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Timeless Leadership: 18 Leadership Sutras from the Bhagavad Gita by Debashis Chatterjee

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SUTRA 1

THE WARRIOR’S JOURNEY

Leaders Embrace Discontinuity and Death

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

—Steve Jobs in his Stanford Graduation Speech, Spring 2005

Leading an organization of the twenty-first century requires more than just a firefighter’s skill of putting out fires as and when they reach alarming proportions. A firefighter is trained to fight and deal with urgency. However, a leader of the future will have to negotiate not only the urgent but also the emergent—that which is not yet obvious, like a raging fire, but will emerge in the future. A leader of a major organization remarked that sometimes he does not have the luxury of choosing his battles; he has to fight each battle as it emerges from the environment and presents itself. The unpredictability of the battle for market share and mindshare, the volatility of the environment, and the rapid-fire changes that are happening in the business and political landscape have all the trappings of a full-scale war. A mere firefighter cannot pretend to be a warrior. The ability to deal with the emergent conditions of the war demands much more than functional skills. It requires a rare leadership virtue called awareness. The journey of awareness starts with Self-awareness. ...

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