Chanakya, who lived in India in the 4th Century BC, was a leadership guru par excellence. The treasure of his teachings can be found in his treatise, Arthashashtra, which deals with good governance based on ideal leadership.
The concept of the ideal nation in the Arthashashtra, called saptanga, holds that there are seven pillars of a kingdom: swami, amatya, janpada, durg, kosha, dand, mitra. for centuries, Indian rules have used this concept as a model of successful government.
In this path-breaking book, Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership, author Radhakrishnan Pillai delves into Chanakya’s saptanga, with the real-life example of D. Sivanandhan. Former Director General of Police, Maharashtra, and the archetype of an able administrator, Sivanandhan shares his guidelines for effective management, highlighting those that make a dynamic leader.
In Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership, theory meets practice, academic research meets vast experience in police supervision and an age-old formula is revealed in a modern-day success story. Together, Pillai and Sivanandhan bring Chanakya’s model to life.
Anyone can use the seven secrets of leadership to run a kingdom effectively. Apply them in your life, and the magic of Chanakya’s wisdom will transform you into the ideal leader.
Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is from the University of Mumbai. He is a trainer researcher, author and teacher on leadership. His first book, Corporate Chanakya, created record in the management books category. Apart from begin a popular bestseller, the book has also been considered for academic research in educational institutions across the globe. Having trained and mentored thousands of leaders, Dr Pillai is well-known for making Chanakya popular as a managements and leadership guru.
D Sivanandhan former Commissioner of Police, Mumbai and Director General of Police, Maharashtra, is one of India’s most highly regarded IPS officers. He has been instrumental in rebuilding the defenses of Mumbai after attacks in November 2008, and has served as member of the special task force in the National Security Council Secretariat. Currently, he serves on the board of several companies and is Founder and Chairman of Securus First India Pvt. Ltd.
Some people get lucky. And some get very lucky.
But people like me call it the Grace of God or Guru Kripa.
My first book, Corporate Chanakya published by Jaico turned out to be a bestseller. It broke my records in sales in the field of management books. It was in the bestseller list ever since its release. It got translated into ten regional languages – Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Assamese, Oriya, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada.
It was brought out as an audio book, again turning out to be a bestseller in the audio book category. The book inspired the world’s first management film based on Chanakya’s teachings, Chanakya Speaks (www.chanakyaspeaks.in). Within a month of its release, the film received the Award of Merit at the Indie Fest (California).
Owing to the success of the book, I was invited to speak and lecture in over hundred institutes, colleges and universities across ten countries in less than two years. It also helped me set up our institute, Chanakya Institute of Public Leadership (www.ciplmumbai.in) in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. It is the First institute of its kind in the world, which teaches the Arthashastra. The journey has just begun and there is a lot to be done in years to come. I feel the hand of God behind all this success.
Success bring problems with it. Can I repeat this success? The first book set a benchmark, and ever since its release people have been asking me, “When is your next book coming?”
For me the question was different..... Instead of 'when' my next book would come the question was, 'what' will my next book be about.
I struggled with this question for many days and months, which rolled into years. I knew clearly that the subject would be Chanakya, yet I did not want to write Corporate Chanakya - part 2. The first book was complete in itself, yet continuity was needed for my old readers.
Chanakya was a man of action. What he said was not just theory, but what could be practiced and applied. What worked in the past can work in the present too. I wanted to bring back Chanakya in our generation.
How I would deal with such a great legend in my next book was a question that I was deliberating on for a long time. I knew all the theories of leadership given in the Arthashastra. Yet, there are chances of them just being theories, without any practical value to you and me.
I got my answer the day I met D Sivanandhan....
He was the Director-General of Maharashtra Police at that time, a few months away from retirement from the topmost police rank. I had heard about him and the work he had done. We were sharing a dais for a leadership program for ophthalmology doctors. That day, I spoke on the theory of leadership and Sivanandhan sir spoke on the 'practical' aspects of leadership. He spoke about situational leadership, transformational leadership and what goes into the making of a leader!
As I was listening, a quiet bell rang in my mind. "Here stands a man of action. He has delivered against all odds. I talk about it, whereas he has done it!"
For me, Sivanandhan sir became a person who was a real-life leader, who had practiced all that Chanakya had said. The next week I met Sivanandhan sir in his office with my students from Mumbai University. We were supposed to be with him for half an hour but in spite of his busy schedule, he gave us two-and-a-half hours. The students could ask him any questions and he gave them quick and detailed answers. I came to know that before joining the police force, he was also a professor of economics. The teacher in me - met the teacher in him.
