Rural marketing guru Pradeep Kashyap on ethics & excellence(MBA Universe.com Article)
Rural marketing guru Pradeep Kashyap on ethics &
| 05 Aug , 2010 1017 hrs IST
Pradeep Kashyap, founder and CEO of MART, founded the
organization in 1993 on family values and spiritual principles. He has delivered talks on ethics and
principles on business and management.
Ethics is the application of spiritual principles to human behavior: Pradeep Kashyap, founder & CEO, MART
Pradeep Kashyap, founder and CEO of MART, founded the organization in 1993 on family values and spiritual principles. He has
recently delivered talks in several B-schools in India, USA and Europe on ethics and principles on business and management. This
article of MBAUniverse.com will give you an extract of his speech on ethics and excellence.
Pradeep Kashyap has been Marketing Advisor to MoRD and has served the Prime Minister Office and Chief Minister Committees on
rural development. He is a World Bank and United Nations consultant. He co-created Project Shakti with Hindustan Lever to appoint
women micro entrepreneurs among SHGs as company dealers. 46,000 women in 12 states have benefited and each of them earns Rs
1,000 per month as profit from this business. He has pioneered another low cost, last mile rural distribution model using village
volunteers on bicycles for Colgate, Godrej, Eveready, Heinz, Tata Tea and others. He has authored ‘Rural Marketing Book’. He is a
regular guest speaker at the top B-schools in India.
Following are the extracts of his recent talk:
Importance of Ethics
Ethics is the application of spiritual principles to human behavior. So ethics involves living by (and not theorizing about) the highest
principles applicable to human behavior on a daily basis.
Ethics can be understood at two levels. Steven Covey in his book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ calls them Personality
ethic which refers to the development of personality, and Character ethic which focuses on evolution of human character.
Personality ethic includes public image, attitude, skills and techniques. The effort here is to develop a more pleasing and attractive
personality with the objective of achieving better social acceptability and greater material success. This is the job of psychologists and
personality grooming experts who teach you better communication skills, better social manners and personality grooming methods.
These are secondary traits and not primary like character. Personality ethic results in quick fix solutions without addressing the
fundamental causes of human behavior. I will not be focusing on personality ethic.
My concern is with character ethic which involves basic principles of effective living – integrity, humility, courage, fairness, patience
and simplicity. These are value based motives or ‘Lighthouse’ principles that govern human growth and happiness. It is important to
understand that these fundamental principles do not change. Principles do not react to anything; they do not depend on the behavior of
Personal power that comes with principle centered living is the power of self aware, knowledgeable proactive individual, unrestricted
by the attitude, behavior and action of others or by any circumstances. Gandhiji never held any position of power in the government in
waiting, but he wielded more power in politics than anyone else because of his principle centered living. We accord the highest
respect to a spiritual master, even political leaders and royalty bow to them, because they are centered in universal principles. Highest
power rests with the person with the highest awareness.
Information, Knowledge & Wisdom
A man of wisdom is a man of ethics. But how do we become wise? I will explain in the next few paragraphs how information leads to
knowledge and finally to wisdom.
Information is something we read or hear about. For example we dial railway enquiry to get the timing of Shatabdi from Jaipur to
Delhi or the TV news informs us that it rained in Delhi yesterday. Information is essential to conduct our daily activities smoothly. But
it does not impact ethics in anyway.
But when information is analyzed and understood it becomes knowledge. This is the purpose of education. In school and college
teachers impart information and then encourage us to use the tool box of analysis to transform information into knowledge. So
knowledge can be taught, you can acquire it from external sources. And knowledge is what you know you know. For example I know
that I can solve a particular mathematics problem because I learnt the analytical tools in school.
When knowledge is integrated with intuition, it becomes wisdom, your experiential knowledge. Analysis as described earlier and
intuition are not substitutes of each other, they are complimentary.
We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it after a journey of life that no one can take for us. Each one of us has to undertake our
own journey. The ultimate destination of your life, if there is one is wisdom. Wisdom is the highest and deepest degree of knowledge,
insight and understanding. It provides you with the broadest perspective on life. They say when you find your wisdom you are living
in the ‘light’, the light of the spirit.
