one has to play his role. Even security men are human beings working round the clock to ensure safety. Understand their problems as well. Note that we have to work as a team.

Today the nation, its economy, corporate houses and our lives is under threat. And we have to rise and fight for it.

(The author is the director of ATMA DARSHAN, a company that provides services, including spiritual tours. He is a management consultant and trainer. He can be contacted at radhakrishnan@...)


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, 7th August, 06 (page 22)
SAY ADIEU TO EMPLOYEE WITH A SMILE
- 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)

The skilled manpower is increasing in the country, competition for hiring better employees is growing unprecedented among companies, attrition rate is going up and the challenge of retaining your able force is mounting. This is the scenario almost in all sectors of the economy. This is the time for every entrepreneur to think and form strategies to tackle with such incidents.

Chanakya, for such a phase in industry, says,

“Masters may bear testimony for servants, priests and preceptors for disciples, and parents for sons” (3.11.32)


If your subordinate is leaving the organisation for better prospectus and you are not able to provide the same, it is the duty of a senior to provide the best heartily wishes to the junior and say adieu.

The above verse says that the master should also provide certificates (testimony) and reference. “Let him prosper in his life” – is what you should feel for that individual.

However such parting events are not very easy to accept. How to make such moves in life more positive and happy event for both parties?

TIPS FOR EMPLOYEES LEAVING THE ORGANISATION:
  1. GIVE ADVANCE NOTICE: Every company has got a minimum notice period. Make it a point to fulfill that agreement and do not just run away. Speak to your boss and make him understand why you are leaving.
  2. REPLACE YOURSELF: When you leave, the biggest question for a boss is - Who is going to do your work? The best solution is to have an alternative ready. Even, you can look for potential people and suggest your boss.
  3. TRAIN ANOTHER NEW PERSON: The best way to tackle this situation is to get a person trained up in your work before your last day.

TIPS FOR EMPLOYERS:
  1. ACCEPT REALITY: People will leave and do accept this important fact. Do not hope that someone will be devoted to your for a lifelong.
  2. CONTINUOUS TRAINING: Keep recruiting and training people on regular basis. If you have a requirement of 50 people, train 75-100 people as ready backups.
  3. MULTIPLE TASKING: Teach all the employees to do multiple works. So, when someone leaves, you can immediately ask others to take up his task.

Chanakya suggests that no employer should let his employee leave with a fight and hard feelings. You never know when you will require the person again.

Mahabharata says, “Life is a like logs of wood flowing in a river, they flow together for some time and part, and meet again”

So, you never know when the time will bring your old associations back with the same person.
(The author is the director of ATMA DARSHAN, a company that provides services, including spiritual tours. He is a management consultant and trainer. He can be contacted at radhakrishnan@...)


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, 31st July, 06 (page 22)
TIMING IT JUST RIGHT
- 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)

There is a time for everything and everything has its time. Chankaya makes us understand this golden age old rule using a metaphor,

“The time of catching (elephants) is in summer” (2.31.12)

This rule has to be understood by all those having business. Many businesses are seasonal and are, hence, dependent on various factors, eg tourism peaks in vacation and insurance and tax consultancy have more business during the months when returns are filed.

As we mature in our understanding of business, we get a better understanding of such cycles. Then the game becomes very easy to play. But how do we identify ‘right timing’ in business? Here are some tips:

  1. PLAY THE GAME
When you do commence a business, it is very hard initially to get a grip of all possible situations. Even if you are still to understand the rules of the game fully, please hit the ground running and play the game with full spirit. You will mature with every fall and fury.

Your mindset will change. You will get an insight into the way the industry works and will, eventually, end up much better than what you started off as.
  1. LEARN FROM SENIORS
Every industry has got businessmen who have played the game more than you have, and who know the cycles much better than you do. Seek shelter with them. Listen to their advices.

