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Archive for December, 2014

To conclude the series on The Louvre, here is another collection which might be liked by the connoisseurs of art amongst you.

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The fact that such delicate features could be carved out of stone leaves one wondering about the source of creativity of the artists concerned.IMG_1230

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Napoleon makes a prominent appearance in one of the galleries at The Louvre.

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When a party is in progress, much revelry is bound to follow!

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Time to remember one of the greatest events of Christianity.

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When creativity and aesthetic sense blend with hard work and perseverance, the result is invariably outstanding.

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Each piece of art is exquisite, to say the least. One is virtually mesmerized. One always comes back yearning for more time in life, so as to be able to revisit the rich cultural heritage preserved at The Louvre. The exhibits have a universal appeal. These may be confined to a specific museum, but belong to the entire humanity.

Louvre_Museum_Wikimedia_Commons

[Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/a-saunter-down-the-louvre-part-1

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/a-saunter-down-the-louvre-part-2

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/a-saunter-down-the-louvre-part-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/dear-lady-paris%5D

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The Louvre has a magnificent collection of paintings on display. Whether on the first floor of the Denon wing or the second floor of the Court Square and the Richelieu wing, the display captures various phases of European art from the 13th century to the mid-19th century.

Madame Recamier

Madame Recamier

Conversation in a park

Conversation in a park

Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer

Jean Simeon Chardin

Jean Simeon Chardin

Madame Vigee-Lebrun and Her Daughter

Madame Vigee-Lebrun and Her Daughter

Man with a Glove

Man with a Glove

Marquise de Pompadour

Marquise de Pompadour

Master Hare

Master Hare

Nikolas Krazer

Nikolas Krazer

The King drinks

The King drinks

The Gypsy Girl

The Gypsy Girl

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

Portrait

Portrait

St. Apollonia

St. Apollonia

Rembrandt

Rembrandt

Relationship of the human figure with that of the Tawny owl

Relationship of the human figure with that of the Tawny owl

Museums play an important role in our lives. They remind us of the artistic richness of our past. They preserve the same for posterity, thereby boosting our pride in our culture and society. They showcase the best achievements of humanity in many diverse fields. By doing so, they motivate us to strive for perfection in whatever we decide to do in our own lives.

[Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/a-saunter-down-the-louvre-part-1

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/a-saunter-down-the-louvre-part-2%5D

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Here is a comprehensive list of lessons creative people can learn from athletes.

Broadside

By Caitlin Kelly

As some of you know, I was a nationally ranked saber fencer in my 30s, a sport I took up when I moved from Canada to New York. I’ve been athletic since childhood — competing in swimming, diving, sailing and other sports, and recreationally playing squash, softball, badminton and skiing, horseback riding, cycling and skating.

But working with a two-time Olympian as my coach forever changed the way I think, behave and react to stressful situations.

Having just finished a 15-week semester teaching college writing and blogging, it became clearer to me once more what useful lessons any creative person can learn from competitive/serious/elite athletes, like:

Dancers work through pain every dayDancers work through pain every day

Pain is inevitable, suffering optional

We’re all facing challenges, whether finding clients, paying our bills, drumming up ideas, collecting late or missing payments, seeking inspiration. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and depressed when it piles…

View original post 652 more words

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Reiterating a homage to Plum this Christmas!

ashokbhatia

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Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Santa asked us what he may bring us the next day.

We share with you the list which made him laugh aloud Ho Ho,

You may expand it, but please do not trim it, What ho!

 

We want to play with Poppet the dachshund who has a dislike for cats,

He would stop in his tracks, draw back his ears and drive away the gnats.

To play with Dog Bartholomew would be no less interesting,

Perhaps just to see the superior expression on his face vanishing.

 

Cat Augustus will perhaps become friends with us,

He may consent to doze off on our bed with us.

We hope a permission Lord Emsworth surely gives,

To visit the royal sty where the Empress lives.

 

Grand-uncle Tom we want to definitely meet in his study,

To offer him some advice on his…

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As we approach Christmas, our thoughts invariably turn to Jesus Christ. Here is a selection of paintings from the Louvre in Paris which might make our Yuletide spirits soar!

Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist

Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne

John the Baptist

John the Baptist

Christ on the Cross

Christ on the Cross

One truly marvels at the passion of the artists who would have toiled hard to create these exquisite works of art. One also feels grateful to the persons who have caused these to be preserved for the sake of posterity.

Merry Christmas!

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https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/a-saunter-down-the-louvre-part-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/dear-lady-paris%5D

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Louvre Paris_July_2011

When one is in Paris, can one avoid walking down the galleries of the most visited museum on our planet – the Louvre?

With more than 380,000 objects and 35,000 works of art on display, spread over an area of 60,600 square meters, it beckons connoisseurs of art and lay persons alike. Understandably, one is never having adequate time and energy at one’s disposal to be able to do justice to the lovingly displayed objects in its several galleries.

The Apollo Gallery

The Apollo Gallery

The Eastern, Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities transport one back in time to the era of pharaohs, pyramids and the Sphinx.

Great Sphinx

Great Sphinx

Squatting Scribe

Squatting Scribe

Rampin Horseman

Rampin Horseman

Nefertiabet's Stele

Nefertiabet’s Stele

Female Statue

Female Statue

Head of Female Figurine

Head of Female Figurine

The display of sculptures falls into two distinct groups: the French sculptures in the Richelieu wing, and the foreign sculptures in the Denon wing.

Christ on the Descent from the Cross

Christ on the Descent from the Cross

St. Mary Magdalene

St. Mary Magdalene

Diana the Huntress

Diana the Huntress

The Dying Slave

The Dying Slave

Psyche Abandoned

Psyche Abandoned

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss

An exquisite collection, to say the least. One could spend weeks together to soak in the brilliance of the masterpieces on display at the Louvre.

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https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/a-saunter-down-the-louvre-part-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/dear-lady-paris%5D

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I extended my hand from under the blanket, and rang the bell for Jeeves. Promptly, he shimmered in, with one of hisPGW HughLaurie-BertieWooster pick-me-ups on a silver salver.

‘Good evening, Jeeves.’

‘Good morning, sir.’

‘Is it morning?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘But it seems pretty gloomy and dark outside,’ I said.

‘Winter is already upon us, sir. In the depth of winter, we learn that within us lies an invincible summer, sir.’

‘Shakespeare, Jeeves?’

‘Albert Camus, sir.’

I sipped the tissue restorative in a mood of quiet repose.

‘Well, what goes on in the great world?’

‘There are several messages for you on WhatsApp, sir. On Facebook, you have messages from Mr. Gussie Fink-Nottle, Ms. Florence Craye and Ms. Stiffy Byng. Aunt Dahlia wants to chat with you over Skype. A blogger oninternet image 1 WordPress desires to have an audience with you. On LinkedIn, Sir Watkyn Bassett wishes to connect with you. Several tweets await your attention. Also, there are some other items which might interest you on Reddit, Digg and Pinterest, sir.’

I shuddered at the prospect of having to brave the world at such an early hour.

‘Jeeves, I have somehow come to despise this extra dose of, what do you call it, something sounding like gravity?’

‘Perhaps you allude to the term connectivity, sir?’

‘Absolutely. Both have the same pull for all of us these days. You know, this intricate world-wide-web we have woven around ourselves? The world was such a quieter place when this was not there. To avoid aunts, all one had to do was to sprint across the Atlantic. Now, one gets chased all over the planet. Civilization’s foundations are quivering. Something ought to be done about it.’

‘But you may wish to consider that it has also made life much simpler, sir.’

‘Faugh! Earlier, I could saunter across to the telephone in the hall in my bath robe and mauve pajamas to hobnobSkype_logo with the aged relative. Now, I have to worry about the dark circles below my eyes and the dress I am wearing before saying tally-ho to her over Skype.’

‘This does present some challenges, sir.’

‘And how could anything be called Twitter? I thought only birds indulge in that pastime. Don’t we have any birds’ Twitter_bird_logoassociations? Would one of those not like to raise the issue of a serious infringement of birds’ intellectual rights?’

‘I believe the contingency is a remote one, sir.’

