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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Timeless Leadership Sutras From Bhagavad Gita

This blog entry is rather longer than most of my posts. This is not material that you just read when you want an easy read. I would recommend reading at a time when you are able to reflect on things.

As always the blog entry does not claim any ownership of the content. This is merely plagiarizing notes that I think are useful for me to remember.

Quotes from the book:
·       “Death is very likely best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, you will gradually become the old and cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true” – Steve Jobs

Sutra 1: The warrior’s journey
Leading an organization of the twenty-first century requires more than just a firefighter’s skill of putting out fires as and when they reach alarming proportions.

The true warrior does not deplete his energy in emotional drama that binds him to self-defeating patterns of fear and guilt. He pierces through his self-created enemies with the sword self-awareness and the shield of sharp discrimination.

 ü  All wars are first fought in the mind
·       All wars are first fought in the mind. Therefore, it is in the mind that all wars must first be won.
·       We have the boon of choosing and the curse of the conflicts that we must face when we have many choices. Whenever there is conflict in the world, human beings have to realize that there is no such thing as a conflict in reality. All conflicts reside in the content of our own mind.
·       Conflict arises when a mind is reluctant to get out its entrenchment in a familiar way of life.
 ü  The mind is a mob
·       The agitated mind is a mob of thoughts and emotions.
·       What happens when the mind behaves like an unruly mob? It loses power to act wisely. When the mind is unruly and indecisive, the body follows through non-action.
·       When the mind behaves like a mob there are countless mutinies going on within it.
·       When a leader confronts turbulence in an organization his will to take decisive action is seriously impaired by the irresolute mind.
·       A leader whose will is crippled wonders, “What will people think about me in my organization if I act this way instead of that” He becomes a victim of self doubt.
·       A mob is an unruly capricious crowd. In a mob the individual loses the power to think deeply and act out of individual will. A mob is unsteady and its actions are no longer governed by rationality or a steady flow of individual will.
·       What most leaders do when they are caught in crisis an organization. They express their own inadequacy through worry, impulsive behavior, and unsteady will. They hold onto their own restless minds like a drowning man holding onto a straw.
·       To lead any organization, objectively in dealing with own’s mind is a crucial virtue. Leaders can acquire this objectivity only when they know how to bypass their ego when they are dealing with their own mind.
 ü  Ego is a disposable idea
·       An idea is like mental tissue paper that must be disposed of when it outlives it utility. Yet we hang on to ideas as though they were inseparable from us.
·       The wise grieve neither for the dead nor for the living form.
·       Have you ever thought of war as a clash of ideas and ideals? Very often that’s how most wars begin. When old ideas are sought to be replaced by new ideas, war becomes inevitable.
·       It is also about transformation: a change of mind and heart. Very often the transformation of leaders happens during a crisis.
·       The ego cannot deal with threats to its own continuity; it cannot embrace discontinuity in its habitual storyline.
 ü  Leaders embrace discontinuity by dispossessing the ego
·       To look beyond the ego is to embrace discontinuity. Life moves on discontinuously; the ego struggles to hold back. Life is multidimensional. Ego is personality centered and one-dimensional. Life is timeless and free flowing. The ego is conditioned by time, space and personality.
·       The wise person is the one who does not grieve for finite and fleeting forms. A leader who is established in this wisdom is sustained by the timeless order of life.
·       By embracing discontinuity leaders reinvent the future. The future is often discontinuous with the past. Past forms perish; old relationships fade away.
·       Old habit die-hard. A leader has to destabilize existing forms of thought and action. A leader has to learn to deal with discontinuity. Discontinuity comes with an obvious sense of loss. How do leaders deal with it? They do so by embracing the deeper continuity of the spirit underlying the fragmentation of forms. This is done through the power of internalization of one’s energies.
·       While looking inward, the leader is able to retrace the energy from the diversifying sensory apparatus to the unity of soul within. His outgoing, differentiating, and fragmenting tendencies are balanced by his internalizing and integrating and meditative mind.
 ü  The secret of invincibility: The conquest of binary mind
·       The real duty of a warrior is not just to fight a righteous war. The warrior’s aspiration is to enhance his own evolutionary capacity while his is involved in the fight. He needs to engage his entire physical and mental energy while fighting. To keep his mind steady in the fight, he needs to stop wasting the energy that his conflicting mind consumes. He needs to overcome his emotional turmoil rather than be overwhelmed by it.
·       He knows that he cannot always determine whether he will win or lose – that will depend on multiple factors over which he may or may not have control. However, he can decide to go to battle with utmost intensity. He will not die in his mind many times before his death. This will make him invincible.
·       A mind that harbors dejection loses the battle even before it is fought.
·       The warrior becomes invincible when his work and his goal become one.
 ü  Self is the cause; self is the effect
·       A loser is self-made, and so is a winner. The raw material for all our actions and all our achievements comes from our self.
·       In the ultimate analysis, leadership is Self-situated: you are the cause and you are also the effect.
 ü  Hunting for the I
·       The warrior’s primary hunt is for the I that is whole and all-embracing. It is the ultimate quest in all forms of human conflict. The human identity is fragmented in many ways; us-versus-them; me versus-you; intellect-versus-emotion; old-versus-new; right-versus-wrong. War is merely a symptom that we are attempting to heal this disintegration. To heal is to find our “wholesome” identity in the journey.

