Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Relevance of Chanakya's teaching to Human Resources and Business

Hello Friends,
India had great philosophers, social thinker and spiritual leaders and unfortunately, we undermined it during last few centuries. Again, the world are recognizing all these principles and we should also understand it. I am mentioning few of the quotes which are good and worth. Chanakya, to whom I respect a lot as a great philosopher, as a diplomat and as a teacher has taught great lessons to us. His teachings are still relevance to today's business scenario. It is timeless and eternal. They are multidimensional and provokes our thinking. Let us see few of his teachings.

What should be our hiring strategy? Should we become cost conscious? Yes, we should but we should not be miser. Chanakya clarifies it through his following quotes

पण्डिते च गुणास्सर्वे मूर्खे दोषा हि केवलं ।
तस्मात् मूर्खसहस्रेभ्य: प्राज्ञ एको विशिष्यते ॥

Pandite cha gunaah sarve moorkhe doshaah hi kevalam
Tasmaat moorkhasahasrebhyah praajna eko vishishyate

A wise man has all qualities in him, a fool has only faults.  Therefore a single wise person is better than a thousand fools.

Another question is how to deal with people talking sweet, whether employees or friend or a business partner. I have experienced all three ways and found answer in Chanakya;s following quotes:

परोक्षे कार्यहंतारं प्रत्यक्षे प्रियवादिनं ।
वर्जयेत्तादृशं मित्रं विषकुंभं पयोमुखम्    ॥
 Parokshe kaaryhantaaram pratyakshe priyavaadinam
Varjayettaadrisham mitram vishakumbham payomukham

A friend whose talk is sweet in person but who spoils the job when out of sight should be abandoned like a pot of poison topped with milk.

This also applies to senior and top management. They must realise their reportees doing sweet talks and who are product of halo effect. They must abandon them instead of promoting. When the matter of one's organisation's interest comes, it does not matter what do we like but it matters what is the truth. We see, few people get promotion despite of the fact that majority of the employees do not like him/ her. Why does it happen? We also need to think what will be its impact on overall organisation and what message it gives to the employees.

Another long debated topic in hiring is hiring people from known, reputed, top schools and B schools. I think we as an HR and as a hiring manager wants to make our ways easy and adopt such methods. Till now in my career, I have never made such list in very few cases like preferring National Law University for hiring law graduates, recognized, quality (not top ranked exclusively) B school for hiring for various position. Getting success depends upon on various factors. I have seen people studied from vernacular medium over convent or ICSE or CBSE or IB still they have successfully handled the job much better than their counterparts from assumed top schools. I love Chanakya's following quote in this regard:

रूपयौवनसंपन्ना विशालकुलसंभवाः ।
विद्याहीना न शोभन्ते निर्गन्धा इव किंशुका: ॥

Roopayauvanasampanna vishaalakulasambhavaah
Vidyaaheenaa na shobhante nirgandhaa iva kimshukaah

Those who are goodlooking, young and born in a good family do not shine if they are devoid of learning,  just as the flowers of the kimshuka tree do not shine (i.e. attract people) because they are without fragrance.

so this quote clarifies that even if somebody born in good family, if he/she does not devoted themselves for learning, they cannot shine, they cannot perform. HR and hiring managers must know this if they are making their hiring decision on the basis of family background. 

The question arise, how to deal with a bad employee. An employee who is not productive and spreading rumours about company and spoiling culture. HR is the protector of interest of organisation's human capital and they must act. Following quotes clarify it.

एकेन शुष्कवृक्षेण दह्यमानेन वह्निना ।
दह्यते हि वनं सर्वं कुपुत्रेण कुलं तथा ॥

Ekena shushka vrikshena dahyamaanena vahninaa
Dahyate hi vanam sarvam kuputrena kulam tathaa

Even as a single dry tree on fire will destroy the whole forest, so also the entire family (or clan) will be destroyed by a son of evil character or tendencies.

But should we sack them? How to deal with them. I have always given them safe passage (unless it is a worst case). Following quotes clarify it.
निर्गुणेष्वपि सत्त्वेषु दयां कुर्वन्ति साधवः ।
न हि संहरते ज्योत्स्नां चन्द्रश्चण्डालवेश्मनि ॥

Nirguneshwapi sattweshu dayaam kurvanti saadhavah
Na hi samharate jyotsnaam chandrashchandaalaveshmani

Good men show kindness even to those who do not possess good qualities just as the Moon does not withhold her light from the hut of a chandala

Few months back I got a call from one of my previous organisation's one operation head. She was furious over an ex HR in that organisation who joined after I left. How he was in personal relationship with one of her team member and how it was impacting overall work performance of the department. I think HR always need to be neutral. They should neither create friend nor enemies in the organisation. The same principle applies to our personal life too. Just wait and watch. Chanakya says:

न कश्चित् कस्यचिन्मित्रं न कश्चित् कस्यचिद्रिपुः ।
व्यवहारेण जायन्ते मित्राणि रिपवस्तथा ॥

Na kashchit kasyachinmitram na kashchit kasyachidripuh
Vyavahaarena jaayante mitraani ripavastathaa

No one is a friend per se and no one is an enemy per se; friends and enemies are created out of personal dealings and behaviour.

There are many but thats all for today. I hope you love it

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