‘Consider Google. It has too much of information, making it difficult to chug along in life. One, it is no longer easy to pinch umbrellas. Those carrying umbrellas on their shopping sprees often keep a tab on my location and do the vanishing act whenever I happen to be in the vicinity. Two, it has reduced whatever little thinking I was earlier able to do on my own. I once told Stiffy Byng how I was much superior to Gussie Fink-Nottle when it came to being pumpkin-headed. Now, thanksGoogle_2013 to Google, I am no longer too sure.’

‘You feel, sir, that you have become mentally more negligible?’

‘Yes. I also shiver at the prospect of a Big Brother prying into my searches and building up an intimate profile of what I like and what I don’t. What has happened to the civilized norms of privacy?’

‘We have to take the good with the bad, sir.’

‘Then think of Facebook. It is high time someone like Roderick Spode spoke to Mark Zuckerberg. He might take a dictator who designs women’s underclothing on the side more seriously. How can one place all one’s friends on the same level of intimacy? Are we not entitled to have few who are really close and intimate, some others who are useful in some way or the other, and all the others who are mere acquaintances?’

‘There is some merit in what you say, sir.’

‘Of course. And why is everyone posting only about the good and positive things happening to them? Do you think I mind posting the number of times I have been nicked for fines or have been jugged into a chokey for thirty days without the option?’

‘Your openness on social media deserves to be heartily applauded, sir. It might interest you to know that some people have formed SPIN – a Society for Prevention of Narcissism on Internet. They wish to see you in person, ostensibly to request you to accept to be the President of the outfit.’Facebook

‘Right, ho. That is how I have preserved my bachelorhood status all these years. After all, who would risk having me as a son-in-law or a nephew? Is that not the reason Justices of the Peace wish to connect with me? They just wish to keep a tab on what I am up to, possibly forewarning police constables in my vicinity to strap their helmets a wee bit tighter.’

‘That is being clever indeed, sir.’

‘‘Yes. Consider all the delicately nurtured ones who shiver at the prospect of taking a saunter down the aisle with me. Still, I have a long list of those wanting to befriend me over Facebook. I wonder why they wish to connect with me. The mind boggles.’

‘Perhaps to capitalize on your generosity, sir? Several times in the past, you have assisted young ladies in getting affianced to the real love of their hearts. You had done so, if you may recall, by first declaring your intentions of marrying the young women yourself. This had left their guardians all-of-a-twitter, much relieved to eventually allow an alliance with the true heart-throb instead.’

‘I am sure my record in such acts of chivalry is beyond reproach. What I resent is the commercialization of all our relationships. Look at LinkedIn. One would like to have a large circle of influence. But to what avail? We end up LinkedIn_Logonetworking only with those who could be used by us to further our own career interests. What we need instead is a platform where we can connect only with those we admire for their sterling qualities of head and heart.’

‘Well said, sir, but you would readily appreciate the difficulties involved. Perhaps there could be better ways to filter out only those who love and admire one and one’s work.’

‘Jeeves, I do think I have one such idea!’

‘Indeed, sir?’

‘I think I should start a blog of my own.’

His left eyebrow went up a quarter of an inch. I braced myself with the old Wooster grit. I persisted.

‘The more I publish my own escapades and my several acts of mercy, the quieter my life would be! In fact, the journal at the Junior Ganymede Club – could that not be serialized to great effect?’WordPress_logo

‘The rules of the club are rather strict, sir.’

I bridled at him.

‘Jeeevs, if you could get the Eulalie stuff on Roderick Spode once, surely this would not be difficult?’

‘I fear, sir-.’

‘OK, I know what you are going to say next,’ said I, waving an imperial hand. ‘Don’t you think having a blog of one’s own helps? Would you know how one starts and develops a blog?’

‘Sir, having had the privilege of assisting an avid blogger earlier, I can say that it is hard work, indeed.’

‘I don’t believe this. Blogging would be like a song and a lark. That is what Bingo Little told me last night at thePinterest_Logo Drones. His wife’s popularity has gone up since she became an active blogger. You just bang on the keyboard whatever you happen to be thinking of at the time. You hit the ‘publish’ button. That is all there is to it.’

‘One also needs to do so regularly, sir. To do this, one has to learn to read with great fervor. One has to keep the interest of the readers in mind. One has to edit a piece thoroughly before deciding to publish it.’

‘Reading? You mean some juicy stuff others keep writing?’