Sutra 2: Invincible wisdom
Timeless leaders do: They reframe reality in a way that gives hope to their followers, often in the most hopeless of circumstances. 
 ü  Grief, Pity and Shame: The Mind’s GPS system
·       Thoughts are like brick and feelings are like cement. Together they create the illusion of a concrete structure of reality. This concrete structure can be described as a mental model. When those shifting moods of grief guide a mental model, pity and shame the world looks like a hopeless place.
·       Timeless leaders learn to discriminate between the real and the unreal. Such leaders rise above the flood of emotions at work by means of this kind of discrimination.
 ü  Creating alternative reality
·       Leadership is the art of creating alternative reality. Leaders always bring a refreshing perspective that reframes current reality.
·       To change your reality changes the mental filters through which you look – your own perspective.
·       Do not get stuck in the duality of pleasure or pain or in the though of losing or winning.
·       When one is stuck either in pain or pleasure, suffering is the result. There is a way out of this suffering. This is the way of mental equipoise or shitapragnya. In this state of mind one is not affected by circumstances of pain or pleasure or victory or defeat. One just continues to work with equanimity of mind beyond one’s immediate gain or loss. In this state of consciousness a leader begins to glimpse a whole new world beyond one’s narrow ego-slot. 
 ü  Motivation and the monkey mind
·       Desire is limiting perception to focus on an object or a person we desire. Desire is a process of narrowing of perception.
·       When we narrow our perception often enough, desire becomes restless obsession. Restlessness is a symptom of the monkey mind.
·       Timeless leaders do not motivate followers; they just enable their followers so that they can inspire themselves.
 ü  The leaders inspiration comes from unselfish work.
·       The timeless secret of work, called nishkama karma or unselfish work. The four facets of nishkama karma are:
o   One has to be fully devoted to the work on hand to get the results.
o   Worrying over results cannot help, as the doer’s ego does not determine the results.
o   The cause of the results is not just the selfish motive of the doer but the sum of many contributions. Therefore one needs to be detached from selfish motives.
o   Work is inevitable and no one can choose to be inactive.
·       Timeless leaders realize that the results are not separate from the process of action. When all the processes of action are right and timely, results are bound to follow.
·       Timeless leaders realize that work itself is inevitable. One cannot avoid work because even as one is lying in bed, the organs of the body and mind are still in work-mode: The heart is beating; the brain is thinking thoughts, and so on. But work that comes from the highest intent of contribution becomes an irresistible force of transformation in the organization and society.
 ü  Unselfish work leads to evenness of mind.
·       The mind is carried away by the senses as a boat unanchored can be tossed by the wind.
·       Timeless leaders realize that great work happens when there are simultaneously fluidity and steadiness in the thought process. While physical work is visible external movement of energy, mental work is invisible internal movement of the same energy. 
 ü  Applying invincible wisdom: Powered by the intellect and driven by Unselfishness.
·       Timeless leaders know the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is like a library; a storehouse of valuable information. Wisdom is the ability to process this knowledge and apply it at the right time and the right place.
·       All the knowledge of the world – that which belongs to the past, present, or future – comes from the sensing, feeling and thinking mind. The mind is the largest library of the universe. To a leader the world outside is merely the field of application.
·       The faculty in the human constitution that helps us apply knowledge wisely is called the intellect. The result of cultivating the intellect is concentration and steadiness of the mind. Concentration is the integrating capacity of the mind to a focal point of thought or action. Integration is power; disintegration is weakness.
·       The human mind is the executive assistant to the CEO called the intellect. The mind receives data and perceptions from its inbox tray called the senses. Then the mind classifies this information, files, it, and sends it to its CEO, the intellect, for its decision. The intellect, based on its own past experiences and its powers of judgment, make a final decision and conveys it to the mind for implementation. The mind then sends this decision to the outbox tray from where the organs of action pick up the final decision and implement it.
·       If the intellect is weak, the quality of decision-making will be poor and therefore implementation will be poor, too.
·       Work unselfishly with an inspired heart and a steady mind that is guided by the intellect.

Sutra 3: Karma yoga
 ü  The warrior as Worrier
·       There are different strokes for different folks, as they say. Temperamentally, leaders may be classified: the contemplative and the active.
·       For a warrior it is a matter of shame to be unable to follow a decisive line of action. 
 ü  Work and its secret: action, inaction and effortless action
·       By not performing work you will never find freedom. By giving up action no one attains perfection.
·       Merely by being inactive, by restraining the organs of action, one cannot prevent action from happening. Inaction is nothing but hypocrisy. So-called inaction in also a negative action against the dharma of the warrior whose duty is to act in the battlefield.
·       By energetic and cheerful performance of one’s duty one can move toward true Self-knowledge. Intense and conscious action unleashes the productive potential that is latent in our muscles and in our minds.
·       By diligently performing one’s obligator actions, a leader moves to the next stage of evolution at work – the stage of effortless action. As the leader begins to work with deep attention, work becomes more engaging. Attention makes any work engaging. Work we love to do never tires us.
·       In the state of effortless action, we still work very hard and yet we do not feel the drudgery as our being transcends our physical nature and we reclaim the experience of the higher dimension that is inside us.
 ü  Work as worship
·       It is not the action itself but the spirit behind the action that makes the action effortless.
·       Workship literally means, “work as worship”. More explicitly, this phrase signifies that when work is done in the spirit of worship, the quality of the work undergoes a metamorphosis.
·       Workers are fundamentally spiritual beings involved in a human experience; they are more than human resources looking for a paycheck and a pat on the back. There is an autonomous self-existent spiritual dimension to the human constitution. Our body-mind-senses frameworkis but a partial expression of our spiritual wholeness.
·       The measure of individuals – and hence of corporations – is the extent to which we struggle to complete ourselves. Our value, then, can be described as the energy we devote to living up to our complete potential. 
 ü  Discovering the timeless cycle of work
·       Timeless leaders do not see their work as mere activity but rather as a calling. For them work is a means of transformation of consciousness.
·       Timeless leaders have a clear comprehension of the spirit – they give before they take. By giving without expectation they spontaneously create space for receiving from a bountiful and interconnected universe.
·       By forgetting their own narrow concerns and in being of service to others, leaders begin to live in their consciousness the timeless cycle of work,
·       The sacrifice that we are talking about in the context of leadership work does not diminish the self but extends the boundary of the self by giving up the lower for the cause of the higher.
·       Character and credibility acquired through sacrifice do not diminish over time like material resources. They obey the law of abundance by growing in time and spreading in space.
·       Have great purpose to work for, a purpose larger than your personal agenda. This is the way to make life significant. When you work in the spirit of yajna your contribution will overflow the span of a lifetime and survive even your physical death.
 ü  The case for righteous action work as a means of realizing who we are
·       The privilege of leadership comes with enormous responsibility. Leaders have to live not only for themselves but also for others who choose to follow them.
·       You are what your deepest nature is. As your nature, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny. – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
 ü  Work as a means of realizing who we are.
·       Dedicate the results of all your actions to a higher consciousness.
·       The immortal self is nothing but our soul. The mind is subtler than the body, and the intellect is subtler than the mind, but the soul is the most subtle aspect of our identify.
·       When we are able to dedicate our work to a higher cause we get the strength to work with peace and calmness.

