Business Sutra 2: Leadership

Business Sutra: CNBC, Videos 29 Comments

Telecast on June 12, 2010

I often ask myself, why does a leader exist? For the goal or for the followers. Conventionally, everyone exists for the goal. That is the focal point. I find that disturbing. The goal is an impersonal entity. I feel Leadership is about people. People need leaders which is why Mughal rulers were called Jahan-panah, shelter of the world and Maratha kings were called Chattra-pati, bearer of the roof. The whole point for a leader to exist is to give direction and purpose to a people who are otherwise lost. So it is about people, and not the goal. But management is always about the goal. When the focus is gaol, then over time, people don’t matter, ethics don’t matter, social issues don’t matter, only the goal matters. We are witnessing this today in most corporations as the balance sheet becomes more sacred that the customer, both internal and external. Find below 3 segments of the 2 episode of my teleseries Business Sutra.

Segment 1: Does a leader create, sustain or destroy?

Segment 2: Context of leaders, jaisa yug, vaisa avatar

Segment 3: Lifecycle of a leader

  • Parikshit

    Devdutt Namaskar,

    There seems to be some problem with the last three paragraphs. looks like codes are appearing. Would like to read the column in full.


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  • Gopal

    I cant see anything written in the three segments?


  • dhiraj

    what about the earlier avatars why haven’t u mentioned them ? what do they represent please let me know

  • Radhe! Radhe!

    Priya Devdutt Bhai


    I am an American born woman who has chosen the rasik lilas of Braj-Brindaban’s Jugal Radha Krishna as my internal mythology to live in.

    I seek to bring to your attention the current destruction that is going on in the Braj region as the government of Uttar Pradesh seeks to “expand” the area in the name of “development”. It is a classic example of leadership being out of touch with the bhava of the people it seeks to lead.

    If you have time, please read this article;

    If you would like to correspond personally about this matter, feel free to contact me at my email address.

    Jai Sri Radhe!

  • Lipsa


    I can’t see any link to the three segments .. pl help.

    Thank you.

    Lipsa Mohanty

  • Ankit

    I like the analogies and the content is awesome.

  • nandan salvi

    respectful sir,

    i recently watched your episod on cnbc and after hearing your point of viewing things about business and 3 b”s of business and i m very much influenced by you after that i also read your article in business outlook playing the are great sir .

  • Dora Babu

    This is true with most of corporations they made business units inside a account and setting GOALS. Because of these goals from portfolio project managers working towards these goals

  • Dora Babu

    This is true with most of corporations they made business units inside a account and setting GOALS. Because of these goals from portfolio, project managers working towards these goals

  • Sundarrajan

    Dear Devadutt
    Thanks a lot for publishing these videos,also i have to confess that none of those called pandits here(in down south) helped me to understand the mythologies and epics.

    I find an error while watching the Business Sutra Ep #2 Seg 2 and Seg 3.Kindly resolve this(i tried in youtube also, same problem)!

  • Ramesh

    You have mentioned that Self Sacrifice should be given more importance than Self Achievement. But Isn’t it true that one should make ‘worthy’ to become a leader by focusing on self achievement (atleast for certain period)? I think Self achievement as first step and Self sacrifice as Second step

  • Vinod

    Immensely enjoyed the discussion. I’ve seen the 12th June and 19th June shows. Was there one before? It seems like that since there is no introduction. If there is, is it possible to view it?

    I don’t know if ‘scripture’ is an appropriate term for these philosophical texts, though they are ancient.

    If I have understood your message, Dharm Sunkat happens when the existing rules and the principle cannot automatically handle the situation. The person facing the dharam sunkat has to then make a choice for action.

    My question to you is whether when one is faced with dharm sunkat, do you believe that the principle can also get questioned and restated? In other words, do we re-write religion when it fails? Naturally, I do not say this facetiously.

  • Parikshit



    I have wondered when ever i have heard you either in person or in Videos, about us looking up to leaders who have put self before all. I am clouded…. help me form a firm ideas… 1)we will always put emotional sacrifice over performance delivery (which may not have matched in the performance delivery) 2) what is future of an Indian leader who has grown up listening to great scriptures and seen sacrificial Indian leaders compete in the WTO world. oh yes not to mentioned majored from Ivy league… How is it for the subjects the followers of these leaders? Or are they supposed to just follow the flow.


  • snshetti

    I couldnot see two episodes on CNBC.How can iaccess to these things?Guide

  • Curious

    In regards to Sri Ram sacrificing “personal life” for the “good of the people” (professional life), I fail to see how banishing Sita was for the good of the people? Rather he could have educated the dhobi-wala and all similar thinking people in the kingdom about “victim’s rights” and “women’s rights” and that would have bettered the kingdom.

    I fail to see how banishing a pregnant victim of kidnapping is a “win” for Ram’s professional life or for his kingdom.

    • Ashitosh Lokhande

      as far as i know …. he wasnt in role to teach the people what is right and what is wrong.. if he was so.. he would have never left his kingdom in first place.. he would have asked for justice that on what basis he have to serve the 14 years… he saw the kingdom first.. above his personal life. i guess even he was not enjoying the agni pariksha of sita.. and i think sita rejected the kingdom not ram sent her away.

  • siddhartha

    i totally agree with curious view..please explain

  • Dr Devdutt

    you are brilliant and an amazingly original and refreshing thinker!

    I have been and still am in the Learning space and would love to have an audience with you sometime to see how we can take your message into Indian corporates?

    warm regards
    Naresh Purushotham

  • Mahadevan

    It’s beautiful

  • admirer

    Hi, I had this conflict of thought to explain to others what Hindu religious stories stand for… it was shared only as stories and moral values… your view of detailing Mythology as a tool to understand human behaviour and thus improving ones behviour is wonderful… I have heard almost all the stories you through my elders but your interpretations were different… like… Representation of B V S & the L S D the explanation of Symbolic representation of Vishnu, the Matix to analyise… the difference between JAYA & VIJAYA After following you for quite some time now… i keep telling your stories to my friends… and they hear with awe…and i encourge them to see your video. According to me.. YOU ARE THE Robert Langdon of the real world.

  • Sridhar Santhanam


    Great, in your last segment you had mentioned that at the 4th stage it is like either Buddha who has taken an backstage to see if the kings he had created is performing or he is Kalki who will fell it is not worth it and clean up the creation (in your context the corporation).

    But as per Baghavad Gita he will appear in a another form to ensure he protects the people (in your context the corporation) ((Parithrayana Sadhunam Vinasaya Cha Dushkritham, Dharma Samsthapanarthaya Sambhavami Yuge Yug)) may be ultimately a reset which is the Kalki avatar.

    My understanding may be not correct.

  • kumar

    kindly enllighten us on a matter dat I am confused about….are leaders by birth leaders or can they b trained…??

    is trained leader a possibility?

  • Nishant Misra

    I am currently not able to view these videos from outside of India.
    Could you please make these videos available in regions outside of India?