When most were busy preparing for the June exams, the country was also undergoing its 5 year annual exams. Finally Narendra modi has been crowned as the new prime minister of India. Being in professional course, one has to be aware of all the trends including the political trends. This elections have been historic for India on many fronts. People have bestowed clear majority on a party after 30 years with record voting of 65 %.
Whatever we think individually, in a democracy, people’s verdict whether good or bad has to be respected. At any juncture, the person elected or selected by the people is best of his class at that time. Therefore notwithstanding what any critics or naysayers say, once Narendra modi has been elected the verdict is final.
For a good learner, every incidence involves some learning points. Why not learn something from everything. From everything around you. The surroundings, the people, the environs and everything else. Yes, there is lot lot to learn….The point is your willingness.
Managing a political party is as tough as managing a business. In business at least you have unfettered powers. IF you’ve controlling stake, that goes a long way to fasten your control o’er your opposer. However this does not always hold true in politics. Politics is an altogether different ballgame. You have to give consideration to everyone. People from all backgrounds and ideas come together in a political party.
Be it Lenin, Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill or Reagan, politicians change the world. While the so called professionals are open to criticize them, the truth is that without them, their very existence can be challenged. Therefore, being politically active is a good thing for a student or a learner.
Here are some strategy and management lessons one can learn from Narendra Modi’s historical rise to the prime ministership of this country.
1) Be it Politics or Management, Always learn to Say NO!
The prime minister said NO to many old policies of their party, rejected many established candidates by refusing them candidature , changed responsibilities and assigned new people challenging jobs. Although seen as being politically suicidal at the start, the outcome of this is in front of our eyes.
Many companies and we individually have habit to say yes. We compromise with situations, hoping that something in our favor will materialize now or then. We are wrong. One should learn to say NO. A big no. Companies cannot be emotional about their employees. When it comes to cost cutting, although painful, they have to downsize their operations.
We personally should also learn to say NO to ourselves. NO for doing things we cannot do or repeatedly fail in. Yes one should be optimistic…….But our lifetime is limited and we have responsibilities. Relentless pursuit of a thing is bad…….. This however does not mean Career pursuit, which can be without a No. But on personal fronts, we seem to be clung and stuck in something which we cannot afford economically or on other fronts.
After failure on either personal front or in relationship, love etc. , one thinks of taking drastic steps like suicide. This NO is for such steps. One should be optimistic towards life and its beauties. Say NO to all those naysayers who try to write you off. Respond when the time comes. If your path is right, then at least for a second, time shall be yours.
2) While few might be able to bend time and trends towards themselves, it is better to change with time, rather than being redundant.
You are young and new today. Does that mean that twenty years from now, you shall be the same? Or if you call your seniors as being stuck in a older timeframe, what’s the guarantee that you shall not be in the same situation twenty years henceforth.
Companies and their management are always caught in such redundancy, where they become static and refuse to adapt to the changing times. Management thinks that their position is simply not challengeable and therefore fail to renovate and rejuvenate themselves with time. The result is obsoleteness and redundancy.
The winning party in elections changed its strategy with and in tandem with the current trends and thoughts and the results are visible.
On a professional and personal front this can mean that a person should always be learning new things , at all the time. Lawyers are the best examples of this, and so are chartered accountants. You cannot use the seventies rules in 2014.
I was quite surprised to notice many c.s students, instead of welcoming the opportunity to be first to learn companies act 2013, saw it as a burden. While this ignorance can benefit in exam, in the long run can prove hazardous.
Therefore the second rule is that, change with time , and if you are one of millions , think of changing time itself. While not everyone can be a zuckerberg or steve jobs, aiming to be one is not a bad thing. However there is a limit. In a probabilistic world, there is a cap on number of zuckerbergs and steve jobs. Therefore, aim to be yourself.
3) Bigger is the better, older is superior than newer. A blind following or too much reliance on novelty can prove fatal.
Many write and say…..
If given a chance, I will choose independence of job , over fat salary.
If given a chance, I will choose small firm over a large one.
If given a chance, I will choose a small firm for articleship than big 4.
With all respect to all their views, here is what is the problem in this attitude.
Suppose you had completed c.a and joined a fast growing, high blitz internet online retailer growing at 50 % compounded rate. The fact is out of hundred i.t startups in the last five years or so, only 10 % -20 % survived to earn good profits. What if you had joined one of those companies which failed ? Would you be ready for such a setback at the start of your carrier?
There is chance of sense and more responsibility in a new or small company, but failure chances are also equally the same.