Sutra 4: Timeless leaders pursue purpose as source of supreme power
 ü  The leader as a sage
·       Timeless leadership tells us that exercise of power that is not in harmony with the greater purpose of life is fraught with danger.
·       Power devoid of purpose inebriates the holder as well as the beholder. The leader who holds power often forgets that this power is help only as a trust on behalf of the followers.
 ü  The many faces of the supreme power
·       The supreme power therefore makes itself available to a leader in a measure that is in keeping with the temperament of the leader. Power is not just a function of the position that a leader holds but also a function of his mental disposition.
 ü  Twenty-four-hour leadership
·       Timeless leadership is a lifelong journey, not toward power but toward perfection. In this journey a leader must ceaselessly deal with the rigors of self-conquest.
·       Leadership is an evolving process that embraces the whole of life. An office boss is a static portfolio of competencies; a leader is a dynamo of evolving life. A leader is like magnetism or gravity, which works 24 hours a day without fail.
·       When a leader is humble he does not think any less of himself. He just thinks of himself less. He annihilates his egocentric actions in the perennial fire of self-awakening.
 ü  The return of the rishi
·       Organizations often fall prey to their own inertia and become directionless. In these hard times we have seen a rishi leader come forth and transform such an organization into a vibrant entity. It is the leaders characteristic humility despite high performance that underlines the rishi consciousness.

Sutra 5: Leadership is the art of undoing
Be totally engaged in whatever you have to do but detach your ego from the illusion of doer-ship. The ultimate goal of detached engagement: a state of being in the zone of equanimity and unshakable equilibrium even in middle of hectic activity.

 ü  How anchors of past hinder performance
·       Past performance, past glory, past habits – all of them have the potential to destroy our work. While we are help captive by our past we are not able to move on and be fully engaged with the work at hand.
·       If one needs to take a step forward, one must lift one’s foot. One can do that only when one is awake and liberated from one’s location in the past.
 ü  The art of detached involvement
·       Our sense has a tendency to be easily attached to the most trivial of things. But that is not really the problem; the real problem begins when we are not able to detach our senses with equal ease. When leaders are able to govern their sense by withdrawing the needy acquisitive mind from sensory engagement, they practice detached involvement. Leaders achieve this through the regular practice of reflections. Reflection brings about equality of vision.
 ü  Evolving to the equality of vision
·       Timeless leaders strive constantly to equalize their vision. This is crucial if one wishes to succeed in leading people. When leaders do not have equality of vision they end up promoting partiality, prejudice, and cliques, which ruins organizations. Followers expect their leaders to be fair and just in their treatment of them. Each time a leader betrays a bias toward someone or a certain class of people, he violates the trust that people have placed in him.
·       Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu – we are people through other people.
 ü  The art of undoing
·       As change agent leaders have to embrace the constant tug-of-war between the past and the future. When a leader’s personality is programmed by his past actions, his energy is trapped in time. His future becomes only a recycled past.
·       A timeless leader refuses to get bogged down by mental chatter that is corroding his vitality.
·       Most leaders in organizations are evaluated by the quantity of their actions, whereas they should be measured rather by the quality of they do.
·       When leaders move up in the hierarchy of their organization most of their problems turn out to be not technical but behavioral. The source of all behavioral problems that leaders face can be traced back to the ego, which conditions and clouds their awareness by giving to it the false notion of being the doer. Timeless leadership is the reversal of the journey of the doer. This can be achieved only by the progressive elimination of ego-centered activity and the practice of selfless and dedicated awareness-centered actions.

