Saturday, July 18, 2015

234 Monday Musings - Literature in Organisations

234 Monday Musings - Literature in Organisations

Only the fools are absolutely sure. They seem to have all the answers. Certitudes are their signature. Most others live their lives seeking something or the other and not being sure of either what is to be done or what will be the outcomes. In an increasingly outcome oriented world that can be such a burden, dilemmas rule the roost. Insights are rare if at all and so is quest for existential questions - so personal to each one of us. The yawn between what is and what should be is increasing by the day. Each one of us have an opium that we have found to numb our senses towards the assault of these questions. The only place at least I have found answers is good literature - and to think that I wasted the prime of my life figuring out chemical formula of amphetamines and making a cross section of the tongue of a cockroach in a smelly laboratory can be very depressing. what a colossal waste of that limited quantity stock called life!

I am coming to the conclusion, although i have not reach there conclusively yet, that the business world must teach its practitioners soft subjects like literature and philosophy as much as they teach the areas of strategy, enterprise profits and execution. A literature blind person perhaps is utterly unprepared for the nuances of life, people and situations. Ability to appreciate fine arts transcends in its impact from mere appreciation of the  art form to sensitivity towards the sociology of an organisation. I repeat, an art blind person is unlikely to even understand that sociology of an organisation leave aside its deep impact. IN the pursuit of delivery his deliverance is served in this ignorance. 
I remember once reading about Gurcharan Das, the ex head of  P & G who had credited his degree courses in Philosophy as having deep impact in his ability to guide his business.

However we do see early signs of this being dabbled with albeit in fits and bursts. How come business is trying to search its answers in epics and mythology? How come movies are used as case studies to teach leaders? I know of courses in some universities who use classics in literature to teach nuance of business lessons. How come the western management literature has looking at the orient more and more to solve the mysteries of organisation building - is it because they are rich in literature, mysticism, parables, myths and stories? 

Yesterday in a concert in memory of the late Jagjit Singh, the singer Javed Ali sang a relatively unkown gazal of the mastreo, which had this elegant couplet - 
"laa mai tera Ved padhun
tu meri Quran samajh"
(let me read your Ved, and you should understand my Quran" 
This by far is a rich way of acknowledgement of diversity of perspectives. Anyone who appreciates the beauty in these lines is likely to deal with the difference of opinion at workplace far better than those who understand reality in mono chromatically and for those who do not appreciate stuff like these are unlikely to discern the finer issues at work place. 

Who knows, Kabeer may have more answers than Kotler!


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