Swami Parthasarathy's 3 Cs for business leaders

N Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on July 09, 2014

Assess, but do not judge, is Swami Parthasarathy's message to the audience.

For a good part of an hour the sprightly 87-year-old Swami A Parthasarathy held the audience that included Chennai’s top business leaders listening to him in rapt attention.

Clad in his trademark white dhoti and white kurta, slightly folded at the wrist, and occasionally leaning on a stool-like object and once in a while coming forward to rest his arms on the lectern, Parthasarathy, philosopher-thinker, corporate guru and author of about 10 books, was in his element addressing the audience on “Optimise business, minimise stress”.

Intelligence vs intellect

At the outset, he made a clear distinction between intelligence and intellect. Intelligence is something that can be acquired, not intellect. “In business, you will have to employ the intellect all the time,” he told the gathering.

He told them that they could have emotions, but could not afford to be emotional; have sentiments, but could not afford to be sentimental. They needed to have objectivity in action; objectivity was the opposite of being impulsive. Impulsive decisions often hurt, whereas objective decisions help.

The audience included Vinod Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland; Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Capital Funds; NK Ranganath, Managing Director, Grundfos India, Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice-Chairman, Cognizant; and CK Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director, CavinKare.

Having high ideals help

Business leaders needed to have a clear ideal: What is it that they are working for? Having a high ideal in life helps one develop initiative. If one did not have initiative, everybody in the team would work for himself or herself. “If you did not have initiative, you promote action through incentives. If you stop the incentives, action comes to a halt,” Parthasarathy, founder of Vedanta World, said.

Incentives, he pointed out, could not last; they had a definite shelf-life. He drew comparison with wage agreements that managements signed with workers. After the agreement, the workers are happy and go about their work, but as the end of the agreement period drew to a close, their mind would only be on the agreement. The whole work culture was based on incentives, he added.

Keep your eye on the goal

For businesses to do well, managements must always take the right action. This was made up of three Cs – concentration, consistency and cooperation. Just as water flowing in one direction had power or wind blowing in a particular had energy, managements must be focussed on their goals.

Turning to stress, Swami Parthasarathy said stress was all internal. “You are trying to find peace in the external world. You are chasing something which you don’t know.” Whatever created disquiet and dis-harmony was in one’s mind. He quoted German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who said it was difficult to find happiness in oneself, but it was impossible to find it anywhere else. The mind had a natural tendency to step into past anxieties and future worries. Worry and anxiety only caused one to feel tired.

Stress could be handled by properly assessing a situation or people. “You must learn to assess everything in life. You have got to assess the people who you are working with every day,” he said. Assess, but do not judge, was his clear message to the audience.

Published on July 09, 2014

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