Many say, I want to enjoy life and will therefore choose a firm which gives more independence over a job which is 24x7 and has fat salary. While few might take this decision, the majority and reality is that not all companies can afford giving employees, time for yoga and cycling in their campuses. If the salary has to be good, the responsibility and pressure will be equal. So, saying that I will leave a plum job for my personal pursuits is good, but its not possible for all to do this. Therefore although, this is still possible, the fact is , we have responsilbities and ambitions. Therefore the rule is bigger, the better.
Lastly if a big company finds a competent future leader in you, they mentor you for the big role, which small companies cannot do. Take example of succession planning in leading indian and global companies and then you will understand.
The winning political party choose this way. It went out ‘big’ on these front.
Change is evolutionary and not revolutionary (except the tech world) and therefore too much reliance on young blood, young or hip thoughts can prove fatal for companies. Too much out of box thinking can prove fatal for us on personal front as well.
4) Strategy always work in the long term …… the farther the horizon, the sweeter the success.
Long term vs short term, truth vs cheating are some of the dilemmas that persons and companies face. While many firms have tried to focus on short term to increase profits, they suffered from what is known as short term myopia.
Narendra modi had planned his political agenda from a very long time and had internal support for this. Since there was only one aim that was clear and concise, pursuing it would have been quite easier.
Individuals can learn a lot from this. If you are in HSC, think about your career with 5 year horizon, or if you are at masters, then think of your professional position 5 years from that period. This helps in articulating your plans nicely.
When it comes to short term, one thinks of holidays or leisure or relief. Yes one should have all of it, but at some specific time and not just at any time. Therefore think of long term, and stay away from short term distractions. Many of your colleagues who do bachelors will get a job, but you yourselves know that what you are doing is best of its class and you will succeed. Therefore avoid short term hindrances such as above.
5) Being a silent spectator and expecting things to settle down in your favour is the silliest thing to ever come to your mind. The probability that things won’t work in favor is more. Therefore try not to avoid the situation but counter it.
This is the biggest mistake everyone, whether it be a politician/company or individual does. One has to be proactive and nothing can be expected to come our way very easily.
When it comes to companies, take example of blackberry and nokia. Their downfall post 2008 is a classic case study for strategic management. These companies thought that market forces will themselves shut off apple and android and therefore, they themselves did not take that effective steps and the result is very clear. Nokia has been sold and blackberry is on the verge of bankruptcy.
At personal level, we always say ‘chalta hai yaar, ho jayenga’. Nothing will work this way. You have to yourself come into the ‘maidaan-e-jung’. This does not mean fighting, but being actually involved and expecting lesser help from others. Don’t overrely on others for job references or tips or advices. Take limited help and act yourselves only.
6) Like voters in politics, consumers / clients / dependents should be never seen as always favoring you, or totally reliant on you. One flip and everything changes.
Like the above cited example, companies should never think that their customers shall always be theirs. Voters and consumers are alike. If politicians and customers think of them as homogenous or stone idols, then they are wrong. Because, they can be less involved , but when time comes , they show up in full force and turn tide once and for all. The election results are a testimony to this.
The earlier government failed to address many burning issues and therefore the people voted against them.
At an individual level, when we become professionals and deal with our clients, try to be good in service and prompt.
7) You are not unique, there are, there were and there will be many like you …. Be adapting, be future ready, learn from the past mistakes.
The world is an ebullient, ever evolving and dynamic place. If you think that you are very unique, then you are in a big mistake. Nothing is unique in this world (Theoretically and scientifically, nothing is unique in this world. If you’ve read about multiverses and parallel universes, you many know that nothing is special and unique and everything can and is repeated. Just for reference…)
The point is simple …… One is unique, but on a very large scale, everything is replaceable and is replaced. Therefore learn to learn, adapt and compromise.
Companies that have failed to change themselves find themselves written off very sooner or later. At an individual level, have respect for other’s opinions, have respect for other professionals. What is going on in the income tax legislation is a testimony to this.
8) Be simple and down to earth. Believe in simplicity. Respect other’s knowledge, experience and wisdom. Never ever think the other as ‘Hum kaun hai ? Hamaare saamne wo log kya hai ’?
Honorable prime minister is an example of simplicity. Be it in his approach, attire or speech, he exudes simplicity. Simplicity does not necessarily mean dressing or behaving simply. It’s an overall quality. The way you talk to others, the way you behave totally defines your version of simplicity.
At company level, many companies spend millions on ceo compensation, evade taxes and shun their social responsibilities. Many companies criticized the farm loan waiver given by the government, but many of them themselves beg with banks for loan restructuring. Although this has nothing to do with simplicity, a conclusion that one can derive from this is that, high flyers, if they fall, fall harder than the normal paced flyers.