Sutra 6: Leaders are masters of their mind
 ü  Separating the self image from the real self
·       Many of our problems are self-created. The source of self-created problems is the fact that we mistake the self image for our real self.
·       He should elevate himself by the power of the real self, not degrade himself; For the self is its won friend and its won worst foe.
·       Timeless leaders know that self image is nothing but the projection of ego, which is subject to endorsement by the world outside. Thus the ego’s position constantly changes in order for it to adjust to the world’s opinion. The ego projects many fanciful notions of the real Self. The ego-self is bound by those emotions that make leaders feel insecure and separate: Fear, Jealousy, hatred, and false pride are the accompaniments of Self -image that the ego tried to defend. Self image is guided primarily by the instinct of psychological survival
 ü  Mastery of the mind
·       Just as an expert learns to master his craft, a leader learns to master his mind. A leader has to work with many minds. Before he can command others, he has to know how to command his own mental forces.
·       The only way to harness the mind is through practice and dispassion. The practice of meditation results in dispassion. Dispassion creates a space between you and your though flow. Your perception of though flow affects and regulates it like a traffic cop regulates the flow traffic. A dispassionate mind is aware of diversity and differences of forms without getting overtly judgmental about them. Such a mind does not get caught in the external appearance of forms and is capable of seeing the intrinsic value of each form.
·       Action is the means for a learner who seeks to mature in discipline; tranquility is the means for the one who is mature in discipline.
 ü  Disciplines of mastery: concentration, detachment, and transcendence
·       Concentration
o   Concentration is the process through which the leader can access the subtle ability of the mind to remain focused on an object or a thought for a sustained length of time.
·       Detachment
o   From whatever cause the restless and unsteady mind wanders away, from that let him restrain it, and bring it back under the control of the self.
·       Transcendence
o   Transcendence is the final step when the mind and its movements are completely interiorized. At this point the body and the mind are united in one state, free from the fluctuations of thought waves. Transcendence is the ultimate disciple of the mind. It is the realization of the minds inherent unity with its conscious source and its environment.
 ü  The power of stillness
·       Stillness is strength. Stillness is the power-point behind the intense action. The eye of the cyclone is an intense stillness at the center of the storm.
·       Timeless leaders succeed only by the application of stillness. A mind that is restless, anxious, and nervous always missed the mark. Only a steady, controlled, almost machinelike hand can shoot the arrow that hits the bull’s eye.
·       The journey toward self-realization involves the disciplines of silence and solitude. Silence frees us from the noise of externalized consciousness and allows us to probe our inner voice. Solitude enables one to be intimate with oneself.

Sutra 7: Leaders are integrators
 ü  Journey from ignorance to wisdom
·       Timeless leaders realize that knowledge is required to make a living while wisdom is necessary to live a fully functional and evolving life.
 ü  Time leaders integrate people and process
·       One of the fundamental tasks of leadership is the task of integration. Leaders do not take sides in the case of a conflict; they often bring the two sides together. Leaders integrate the world of diversity and differences into a unity of purpose. Leadership is the search of synergy, symphony, and symmetry in a world of conflict and disorder.
·       Leaders with integrity attract followers spontaneously, even beyond their lifetimes. For such leaders life becomes one song-a universe-of though, feeling, and action. Integrity is another expression for this one song. Integrity is more than just socially sanctioned, conditioned behavior. It is a spontaneous life force that connects all our life’s experiences in a unique wholeness.
 ü  The leaders world: A reflection of unmanifest dharma
·       In human form everyone can experience the manifestation of our dharma in three observable states: inertia, dynamism, and illumination.
·       Those leaders who live dharma rather than speak about it understand that the power of dharma comes only when you practice it.
·       Action has no power in itself. It draws its power from the unmanifest purpose or dharma behind it. That’s why action backed by the right cause is important. A leaders action bears the signature of the justness of a great cause.
 ü  From ego-centered to spirit-centered leadership
·       The ego is like a tragic hero. It is delusional. A leader caught in the whirlpool of the ego fails to see a world beyond power, privilege, and petty perquisites that come from occupying a position. An egocentric leader experiences the feelings of victor or victim. When success comes, such leaders act like the victor. When failure stares them in the face, they hide behind the façade of the victim.
·       Very often, egocentric leaders fail to recognize the real intent of the people they are leading They get caught in the trap of flattery and suspect the motives of those with dissenting views. When established in the spirit centera timeless leader begins to develop greater empathy and insight into human nature. Timeless leaders are quick to discover the unchanging core of spirit that is deepest and highest human aspiration.
 ü  Leader liberate themselves and others from suffering
Timeless leaders liberate themselves and others from suffering of the following types:
·       Those in distress
·       Those looking for fulfillment of their personal desires
·       Those yearning for knowledge
·       Those seeking wisdom

