Let noble thoughts come to us from every side!!

January,2022

Dear Friends

“आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः” ||
“āno bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah”

Drawn from the Rig Veda, this has universal truth and appeal. It urges us to test the validity of knowledge that is drawn from various sources. Today, there is a deluge of information and we are left grappling for truth in it. For me drawing wisdom from speakers who share their life experiences and challenges is a credible source – this January presented itself with plenty of such opportunities. Let me share a few nuggets:

From the inaugural & valedictory sessions of the 49th National Convention of Company Secretaries (CS) held at Bangalore from 6th to 8th January, 2022:

Basavaraj Bommai, Hon’ble CM of Karnataka – CS must move from being a spectator to game-changer.

Economy is all about activity and less about finance. Look at it from the perspective of artha shastra and purushartha – man should have job or activity or work or artha which will bring well being to family and society. Arthashasthra is important for society and purushartha for self improvement and goal.

Economics is not all about profit & loss (P&L), goals & growth. At the same time philosophy is not all about paapa and punya (P&P). As a student of both, I see it paradoxically. I see P&L in philosophy and P&P in economics. This is the exact job of CS where you need to ensure that activities are brought into framework of law and guiding principles are taken forward. See P&P in economics your role, status, thinking and importance will change.

How does importance come to you ? if everything is in order, what role do you have ? Your role as CS thrives on ambiguity and uncertainty. Embrace the VUCA world (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) for volatility indicates energy, fluidity, motion, growth & dynamism. Status quoist will never grow.

CS must have a say in the economy and country, not just corporates. Raise your voice, address issues, be part of problem as well as solution. You are part of the economy but economy must also be part of you. Be part of development, solution, and not a mere spectator.

Make your own path, be part of history or create history. Choice is yours. Change in you will bring change in companies, change in companies will bring change in economy and change in economy will bring change in life of a common man. You are not connected only to companies and bosses. Connect to society through your companies. Efficiency of last man will bring success to top man. If last man survives, company survives. Same with the country. Be a game-changer not just a compliance officer.

Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Women & Child Development – My ask of you as a citizen

When your organisation chances upon good accounting, chances upon HR corporate practices or innovation, can you share with smaller organisations ? Can you share with the unorganised sector ? How can the learnings of big organisations transcend to smaller ones ? That is your dharma.

Dharma teaches us to be forward looking. Greatest instrument is technology. Those who have don’t use amply by sharing. Those who don’t have feel its absence because of lack of resources. As CS can you reach out with technology down to those who you presume don’t need it ? Can your cleaning staff be digitally literate ? Digital India was launched when there was no pandemic. Remember, leadership prepares you not only for present but preps you for future that is yet unseen.

To fuel innovation, fuel jigyansa is not only corporate dharma but also of society. Can we support R&D in non-core areas, supply chain of essentials ? Can we partake in R&D of not only company’s interest but also look at societal and national means ?

Truth need not be measured but be spoken without fear. Be true to yourself, to your values and principles that represent institutional ethos. That is true contribution to nation building.

J. Swaminathan, MD, SBI – commandments for CS (true for other professionals too)

culture of continuous learning, reskilling, upskilling,

culture of compliance, living by right practices through thought and action

culture of communication, speak up when required

culture of building resilience in organisation in volatile times, culture of sustainability & ESG

processes are as important as outcomes, adhere to the same, avoid tick-box approach

adopt digitalisation

live upto regulatory expectations and not just guidelines, anticipate and manage the expectations as an industry leader

Swami Veereshananda Saraswati of Vivekananda Ashrama : character building for governance

Life is short, they alone live who live for others. Rest are dead.

Bahujana hitaya, bahujana sukhaya (for the benefit of many, for the happiness of many)

Progress achieved in many areas has become useless because of loss of character. Dams are built but men are brittle.

Physical bravery is mere animal instinct. Moral bravery is true courage.

These are from the notes I took as I had the opportunity to anchor the respective sessions but attending live is a totally different experience. Some of the asks require deeper deliberation on each of our roles as catalysts for Good Governance : the Universal Dharma (theme of the convention).