From there, a relationship developed, where we kept meeting each other again and again. I knew he was someone whom the police force, the government and our nation was proud of. He was a man of achievement, yet there were many aspects about him that very few people knew. He was always in the limelight, yet very few had seen the complete picture of his life. Many more meetings followed and I came to know him well. There were wonderful incidents and stories that he narrated, which many did not know about.
And then, a meeting between Sivanandhan sir and my publishers, Jaico finally brought clarity to the book you are holding.
The theme of this book is surely on Chanakya; yet it is different from the first. I have written on leadership, but taking Sivanandhan sir as a case study, as an example of great and transformational leadership.
In this book, you will find a leadership model of Chanakya, You will also find that leadership model being brought alive by Sivanandhan and what he did during his days in the police force as a leader. He set high standards for others, becoming a role model.
This book is about theory meeting practice, leadership concepts meeting application, age old formulae meeting modern-day success stories.
Chanakya's leadership ideas, comes alive with Sivanandhan sir.
leadership - the Concept
IN THE ARTHASHASTR A, Chanakya refers to the leader as Vijigishu, meaning one who wants to be victorious and conquer in spite of the challenges. Even today, a leader has to think like a conqueror and succeed, irrespective of the circumstances.
Leadership as a concept has been evolving over the centuries. "Leader" initially referred to the king of a country or nation. Today, we have leaders in every field - politics, business, science, academics, administration, armed forces, society, community, various unions, sports teams and even spirituality. Some leaders may have a large following; others may not. Some leaders are great orators and public speakers, while others sit quietly at their desks or laboratories and become "thought leaders". They give a new direction and perspective to the way people think.
Some leaders are immensely popular when they are alive; their work attains speed and recognition in that generation. Other leaders are celebrated after they are dead, because they were much ahead of their times and their generation could not understand their greatness. Some leaders, such as Lokmanya Tilak, Rabindranath Tagore or Thiruvalluvar are known in their particular regions, in a village, a community or a nation. Others like Mahatma Gandhi, Napoleon, Albert Einstein or Abraham Lincoln gain worldwide recognition.
Yet, all these leaders have something in common, some factors that earned them respect and appreciation, which we also call attributes of leadership.
So what exactly is leadership?
Across the globe, leadership has become a subject of serious discussion, study and research. Universities now have centers of leadership. The number of books written on leadership has been growing rapidly.
In India, leadership has been taken very seriously. Today, all eyes are on India, as it is among the fastest growing economies of the world. India is new, yet old. A young nation which got independence in 1947 has a history, culture and tradition of over 10,000 years. As in any other nation, India and Indians draw inspiration from the heroes and leaders of the past. As a country of over a billion people, we are proud of the achievements of our past leaders. Our leaders such as Gandhi and Emperor Ashoka inspired and created more leaders across the globe. Others like Shivaji, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Lal Bahadur Shastri and other freedom fighters inspire our present generation and inject patriotism in the youth.
When we go back further in time, we find leadership lessons from superheroes like Krishna, Rama and Buddha in epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. For Indians, these lessons are part of their thinking, a part of daily living and discussions. However, a unique factor about India is that we also learn from the person who created the leader, the "leadership guru". The leader is important, but the creator of the leader is more important, because a leadership guru can create more leaders. Swami Ramdas guided Shivaji to become a successful king. Ramakrishna inspired Vivekananda to become a giant spiritual leader.
Some people like to study leaders; people like us love to study leadership gurus. And among the leadership gurus, one person stands out as the epitome of leader hip teachings - Chanakya.
Chanakya was the guru of Chandragupta Maurya, the first king of the Maurya dynasty and the grandfather of Emperor Ashoka who spread the golden teachings of Buddhism across the globe. Chanakya has been credited by many historical scholars as the first person in world history to create the concept of a nation or rashtra. Aspects of his teachings have been documented in his work The Kautilya Arthashastra, written in the 4th century BC.
Over the last several years, I have been a student and teacher of the Arthashastra. Having learnt the Arthashastra under Dr Gangadharan Nair at the Chinmaya International Foundation (www.chinfo.org). I have discovered many ancient Indian models of leadership. I am amazed how Chanakya's leadership models are relevant even today. They are not just ancient; they are eternal.
One of the leadership models given in the Arthashastra is "Chanakya's Saptangah" - the seven pillars of a kingdom. These pillars of old, forgotten over the years, can be interpreted as the "seven secrets of leadership" in the modern-day context. A training module on this was developed and we have been conducting leadership development programs across the globe. We have trained leaders in corporations and business groups, in the armed forces and the police, as well as scientists, academicians, social organizations, spiritual institutions, government departments and many others. It was inspiring to see that this leadership model was relevant to all the sectors of society, in India and abroad.
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