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Karmic Leadership for a Mindful Existence

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Managing VUCA Through Integrative Self-Management

Part of the book series: Management for Professionals ((MANAGPROF))


The above phrase clearly articulates the way we feel in a VUCA world . It is needless to say that the world increasingly looks more complex and dynamic in a digital space-time with information overloads and increasing overflow of data from all sides. This is the era of Big Data where the process of sense-making has become more towards understanding the microcosm of the changes around us. If we view it from a karmic perspective, we are so much intertwined in the action-reaction cycle that the theory of chaos including the metaphor of tornados changing tracks for flapping of butterfly wings seems plausible. Every single change in the microcosm has the potential to create a new pattern of the macrocosm evolution. But somehow we have misplaced our position of being the “change” and rather are focusing continuously on the external factors. We are constantly ignoring the “seer” within us which may actually help us in making sense of this VUCA world and understanding the Tao of this VUCA world. In this chapter we would like to take a two-tier approach towards understanding and making a sense of this VUCA World:

First tier is to understand our relation to the Universe being an individual, a “pure existent” in this cosmos. At this level, we are increasingly feeling baffled and confused because we are mindlessly pursuing our own ends without being conscious of how our individual actions or “karma are creating ripples in the macrocosm and contributing towards a volatile and uncertain world full of ambiguous realities. The journey towards the consciousness and understanding the way behind the way of the evolution (Tao of the VUCA world ) is through the 4Ps of Karmic leadership which constitutes the second tier of understanding the VUCA world. If we really need to take charge of the complex reality, we have to start with these 4Ps viz., Purpose, Passion, Patience and People. This 4Ps framework is consistent with the triple bottle line approach to sustainability. If we are conscious and attentive to the evolution, we reach the state of mindfulness where we are more like “seer” witnessing the evolution of the “karmic cycles” in reaction to our individual actions or performances (or karma). This completely opens up a new perspective to us as we then not only know “what to do” but also know “what not to do”. Most of times we want to just do, do, do and act, act, act which is very similar to stirring the water full of dirt and clay. Sometimes when we don’t do, we allow the “dirt” to settle down and then view the world with much more clarity. The essence of managing the VUCA is to be the “seer” which requires a unified world view where the dichotomy between the material and the spiritual ceases to exist and we see both co-existing as a part of the ever evolving space-time.

When we begin to see, we perceive that it exists for itself, not for us, has its own gigantic aims, its own complex and boundless idea, its own vast desire or delight that it seeks to fulfil, its own immense and formidable standards which look down as if with an indulgent and ironic smile at the pettiness of ours. And yet let us not swing over to the other extreme and form too positive an idea of our own insignificance. That too would be an act of ignorance and the shutting of our eyes to the great facts of the universe. ( Aurobindo 1939 )

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Correspondence to Anindo Bhattacharjee .

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Bhattacharjee, A., Singh, S. (2017). Karmic Leadership for a Mindful Existence. In: Nandram, S., Bindlish, P. (eds) Managing VUCA Through Integrative Self-Management. Management for Professionals. Springer, Cham.

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