Sutra 8: Timeless leadership
 ü  Timeless leaders explore the meaning of life
·       If business becomes merely the means of living then it loses meaning for us. Work becomes a chore – a means of making a living at the expense of the meaning of life. Such a business eventually becomes demeaning. The real question we must ask while we are in business is: What is the meaning of this work for me? If we find an answer to this question, the business and business of life become one and the same.
 ü  The multidimensional meaning of life
·       This is the world of the physical nature of objects and events that we all can touch, taste, see, hear and feel. Krishna describes this as Adhibhuta. Second, there is the inner psychological world of experiences know and Adhiyagna. This is the world of thoughts and emotions – human actions and interactions. Third, the ultimate governing principle is like transcendental being who regulates the relationship between the physical and psychological world with being part of either.
·       To know the imperishable reality the leader must learn to convert the energy of thought into the energy of understanding. While thought results in neural noise, true understanding happens when this noise dissolves in the depth of silence.
·       When our work is tied to the selfish motive of gaining advantages for ourselves we lose the perfect understanding of our real nature and succumb to our apparent reality. When you put a fence around human being you get sheep. The fence of selfish work makes us prisoners of our herd instincts.
 ü  Creation is sacrificing the smaller for the sake of the greater
·       Our life, on the contrary, is an organization of energies moving from the higher to the lower; from the macrocosm to the microcosm; from the subtle to the gross. A leader must understand the science of life and live according to this organizing principle of life: the subtle and higher energy drives the gross and lower energy.
·       Leaders caught in the trap of ambition become vulnerable to flattery by their subordinates. They squander energy by being too possessive about their position and power. Ambitious leaders often use people as steppingstones up to their own pedestals. Ambition binds them to lower-order emotions such as fear, jealousy and passiveness. The arc of ambition takes us upward in a misleading curve and then brings us down with a thud.
·       Aspiration makes leaders dream of a better organization, country, or world. In our psychological universe aspiration creates greater energy than ambition does. Ambition is gross; aspiration is subtle. The most successful leader of this world, such as Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, gave up personal ambition for a higher aspiration. They created a nuclear explosion of consciousness that continues to influence the world of our thoughts and actions today real meaning of life is contained in life itself.
 ü  The real meaning in life is contained in life itself.
·       The real meaning of life is contained in just being the whole of who we are. What are those attributes of being that together give meaning to life? Being has three attributes:
o   Truth, which gives meaning to our existence
o   Consciousness, which gives meaning to our experiences
o   Bliss, which gives meaning to our action in the pursuit of happiness
·       When a timeless leader relentlessly pursues the path of truth, she is able to realize that all that she needs to know already exists in herself.
·       Consciousness is the knowledge that we become. When a leader is fully conscious he steers clear of secondhand knowledge and third-party opinions and makes decisions from the authenticity of his being.
·       It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else! A timeless leader, despite all his materialistic hunger, places immense value on the intrinsic nature of happiness. However difficult the journey, the source of happiness has to be found inside. Timeless leaders lead people to their inner source of happiness rather than to external rewards.
 ü  Meaningful work: A synthesis of reflection and action
·       One fundamental role of a leader is the ability to see patterns and detect relationships between events and activities within and outside the organization. In this role a leader is a pattern seeker and meaning maker. The greatest asset to a leader as he seeks to control the variables that confront him in globalized world is his flexibility of mind. A leader needs an open mind that is not conditioned by repetitive thought and predictable action. Such a mind will be capable of making sense of fast-paced socioeconomic changes that affect his organization. The opposite of an open mind is closed mind, in which thinking and action are limited to the immediate local and temporal condition. A leader with such a closed mind is bound to fall prey to myopic decision-making and short-term activities that will ruin the organization in a long term.
·       Timeless leaders solve problems by placing them in wider context. When we widen the context the problem gets resolved at its source.
·       Most of our work in our organization is reflexive rather than reflective. When leaders engage in reflexive action the context of their work is narrowed down to habitual patterns and meaningless chores. Sooner or later such work becomes tedious and wears us out. Timeless leaders like Krishna rescue us from the mental rut and bring us into the infinite cosmic source from which our work derives deep meaning and significance. Krishna thus enables us to synthesize reflection and action in pursuit of work. Such becomes truly evolutionary.

Sutra 9: The sovereign secret
 ü  Sovereign self and the path of unity
·       Timeless leader use expanded consciousness to see the world in themselves rather than seeing them in the world.
·       A timeless leader resides in the organization of form and phenomena as an unseen intelligence that both includes and transcends the structure of the organization.
·       The real presence of a leader is often determined by his absence. The value of a leader in an organization can be experienced in the unseen dimension of intelligence that he leaves behind when he is not there.
·       The leader who is able to devote himself to the pursuit of this intelligence discovers the capacity of Self-rule.
 ü  The governance of the ego: the path of disintegration
·       The governance of the ego breeds the need to grasp rather than to give. The tyrants that ruled the world over the ages were all obsessed with personal acquisition at the expense of the common good.
·       The ego is the central organizing principle around which we grab clutch onto experiences that bring us fleeting pleasures and momentary sensations.

 ü  Self-organization: when organization becomes community
·       What exhausts us at work is not the work itself but the worry and anxiety that we associate with our work. These cause psychological wear and tear and drain our energy. Our horizontal relationships produce friction in the form of role conflict and lack of role clarity. In the absence if vertical relationship with an ideal to which can offer both our failures and our successes, we become emotional wrecks.
·       An organization achieves both horizontal and vertical unity through a community. However, the horizontal relationship between members derives their value from a vertical relationship with the leader. The leader is therefore vested with the responsibility not only of leading the organization but also of being completely integrated with the principles on which the organization is founded.
·       Timeless leaders hold communities together on the basis of trust. 
 ü  The law of giving: being and becoming
·       Timeless leaders are defined not so much by what they do but by who they are.
·       This give-and-take between being and becoming, between the unmanifest and the manifest, is the very basis of our Self-organizing universe. Everything in our universe follows the law and logic of an open system. An open system continuously exchanges energy with the environment outside its physical boundaries.
·       “Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

Sutra 10: Leadership is an adventure of consciousness
 ü  Leading consciously
·       A timeless leader does not deflect his energy by making the present moment a steppingstone to an imagined future. He lives completely in the moment in the moment. His thoughts, feelings, and actions are synchronized to the one point of attention. This kind of living in the moment has the power the potency of a seed that contains the mystery of a whole forest.
 ü  Silence: The language of timeless leadership
·       The state of silence is not merely emptiness of sound; it is fullness of unspoken intelligence. Silence is the pure potentiality of language.
·       Silence can be harnessed when we learn to be observers rather than interpreters. When a leader observes without the urge to judge or interpret, he is bringing his whole attention to whatever he observes. This whole attention is silence.
·       Timeless leaders apply the discipline of silence by learning to be observers. Observation is the art of seeing without judging, naming or measuring.
·       Freedom of expression has two dimensions: freedom of speech and freedom of silence. Freedom of silence enables us to explore the deeper voices within us that speak to us without inhibition.
·       In speech, energy fragments into verbal silence, energy is integrated into noiseless awareness. If one holds back the urge to talk from time to time, one will experience a surge of energy in the nervous system. Silence is energy conserving. Therefore, a timeless leader consciously cultivates the discipline of silence.
ü  The dynamism of indivisibility
·       The ethos is the collective script of the organization. It signifies the values that the organization stands for. Ethos gives meaning and wholeness to the organization even while dealing with various parts of the organization a timeless leader has his conscious attention attuned to the ethos.
·       Timeless leaders have an intuitive grasp of the ecology of the organization. They view the organization not as a totality of commercial assets but rather in the wholeness of its connection with the larger society, community, and environment that it chooses to inhabit.
 ü  The pursuit of excellence
·       You shouldn’t be looking for people slipping up, you should be looking for all the good things people do and praising those.
·       A timeless leader must examine with the eye of excellence everywhere he looks and everything he perceives. Excellence is a result of developing quality of mind through constant awareness.

