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All for One and One for All

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.

The most successful companies, organisations and groups have one thing in common- the ability to drop individual differences and work as a ‘team’. Team work is the most essential ingredient that takes groups to achieve various goals in spite of the ups and downs.

The leader may be talented and capable as an individual, but he cannot achieve the goals without the help of an efficient team. As one goes up the management ladder, the leader realises that, the most important role of a captain is to ‘lead’ a good team. He needs to delegate and share his responsibilities with other efficient team members. Apart from his own performance, he needs to play the role of a strategist.

Kautilya warns the leaders, who think they can manage on their own, without the help of others,

“Rulership can be successfully carried out (only) with the help of associates. One wheel alone does not turn. Therefore, he should appoint ministers and listen to their opinion” (1.7.9)

Good generals have good lieutenants. Good CEOs have good Managers. They compliment each other. As the vehicle cannot run with one wheel, similarly CEO cannot perform without good mangers.

There are a lot hidden benefits of good team work:


Too much dependency on one person is very dangerous. However, if we have a good team his absence is covered up by another talented or skilled person. It not only takes out dependency but also keeps everyone on their toes to perform well.


Every one makes mistakes. But they are just taken up as learning steps. Other team members perform their best to cover up the loss. At the end, the “total result” matters not individual achievements.


Each person has his own strengths. Now, these individual strengths collectively become more powerful. Remember the concept of synergy? – One plus one is greater than two. One always performs better as a team rather as individuals.


Each person has a different understanding of the same situation. Take the opinion of the team members with the help of a little brainstorming. Thus, one thinks for a solution with the help of other person’s mind.

As Stephen Covey says, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”

Thus, one thinks up a solution to a problem with the help of another person’s mind. Therefore, it is important for a leader to appoint the right managers, listen to their opinions and proceed with a certain strategic plan.

Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty sixth president of United States once quoted as saying about team work: “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

This also takes off a lot or pressure and unwanted expectations from the leader.

Contributed by  - Radhakrishnan Pillai

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