Getting the correct advice

Getting the correct advice

Consultants are required by every company in various departments. Radhakrishnan Pillai explains how to identify the right ones.

Consultants are required by every company in various departments, activities and also in the board room. They play a very critical role of beacons, illuminating the right path and bringing focus to achieve the organisation’s goals and objectives.

Whenever a new venture has to be started a person with knowledge in that particular field is required for guidance. His tips and insights can help us to avoid many pitfalls save a lot time and effort. Such a person is a consultant. Kenichi Ohmae, the author of the famous management book, The mind of a strategist – The Art of Japanese Business says, “A consultant plays the role of a strategist and a mentor at the same time.”

Kautilya in the Arthashastra goes step by step in the process of identifying the right consultant and how to work with them.

“All undertakings should be preceded by consultation. Holding a consultation with only one, he may not be able to reach a decision in difficult matters. With more councilors it is difficult to reach decisions and maintain secrecy” (1.15.2,35,40)

Do not proceed without consultation                          

In business and in other aspects of life it is important to understand the fact that – I require guidance. Proceeding without the advice of experts can lead to serious mistakes. A consultant has years of experience and knowledge, based on which he can give valuable suggestions.


Just as too many cooks spoil the broth, too many ideas can complicate matters, making it difficult to hit the right course.

Do not consult only one person

After knowing that one requires a consultant, however, it should also be understood that the ultimate decision and course of action should be based on one’s own discrimination and judgment. Complete dependence on one person can narrow the viewpoint. Only different persons can bring variety and freshness to perspective. Therefore, there should always be more than one guide.

Do not consult with too many

While it is important to look at different perspectives, it should not be overdone. Getting too many people involved can create confusion. Just as too many cooks spoil the broth, too many ideas can complicate matters, making it difficult to hit the right course. Moreover, if more people come about a project, its plan could be compromised to rivals. It is important to announce a project only when all the ground work is complete.

Consult with the matured

“Therefore sit and counsel with those who are matured in intellect” (1.15.20-21)

After one has identified these few right people, about two or three of them, the next step is to sit along with them. Sitting means listening to their insights, imbibing form their deep knowledge of the subject and vast experience. They should be people who are matured in intellect. It means those who are experienced, deeply analytical and possess an intellectual and practical knowledge of that particular subject.

Kautilya himself was such a consultant who advised emperor Chandragupta Maurya on strategies in war, diplomacy, statecraft and economy during one of the most important periods in Indian history.




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