Chaos is Diversity

mahisha1Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik is an Indian physician, leadership consultant, mythologist and author who explores connections between myths, mythology and management. Dr. Pattaniak worked in the pharmaceutical, healthcare industry,  financial industry as a consultant (Ernst and Young) and is a talented illustrator – he illustrated most of his own books.  He frequently speaks at various venues – TED conferences, television shows (Business Sutra with Maneka Doshi, Star TV). He has written a number of books related to Hindu mythology. Presently he is a chief belief officer of Future Group, one of India’s largest retailers, applying the wisdom of Indian mythology to business.

What Chief Belief Officer does?  It includes solving corporate issues by trying to bridge the gap between company values and personal values. Let me illustrate. We walked into a department in one of our offices and found everyone unhappy, hence unproductive. Kishore Biyani, MD, tells us that whenever there is a problem go to the Gangotri (the Source). We realised if everyone in the department is unhappy, the head of the department had to be the source. Now, in mythology, Lakshmi (wealth) always follows Vishnu (the leader). This meant this unproductive department (less Lakshmi) had a leader who was less Vishnu. Vishnu holds the shanka (the conch symbolising communication), chakra (the wheel signifying review), gada (the mace meaning discipline), and padma (the lotus representing appreciation). This departmental head was using more reviews (chakra) and discipline (gada) and less communication (shankha) and appreciation (padma). I believe business emerges from behaviour while behaviour emerges from beliefs. Beliefs emerge when values are internalized.” (from the interview in Sunday Hindu, Nov, 2009).

I was tremendously inspired by his TedTalk rebuking perception about India being chaotic and disorganized.  In fact, he insists on embracing the concepts of  variety over uniformity, seeing  chaos as diversity and generally resisting programmed behaviour of mechanically – lived lives to help bring the innovation and positive transformation forward.






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