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Don't ignore Politics or even Politicians
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This  article explores the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies discussed in the 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World.

“Politics is a dirty field - it’s not for me”. Most of us run away from the very word. After all, politicians are commonly perceived to be selfish, corrupt and totally manipulative.

It may be true to a great extent. But don’t generalise. You can benefit a lot from “good politicians”, more than from management books. Leaders of various organisations, especially form the corporate world, can learn a lot from politicians on how to run an organisation, if they interact with them regularly.

Kautilya declares that a king who has not learnt politics is an unfit king,

                       “A king who has not learnt the teaching of the science of politics in unfit to listen to counsel” (1.15.61)

It means that such a leader will not be able to benefit from the advices and suggestions given to him.

For most people, reading this statement may come as a shock. However, it is by learning politics that Kautilya himself became a master mind. A master strategist, a great visionary, a king- maker, that he was, Kautilya was also an expert in the science of politics, which made him an unparallel statesman.

WHY SHOULD A CORPORATE LEADER LEARN POLITICS?

Well, when you learn the science of politics, you will understand the way a politician thinks. A politician is one of the most powerful persons in the society. If you want to understand power, understand politics.

HOW CAN WE LEARN POLITICS?

Know your local politicians. Not many people are even aware of the names of their corporator, MLA or MP. When problem arises, they blame the system. But if you know your local politicians, then you can take initiative by making a telephone call, filing a complaint or even have a meeting with them.

KEEP AN OPEN MIND

While meeting politicians keep an open mind. You will learn more than you expected.
Politicians are wonderful resource managers, crowd-pullers and team leaders. Since they move around and deal with various levels of people in the society, they are more aware of the problems of others than a person sitting in the office.

LEARN BOTH THEORY AND PRACTICE

One should also start reading the rules of political science given in the books. Such theories can be learnt from experts who have learnt the academic politics, while the practical knowledge can be learnt from those occupying the all-powerful chair.

There is hardly any difference between the corporate world and the political world. It’s all about power and authority. It’s about dealing with the people. It’s about how you can sail your ship in rough weathers.

Contributed by  - Radhakrishnan Pillai

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