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How to run an office
Radhakrishnan Pillai, in the book ‘Corporate Chanakya’, brings out the management lessons contained in Arthashastra (Chanakya’s magnum opus). A great read.

IT’S A MASTER PIECE in office management. Pillai talks about (a) Leadership (b) Management and (c) Training


Lesson 1: Multiple powers come with leadership
The power that comes from leadership should be used to protect the good, destroy the wrong and expand knowledge. By proper exercise of powers, success is bestowed. And this says Chanakya, can be attained by three ways: success by counsel, success by might and success by energy.

Lesson 2: Lead from the front
The leader should always be a knowledge seeker. He should effectively delegate, should multi-task, take decisions swiftly and wisely and encourage others also to arrive at crucial decisions. An ideal leader should be just and respect the laws of the land. He should be a disciplinarian and should use punishments wisely. He should be brave and keep an eye for detail, creating a proper system, monitoring it regularly and conducting surprise checks.

Lesson 3: Take competition head on
The best way to face competition is to prepare strategies (long-term) and tactics (short-term) well in advance. Devise a perfect strategy taking into account power, place, time and new competitors to name a few factors. It is ideal to study the competition, to know the rules of the game and then to execute the plans. It is good to win over friends with conciliation and gifts and win over competitors with proper plan and team work.

Lesson 4: Always have a mentor
Every person needs a mentor and should always strive to learn from that mentor by having a constant association and by keeping on learning and applying what has been learnt. People who want to leave an organisation should give advance notice and train new persons. Extraordinary performances should be rewarded and corrupt performances should be punished.

Lesson 5:  What a leader should never do
A leader should never discard the good and favour the wicked; never discourage new ideas; never punish the innocent and never let the guilty go scot-free. He should never be led away by greed; should never do harmful things that would ruin people’s hard work; never harm vital contributors and senior people. He should never leave his promises unfulfilled; should never be complacent and             never let his people down with wrong actions.


Lesson 6:  Dealing with employees
Recruit only those who have a burning passion to learn new things, possess the required technical competence together and have great ethics. He adds that employers must set out the list of expectations from employees, keep a regular tab, as in supervision, on them; reward good performers and punish the complacent ones.

Lesson 7:  Money matters

In finance, profit always counts. There should always be a budget. There should be a proper accounting system and regular record keeping. Taxes must be paid on time. Regular accounts should be written, analysed and monitored. In financial dealings, promises should be kept and whatever is ethically wrong should always be opposed.

Lesson 8:  Team work
Individual strengths should become total strengths and team should march towards the common goal. Any effective meeting should have an agenda and discussion points should be clear.  Any crisis could be managed by a brain storming session, calling for a meeting, taking  inputs of all and deciding whether to go by majority or not.


Lesson 9:  Catch them young
People should be caught young and trained well when they are fresh. In learning new things, always develop a positive attitude, seek information and practise it hard. Just having theoretical knowledge is not enough; one should be able to apply the learning in practice. The young should be mixed with the experienced to learn the art of planning, strategy building and perfect execution. 
Well, isn’t it remarkable that the more things change, the more they remain the same? What applied in 4th century BC appears to apply with equal panache in the 21st century.

A great read.  

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