Friday, January 11, 2019

Chanakya's Seven Secrets of Leadership - Radhakrishnan Pillai

Radhakrishnan Pillai is the author of the bestselling book 'Corporate Chanakya' and the Founder Director of the Chankaya Institute of Public Leadership (CPIL). He has since, written several books using Chanakya's principles.

The seven pillars are taken from Chanakya's 'Arthashastra' and embellished with contemporary examples. Specific examples are given from the life of D. Sivanandhan who served as Commissioner of Police, Mumbai and DGP, Maharashtra.

Kautilya's Arthashastra is divided into 15 books, and book 6 defines the seven pillars of the state. The seven pillars are - Swami (the king), Amatya (the minister, advisors, counselors), Janpada (country, citizens), Durg (fort, housing), Kosha (treasury, money), Dand (army, team), Mitra (allies, friends).

1. Swami - King
According to the Arthashastra, the qualities of a king are
1) Intelligent and dynamic (capability to analyse the problem and having the dynamism to implement the plan)
2) Associates with elders (learn from real life experts)
3) Truthful in speech (can understand, face and speak the truth)
4) Does not break promises (deliver what is promised)
5) Grateful (be humble)
6) Desirous of training (learning mindset) and
7) Easily approachable (be available)

  • Boost morale of people
  • Be ready to experiment
  • Have high moral standards, integrity
  • Give resources to people
  • Admit mistakes

2. Amatya - Minister
The qualities of a minister or counselor or associate are
1) Desire to learn (learning mindset)
2) Power of retention (ability to recall what is important in time of need)
3) Thorough understanding (between leader and manager)
4) Intent on truth (ability to take the next step)
5) Ability to lead an army
6) Sweetness of speech (communicate effectively)

  • Be prepared for change, accept new assignments and projects
  • Manage yourself first
  • Set up systems and processes first
  • Know people by name
  • Empower your subordinates to take decisions

3. Janpada - Citizens or customers.
The king's approach to his citizens 1) Happiness of subjects - physical, mental, spiritual 2) democratic attitude of the king 3) self-interest vs subject's interest

The qualities of a janpada
1) Strong position in center and frontiers (not only the centre but also strengthen frontiers)
2) Sustainable in times of distress (provide for calamities)
3) Easy to protect (be like a mother to her children)
4) Providing excellent means of livelihood (ensure everyone has an excellent means of livelihood)
5) Capable of bearing taxes and qualities (impose taxes to the extent of people's capacity to pay)

  • Connect with people
  • Use the power of media
  • Show what you have done
  • Be accessible to everyone
  • Empower citizens through training

4. Durg - Infrastructure
The qualities of a good infrastructure are that it should be
1) aesthetically pleasing (makes workers and visitors happy)
2) beneficial to men (should make workers more productive)

  • Build world-class facilities
  • Build hard and soft infrastructure
  • Take help from others
  • Perpetuate your vision
  • Create landmark projects

5. Kosha - Treasury
The four stages of wealth are 1) wealth identification 2) wealth creation 3) wealth management and 4) wealth distribution

The qualities of a good treasury are
1) Acquired lawfully by ancestors and oneself (if you acquire x try to increase it)
2) Able to withstand calamity (Save -  Insure -Invest these are 3 ways to help withstand any crisis)
3) Can be sustained even when there is no income for a long time (work hard even when there is no income in the short term)

  • Consider multiple sources -  be able to raise money from various sources
  • Goodwill is important
  • Work for others - invest in projects that are financially beneficial to everyone
  • Think long term, financial planning should encompass both creation and maintenance
  • Share your wealth

6. Dand - Team
To create a good team first select the right person and then train the person. To train a person one must keep these in mind 1) training 2) discipline 3) accepting the authority of teachers and 4) teachers must be experts in respective fields

The qualities of an ideal team are
1) Obedient (many opinions but one decision, follow the leader)
2) Not disappointed during marches (keep moving ahead)
3) Able to face challenges
4) Experienced in fighting battles (nothing beats real experience, so get as much experience as you can)
5) Skilled in war and weapons (good weapons are not enough, give adequate training so they can be used to full potential)
6) Has no separate self-interest (All members should be committed to team goal, one rotten apple can spoil the entire basket)

  • Identify people who are honest and result oriented
  • People should go beyond their work
  • Create world-class institutions and training programs
  • Encourage people through events, sports and entertainment
  • Give credit, share success

7. Mitra - Ally
A friend can make or break you.

Qualities of a good ally are
1) alliance from the days of your father/grandfather (family friends whom you have known for three generations)
2) greatness (ally should have qualities you admire, those you wish to possess)
3) constancy (in good and bad)
4) self-control (shuld have self-control)
5) no separate self-interest (thinks win-win)
6) ability to mobilise quickly (will be able to come to your aid immediately)

  • Have a good network of friends
  • Help your allies when they are in need
Sound advise by Chanakya. Nicely put together by Radhakrishnan Pillai. Easy to read.

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