Can Gandhi find a place in today’s Corporate and Management world?

Can Gandhi find a place in today’s Corporate and Management world?



It has been long lasting debate going on with some of my friends in understanding the relevancy of Gandhism in the modern corporate world that talks of stocks, prices, sell-outs and buy-ins everyday. To worsen the state of their minds, a question of what is there in today’s modern management principles and leadership skills, has also been started lingering around.

If Gandhi is alive today, how would he fit himself in corporate suits to make important decisions on more important problems what the business houses facing everyday? Does He do well for the bucks and perks the companies spare? Could he be capped as a true leader in the corporate sector? Do His principles still be valid in current day’s electronic- enabled business world?

I was just happened to get a read on Robin Sharma’s “Leadership Wisdom”. Everyone knows that Robin Sharma is an internationally acclaimed Leadership Guru, who also wrote a revolutionary book titled “The Monk who sold his Ferrari”. In this book, “Leadership Wisdom”, he has outlined the 8 rituals of visionary leaders that is been practised or to be practised by any leader, be them a CEO or President or Chairman of any corporate.

One would have to go through the whole history to study Gandhian methods and leadership principles and come out with an answer to convince my friends who really want to know the “truth”. But, it could not be possible as there are very few management and leadership related books and resources during the beginning of the last century. Also, most of the practices and leadership skills are formulated only in the later part of the century. A thorough and definite understanding of Management and Leadership is required to further explore in this direction.

To make it simpler, I want to take up this question with my familiar ways of analyzing system models. As I do more frequently in my work with applications and system designs, a sort of reverse engineering approach would very easily help us to seek the required outputs. This way, current principles of leadership could be traced and equated with Gandhian methods, characteristics and ideals. The final opinion is left with the reader itself.

These are the 8 rituals of visionary leaders as stated by the author:

1. Link Paycheck to Purpose
2. Manage by Mind, Lead by Heart
3. Reward Routinely, Recognize Relentlessly
4. Surrender to Change
5. Focus on the Worthy
6. Leader Lead Thyself
7. See what all see, Think what none think
8. Link Leadership to Legacy

1. Link Paycheck to Purpose

Purpose is the powerful motivator to develop organizations and visionary leaders associate a compelling purpose (usually in the form of mission statement or vision) to their employees so as to ensure that the organization is on track. Complying to the Principle of Alignment, your vision must be aligned with the interests of the people under your leadership to inspire them to invest their energies and spirits for a cause. Your vision statement should not only hang in your office walls, but live in the human hearts too.

Author himself talks about the “Gandhi Factor” that needs to be assimilated with the leadership practices. It is all about traits like honesty, industry, patience, perseverance, loyalty, courage, and more importantly, humility.

2. Manage by Mind, Lead by Heart

It is a ritual of human relations that is regarded as utmost requirement in an organization. A visionary leader constantly enriches the relationships with his employees, enhancing his leadership virtues. Above all, he must know how to lead them through his heart. He needs to capture the hearts of the people by showing compassion and listening deeply to them.

Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi won the hearts of billions of people through their compassionate listening attitude. They listened to people needs, their worries and their struggles. They spoke words that touched deep in to their hearts.

3. Reward Routinely, Recognize Relentlessly

In a team-work, there are always rewards and recognitions. Visionary leaders never fail to appreciate good, positive behaviour and peak performance as they are linked directly to the customers. If you keep your employees’ utmost happier with regular praises, it would in turn reflect in their treatment to the customers. Half of the work in bringing customer satisfaction is already been done this way.

Gandhi said “Customer is the king in your premises…”. He had gone the extra mile for many of his clients to seek justice in their cases. Many of his clients had become co-workers and had actively taken part in his rights movements. Volunteers who did work for him used to get some sort of rewards as a token of appreciation.

4. Surrender to Change

Adaptability and Change Management – none in the business world would have survived with out living up to what these two words mean. Change is a vital force that nurtures the corporate culture and its survival. You must have to surrender to change instead of resisting it. You must be the change if not found ways to change the things around.

Had Gandhi not turned into a figure of low clothing…? Had he not changed from the role of rights activist into a freedom fighter…? Had he not changed the tyrannical politics into democratic, non-violent methods…?

5. Focus on the Worthy

Personal Effectiveness is the ultimate result of any of your activity. It entirely depends on what kind of activities that of worthy of your energy and attention. The person who does everything will never achieve anything usefully. One must have focus and vision on how the ultimate result would be effective, both personally and professionally. Time management, Scheduling the priorities and Self-discipline are some of the areas that needs to concentrated with out fail.

During his political career, Gandhi started focusing on worthy activities like founding Ashram, mobilising the usage of Khadi etc that signifies the development of the people. He strongly believed that cottage industries would prove the purpose of seeking freedom. In his Ashram, activities like tailoring, teaching, spinning the wheel, weaving was given focus and attention to build and upgrade self-respect in the society.

6. Leader Lead Thyself

Self leadership is about mastering and conquering one’s own self. It includes self-renewal, self-development, discipline of body care and early awakening. As science of yoga says, Visionary Leadership requires more of Inner Management.

Gandhi is “Mahatma”, the greatest of souls. He had his soul mended and perfected to defy all insults, criticisms, salutations, appreciations, successes, failures and everything else and treat them all as one.

7. See what all see, Think what none think

Creativity and Innovation are the catchwords that put any business in an un-imaginable place. While executing a truly original thought, risks and failures cannot be evaded. A playground of ideas and original thoughts would help people in the workplace to nourish and flex their minds and imaginative powers.

“Ahimsa” or “Satyagraha” is one of the greatest innovation made by Gandhi that endures any conflict even today.

8. Link Leadership to Legacy

It is about “At the end of the day, what you get?” Things are not over with the work and results. Leadership work should leave a footprint, a sense of satisfaction in contributing to the world during the life, a purpose with a significance and difference. Fulfilling the duties for a worthy cause stands for ever.

For the entire world, his life is a message. He left us the great principles of nonviolence, peace and truth. He left his success with billions of people who sensed what freedom is, what life is and what human is. A legacy of Gandhians across the globe would speak for Him even today and for ever.

Reproduced above is an article written by Balamurali Balaji, Educationist, Gandhian.

About anasebrahem

2 Responses to Can Gandhi find a place in today’s Corporate and Management world?

  1. Leaders such as Ghandi know (or knew) that those “Corporate or Management World” are quite often the root cause of social problems they are trying to address and correct. I must admit the title of this post caught my eye immediately because of my admiration for this notable figure in world history. This is an excellent post. Reblogging.

  2. Reblogged this on Dispensable Thoughts and commented:
    Gandhian methods, characteristics and ideals? Rituals of visionary leaders? Gandhi was a lawyer so finding a place in today’s Corporate and Management world would likely not be difficult for him to do. But his visionary methods of leadership would probably also get him kicked out of that same world! 🙂 Sharing this excellent post by Anas Ebrahem.

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