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23 MAR, 2012, 11.34AM IST, DEVDUTT PATTANAIK,

Management Mythos: What Krishna tells us about not being wrong in breaking rules, if dharma is upheld

Narada had the power to travel through space and time. One day, he

decided to pay a visit to Ayodhya , the city of the rule-following Ram

and to Vrindavan, the village of the rule-breaking Krishna. At

Ayodhya, he told the story of Krishna; the residents did not

appreciate the rakish, mischievous cowherd at all.

He is not serious at all, they said. At Vrindavan, he told the story

of Ram; the residents did not appreciate the upright and rather

serious king at all. He is no fun, they said. Narada then went to

Hanuman, the mighty monkey, and asked him who he preferred : Ram or

Krishna? And Hanuman said, "What is the difference? Both are Vishnu to

me; Lakshmi follows him, whether he is Ram or Krishna."

So what is the difference between Ram and Krishna? Both belong to two

different contexts: Ram lives in Treta yuga and Krishna in Dvapara

yuga. One context demands Vishnu to be the upright rule-following Ram

and the other context demands Vishnu to be the lovable rule-breaking

Krishna. Both are same, but different. Both are upholding social

order, dharma; one by keeping the rules and the other by breaking

them!

In corporations, we seek people who comply and frown upon people who

do not. But people love breaking rules. Often being in a senior

position is an excuse to break rules. Being in the creative profession

is seen as a chance to be undisciplined. But being Ram or Krishna is

not about whether rules are upheld or broken; it is about the reason

why rules are upheld or broken. Few pay attention to that.

Ankita is the chief operating officer of a large design studio. She

has a staff of designers , colourists, architects and painters. It

annoys her a great deal that they never come to office on time, never

keep deadlines , never stick to timelines, and plan things only when

compelled to. How can she run the company like this? The staff argued

, they are all creative artists who cannot function with rigid rules.

It hampers their innovative spirit.

One day, the following month, salaries did not reach people on time.

Ankita took a vacation that day and was not reachable on phone. When

she returned to office on the following Monday, after a long weekend,

she saw an angry mob of employees demanding an explanation . "Surely ,

I have the right to be creative too and not keep deadlines and

commitments," she said. The staff was not amused, but the message was

passed loud and clear. It was a risk Ankita took and it paid off.

We all want to be Krishnas and want others to be like Ram, without

really understanding what it means to be either. To be Ram or Krishna,

we have to be Vishnu and to be Vishnu, we have to ensure there is

social order that brings Lakshmi our way.

The author is the Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group.

As appeared in the Economic Times.

very nice. Our ultimate focus should be towards to achieve the target which should be justifiable (Dharmanusar), for that either we should follow the rules or we may break the rules like Krishna
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