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7 Pillars of a Business

As told by Chanakya in the Arthashastra

By

Jain Tempel Ranakpur Chaumukha Mandir
Juergen Ritterbach

A strong foundation is the key to any successful business. Your vision, your commitment, your purpose - all form the basis for an organisation. They are the all-important pillars, the most essential part of any building. In his groundbreaking Arthashastra, Chanakya a.k.a. Kautilya (c. 350 - 283 BCE) lists seven pillars for an organisation.

"The king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally are the constituent elements of the state" (6.1.1)

Let us now take a closer look at each of them:

1. THE KING (The leader)
All great organisations have great leaders. The leader is the visionary, the captain, the man who guides the organisation. In today's corporate world we call him the Director, CEO, etc. Without him we will loose direction.

2. THE MINISTER (The manager)
The manager is the person who runs the show - the second-in-command of an organisation. He is also the person whom you can depend upon in the absence of the leader. He is the man who is always in action. An extra ordinary leader and an efficient manager together bring into existence a remarkable organisation.

3. THE COUNTRY (Your market)
No business can exist without its market capitalisation. It is the area of your operation. The place from where you get your revenue and cash flow. You basically dominate this territory and would like to keep your monopoly in this segment.

4. THE FORTIFID CITY (Head office)
You need a control tower - a place from where all planning and strategies are made. It's from here that your central administrative work is done. It's the nucleus and the center of any organisation.

5. THE TREASURY
Finance is an extremely important resource. It is the backbone of any business. A strong and well-managed treasury is the heart of any organisation. Your treasury is also your financial hub.

6. THE ARMY (Your team)
When we go to war, we need a well-equipped and trained army. The army consists of your team members. Those who are ready to fight for the organisation. The salesmen, the accountant, the driver, the peon - all of them add to your team.

7. THE ALLY (friend / consultant)
In life you should have a friend who is just like you. Being, in the same boat, he can identify with you and stay close. He is the one whom you can depend upon when problems arise. After all, a friend in need is a friend in deed.

Look at these seven pillars. Only when these are built into firm and strong sections can the organisation shoulder any responsibility and face all challenges.

And while building them, do not forget to imbibe that vital ingredient called values, speaking about which, in his book 'Build to last', Jim Collins has said, "Values are the roots from where an organisation continuously gets its supply as well as grounding - build on them!"

The author is a management consultant and trainer, and the director of ATMA DARSHAN, a company that provides services, including spiritual tours.

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