Try to have a god father, a mentor or a Guru who will not only guide you, but also allow you to make some mistakes - Having a Guru means you are virtually safe in your experimenting. He will never allow you to be a failure. Trust him. Your aim should be to become like him. As a senior corporate giant stated, “The best time of my life is when I sat at the feet of great masters and observed how they ran their businesses.”
  1. TIME EVERY MOVE
After the initial learning stages, you are prepared for the big war. In war and in life, timing is the most critical element. After this, no mistakes are allowed since you are now responsible not only for yourself but also for the whole organisation.

Strategise, prioritise, plan and time every move - be it for the marketing or for launching a new product. As a leader, you have to be involved in the process – planning, executing and monitoring moves at every stage.

Business is all about preparing ourselves for the right time and opportunity. But remember: when the right time comes knocking at the door, we should not be sleeping inside.
(The author is the director of ATMA DARSHAN, a company that provides services, including spiritual tours. He is a management consultant and trainer. He can be contacted at radhakrishnan@...)


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, 24th July, 06 (page 22)
ALWAYS AIM FOR A ‘WIN-WIN’ SITUATION
- 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)


It was management guru Stephen covey who had first coined the word “win-win”- now a common terminology in the corporate world.

Bu what does it mean? Can there really be two winners in a game? Well, Yes! It is a paradigm shift in management thinking, based on the principle of live and let live.


In fact this policy of avoiding war was written by our own Chanakya:

“In war there are losses, expenses, marches away from home and hindrances” (7.2.2)

When competition sets in, and if it’s not tackled carefully, both the parties can end up in brutal war that causes heavy losses of time, energy and also resources. Huge expenses are encountered when we find one party trying to out prove the other.

Now, the real question is how does one even begin to think about ‘win-win’ when war is unavoidable. A careful thinking on the following points will help us:

  1. WE ALL CAN SHARE
The biggest competition in the corporate wars is for markets. But, remember however best you may try, no single company can get 100 percent market share. That has never happened in the past and will never happen in the future.

So it is important to think about “How can I expand the existing market itself?” instead of thinking “How much market can I capture?” We all can get a bigger share, if the pie itself expands.
  1. ALL OF US CAN TEACH
It may sound strange, but it really is important that the business leaders should get into the teaching mode. A business leader has a lot of roles to play – teaching being one of the most important. Therefore, with years of experience already earned, the top players should start teaching others.

They need to create an awareness of their own company and industry in potential markets. They should take guest lectures in business schools, do mentoring in their own companies and also take sessions in their industry associations.
  1. CREATE MORE WINNERS
The best way to think ‘win-win’ is to create more winners like yourself. As a leadership phrase goes, “A leader is the one who can create more leaders”. Invest on the ‘generation-next’.


Keep looking at various sources from where you can tap potential leaders. India Inc. today is in stage of rapid change. As Divya Dayal, the Vice president (Human resources) at Japanse Bank, Mizohu pointed out, “In the next ten years, one of the basic problems we will face as a country is lack of good leaders”.

To tackle this scenario, many Indian corporate giants are now setting up world class leadership and management training institutes.

This would go a long way in not only helping the industry itself but also the markets and the entire country. After all, if India wins as a nation, all us will be winners – ‘win-win’!


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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, 17th July, 06 (page 21)
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BUSINESS PARTNER
- 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)


Let’s face it: in today’s corporate world, getting funds is not really a problem. The Indian market is flooded with money for anyone who comes up with good ideas.

Of course, in the struggling phase, a new businessman may think his idea is not good. However, if he strongly believes in his own concept and continues to put in efforts, the situation will change eventually. He will even get many people who are ready to finance his company.

This is when opportunities crop up for getting a new and financially stronger partner. However when such offers come flooding in, the challenge is to choose the right partner.

Chanakya advices,

“If situated between two stronger kings, he should seek shelter with one capable of protecting him” (7.2.13)


So when multiple partners arrive with a lot of money and even experience, you should be very alert and cool-headed. After all, a wrong choice can ruin the business that you have created from starch.