‘Wisdom would dictate that writers of the stature of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Spindrift and Spinoza could provide regular inspiration, sir.’

‘What? One has to read such blokes just to be able to blog?’

‘A course you would be well advised to pursue, sir.’

‘But that would be tough on the nerves, Jeeves. I remember when Florence had expected me to read some stuff on Reddit_logoTypes of Ethical Theory or whatever. Is there any other procedure one is supposed to follow?’

‘Yes, sir. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. The latter implies that there are no free lunches. Blogging is work, with uncertain rewards. And courtesy demands that one promptly replies to all comments coming in, howsoever impolite these might be.’

‘Oh, that does not sound very simple, does it? It would consume a lot of my time, I guess.’

‘Indeed, sir. Blogging needs dedication. It also strains the cerebellum to some extent.’

‘Is there any other requirement?’

‘The place where you write must be one of solitude. It would be advisable to hire a secluded hamlet far away from the temptations of a city life, sir.’

‘Oh, but then we should have no boy scouts prowling around on their acts of mercy in the vicinity, cleaning chimneys and burning cottages.’

‘Yes, sir. One has to minimize the probability of such an occurrence. Allow me also to point out that availability ofMona Lisa connectivity would be a sine qua non.’

‘That would be a disaster. I was not aware that you need to depend on internet to be able to blog. So, if I were to take up blogging, I would end up feeling like someone on whose head all the sorrows of the world had descended. Who was it you had once mentioned, Jeeves?’

‘Perhaps, you allude to the Mona Lisa, sir.’

‘Well, if she calls up now, tell her that I do know just how she feels when confronted with the harsh slings and arrows of life.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘By the way, Jeeves, what are all these applications I keep hearing of these days? What do people keep applying for?’

‘If I have understood the query correctly, sir, you perhaps refer to some programs specifically developed for smart phones, sir.’

‘And what do these do?’

‘These are used for simplifying some mundane tasks of life, sir. First, we had WhatsApp. Then we had Line and HikeWhatsApp_logo apps. Now, we have Viber which is catching the fancy of the people. I believe there are about 1.3 million Android apps and Apple’s app store hosts 1.2 million of the things. By comparison, Windows has only around 300,000, Amazon 240,000 and Blackberry 130,000 or so, sir. ’

‘The mind boggles, what? But is this not a delightful affirmation of human ingenuity and creativity, Jeeves?’

‘True, sir. But the reality is that while there are indeed some creative programmers producing elegant, witty or ingenious apps, there are also some misleading programs which entrap one for an uncalled for burden on one’s wallet.’

‘Oh, a prospect better avoided, then?’

‘Depends on how one looks at it, sir. Let us say, you wish to replace your Alpine hat with a more suave version. UsingViber-logo some applications on your cell phone, you can sell as well as buy.’

‘But I do not wish to replace my Alpine hat, Jeeves.’

‘Sir, I just sold it using one of the apps on your cell.’

‘What? These smart phones are making me even more dumb. Let us get rid of it right away.’

‘As you say, sir.’

‘Yes. I am just getting fed up with this continuous slavery of today’s technology. All day long, messages keep beeping, giving one no respite. Is there no place left on earth where one could get some rest and repose? What about that World Cruise we were discussing sometime back? Do ships have internet, Jeeves?’PGWodehouse

‘Not necessarily, sir.’

‘So why don’t you book us on a voyage to Antarctica or some such place where one can really live life to the fullest, devoid of all e-distractions and boy scouts? You had better get the tickets tomorrow.’

‘I have already procured them, sir. Before we proceed on our voyage, may I suggest your meeting the representative of SPIN – the Society for Prevention of Internet Narcissism, sir?’

‘Sure! Jeeves, you stand alone.’

‘I merely endeavor to provide satisfaction, sir.’

(Note from Jeeves: Those of you who have enjoyed this line of thought may like to check out https://www.facebook.com/SocPrevInN)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/bertie-jeeves-and-the-internet-of-things

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who-is-the-smartest-of-them-all; https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/why-become-a-slave-to-technology)

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Learning from Failures

With a higher level of uncertainty, a leader’s chances of failure would also go up. A failure which results into pain and suffering can also be taken as a boon, as time often proves. If the right lessons are drawn, the chances of a failure repeating itself in future can be drastically brought down.