At personal level, simple means being friendly, co-operative and mixing up socially. Many friends who get nice placements suddenly develop an ego complex towards those who fail to get a job. They give reasons like ‘bilkul fursat nahi hai’. While being busy is a genuine reason that should not be used to avoid someone.
9) Always Learn to learn something from anyone including your rivals.
Political rivalry is fiercer than that at individual or business fields. Yet many politicians learn to learn from their rivals.
Companies can and do often learn from their rivals experiences. At personal level, if one has rivalry , that should turn into outright enmity which can prove self-destructive. One can even learn from his rivals.
10) If your core is clean and clear, external blemishes won’t tar you . They will smoothen your image instead and deter the others from opposing you.
A person whose soul is clear and clean can and should always expect to come out clean from all the allegations levelled against him. Narendra modi went through this process. Many politicians go through this. Many companies have such a strong goodwill or reputation built through honesty and principals that petty allegations by petty person do not deter their rock solid foundation.
An individual who always has been following good morals and truth should expect the decisions to come by his side (unless the luck is totally opposed to him).
Countless references can prove that investors, employers, partners and friends favor people who have a clean and clear core. Therefore be as good as you can be.
11) No matter how qualified you are, it’s not just education that matters. Education is just a process. Without being qualified or being a so called professional, you have guts to change the world.
The biggest fault of this world is that, qualifications are still what matter the most. But is it that without good qualifications, you are good for nothing. Absolutely not. There are thousands of examples for this. To understand taxes, one need not be a chartered accountant. No finance minister or comptroller and auditor general of India has been a c.a… Therefore to say that others do not understand taxes is just plainly wrong.
Google’s Eric Schmidt and twitter’s Sean Paul even went to the point that they are ready to recruit a person without a college degree if he has the talent. If companies like Google can recruit such people, no further reasoning is required to support this view.
12) Too much compliance and laws make jack a dull boy. There should be governance. Sadly even the companies’ act 2013 is just a old wine in new bottle, with slight change. Businesses should always be not seen as burden on society.
Indian laws have been deterrent to full-fledged progress and entrepreneurship. Even the government had and has understood this. Since 1991 it has liberalized to pace up with neighbors. Even the mighty, one sided and strong Communist party in china has to bow and lax stringent rules to let the country grow at magnifying pace. In china it was den Xiaoping who first started liberalization.
Although we have progressed, much more is needed. While the companies’ act 2013 is no doubt a great piece of legislation, yet it has failed to address many issues. Labor laws in India need a complete overhaul. Companies are still much much burdened with unnecessary compliances and lethargic structures. In terms of ease of business, India’s ranks have not seen much improvements.
Narendra modi has taken few steps like quashing the e.g.o.ms , reducing redundant ministries etc. Yet much more needs to be done.
Compliances, when increased beyond a point, choke innovation in companies.
13) When its time for change, tough decision making is the sole criterion, and nothing else can be done.
Companies start grow and then collapse. They are either merged or liquidated. During their growth phase , they stick to the most beneficial product or plan. But when it comes to tough times, they fail to take tough decisions. They stick with their old structure and result is that , they become more and more vulnerable. A point comes when everything is gone.
Politicians who accept changing times, take tough decisions in good faith always succeed. The winning party also took some bold decisions which have bear fruit in form of a landmark victory.
At personal level, tough decision can be of career. You yourself should understand, that if there is a time for leaving something or keeping it aside, it’s better to do it at right time. If not done in time, all that is left is frustration and sulking in grief.
14) Turning blind eye towards the problematic points is nothing but a suicide. IF not cured, the problematic points will grow and accentuate into a threat.
Companies slowly become monolithic and static as they grow. What happens is that the problem areas, despite being visible, are not noticed. It’s better to treat this problems at initial stage only. The losing party in election suffered from such flaws, which grew out to become a big incurable problem at the end.
At individual level, the problems can be easily tackled by consulting your parents , teachers and friends.
15) You can hate them, you can blame ‘em , but you cannot avoid them. Experience wins over directionless youth zeal.
You can hate or blame politicians, but cannot ignore them. All are affected by their decision, right or wrong. Unless there is total dictatorship or coup de etat in our country, political will can be used for our own benefit. Therefore bad mouthing about politics is just ignorance.
(It shall be safe and right to deduce the writer’s political affiliation from the thoughts expressed herein)
(To avoid controversy, name of parties have been used as winning parties and loosing parties)
By – Rohit Jain
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