To make the correct choice, one should be able to evaluate strengths and only then tie up with the one who is strongest. Here are a few tips to determine who would be the right partner.
  1. CONSIDER YOUR VALUES
Business is about values you follow. Each person puts his feelings, hopes and emotions in building the organisation. When a new partner comes, it is important to consider if your values and his values match. Both the parties should have the same wave length in thinking.
  1. THE LONG-TERM APPROACH
At times, one may impulsively accept funds when it’s readily available. But consider all possibilities, and have a long term approach before you tie up with anyone. Otherwise it is like a person who was not getting married for a long time. As soon someone says “YES”, he jumped into the wedlock, only to realise later that it was the greatest blunder of his life! So check all the credentials with known sources before the partnership becomes an agreement. It may take some more time – but you will be a winner in the long run.
  1. ITS NOT JUST MONEY
Partnerships are not just about money. It is not just plain give-and-take. In fact, it is about a life-long relationship that needs to be built upon. So, as Stephen covey says in his book, ‘Seven Habits of highly effective people’, “….you need to develop an emotional bank account”. You will have to spend time with your partners regularly. It is necessary to communicate with them so that the relationship builds beyond just business transactions.

Remember, every business story is a story of team work and having the right team with you. No wonder then that choosing the right team members is highly important to win the game.


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, 10th July, 06 (page 22)
DEPLOYING PROPER SECURITY AND MONITORING SYSTEMS
- 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)


Everyone knows how important security is. Still, most do not maintain a proper monitoring and vigilance system, despite these avoiding or at least immensely containing and confining leaks. Without a proper security system, processes will get out of control one day and this can become fatal for the organisation.

Chanakya has derived systems for security and protection of goods in an organisation. He says,

“Every object should go out of or come into (the palace) after it is examined and its arrival or departure recorded” (1.20.23)

In an office there are many transactions that happen daily. People come in and go out, goods get delivered, some are even sent out. This kind of exchange is more common in manufacturing sectors like factories and other production units.

Clearly Chanakya has emphasised on good strict security procedures systems and documentation of all goods transactions at an organisation. He also suggests that, before they are recorded, they should be examined to ensure that what is recorded is correct and genuine.

How do we follow this advice in today’s corporate scenario? Here are some tips and suggestions:
  1. USE TECHNOLOGY

We now have various gadgets and equipments that easily record and document all transactions. Cameras fitted in gates for surveillance, bar-coding for tracking goods and other such systems/ processes can make things easy and save a lot of time. Technology also has the added advantage of reducing human errors.
  1. MAKE YOUR SYSTEM UNIQUE
Even though there are various ready-made software packages available in the market for security purposes, make sure that you pick the one that records all the things that are important and useful to YOU. If need be, get a tailor-made system in order to get the required reports as quick as possible.
  1. NOW MONITOR THE SYSTEM
Just setting up a working system will not ensure its smooth functioning. Make sure that you, as a manager, keep checking the system at regular intervals. In this way, the security personnel – and even the general staff will always be on their toes.
  1. CONDUCT SURPRISE INSPECTIONS

This is the most effective way to keep security under your control. Keep a close and unannounced watch on the people who handle your security systems. Subject them to surprise checks. At times, it is also important to transfer security personal without any notice.

Finally, do remember that security is not just about having technology in place. Rather, security is about you being alert and vigilant all the time, for all required processes. After all, like a leading consultancy once noted to its dismay, “It just doesn’t work if you check all the visitors and their bags on the way in, but hardly ever when they are going out!”


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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, 2nd July, 06 (page 22)
THE SEVEN STRONG PILLARS OF ANY BUSINESS
- 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)

A strong foundation is the key to any successful business. Your vision, your commitment, your purpose - all from the basis for an organisation. They are the all-important pillars, the most essential part of any building.


