Last week I was sitting with a friend of mine, Muulraj Chheda. We were discussing strategies on how to raise productivity in his company, especially with his team and employees. Muulraj works in the energy sector, and manages various projects.
However, our discussion led to a different topic when he said: “Radha, at times when we ‘discuss’ strategies, something in me opens up and I am able to tap a knowledge base I was not even aware of.”
He continued: “Probably I had it in my subconscious mind but, as we discuss things, it comes back to me.”
After that conversation, I went back to Kautilya’s Arthashastra and found this verse where Chanakya said: “Being constant–this is an excellence of an ally” (6.1.12)
The verse, together with my friend’s observations, taught me two things: First, you don’t need an expert around to consult, since even friends will do. Second, you need friends who are a constant part of your life.
It opened up a whole new world for me: How to work as a consultant, as a friend, even being regular in meeting up with your friends–for that’s the real secret of success.
A consultant cannot be somebody who becomes higher than a person. Rather, he has to be equal to a person.
And to achieve this success, whether you are a consultant for people or a plain friend to someone, you need to follow certain rules:
Chanakya had equated consultants and advisors with friend, referring to all of them as Mitra in the Arthashastra. That was centuries ago.
This is valid even today when all kinds of management consultants in various companies need to become a good friend in order to be a good consultant.
And how does one become a good friend? The answer to that is: By being in regular and constant touch with each of our friends.
Several consultants bear an “I know more than you” attitude. This is wrong. Understand the fact that a consultant cannot be somebody who becomes higher than a person. Rather, he has to be equal to a person.
For an advisor, the first key challenge is to ‘tune-up’ mentally to the other person. Once this is done, communicating becomes easy. Tuning into another person will never happen if you don’t think like equals.
Go with the flow
Never be rigid. Don’t be stuck with thoughts like: “Only this way will work.” Both you and your ‘friend’ should act in a matured way and open up to bigger and better possibilities.
Go with the flow and see the ‘transformation’ that takes place within you. As I found out with the help of my friend Muulraj, teaching and guiding others to tap their own wisdom turns out to be a great learning experience for us too.
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.