Sutra 11: Timeless leaders have integral vision
 ü  Integral Vision
·       Integral vision kind of sight involves foresight – the gift of being able to see something before its time. Foresight gives us the power to creatively reconstruct our universe by connecting the dots that are visible in the present.
·       One of the virtues of timeless leadership is the ability to recognize patterns based on inadequate or insufficient data points. The minds of these leaders work like radar screens scanning the environment for data and constructing patterns of intelligible information.
·       Timeless leaders have an integral vision of the changing faces of reality. They are able to sense a turning of the tide and to transmit this sense to their followers.
·       When timeless leaders see the big picture, their thoughts and actions become synchronized in a manner that serves the larger purpose of their work.
 ü  Sight and Insight
·       The fighter fights with his sight; the warrior fights with insight. Insight comes not from memory but from unconditioned awareness. Insight comes not from programmed thoughts but from the underlying source of all thought, which is consciousness.
 ü  The pangs of plurality
·       When leaders are able to discriminate between the real and the apparent they are free of emotional turmoil.
·       When leaders get caught in the illusion of their own separateness in the battle of life they suffer the pangs of plurality. They cannot fight without vengeance, fear, and attachment to their turf. When leaders perceive only plurality without the underlying unity in plurality they become unnecessarily combative. The real test of an evolving leader is the ability to function in a fiercely competitive field and yet nurture the cooperative and compassionate nature within him.
 ü  The Leader as servant: being an instrument of the whole
·       The timeless leaders have to conquer the army of thoughts and emotions commanded by their ego.
·       Gandhi wrote in his autobiography, “the best way to find your self is to lose yourself in the service of others” A timeless leader can discover his sovereign and essential Self when he is able to let go of his preoccupations with his own body and mind. He can then be an instrument of the whole.
·       A perfect instrument makes no claims to glory and takes no credit for the best of accomplishments.
·       Timeless leadership comes not from control of material resources but from serving the very human source that creates those resources. Leaders who demand authority in return for favours done or who rent out their power to subordinates in exchange of subservience cannot lead for long.
·       Servant-leaders do not start with the intent of charming of influencing people. Instead, they start with the intent of being as perfect an instrument of the whole as possible. In the process they become integral part of the very source of what it means to be human. This is the basis of their influence.

Sutra 12: Love is leader’s essence; Love is leader’s presence
Do not try to manipulate the result of your work in the direction if what you alone would like the work to be. Do not dedicate your attention the urges of your ego. When you renounce your need for censure or praise from the outside world, you will acquire a silence and steadiness of devotion to your work.
 ü  Leadership is love made visible
·       A true devotee works independently of the world outside and draws his inspiration, equanimity, and ecstasy from the source within himself.
·       Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit on the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work only with joy – Gibran Kahil
·       Timeless leaders know that if work is creation, then love is the creative impulse behind it. Such leaders trace the mysterious source of love not in the world of approval and disapproval but within their own hearts.
·       Timeless leaders realize that while work is external to our state of being, love is an intrinsic state of our deepest human nature. One can be truly devoted to work on a sustainable basis only when one can do so from the state of love.
·       The greatness of the effort actually comes from the intensity of love, which is the spirit behind the action. Timeless leadership is the manifestation of the invisible energy of love expressed through the visible medium of action.
·       Love is not merely about recognizing the objective value of a given task. Rather, it is the process of creating value from the inside out in any work we do. Paying attention to detail, giving greater energy to process rather than the output, and being fully present in the work are foundations of love in action.
ü  Devotion: Art and practice of leadership
·       Ordinarily, our minds are fixed on our likes and dislikes. Whatever we like engages us and what we dislike repels us. Most leaders spend time doing what they like to do rather than what should be done.
·       A three-step way out of messy mind-state:
o   Surrender to the highest intelligence that controls your mind and intellect.
o   Dedicate all that you do to the intelligence that governs the universe and keeps the might planets whirling in their orbits.
o   Trust this might intelligence to guide your mind and intellect in the most effective and efficient way.
·       Timeless leaders see love as the common value present in both competitive and cooperative frames of reference. In competition, love becomes merely the means to achieving an end, as when we love our work because it will fetch us greater rewards than our colleagues. In cooperation, love becomes an end in itself, as when we love doing work for our families for no other reason than the sheer joy of sharing our lives with others.
 ü  Attributes of leader as devotee
·       The path of devotion is not about emotional excess. It is rather about dropping the emotional baggage of the mind toward a singularity of purpose. Devotion means discovering that creative source in our heart rather than acquiring the approval of the world.

