Major Teoh’s Blog

April 17, 2007

A SriLankan Model of Management

Filed under: Guest Writers,Jayadeva De Silva — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 8:53 am

  A SriLankan Model of Management

Jayadeva de Silva M.Sc,MBIM,FIPM,FITD*

SriLanka being a Buddhist country, SriLankan way of thinking is largely influenced by the teachings of Lord Buddha It is for that reason that I would recommend a SriLankan model of management. Most of these teachings  can be found in the “Singalovada Sutta for any one who is interested in reading.   Let us begin with Buddha’s basics on being a good boss or employer  which can be  adapted and used as follows

  •        -Assign work employees can manage. Make sure job requirements match the employees’ skills and talents. Keep them challenged by assigning special projects, cross training, or job rotation.

  •        -Give employees free food and enough money. Productivity and health are related. Pay them well and care for them, and they will pay you back with good work and loyalty.

  •        -Support them in sickness. Provide healthcare for all your employees.

  •        -Share the bounty. Profit-sharing and other equitable means of sharing the wealth will let your people know you appreciate their efforts.

  •        -Grant leave when appropriate. People are not machines and should not be treated as such. Maternity and paternity leaves, sabbaticals to “recharge the batteries” and special days off for families are very important to increasing productivity. Recharged workers make up for lost time after a refreshing holiday with new ideas, more energy and less stress.

Buddha has nothing against making a profit. As far as lay life is concerned. Just make sure you are making a profit while keeping the basic principles of honesty, integrity, social responsibility, and right livelihood.

  •        -Start small and tend to your business as you would a fire. Let it grow steadily as you feed it. When writing a mission statement, consider your duty to make your small part of the world a better place.

  •        -Buddhists should disapprove of adversarial business language. We should use words that emphasize collaboration and cooperation. Be conscious of the words you use. “Business is war” and “Crush the competition” are not very enlightened statements. Companies are very fond of using war as a team-building theme. An enlightened workplace avoids the use of language that connotes doing harm to other living things.

  •        -An enterprise that builds partnerships with other businesses, treats employees well, sees itself as a responsible member of the community, and shares its resources will be an organization built to last.

The moment your organization ceases to evolve, it will die.

  •        Your organizational structure should facilitate learning at all levels. Workspaces should be designed for teamwork and learning, procedures and policies written accordingly.

  •        Never give money to those who would misuse it. Give it first to the shareholders and employees who helped you make the profit. People influenced by Buddhist way of life  should use so called financial  capital &  human capital in the following manner

  •        -Never abandon what can still be useful. Repair it. Invest in quality well-made furniture, floors and fixtures.

  •        -Select and hire carefully. People must be cultivated for long-term, and not dumped at the first sign of tough times.

  •        -Be moderate in consuming resources. Recycle paper. Fly coach instead of first class. Share office spaces and dining spaces.

  •        -Real success depends on the virtue and character of leaders. No amount of charm will make up for the lack of confidence people have in you.

One should think long-term. All endeavors yield fruits in their own time.

  •        -Do not become attached to work processes. Let it all go. Everything changes.

  •        -Stay current and overhaul processes regularly.

  •        -Respect technology as a tool. It can be used for good or bad.

  •        -“The Web site you seek cannot be located, but endless others exist.” This anonymous saying reflects the way the Internet is forever changing, how cyberspace is infinite and endless. Just remember that worldly pleasures, will not last for ever. Everything is in a state of flux

  •        -Take the case of telecommuting. A good employee will do her work wherever she is. Many employees simply try to look busy at the office. People who work from home may tend to be even more productive.

  •        -Do not cling to the latest guru or consultant. Think for yourself.

  •        -Bad communication is gossip, idle chatter, and bad-mouthing. Good communication is clear, effective, direct and honest.

  •        -Do not analyze things too much. Decide on a course of action and take it. Meetings tend to be unproductive when the group debates and analyzes for so long that the window of opportunity for timely action closes.

  •        -When hiring remember that appearances can be deceiving. People are hired for their technical skills and get fired for poor interpersonal skills.

  •        Job security is a thing of the past. One cannot cling to a job or a career. Things change. That is the only constant. .We are responsible for our own development as employees. We should not look to someone else to hone our skills and develop our raw talent for us. Take the initiative and learn what you need to for yourself.

 Never put profit before people.

  •        -Your organization should embrace diversity. We must not insist on a one-size-fits all package.
  •        -Diversity is based on the fundamental idea humans are all the same. We all want fair pay for a fair day’s work. We all want respect. We all want to do meaningful work. We want kindness from others.
  •        -Buddhists are not sexist. Lord Buddha was 2,450 years ahead of his time by allowing women to become nuns and by declaring that everyone could go on the path to enlightenment. Do not sell yourself or anyone else short on account of gender. Buddhist would teach his employees about sexual harassment laws both the spirit of the law and the letter. He would say these laws are based on basic respect for all individuals and the right for people to feel safe at work. He would stop any harassment if he saw it going on. Any harassment affects all workers.
  •       If Buddha had spent his life playing it safe, he would never have become the Buddha. Playing it safe never leads to greatness.


*The author  obtained Master’s degree in Science from Russian Friendship University Moscow and Diploma in Personnel Management from National Institute of Business Management(SriLanka). He is a fellow of both the Institute of Personnel Management and Institute of Training & Development. He is also professionally qualified in training systems & curriculum design with an ILO fellowship.A strong advocate of Human Talents Development, Jayadeva is the principal consultant of humantalents unlimited, a professional practice that provides training & consultancy in Management. Jayadeva has carried out several consultancy projects and conducted numerous management development programs/strategic planning workshops, and has been trained in many modern management and leadership concepts. He has contributed articles (over 50) and authored the trend setting book ‘Human Talents Management’.  He founded humantalents International and HRSriLanka virtual learning Groups.  Jayadeva de Silva has functioned as Group Manager (Human Resources Development) of Hayleys Group of Companies a multi-billion-rupee public listed Group; and Group Director–Human Resources of Brown & Co. a large public listed company. He also serves as a resource person for professional and Post graduate courses primarily in the areas of HRM & HRD at Post graduate Institute, University of
Peradeniya, University of Ruhuna , ICFAI University(India), University of Southern Queensland (Institute of Chartered accountants), SriLanka Foundation Institute andInstitute of Personnel Management. He has been named president elect  2007 of HRDGateway, an International organization of over 15,000 HR Professionals world wide..He is featured in the millennium registry of SriLankan personalities


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