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The Indian Approach to Business by Devdutt Pattanaik (Full Transcript)

Devdutt Pattanaik at TEDxGateway 2013

Full text of Devdutt Pattanaik on The Indian Approach to Business at TEDxGateway 2013 conference.

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Whenever you read management books, I find that they’re mostly written by Europeans and Americans. And there’s an uncanny resemblance between modern management and stories from the Bible.

So let’s look at the law — the Book of Exodus. It speaks of the people enslaved who were denied dignity, who were denied freedom, who were denied resources, until the prophet comes along. And then he shows the people the vision of the Promised Land, something that no one has seen. And people follow him.

They follow him across the sea, across the wilderness to find this Promised Land. And in order to get to the Promised Land efficiently, you need commandments, rules, dos and don’ts. And what is the problem that the prophet faces on the way to the Promised Land? Something which is very common in management – it’s called non-compliance. And that’s how management books are designed.

Think carefully. You begin with the problem statement. Then you have the vision, the mission, the objective, the goal, target. Then you have your tasks, your standard operating procedures, your regulations, your guidelines, your principles. And finally, you have the auditors, internal auditor, the external auditor, the government, the regulator, then you go towards the great promised land called profit.

So I asked myself the question: If modern management is based on stories from the Bible, couldn’t Indian management be inspired by stories from the Puranas? For those who don’t know Puranas, they’re ancient Chronicles where the stories from Indian mythology are contained. And I found something very surprising.

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