In his ground-breaking Arthashastra, Chanakya lists seven pillars for an organisation.

“The king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally are the constituent elements of the state” (6.1.1)


Let us now take a closer look at each of them:
  1. THE KING (The leader)
All great orgaisaitons have great leaders. The leader is the visionary, the captain, the man who guides the organisation. In today’s corporate world we call him the Director, CEO, etc. Without him we will loose direction.
  1. THE MINISTER (The manager)
The manager is the person who runs the show - the second-in-command of an organisation. He is also the person whom you can depend upon in the absence of the leader. He is the man who is always in action. An extra ordinary leader and an efficient manager together bring into existence a remarkable organisation.
  1. THE COUNTRY (Your market)
No business can exist without its market capitalisation. It is the area of your operation. The place from where you get your revenue and cash flow. You basically dominate this territory and would like to keep your monopoly in this segment.
  1. THE FORTIFIDCITY (Head office)
You need a control tower - a place from where all planning and strategies are made. It’s from here that your central administrative work is done. It’s the nucleus and the center of any organisation.
  1. THE TREASURY
Finance is an extremely important resource. It is the backbone of any business. A strong and well-managed treasury is at the heart of any organisation. Your treasury is also your financial hub.
  1. THE ARMY (Your team)
When we go to war, we need a well-equipped and trained army. The army consists of your team members. Those who are ready to fight for the organisation. The salesmen, the accountant, the driver, the peon - all of them add to your team.
  1. THE ALLY (friend / consultant)
In life you should have a friend who is just like you. Being, in the same boat, he can identify with you and stay close. He is the one whom you can depend upon when problems arise. After all, a friend in need is a friend in deed.


Look at these seven pillars. Only when these are built into firm and strong sections can the organisation shoulder any responsibility and face all challenges.

And while building them, do not forget to imbibe that vital ingredient called values, speaking about which, in his book ‘Build to last’, Jim Collins has said, “Values are the roots from where an organisation continuously gets its supply as well as grounding – build on them!”


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, 26th June, 06 (page 21)
DON’T MIND LOSING THE BATTLE BUT WIN THE WAR
- 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)

Whether it’s personal or professional life, we always face competition and hence enemies too. We do ponder about how that enemy could be superior to us, his strengths and powers. Does it mean that we are going to loose the battle?

No! Chanakya never accepted defeat. However, he was practical. After all, he was an expert in a field wherein all were playing games with one or the other all the while – making strategies, plans and conspiracies.


Chanakya knew how to win over the enemy in the long run – if not immediately.

He said,

“He should seek shelter with one whose strength is superior to the strength of the enemy” (7.2.6)


The above sutra is a simple yet one of the excellent gems of management, and even in real life for that matter. When faced with an enemy who is stronger than you, the best situation is to have a stronger friend on your side.

Why does Chanakya say this?
  1. STRENGTH
President APJ Abdul Kalam - the missile man of India – once said, “Only strength will respect strength”. We should be more powerful than the enemy by acquiring greater strength. If not, like Chanakya said, making friends with a much stronger ally would help in countering competition.

  1. EXPERIENCE
A stronger alliance has more experience in fighting wars. It can guide you and shelter you, even help you during calamities. When the alliance advices – the relevance of the same comes from experience of similar situations.
  1. LONG TERM APPROACH
One of the most important things to remember is to keep your ego in check during an ongoing battle. Do not think for even a second that you can win against an enemy by just sheer power. Think of the long term- lose your ego and ‘surrender’ to a person superior to your enemy so that you get the required help. After all, you can defeat the enemy only if you survive through the turmoil in long run.

Battles may be lost – but we must win the war!

Win with the wisdom your superior alliance gives rather than loose with your personal logic.

Remember the Amitabh Bachchan dialogue in the movie Sarkar? “Taakat judne se aati hai tuotne se nahi”. He meant exactly what you should remember always: Strength lies in making friends, not loosing them.


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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