Consider these words of wisdom from Narad when he tries to explain to Savitri’s mother as to why she must marrya1 1 (11) Satyavan and suffer on the terrestrial plane.

‘Although the shaping god’s tremendous touch
Is torture unbearable to mortal nerves,
The fiery spirit grows within
And feels a joy in every titan pang.’
(Savitri, page 444)

Leaders wear their crowns of glory. But the crown does not come cheap. The cost they have to bear is that of the cross they have to carry.

‘Hard is the world-redeemer’s heavy task;
The world itself becomes his adversary,
Those he would save are his antagonists:
This world is in love with its own ignorance,
Its darkness turns away from the savior light,
It gives the cross in payment for the crown.’
(Savitri, page 448)

Management by Consent

In the times to come, the profile of the followers would also be different. Hierarchical authority is already proving difficult to manage change; there is no reason to believe this would not be even more so in the future. The followers would demand a higher degree of participation in the decision-making processes. Leaders who recognize this need of their followers and create a working environment which enables the same would achieve higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness in their business processes.

Creating a non-coercive environment in which employees and other stakeholders are clear about the corporate identity and the mission would be far more important than it is today. Reverse mentoring would be more a norm than an exception in the days to come.

Consider the all-powerful God of Death. When accosted by Savitri, he does not dictate terms. He allows a reasonableSavitri_Yama discussion on the subject. He keeps changing the line of his arguments, intent upon denying Savitri the life of her husband. He tries his best to dissuade her from changing one of the basic laws of nature. He even declares “I, Death, am the gate of immortality.”

Savitri is undaunted. She points out that if this creation has arisen out of a meaningless void, if matter can come forth from energy, and life from matter, and mind from life, and if soul can peep through the flesh, what is wrong in hoping that the imperfect man of today will someday transform himself into the perfection of God?

The God of Death eventually loses the argument, his authority and also his stature. But his greatness lies in the fact that he has the good grace to permit and then lose an argument to a person who looks like a mere mortal. Realizing her sincerity of purpose, he even grants her a boon.

In Ramayana, the villain is Ravana, a highly learned and accomplished person. One of the reasons for his downfall is to neglect the advice of nay-sayers. His wife, Mandodari, brother Vibheeshana and grandfather Malyavaan – all advise him to return Sita to Rama. Instead, he chooses to listen to his courtiers who play on his ego and pride and advise him not to do so.

A couplet in Sundara Kanda of Ramcharitmanasa clearly advises us to ignore the advice of a paid deputy, aRamayana 2 doctor and a teacher who speak positively out of either fear or expectation of a gain. A king who acts upon such motivated advice loses his kingdom, his body and his righteousness (dharma) as well.

When Lord Rama decides to accept Vibhishana in his fold, he does not simply order the same. He consults all seniors present before arriving at a decision.

Monsanto’s CEO, Robert Shapiro, had the ability to go against traditional hierarchy. He initiated strategy sessions with cross-sections of employees of different ranks, specialties and geographical perspectives and reaped rich dividends for his company.

The Moral Compass

Leaders who believe in sustainable businesses would not only use their commercial compass while determining the direction to take. Using a moral compass would be a valuable trait amongst the future leaders. A strong inner core, embedded with a value system which recognizes the needs of the society at large, would be a great quality to have. A pre-condition for employing key managers would be their endorsement and support of the core values of the business.

Sticking to some core values which are steeped in righteousness eventually leads to success. The main protagonist, Rama, is depicted in Ramayana as an epitome of virtue. He is an ideal king, an ideal son and a pragmatic person. He sets high ethical standards in warfare and invariably sides with dharma, or righteousness.Krishna_Arjuna_Gita

One of the basic concepts enunciated by Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita is that of the everlasting nature of the soul. The concept of a soul now finds a resonance even in modern management literature. In ‘The 8th Habit’, Stephen Covey urges professionals to pay heed to their ‘inner voice’. While proposing the whole person paradigm, he speaks of the four dimensions of a person – spirit, body, heart and mind.

A random sample of all successful business houses which have been around for more than a century now – Siemens and Tatas, for instance – is ample proof that ethics in business do pay dividends in the long run. Names of such business houses enjoy tremendous brand equity in the market; understandably, that rubs off on their products as well.

