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“The fate of any organization depends solely on its leader”

Source | LinkedIn : By Nirajita Banerjee

It is an exciting time for Radhakrishnan Pillai, whose latest book “Inside Chanakya’s Mind” just hit the shelves. After dedicating 20 years of his life to deeply studying Chanakya, this leadership guru now holds the title of India’s No. 1 business author.

To say that Pillai has a comprehensive understanding of “leadership” as a subject would be an understatement. From working with the Prime Minister’s office to mentoring IAS officers and corporate leaders, this author has emerged as an unrivalled strategic thinker.

Chanakya’s political treatise “Arthashasytra” rests on seven pillars – the lord, the minister, the citizens, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally. The leadership guru believed anyone could rule a “kingdom” effectively by focusing on proper functioning of these seven factors. A parallel can be drawn between ancient and modern times, and still this age-old formula, according to Pillai, will seem relevant.

Pillai, who has now come to be known by the sobriquet “Chanakya Pillai,” believes his target audience is the student, manager, leader or even the housewife. By avoiding management jargon, he makes his world more relevant to the common man.

I spoke to him recently, when we spoke about a lot of things, from his upcoming book to the leadership crisis at Infosys and the Tata Group. His answers – particularly on how ancient principles of Chanakya though are still relevant in today’s day and age – surprised me. (Couple of lines on the Chanakya model) Here are the edited excerpts:

Nirajita Banerjee: Is the Chanakya model relevant in today’s times?

Radhakrishnan Pillai: Chanakya was a kingmaker, in today’s times we can call him a leadership guru. Today, there are a lot of leaders in different fields. There are political leaders, corporate leaders, administrative leaders, there are academic leaders…every leader reports to another leader (or board in case of corporate leaders). Leadership is so crucial and most leaders don’t really undergo training solely for leadership. They may be positional leaders but they are not really trained in leadership – you clinched the title but you don’t know how to perform your duties. So Chanakya’s principles in this context are still relevant today. Chanakya had said, “The most important quality of a leader is how to think correctly.” A leader needs to do vision thinking, strategic thinking, process thinking. Over time, in the West, strategic thinking has emerged as a very important subject. But strategic thinking is only one dimension of thinking. And with Chanakya thought, there are many dimensions of thinking. Inside Chanakya’s mind, Anvikshiki is the art of thinking. If thinking were a subject, don’t you think everyone should be trained to think strategically – be it a leader or a common man? Because we don’t really think, we worry about things.

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