Wisdom is not a state to be achieved but rather a state to be recalled. You arrived on this planet with the boundless wisdom inherent in
all human beings; you only need to access that place within you that connects you to the infinite divine source. You are potentially as
wise as the Buddha or Aristotle-they have simply accessed places within themselves where perhaps you have not journeyed. That is
why it is said we are all born a potential Buddha.
Wisdom is not intelligence. Wisdom is much more. It is the highest level of emotional, spiritual and mental evolution where you
synergize your deepest understanding with your deepest everyday actions.
Let us now move the discussion to excellence. What is excellence? Like life, excellence is a journey, a search for the highest. That is
why Tom Peters called his famous book ‘In search of Excellence’ and not the destination of excellence. Excellence is a total quality
movement. It is a process of continuous self improvement.
Level of awareness equals degree of excellence. Total awareness or enlightenment in other words leads to complete excellence. That
is why when we see something truly excellent we say God must have made it. So the constant effort must be to increase our
awareness. Excellence is not achieved by attitude alone, it depends equally on the awareness you bring to the task.
Excellence through Mentoring
Another way to put an employee on the road to excellence is through mentoring where the junior has complete trust, respect and faith
in his senior, resulting in a strong, instructional and emotional relationship. The two share warmth, love and support like the bond
between Lord Krishna and Arjun.
I look for every opportunity to show and tell my team members that I care for them deeply. These young people have given some of
the best years of their lives to help me grow MART. I honor them for that. Their successes are my success and we celebrate all
successes. Similarly their setbacks are my setbacks and I always offer my shoulder and hand to them in their hour of need.
When you strive towards excellence it does not help to compete with others because you may be better than one but worse than
another. So are you better or worse? Comparing yourself with a moving benchmark cannot give you an accurate picture of yourself
and it only results in wastage of productive energy. So don’t race against others, race against yourself. Resolve to be better today than
yesterday. This approach will get you out of competition with others and put you on the fast track towards excellence.
Motivating for Excellence through Story Telling
Many cultures have a rich tradition of parables, stories and mythology to help common people relate to complex subjects like
character, honesty, sincerity and so on. In management too, anecdotes and evocative stories can help managers learn about human
nature. These stories inspire managers to seek excellence.
Another important truth-for you to win, no one needs to lose. We are conditioned to compete for scarce resources. We are told to be
best in our class at school and encouraged to be first in sports. This creates a scarcity mindset and leads to competition. All
competition does is fuel the illusion that we are all separate. But when we operate at a higher level we begin to see the
interconnectedness of everything, we all win. When we work in harmony, there is more for everyone, Take love, the more we give the
more we get and our love bank does not diminish. Or take happiness, or even knowledge. The more we share the more it grows.
Success in life does not lie in reaching your goals-it lies in the personal transformation and inner shifts in consciousness and
awareness that take place.
The question in your mind must be. Is it possible to practice what I have suggested in a competitive, corrupt and greedy world? Well
Ratan Tata runs his multibillion dollar business on ethical principles, so do Warren Buffet and Narayanmurthy and many others.
Barrack Obama is a symbol of hope for humanity because of his transparency and middle class values. If you are looking for enduring
happiness you should be prepared to lose out on some material gains. Or you could follow a competitive, aggressive and manipulative
approach to seek short lived gains but a life filled with stress and anxiety. I made the choice to run MART and live my life on value
based principles. You must make your choice.
How I founded MART
In 1993 I founded MART, a livelihoods and rural marketing agency, as a value based organization. Today, 16 years later, we are a
family of 50 dedicated professionals serving rural India. We are a flat, non hierarchical totally transparent organization – no
designations, every staff member knows each other’s salary or the fact that we submit detailed, itemized consultancy budgets to
clients. We are a team based organization where all decisions are taken through consensus. We are an employee owned organization
where on completing 10 years of service every employee automatically become a partner in the firm.
Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more on ethics, excellence and principles.