When the likes of Siemens and Wal-Mart come clean on their misdemeanors, they set an excellent example of probity in the business world. When Mr. Ratan Tata, the Chairman Emeritus of India’s salt to software conglomerate, rues his inability to enter some fields of business because of the absence of a level playing field in India, his focus is on one of the core values of his business.

Indra Nooyi is charting a unique course for Pepsico globally, shedding traditional markets and going in for healthier food products instead.

Preparing Leaders for 2025!

In a careful reading of the major turning events in the Mahabharata, Krishna emerges as an eminent strategist. He keeps Draupadi’s frustration under check. He knows that Kauravas would never agree to let Pandavas have their share of the kingdom in a peaceful manner. Yet, he himself goes to plead their cause so that peace is given a last chance.

Eventually, all mighty warriors on the Kauaravas’ side fall with specific inputs from Krishna. In case of Bhishma,Krishna Arjuna attacks him standing behind Shikhandi. Dronacharya is misled to believe that his son Ashwatthama has fallen at the behest of Krishna. When Duryodhana appears to be invincible in his mace fight with Bhima, he gestures to the latter to hit the former below the navel, thereby incapacitating him. When Balarama gets upset with Bhima for having broken a cardinal principle in his final fight with Duryodhana, Krishna intervenes to pacify him by reminding him of the several injustices perpetrated by the Kauravas on Pandavas.

Much like a business leader of modern times, Krishna displays vision, flexibility in approach, resourcefulness and an excellent capacity to command. He is the trouble-shooter par excellence who leads, inspires, guides and motivates.

Captains of industry today can set a personal example by getting cross-functional teams in their organizations to come up with suggestions to face the challenges of future effectively. They can also emulate some of the traits, thereby leading to a trickle-down effect across the entire organization.

HR honchos can re-design their appraisal processes and re-assess training needs of key managers to address this issue.

Those in senior management positions can consciously plan to hone their skills in areas they find themselves deficient.

Management institutes can tweak their course content to ensure that those leaving their hallowed portals possess these traits, so as to improve their contribution towards the organizations they decide to either float or serve.

Indian scriptures are replete with instances which demonstrate the importance of good values and ethics.chanakya Ramayana speaks of righteousness to be upheld at any cost. Mahabharata tells us to limit our ambitions and desires and be reasonable in life, lest a fate worse than death may befall us. Bhagavad Gita – the song celestial – is like an ocean full of practical advice for managers young and old alike. Chanakya Neeti is full of pearls of wisdom. All these are waiting to be explored by those who are interested in being spiritual as well as practical in their approach to problem solving and leading people to their goals.

(Note: On matters spiritual, inputs from a subject expert, philosopher and guide are gratefully acknowledged.)

[Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/grooming-future-business-leaders-a-spiritual-approach-part-1%5D

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Abstract
Can tenets from the realm of Spirituality help in grooming business leaders for the future? This two-part article attempts to answer this query. It first proposes the dominant characteristics of the business environment of the future. It then goes on to joining the dots between the apparently diverse fields of Management and Spirituality in respect of each such characteristic. An enhanced role for intuitive faculties, inner resilience, dynamism, a global and inclusive mindset, clarity of purpose, learning from failures, managing by consensus and cultivating a moral compass are some of the leadership traits discussed. Examples are drawn from the business world, as also from such Indian scriptures as Ramayana, Mahabharata and Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Savitri.’

Leadership is a much discussed virtue in management literature. However, like Peter Drucker says, there is no ideal LEADERStype of leader. “Leadership personality’, ‘leadership style’ and ‘leadership traits’ don’t exist”, he writes in The Leader of the Future. The emergence of a leader is the result of a complex interplay of two factors – personality traits of the leader and what needs to be done at a given point in time. The moment the two become congruent, a new leader could emerge on the scene and deliver the goods!

I am convinced that the leaders of tomorrow would need personality traits which would be qualitatively different from those of today. Here is my take on what business environment (say, circa 2025) would be like, and how our future business leaders would be tackling it.

