Is there anything that spirituality has to offer to the corporate world? The two streams appear to be poles apart, isn't it? But, in reality, it is not so. Classic management sutras are inherent in the words of the spiritual masters and great saints, which can give a stupendous boost to the corporate world, enhancing it qualitatively as well as quantitatively. This time, let's catch hold of some exclusive management principles from the teachings of Chanakya– a great personality, who enriched mankind through his powerful writings in the form of Arthashastra and Chanakya Niti. These management sutras are helpful in the development of the employees, grooming of leadership skills, and strengthening the employer-employee relationship, thereby benefiting the organisation on the whole.
SUTRA NO. 1: Modesty Speaks Aloud!
A man attains greatness by his merits, not simply by occupying an exalted seat. Can we call a crow an eagle simply because it sits on the top of a tall building?
Chanakya Niti (16/6)
This sutra presents a wise advice for the employees who aspire to rise high. It highlights the significance of merits in gaining great heights, instead of simply feigning goodness or attempting to be in the good books of the boss without doing anything– the case often witnessed today! Remember, the bigger truth is that if one adheres to the principles of sincerity and hard work, then, he doesn't have to run after gaining name and fame (vis-a-vis promotions in the corporate world); because, then, name and fame follow him!
A wonderful example in this context comes from William C. Ralston, who lived in California in the 1800s. Ralston was a rich businessman and financer. His financial heights can be gauged from the fact that he bought a villa on the hillside and shaped it in the form of a huge mansion. His house later on assumed the form of the main building of the campus of the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, California, near San Francisco.
Besides being a successful business tycoon, Ralston also took great interest in establishing and developing new communities along the railroad lines, like the one stretching between San Francisco and Carson City, Nevada. It was essentially due to the great work of Ralston that this community grew exceedingly well. The residents of the city desired to transform it into a real and full-fledged city. When the name of the city was to be decided, everyone unanimously came up with the idea that the city should be named after Ralston to honour him for his great role in developing it. When this proposal was presented before Ralston, he refused despite the fact that the offer was quite alluring. But, the residents were adamant to credit Ralston for his contribution. So, they, at last did what they wanted and simultaneously, Ralston's opinion was also taken care of! You know what name they proposed for their city? Well, they named their city as “Modesto” – the Spanish word for “modest”, which was unquestionably synonymous to the personality of Ralston! Indeed, Ralston's modesty was rewarded beyond measure! Today, Modesto is one of the well-known cities in California, which undoubtedly speaks aloud about Ralston's gain and success!
You may also try adopting this attitude in your corporate life... with returns and rewards guaranteed!
SUTRA NO. 2: Be Honest!
Chanakya says: dur-anubandham karyam na arabhet. Meaning by, a task with bad consequences ought not to be carried out at all. As a corollary, one can say that a task with good consequences ought not to be delayed at all!
The CEO of a company called the accountant to his cabin. “Charles, I am in a great difficulty. And, perhaps, you are the man who can really help me at this hour!” he said.
Charles: Please Sir; tell me what can I do for you?
CEO: Charles, you need to write some false statements, a few lies, so that I am relieved of the heavy load of taxes. I will give you fifty thousand dollars for that!
Ah! Fifty thousand dollars! The amount meant a lot! And, so, after a little pause, Charles said, “I think, I can do it for you, boss!”
CEO: Thank you, Charles! I will keep that in mind. You may go right now.
As soon as Charles turned to go back, the CEO said, “Listen Charles! Will you do it for fifty dollars?”
Charles (with jaw dropped open): What! Fifty dollars! What kind of a person do you think I am?
CEO: Oh, that you have already told me! I was only trying to find how low you will go!
Meaning by, dishonesty is wrong, irrespective of the price you opt for it! His Holiness Ashutosh Maharaj Ji says- “A dishonest act should be avoided at all costs because bad brings bad in return, just like a plant of cactus yields cactus only and not a rose!”
On the contrary, a good act should not be avoided at any cost, whatever may be the excuses! Abe used to work as a clerk in a store. One day, a woman, who visited the store not quite so often, purchased a list of items from the store and approached the billing counter for payment. Abe noted the items bought and calculated the total amount. The woman paid the said amount and left. However, after few moments, it struck Abe if he had summed up the figures correctly! He re-calculated the amount and found that he had charged the woman extra money. Well, the difference was not huge, but only a few cents! Abe had two reasons to ignore the matter and carry on... One, it was the question of only a few cents; secondly, that lady's house was not very near, but a few miles away. But, he didn’t pay heed to any of the factors. Instead, after closing the store in the evening, he walked all the way to the woman's house to return the extra money.
On another day, he had to weigh a half pound of tea for a customer. However, when the customer left, later he found that there was an extra four-ounce weight on the measuring scale. As a result, he had given her tea slightly less than a half pound, which again meant a loss of a few cents to that woman. But, this time also, Abe did not compromise with his honesty. He weighed the due quantity and delivered it to the woman.
Of course! Like many, Abe could have easily adhered to the corrupt advices of the mind that 'Let's leave it! It really doesn't matter! After all, I didn't do it intentionally! It's a question of only a few cents! etc. ...' But, he didn't do that!
Any guesses, who this Abe was? The hint is hidden in 'Abe'. Right! It was none other than Abraham Lincoln, who was also known as 'Honest Abe' in his younger days and was honoured for his ideals.
Unlike the above incidences, what if the amount involved is big enough to tempt you? Perhaps, you tend to confront such situations many a times in your professional lives! Undoubtedly, in such cases the chance of slipping into the dishonest mode is dangerously high. However, the real check of one's honesty demands a steadfast attitude to stick to one's ideals amidst such allurements.
It is these values and principles, which make a person valuable– a fact very much valid and crucial for every employee and every boss!
SUTRA NO. 3: Be Ethical!
This sutra says: Atma-vinasam sucayati adharma buddhihi i.e. wanting to be unethical indicates self-destruction. It brings a very important learning for the corporate world, in fact, for the whole mankind at large. Let's understand it through the following example.
A merchant was travelling back to his town after purchasing a bulk of items. He had loaded some stuff on the donkey, and occasionally rode the mule. On their way, they reached a steep mountain which had to be climbed. Poor donkey! It struggled hard to climb, but soon realised that the load was too heavy for it to bear. It looked at the mule with requesting eyes and said, “Please help me by sharing the load for some distance. I promise that I would take it back the moment we cross this mountain.” The ethical code definitely demanded the mule to have extended a helping hand to the donkey. But, it refused plainly to share even a little bit of the load and walked with arrogance. The donkey gasped for breath and finally fell under the heavy load. The merchant thrashed the poor animal mercilessly, but the donkey failed to continue any further. What next? There was only one option left with the merchant... Correct! He transferred the entire load on the mule and, leaving the donkey there, continued the journey with the mule. Alas! It was now the mule that gasped for breath.
Had the mule behaved ethically, it would have carried only half of the load and would have also got a friend who respected and regarded it. But, not adhering to the code of conduct, it suffered a big loss! Therefore, adopt this sutra and save yourself from landing in loss and destruction.