As I reflect on my life and ask questions such as:
When was I and the teams I have worked with, at our joyful best? What happened then, who were involved, when did it happen, how was the best enabled and why did we achieve excellence?
When asked with the "ears of a child" and the genuine joy of discovery',these questions bring out the following instances (I have chosen a few out of many such moments which we have been blessed to experience):
-Being a part of perhaps the first HRD team of India in Tata Motors, then called Telco (Pune 1975-1978)
-The co-creation of the HR function and people focus at Eicher (1978-1982)
-The founding and the initial work of Eicher Consultancy Services (1991-1995)
-The birth of Grow Talent Company and its unique offerings (2001-2005)
The co-creation and impact of School of Inspired Leadership (2008 -2011).
On pondering over these five phases, I search for what was common.
At Telco Pune, we had a dream of building the finest auto plant of India that would create new standards of 'Excellence'.
At Eicher- the tractor & automanufacturer, we had the vision of creating an organisation that would uphold the highest standard of ethics and serve the community in ways that would make our world better.
In Eicher Consultancy Services, we were moved to serve the cause of “India's economic development without spiritual impoverishment".
In Grow Talent, we had the focus on "Enabling people and organisations to realise their full potential".
And in SOIL, we are inspired by our purpose of "building leaders with character, competence and enthusiasm".
In each of the cases, we were inspired by the ‘causes’ that brought out the best in each one of us.
This is because we bought the mission and attempted to become the best "followers" of our vision and values. In the process, leadership happened to us!
The attitude was born out of many years of being with Gurudev’s teachings and allowing it to work its way through my system. Gurudev’s teachings are not magic if they do not sink deep into one. Values, like any sapling, takes a lot to drop roots. In the meanwhile it will be lashed by the breeze and challenged.
This is what Pujya Gurudev always told us, "The world's best leaders are the best followers" and an "altar in life alters your life."He always told us that a vision must be so lofty that our entire life is dedicated to pursuing it. It should not be easily achievable because life will lose meaning if we feel we had already completed our work! He told us, "Enjoy the journey ---the process of pursuing your ideals will draw the best out of you.”
Gurudev explained to us that once we understood our true nature and realized that the divinity within each one of us was the same as the Universal Consciousness, we would be free from the limitations of equipment of the body, mind and intellect. The ego binds us to these three layers of our existence and produces fears and anxieties. (It is unusual how we all get from the same words, what we need for our stage of life!)
If we developed a vision that was free of ego centric desires and chose values that enabled us to serve and all our work was done with the spirit of making our world better, we would discover the path of true fulfilment and happiness.
This knowledge is the richest source of wisdom as it awakens us to the infinite potential within us and enables us to manifest/express that potential in our communities and work places.
When leaders follow this way, they create the multiplier effect and countless others (following them either directly as managers or indirectly as consumers, vendors, families of managers, competitors) begin to choose the same path of greater good.
‘Looking back’ happens when you have walked a long distance. And on looking back, I examine those five stellar phases that brought us the greatest joy, a joy that we do not wish to change in anyway. I search for the commonality in them and I see play out Gurudev’s teachings – specifically, the following two shlokas of the Bhagwad Geeta as he explained them:
Yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah
Sa yat pramanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate (3:21)
Whichever and however a great personality conducts himself common men do also; whatever he accepts as authority that and that alone certainly all the world will follow.
Says Gurudev in his commentary, “TO GENERATE AN ALL-OUT ENTHUSIASM IN THE ART OF LIVING, WHICH EACH STUDENT HAS TO BRING ABOUT IN HIS OWN LIFE, THE ART OF SELF-PERFECTION IS PRAISED IN THE FOLLOWING”:
Raja vidya raja guhyam pavitram idam uttamam
Pratyaksavagamam dharyam su-sukham kartum avyayam (9:2)
Royal Science, Royal Secret, the supreme purifier is this, realizable by direct intuitive knowledge, according to the DHARMA, very easy to perform, imperishable.
We were blessed to receive the teachings of the Geeta from a great master and realized saint and this enabled us to bring His wisdom in the different organizations in which we served.
By: Anil Sachdev
Founder & CEO - School of Inspired Leadership