2025 – A Likely Business Scenario

What would be the business environment like in 2025? Let us try to crystal-gaze and find out the kind of possibilities the future portends:
• Business leaders in 2025 shall be working against the backdrop of a world which would, in all likelihood, be a multi-polar one, with Asia, particularly China, exerting more influence on global events.
• It would be a world which would be more inter-connected, commercially and otherwise.
• Thanks to new communication means, the individual empowerment levels would have risen significantly. Social paradigms would have transformed further, with a more individualistic mindset. Hence, employee expectations would be qualitatively different from what managers typically face today.
• Also, it would be a more urbanized world. Thanks to the rise of a new global middle-class, society in general would internet image 1have reached a higher level of aspiration, resulting into a much higher demand for energy, food and water. On the flip side, income disparities would have risen substantially.
• Changes arising out of our climatic patterns would also pose a formidable challenge to the leaders of those times. Internet security concerns would perhaps be centre-stage.
• Disruptive changes are quite likely to overwhelm us. These changes could come in the form of impact of new technologies in the field of robotics, biotechnology, space sciences and communication. Increasingly, governments world over may start becoming enablers of entrepreneurship, faced as they will be with direct and intensive pressure from those they govern. We shall surely be seeing more entrepreneurs amongst our midst – whether in the commercial sector or in the societal sector.

A Business Leader in 2025

Beyond Analysis Paralysis

Since the level of entropy in the system would have gone up further by then, a business leader of circa 2025 would have to be adept at making decisions under a higher level of uncertainty. The abnormal today would be the new normal, and many a leader would be feeling more like experts at river rafting in our economic and statutory rapids, often being called upon to go against the current.

For those who are quantitatively inclined, advanced statistical tools would become more sophisticated. There will be an overdose of data as well as information available to a business leader then. However, ultimately, his/her intuitive abilities would prove to be more valuable. Even today, most innovators think ‘out-of-box’. Businessmen, when creating a new vertical, are apt to take a leap of faith, that is, decisions off-the-seat-of-their-pants/skirts/sarees and not on voluminous reports of an analytical nature.

Sir Colin Marshall, the ex-Chairman of British Airways, transformed his organization into one of the premier Mahabharat Draupadi_and_Pandavascustomer service kinds in the days of yore. The uncertainty he faced in the period of his association with BA was monumental and serves as an example to be followed by CEOs of future.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon came up with the concept of ‘predictive analytics’, paving the way for all of us to enjoy the convenience of shopping on-line.

A logical corollary of the above would be the need for a leader to be ahead of the curve. Those who have counter-intuitive responses and place a higher trust in their natural instincts would surely fare better.

In Mahabharata, after the war is over, Pandavas visit Dhritarashtra to offer their respects and condolences. By using his intuitive skills, Lord Krishna is able to save Bheema’s life. When the uncle proceeds to hold Bheema in a crushing embrace, a metallic statue of similar dimensions is offered to him instead.

Likewise, in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, Narada has the gift of fore-knowledge. He is not averse to Savitri marrying Satyavan whom he describes as ‘a marvel of the meeting of earth and heaven’ but adds:

Heaven’s greatness came, but was too great to stay.
Twelve swift-winged months were given to him and her;
This day returning Satyavan must die.
(Savitri, page 431)

Intuitive abilities of a manager typically arise from three distinctive domains – the cultural upbringing, experience in one’s formative years and one’s value system imbibed from elders and role models. Regular meditation and introspection also helps.

An Inner Resilience and Dynamism

There would be a strong need for a much higher degree of inner resilience, because this alone would enable them to keep their stress levels under control even in trying circumstances.

Dynamism will be yet another critical input. It would ensure that they are able to steer their businesses through thec1 (25) dense economic fog enveloping the business highways.

This is where tenets of spirituality can play a vital role. Take the example of the character of Savitri, as portrayed by Sri Aurobindo in his epic composition. She has fore-knowledge of the imminent death of Satyavan, her husband. Does she get scared? No. She faces the monumental task of facing the Lord of Death himself. She never gives up hope, displays exemplary courage and resilience and successfully reasons out the revival of her husband. She handles the whole situation all by herself, walking tall but lonely – as a true leader of humanity.

‘Whoever is too great must lonely live.
Adored he walks in the mighty solitude;
Vain is his labour to create his kind,
His only comrade is the Strength within.’
(Savitri, page 368)

As a seer extraordinaire, Sri Aurobindo brings to us in a very concise form the symbolic affirmation of life on earth. He did not compose Savitri as a management treatise. But like all other scriptures, the epic poem contains invaluable lessons for potential as well as practicing managers.

