Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita #22 – DMUU
The Bhagavad Gita is truly fascinating .. Lord Krishna is teaching the great warrior Arjuna everything about life and the universe through the Bhagavad Gita. He starts with Sankhya Yoga, Sānkhya means the “complete analytical knowledge of something.” Isn’t it interesting that today we work with analytics and it helps us to make decisions in uncertain times !
Verse 39 from Chapter 2 is a transition verse from Sankhya Yoga to Buddhi Yoga.
एषा तेऽभिहिता साङ्ख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां शृणु |
बुद्ध्या युक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि || 39||
eṣhā te ’bhihitā sānkhye buddhir yoge tvimāṁ śhṛiṇu
buddhyā yukto yayā pārtha karma-bandhaṁ prahāsyasi
Translation : Hitherto, I have explained to you Sānkhya Yog, or analytic knowledge regarding the nature of the soul. Now listen, O Parth, as I reveal Buddhi Yog, or the Yog of Intellect. When you work with such understanding, you will be freed from the bondage of karma.
My interpretation –
I was remembering my PGPMAX course, the global executive MBA from ISB that I completed in 2013. The first subject that we dealt with was “DMUU” – Decision Making Under Uncertainty, exactly what Arjuna is facing on the battle field of Kurukshetra. He is uncertain about the war and unable to take a decision. Lord Krishna starts off his coaching with analytics and Sankhya Yoga. He provides data about the immortality of the soul, analyses the impact of Arjuna not fighting the war, and through reasoning helps Arjuna to unpack the information available to him in order to take a decision. When he transitions to Buddhi Yoga, he will provide other reasons and logic that will appeal to Arjuna’s intellect and again help him take the right decision.
What do we do as managers and leaders ? First and foremost, we do not collect all the information that “can” become available and that could influence our decision. So the first learning is to collect as much information as we can, from all available sources, before taking a decision. The second learning is to do the same, i.e provide information to our colleagues and subordinates and “help” them while they take their decisions.
The third lesson is the biggest of them all – Bhagwan Krishna could easily have forced Arjuna to pick up his arms and get going, but Krishna begins to coach Arjuna on the battlefield. It tells us that even when you are facing powerful enemies and its a battleground (market place is the new battleground), true leaders will find the time to coach.
I am genuinely fascinated with the Bhagavad Gita. I am drawing huge inspiration and great guidance from it. I wish I had made this attempt to read and interpret it sooner, but its still so valuable that I am happy to have embarked on this learning journey now.
Do share your comments and feedback… and don’t forget to play coach to your team members, colleagues and friends. Both of you will gain.