What Vishnu’s symbols tell us about organisations’ & individuals’ quest for growth

Posted on Apr 18 2014 - 10:51pm by IBC News

Vishnu is the preserver of the world according to the Puranas. He participates in worldly life and engages with people to create a world that attracts Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. Of the many symbols of Vishnu, there are three that communicate ideas that may help those who also seek to create ecosystems that are economically viable and sustainable.

The first symbol is the tilak on Vishnu’s forehead, which is essentially a straight line drawn vertically upwards. The second symbol is the wheel or chakra in his right hand. The third symbol is the shankha or conch-shell.

The first symbol or tilak indicates a clear direction.

The direction is upwards indicating that the objective is growth. A leader needs to have a clear direction that facilitates growth.

The line indicates a task, a project, a finite activity with a clear objective in mind. Work and life is filled with many such lines. For example, when Mr. Mitra decided that the only way the bank could survive and appeal to the new generation of clients was by forgoing old paper-based systems for new technology based systems. This was a three-year project that would meet much resistance and demand huge change management.

The second symbol is the wheel.

When a line extends itself it becomes a wheel. It reminds the leader that while the line begins with a problem and ends with a realized solution, the solution itself may turn out to be a problem that needs resolution. Thus one is trapped in the cycle of problems that have to be solved and solutions that create new problems.

To assume solutions will not have problems of their own is delusion. For example, when Mr. Mitra, the CEO decided that the bank had to forgo its old ways and adopt technology solutions, he also anticipated the rise of a new power center – the IT department. No more would the CTO or CIO be simply the handmaiden of the management; he would contribute to business decisions as technology would become a key lever to achieve objectives in the future.