8 corporate lessons from Swami Vivekananda’s life

Swami Vivekananda – the exceptional visionary, who went against the flow, broke the barriers, shattered the old belief systems; is even now reminisced by all the generations, across the globe. He was a leader in true sense, who changed the perspective of foreign countries towards the cultural superpower, named India. He aimed at reinstating the lost faith, courage, and independence in individuals, which had been lost. He was an idiosyncratic monk – who envisioned stronger, self-reliant, and religiously conscious Indians, and worked relentlessly towards achieving this vision. There are certainly some teachings which can be infused into the corporate culture, listed as below:

1. Exemplary leadership skills:
Vivekananda had the immense power of leading the masses towards a common vision, towards the greater power and higher consciousness. Great leaders have a keen understanding of the lives that they would influence, and perhaps, even change! Vivekananda had a vision to make people realize their hidden potential and capabilities, to instil the much lost faith amongst them. Corporate giants need to tap the potential of their workforce, and thus, utilize the best of the abilities of the team. This needs to be done by a strong belief in the vision of the organization and influencing people to align with the vision and work for the overall good of the organization.

2. Empathy:
This virtue is much evident in the life of Swami Vivekananda. He interacted with people from all the walks of life, in India as well as abroad and developed successful relationships, wherever he went. This can be credited to empathy as he understood the situations and their perspectives, and he respected those. Corporates can adopt for a more humane approach, from the life of Swami, which would certainly be beneficial. All the aspects of the employees ought to be taken into consideration, before making decisions. This would boost their morale and ensure employee retention.

3. Clarity of Vision:
Often it happens that smaller victories distract even the greatest of the great leaders. As corporates are entangled in cutthroat competition, game of numbers, and the never-ending rat race, they lose the sight of the bigger vision. Swami knew when he embarked onto the journey of self-actualization, what his vision was. Reformulation of the short-term goals, long-term goals, as well as the actual vision, is required to be done by the corporates, to avoid the temporary distractions.

4. Courage:
Vivekananda was best known for his courage: he strived to inspire people to be courageous. Courage is standing up for what is right. Corporate culture is perceived to be fiscal oriented at the expense of environment, employee health and safety and general well-being of the society due to their actions in the past. This must however change. Corporations can courageously stand up for what is right. In case of a mishap or tragedy, running for cover should not be their standard operating procedure. They can instead set an example for all by owning up to their mistakes, if any, and graciously working towards setting them right. Over the long term, this courage of being fair with others and oneself will always pay off, not only in terms of respect and admiration from the people but also trust from the shareholders.

5. Flexibility:

Perfection is the need of the hour, and many corporates abide by this. This may prove to be beneficial for most of the times, but not necessarily at all times. Swami’s teachings elucidate the requisite of flexibility- stellar leaders are born when they do not have any qualms about accepting their mistakes, and are earnest enough to incorporate the lessons learnt from those mistakes.

6. Accountability:
Several corporates lack in this merit, this is absent completely, especially when the times are tough. Courage comes into play, here. The courageous leaders would be open to face the flak, criticism, and hostility, and even the worst consequences, in times of adversities. This certainly sets them a class apart from other leaders who shy away not only from taking risks, but in also accepting the responsibility for their decisions, irrespective of the outcome. Swami believed in empowering people, and accountability is one of the stepping stones for it.

7. Absolute involvement towards the goal:
Swami Vivekananda was extremely focused towards his goal- he had identified it, and had even left his life of riches, in order to pursue it. He believed that with the utmost dedication, one can achieve anything that he or she wishes to. Once, he was noted, saying that ‘kicking a football, would bring one closer to the Divine, instead of praying’; meaning that absolute focus does lead one to satisfaction, ultimately. Adopting a result-oriented approach, a solution based focus, would definitely transform the working patterns and environment, thus leading the organization to unsurpassable heights.

8. Brotherhood:
Swami promoted Brotherhood, since the time he renounced the world. He believed in the cosmic power of unity, which is an absolute pre-requisite in the world of corporates. Considering everyone as an equal contributor towards the fulfilment of the goal, takes the organization to massive heights. Corporates also need to view the course of action; how they, as an organization are generating an impact on the society as a whole. The needful is done in terms of CSR, which can be enhanced. As a result of the implementation of this virtue, the employee retention rates would be higher, thus making the organization sustainable.

Incorporating these invaluable teachings into a corporate module, shall not only yield superlative results, but also create a difference in the lives of the people, by optimizing the talents and abilities, ultimately leading the company to unparalleled and obscured heights of success!