Episode # 120 – Are “Long-term” benefits more important than “Short-term” setbacks? Vidura’s key note on “Decision Making”!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed an important message through Vidura’s explanation that as responsible citizens of our country and keeping in mind the development of our country in the positive direction, let us all pay our taxes correctly without any forging. Let us not get our country into a “Cache 21” situation wherein the rich only get richer and poor only get poorer! We cannot blame the government everytime for its failures, if we are not willing to pay our dues correctly. Thus we should realize that we should always ready to contribute to our nation building in every legitimate way possible.

For instance, if everybody of us start forging our taxes and encourage the black economy to thrive, what will happen to the country’s finances? Won’t it collapse? Even if it collapses, what would be our immediate reaction? We would still question the government for its inability to protect the country from going bankrupt. However, little would we realize that we are also responsible for our country’s sad state of affairs! Thus the main aim of focusing on this point in depth is to create the awareness amongst all our citizens to honestly pay the tax dues to our government, for the benefit and upliftment of our country and our people! Similarly, governments need to be proactive in checking for those people who try to get away without paying taxes. At the same time, the government should make sure that on the name of taxes, it doesn’t end up harassing the honest taxpayer with truckloads of taxes.

Now moving on to the next point, here Vidura explains the significance of “long-term planning”. Why is long-term planning essential for a king or an administrator, or in general, a leader? Let us witness:

“Kinnumesyaadidam krithvaa kinnumesyaada kurvataha!!”

 Here Vidura explains that before undertaking a task, a leader should think and analyze as to what is the purpose for which this task is undertaken, what is the benefit that he would get out of this task and what are the positive results that can be derived by investing time and money in this particular task. At the same time, a leader should also think about the disadvantages of undertaking the task. Such an analysis is extremely important for a leader before undertaking any kind of mission or an activity.

With this, Vidura once again pokes King Dhirdiraashtra by saying thus, “Oh King! By continuing to support your son Duryodhana, you are not thinking about the long-term welfare of your family and your kingdom. The short term pleasure of seeing your son as a king is carrying you away and is marring you from looking at the long-term dangers that are in front of you!”

How applicable is this in the present day? In today’s management arena we talk about two important strategies – Short-term and Long-term. For every decision or action, we would look for both short-term and long-term implications. As a leader, whatever decision needs to be taken for the betterment of the organization, needs to be backed up with both the short-term and long-term advantages and disadvantages. There should also be a balance between the short-term and long-term benefits for any action.

For instance, recently the present government of India brought about a economic reform called “Demonetisation” wherein the currency notes of 500 and 1000 rupees were abruptly withdrawn from the banking system. Subsequently, new bank notes were issued on a step-by-step basis. This was an aggressive step taken by the government of India to put a check on those who were having truckloads of high currency notes as black money. It was a historic moment for the country and it took everybody by surprise and shock. Many of those people who were having stashes of black money in terms of cash, were left completely clueless as to what to do next. Of course, two years after this bold move, many of us keep debating about this bold move by the government.

Now if we have to analyze the short-term and the long-term implications of this move – During the short-term period for the first one or two months, there was an utter chaos wherein all people were running to banks and ATM’s in search of cash. There were strict restrictions or curbs imposed by the government in terms of the amount of cash that each person can withdraw from the bank. But that was just for a short-term. It was done so that few people do not hoard cash unwantedly and create an artificial shortage of cash for others. However as the money supply from the Reserve Bank of India was stepped up within a few days, the situation gradually became normal and subsequently the restrictions were taken off! On the whole, in the short-term there was suffering and a setback for people in terms of cash shortage.

Whereas if we look at the long-term implications of this move, there are two important aspects here – One is that, majority of the illegal wealth was completely flushed out of the system and it was a cleansing act. In other words, this one bold move by the government cleaned out the country’s economy that was polluted with dirty cash for the past 70 odd years. Secondly and most importantly, this move instilled a fear amongst those people who were once hoarding so much of cash as black money. Also because this move was promptly backed up by a series of searches by Income Tax sleuths, money hoarding reduced considerably and the entire economy was routed through the banking system. This implies fair and legitimate transactions duly accounted by the Income Tax department according to various compliances. Here we can clearly see that the long-term implications are much more beneficial compared to the short-term sufferings that people had to undergo. This was the reason why this move by the government is hailed a success.

Thus the message from today’s episode is that, whenever a decision has to be taken, it should be weighed with both the short-term and the long-term implications, before rolling it out to the implementation stage. This is an extremely important message to leaders in every domain – Right from politics to sports to being a CEO of an organization, etc. Hence for today let us ponder over this important message and introspect our approach towards decision-making! We shall wait till the next episode to explore the next of Vidura’s explanation. Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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