Setting up systems in your new job

Setting up systems in your new job role

This sutra gives us a step-by-step process for a situation where you have just joined a new company and are asked to be the head a department.

Employees leave organisations for various reasons: higher salaries, in search of better opportunities, or because of not getting along with the company’s working conditions.

Now whatever reason you may have to join a new company or organisation, the switch will definitely bring new challenges for you. For one, you have to adapt to new work culture.

And if you are in a leadership position, you will have an additional challenge: to change and set new rules to make yourself and your team productive.

Chanakya had a suggestion for this situation: “He should institute a righteous custom, not initiated before and continue one initiated by others; and he should not institute an unrighteous custom, and should stop any initiated by others.” (13.5.24).

This sutra gives us a step-by-step process for a situation where you have just joined a new company and are asked to be the head of a department:

Start a good system

First, study your team members and the current existing systems. As a leader, it’s important to know each of your subordinates well, especially their strengths and weaknesses.

Make a list of abilities/tools that you think are missing. If you can’t do that straight away, think of some good system that existed in your previous organisation.

For example, you can start a daily or weekly meeting, even a birthday celebration system—anything that will help in creating an ‘impact’ of your arrival.

Continue existing good systems

This is important. Each organisation already has in place some good systems. Now do not break that. Instead, encourage your team to continue the same and improve it.

Let’s say the accounting and reporting systems are very good in the new company. So, instead of changing it, use the same to their full potential. In fact, you should try to upgrade or improve this existing system.

Don’t start anything destructive

When in power, you will have the authority to start many new things. You can even experiment with your ideas. However, never misuse the power given to you for creation.

You have to remember that you should never ever start anything destructive. If you are not sure about a process being right or wrong, consult other seniors and, after due diligence, implement any new ideas they suggest.

Stop anything unproductive

Well, you also need to say ‘no’ to any wrong things you find. Using your power to stop wrong practices is as important as using it to start or maintain the right ones.

This is a leadership challenge—you will have to first learn to discriminate between right and wrong. After that, you need to have the guts to stop what is unwanted and unproductive.

Throughout the Arthashastra, Chanakya had emphasised on these high qualities in a leader.

Once you develop this, you will automatically be respected and honoured by your subordinates and even superiors.

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.


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