Sutra 13: Leaders command their field with eye of wisdom
 ü  The leader as a knower in the field of knowledge
·       It is not a great CEO but it is actually a great fit between a CEO and a company’s contextual needs that builds great organizations.
·       Leadership is an integral feature of an organizations social system. Leaders are influence by and in turn exert an influence on the social and organizational contexts that they command. A leader not only grows within a culture but also carries a culture within himself.
·       A leader pursuing true knowledge has to learn to be an observer not only of “the world out there” but also of all that happens “in here,” inside his own mind.
·       In course of a day a business leader has to go through a dizzying array of situations and an unimaginable variety of contexts. Given the dynamic nature of his business setting, a leader needs the conceptual depth that will help him understand and deal with ambiguities and inconsistencies.
·       The knower, with pure and limitless awareness, is thus able to comprehend ambiguities and reconcile contradictions in the field
 ü  The dimension of the field and the knower of the field
·       A timeless leader achieves this detached engagement through the power of empathy. Empathy is not a mushy emotional state where the leader gets lost in pleasing everybody. Rather, empathy is a detached and objective appraisal of how another person is feeling. Through empathy, a leader is able to rise above his own emotional isolation and connect with a follower.
·       The timeless leader as the knower is perennially alive and alert to whatever physical modifications and psychological distortions happen in his universe. Such a leader remains humble and rarely seeks the spotlight.
 ü  Seeing with the eye of wisdom
·       Timeless leaders have the ability to see the invisible. Behind visible universe of objects and events there is the invisible universe of beliefs, perceptions and emotions.
·       12 qualities of a leader who has truly integrated the head and the heart:
o   Humility
o   Non-injury
o   Unpretentiousness
o   Forgiveness
o   Uprightness
o   Service to one’s teacher
o   Purity
o   Steadfastness
o   Self-regulation
o   Absence of egoism
o   Even-mindedness
o   Seeking periodic solitude and silence
These qualities give the leader those subtle eyes that reflect reality without mental distortions and biases.

Sutra 14: Leaders harness the dynamic force of nature
 ü  Nature’s Manuscript: The three forces
·       Inertia, dynamism and illumination – these three qualities of nature bind and embody the indestructible soul in us.
·       Inertia is the state of passivity; it is the seed form of physical or psychological action.
·       Dynamism, the second process is the movement from non-action to action and from passivity to passion
·       Illumination, the third process, represents another dimension of evolution – the evolution of consciousness.
 ü  How leaders harness the three forces of nature
·       A conscious CEO allows some problems to remain undecided because he is conscious that a certain amount of inertia is more useful in solving a problem than premature and aggressive action.
·       Leaders discover that the secret of right action is to allow the action to unfold at the right time rather than to force it ahead of its time.
·       His solution to problems will be based on a correct appraisal of reality.
o   A mind guided by the force of inertia obscures reality and veils it.
o   A mind guided by the force of dynamism projects reality through the ego and distorts its.
o   A mind guided by the force of illumination discriminates and perceives reality correctly.
 ü  Transcending the dynamics of nature
·       Those who transcend their own nature are not disturbed by the actions of the forces of nature. They know that is these forces of nature that act and that the soul self within is a mere witness to those actions. They therefore remain unshaken and abide within themselves.

Sutra 15: Timeless leaders discover their invisible source
 ü  The tree of life
·       The imperishable tree of life has its rots above, its branches are below, and its leaves are its expressions of knowledge. Those who know this know the whole truth. Our sensory work is a topsy-turvy world like the tree of life where we are so obsessed with the effect that we do not investigate the cause.
·       The tree of life has no stability. It changes its patterns and appearances faster than the human mind can grasp. The leaves of this tree multiply like many desires. These desires chase sense objects and indulge in repeated actions. Actions repeated from habits that bind a human being to his world. When the life in a human being is driven by personal will and habits of self-aggrandizement, he isolates himself by his petty desires and forfeits his access to the wholeness of life.
·       A timeless leader has to cut asunder and detach him from the roots of addictive material attachments. Only then can he reclaim the magnificence of his invisible Self.
 ü  The invisible leader
·       The most significant role of a leader is to make the invisible clearly visible. Inspiration is invisible but inspired action is visible. Trust is invisible but trustworthy behavior is visible. A leader has to constantly cross the bridge between what is unseen and that which is seen in order to connect with his followers.
·       Electricity is not designed for the bulb. Rather, the bulb is designed to obey laws of electricity. When a narcissistic leader obsessively things about his physical appearance and his image in the organization, he becomes like a bulb devoid of the power of electricity. He is cut off from the unseen self and the divine source that has created him. A wit once said that the difference between a god and a narcissist is only this: The god does not believe that he is a narcissist!
·       Timeless leaders, however, derive their power from unselfish service rather than servility to their ego’s demands. Unselfish service frees the hold of the ego on the Self.
 ü  From the perishable to imperishable: quest for the supreme self
·       Timeless leaders see that behind the perishable forms of nature there is the imperishable unity of life that sustains nature.
·       When leaders behave like demigods, when they grandstand and intimidate others through fear and exclusion, they are just like caricatures of life’s real face. When the same leaders see their actions in the mirror of the timeless they understand their follies. Such leaders see through their illusions. To be completely disillusioned with the illusions of the senses is the first step towards returning to the unit of life.
Sutra 16: Leaders negotiate the crossroads
 ü  The crossroads of leadership: the devine and the devilish
·       The divine qualities in a human being lead to freedom; the devilish to bondage.
·       Being forgiving or being truthful is valuable to these leaders not because someone told them that these virtues are valuable, but because they have realized in practice the value of these two virtues.
 ü  Toxic leadership
·       There are seven types of bad leadership. The first three types represent ineffective leadership:
o   Incompetent
o   Rigid
o   Intemperate
A leader and his followers who lack the will or skill to sustain effective action characterize incompetence. In rigidity, the leader and his followers are unwilling to accept any new ideas or adapt to change. Intemperate represents leaders and his follower’s lack of self-control.
·       The next four types represent unethical leadership:
o   Callous
o   Corrupt
o   Insular
o   Evil
Callousness comes from an uncaring or an unkind attitude toward people. Corrupt leaders and their followers are given to deception, stealing, or cheating. Insular leaders disregard the welfare of their followers.

