Episode # 259 – SECRECY & CONFIDENTIALITY in Decision-making – Vidura’s keynote explanation!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important message from Vidura, this time about who should be employed with what work. He says that all “Antahpura” related works are to be handed over to the father or the male member of the family. Similarly all the kitchen-related work with respect to cooking various kinds of dishes are to be handed over to the mother or the female member of the house. Effective maintenance of the cowshed and its allied activities are to be handed over to a trusted person of equal stature of ours, in the family. Finally when it comes to business dealings and strategic decisions pertaining to trade and business activities are to be exclusively handled by the king himself.

Of course if we outwardly look at the sloka, it might seem a bit outdated or incoherent but if we look deeper into the meaning, we can find something significant. Here is where Vidura stresses two important points – Firstly, the right person should be allocated and employed to perform the right job at the right place. This is a very important concept in modern day “Human Resources Management” as every day in and out and in every organization around the world, managers scramble to get this combination right. Secondly, all business deals at the strategic level should directly be handled by the leader of the organization. Of course in the sloka, Vidura mentions that the king should directly oversee trade activities closely, but in today’s world we can infer that all strategic decisions pertaining to the organization in terms of enhancing its business outcomes should directly be dealt with by the CEO or the top executive board members of the organization. Here is where we witnessed a famous theory in the domain of Leadership studies wherein a leader tends to form an “IN-Group” & an “OUT-Group”. Members of the “IN-Group” are a handful of trusted people of the leader who aids his strategic decision making activities. Members of the “OUT-Group” are those who are responsible for the implementation of the decisions that are taken by the “IN-Group”. These “OUT-Group” members are not involved in the decision making process for whatsoever reasons. Thus we can see here that the strategic decision making is highly concentrated within a few people in the top brass of an organization and this is exactly what Vidura explains here too!

Now moving on further, Vidura explains the next important point. Here he says that a king or a leader who is able to maintain his policies as a secret until the successful implementation is over becomes a great person whom the world hails with name, fame and praise! Vidura explains thus:

“Yasya mantram na jaananti bhaagya sa antharaschaye!

Sa raja sarvataschakshuhu chiram aishwaryamasnuthe!!”

Here Vidura explains an extremely important point in Leadership – He says that a leader should be a person who can keep certain important things within himself and not disclosing them to others! These important things might be pertaining to key strategic decisions that are to be taken for the welfare of the kingdom or an organization or a country. Secrecy behind certain policy decisions and implementation is always a key behind the success of the policy.

We can consider many examples to prove this point – One perfect example for this is the the policy of “Demonetisation” brought about by our Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi ji. The secrecy behind the implementation of this policy was behind the huge success that it brought about in transforming the economy of India and cleansing it. For the benefit of our readers, “Demonetization” was a policy brought in by the Indian Government to clean up the economy from stashes of black money that was hidden by various groups of people like politicians and businessmen. On November 8’th 2016, the Prime Minister of India came out in the public and announced to the nation that from that evening onward, high value currency notes such as 500 and 1000 rupee notes would go invalid and to compensate this, new notes would be printed and circulated across the country!

Of course this was not just a weird announcement as many opposition ranks would see it. If we deeply introspect, there is a trail of instances leading to this big decision of demonetizing the currency! There were repeated warnings by the Income Tax department of the Government of India to the citizens that all of them come clean with respect to their taxable incomes. It is after such repeated appeals and warnings, the decision was implemented! Thus we can see that there were a series of planned actions, that were kept highly confidential within the government sources and this confidentiality is what took those people with stashes of black money by surprise! When the decision was announced, people who were hiding their black money started to scramble here and there, running for shelter! This is why the “Demonetization” policy is hailed to be a “game-changer” and is considered to be a huge success. Of course this is a debatable topic with respect to the success and the economic implications, but that can be for another day! The point here to be emphasized here through this example is the “Secrecy” and “Confidentiality” of decision making and how this secrecy helps in the successful implementation of the decisions for the benefit of the company or the country as a whole.

So for today let us think about this important point of “Secrecy” and “Confidentiality” and its importance in day to day life as well as in business and key policy decision-making. It should always be remembered that key decisions (even at home) are to be maintained within a closed group until the decision is implemented successfully. Once the successful implementation is done, we can talk about the “secret of success” later on in the public domain! 😊 We shall wait till the next episode to witness the next important point that Vidura is going to explain. 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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