In the Ramayana, we see Lord Rama waging a war on Lanka with very limited resources, backed by an army whichRamayana 1 is pretty out-of-the-box or unconventional. It is an army which is highly motivated, expecting minimal facilities. The challenge of crossing the sea is also faced in a highly unconventional manner. Goes on to show the power of the dynamism of a true leader even when circumstances are highly unfavorable.

The World Economic Forum had proposed a theme centered on the twin traits of resilience and dynamism for 2013. Given that there are no risk free growth models available to leaders and CEOs of the future, one could not have agreed more with this proposition.

A good example of facing flak and not losing sight of one’s goals is that of Larry Page of Google. He continues to trust his instincts and doing what he thinks is best for his business.

A Global, Self-less and Inclusive Mindset

Given a much more inter-connected world, a business leader in the future would need to possess a vast knowledge of commercial, behavioral and societal norms followed in different parts of the world. A primary task would obviously be to ensure that his/her organization has world-class management processes. Only those institutionalizing best practices in strategic planning, marketing and human relations would be able to make their organization a successful one. The fact that a leader would, in all likelihood, be leading a multi-cultural team of followers would pose a challenge – irrespective of whether the situation demands a leadership which is ‘transactional’ or ‘transformational’.

A self-less and inclusive mindset would imply taking on board all stakeholders in a situation that warrants an Mahabharat Krishna Arjunaimportant decision to be made. A true business leader would work for the overall benefit of the society and environment at large.

When Lord Krishna delivers the message of Bhagavad Gita on the battle field, it is not for the narrow purpose of Pandava’s victory. It is the song celestial, delivered for the benefit of the entire humanity.

When Ashwapathy, the virtuous and noble King of Madra in Savitri, seeks a progeny, he does not behave like a sorrow-stricken childless King. He acts like a representative and true leader of humanity. He is engaged in a quest, but not for a personal gain like having a child. He is seeking that creative principle which has the power to end human frustrations, discontents and ills. He is doing so for the entire humanity. He recognizes the painful truth that neither science and technology, nor religion and art, have so far managed to free mankind from the clutches of ignorance, suffering and death. Is there a way the age-old aspiration of mankind seeking a union with its Creator could get realized? Can a higher power come down and help him achieve this goal for the sake of humanity? Aswapathy’s impassioned plea eventually wins the promise of grace from the Divine Mother.

In the Ramayana, we do not like Lord Rama banishing Sita to the forest merely because an ordinary citizen had cast aspersions on her character. But he acts like a true blue CEO who shows no mercy when upholding the path of righteousness even at a huge cost in terms of personal happiness and comfort.

When one considers the example of Compaq’s Eckard Pfeiffer, who was a leader in a race against himself, it becomes clear as to how organizational renewal can be brought about. “No matter what industry a company competes in”, he said, “it must live with one foot in the present and the other in the future….There is simply no other way to build world leadership”.

A Clarity of Purpose

When faced with higher levels of uncertainty, a calm mind and clarity of purpose become the sine qua non of success.
According to one version of the Ramayana, both Rama and Sita are committed to the welfare of the people. They are aware that by remaining confined to their palaces and royal trappings, they would not be able to serve the purpose for which they exist. Thus, when an opportunity presents itself in the form of Kaikeyi’s demands at the time of His coronation, they accept the fait accompli with equipoise and leave their comfort zone with a great clarity of purpose.

Note how Savitri declares the completion of her mission (to locate a soul-mate) to her father.a1 1 (13)

‘The son of Dyumatsena, Satyavan
I have met on the wild forest’s lonely verge.
My father, I have chosen. This is done.’
(Savitri, page 424)

Savitri’s supreme self-confidence is revealed when she convinces her mother about the need of not changing her decision, despite Sage Narad’s prophetic announcement that Satyavan has only one year to live.

‘Let Fate do with me what she will or can;
I am stronger than death and greater than my fate;
My love shall outlast the world, doom falls from me
Helpless against my immortality.’
(Savitri, page 432)

(Part 2 to follow)

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