Sutra 17: Leaders follow their faith
 ü  Faith: The deep structure of leadership
·       Faith is the deepest driving force that shapes human beings values and beliefs. It is faith that shapes one’s destiny. When he has deep faith in some ideal or course of work, the leader becomes fairly autonomous. He rarely needs an endorsement from the outside world when his faith has become truly abiding.
 ü  Three kinds of faith
·       Serenity, good-hearted silence, self-control, purity of nature – these together are called austerities of mind.
·       “In working out any plan or idea, I use what you might call the intermittent method. I hit the problem hard, then leave it for a while, and later come back. This method permits me to bring to the particular problem many ideas that come from mature reflection” – Julie Fenster.
·       Austerity of speech:
o   The least evolved way of speaking is speak lies.
o   The second kind of speech is dynamic
o   The third and the most evolved kind of speech is the one in which the leader is illumined.
Speaking words that are truthful, pleasing and beneficial – this is austerity of speech.
Before he acquires the gift of his illumined speech, the leader has to go through three kinds of mental austerities, in a manner similar to security checks that the air traveller has to undergo. The first check comes from the security officer, who says: “You can go ahead with your speech provided it is truthful.” If it is not truthful, the speech is best not allowed to go. The second security officer says, “It is truthful al right, but is it pleasant? If it is truthful but unpleasant, its best you go back!” The third and final security question is, “It is both truthful and pleasant, but is it beneficial to the one you are speaking to. If it is not beneficial, you cannot let it go.”
 ü  The art and science of self-giving
·       Whatever is done without faith, whether it is sacrifice, austerity, or gift, is unreal. Such actions have no real significance either here or hereafter.
·       Three kinds of gifts:
o   The first comes from an illumined mind. It is a gift given without thought or return on investment.
o   The second kind comes from a mind that is dynamic – passionate but not illumined. This gift is given with an expectation of the results it will produce for the giver – whether it is name or fame or material benefits.
o   Third kind of gift comes from an ignorant mind dominated by inertia. This giving happens at an appropriate time, under unsuitable circumstances, and to an unworthy person. This gift of ignorance is often given with disrespect or contempt.
·       The leader who gives something to a follower, whether praise, power or promotion, has to be sensitive to the context in which such gifts are given. Praise or promotion given when they are not deserved creates a swollen ego in the receiver as well as loss of morale in the ranks of others who are denied such privileges.
·       The purest gift that a leader can give to a follower is the gift of self-reliance. Self-reliance is nothing but faith in the larger self beyond one’s physical body and ego.

Sutra 18: Leadership is transcendence
The fighter seeks success; the warrior pursues perfection that sustains success. Success is a temporary state, whereas the quest for perfection is timeless
 ü  The source and resource
·       Leadership is about setting the right direction.
·       Timeless leaders understand that whereas the spirit of the source, al of matter is the resource.
·       When you are source the world exists in you. When you are a resource you exists in the world.
·       When the leader thinks, acts or feels from a true source, whatever he sends out into world comes back multiplied. This is the creative and transformational potential of the source: it can transform a resource.
·       When a leader expresses him from the source of pure potential he is able to transform his followers. The followers are released from their restrictive neural chemistry of fear and guilt, which makes them feel like small and isolated entities. A timeless leader enables followers to get out of their own restrictive though processes and emotional maps.
 ü  The algebra of attachment
·       Appropriating to the ego what belongs to the larger reality of nature is the entire game of attachment.
·       When we are not attached to the source, our mind becomes addicted to whatever makes the ego perpetuate its story.
·       Timeless leaders help followers detach their minds from egotistic pursuits and go about their business in pursuing a purpose beyond their own personal cravings. This is how great wars are won and great organizations take shape.
 ü  Renunciation and regeneration of the leader
·       You cannot hold onto anything for too long without suffering the consequences.
·       Timeless leaders realize that the renunciation is not merely about letting go; it is just as much about the regeneration of energy in a decaying system. Three ways of doing this are
o   Renouncing old habits: Conscious restraint of the habitual flow of the mind toward sense objects – taking a break from the Internet, for instance.
o   Renouncing emotional outbursts: To be patient and forgiving even when perceiving a small injustice done to yourself by another person. This means not cursing when another driver cuts you off in violation of traffic laws.
o   Renouncing personal aggrandizement: Not appropriating credit for what one has not actually done. Many corporate leaders are tempted to steal the limelight for what others have collectively accomplished. To give to other credit where it is due is the renunciation of doership.
 ü  The path of transcendence
·       Transcendence is the art and science of being real. How does one access reality? Reality unveils itself through the following steps: Facts à Truth à Reality
·       Timeless leaders lead followers to ultimate reality of the source self. Then they lead followers to strike at follower’s organized mental defenses against engaging in the war. The leader leads followers from their delusional thoughts to tranquility of wisdom. He inspires followers to rise from non-action to the freedom of spontaneous action. The leader instills in the follower the power to awaken from fantasy to deep devotion to real goal of all wars: the realization of our larger identity – our source Self.
 ü  The unity of two wills: the fighter and the warrior
·       An organization is not just an assembly of systems and structures but alchemy of the collective wills of its people. When people within and organization perceive the system and structures – both social and psychological – as barriers to realizing their potential as source Self they become fighters. This goes on until a leader comes along and makes them evolve from mundane fighters to true warriors.
·       Fighters fight with their swords and shields. They become victims of their binary minds: fight of flight; offence or defense. Hey see organizational structures and systems as physical barriers that they must overcome. Fighters depend on their limited physical and mental effort and their ego-propelled will. Fighters are doomed to fail like a fragile twig in raging storm.
·       The true warrior does not travel the path of the divided binary mind. Before he takes up the fight, the warrior first surrenders his will to the will of the source, which is ultimate reality. He draws his arrows from the focal point of his source Self. Just as the fighter cannot win, the warrior cannot lose.
·       The unenlightened leader binds the follower in the vicious cycle of insecurity, expectation and dependence. The timeless leader gives the follower the freedom to choose.

If you have made it so far on my longest blogpost ever, you probably agree with me that this was time well spent reading the 18 sutras of timeless management from the Bhagavad Gita.

On the search for next great read now…