India Tomorrow : Each of Us Contributes to Strategic Leadership

The Indian Optician, Feb., 2009

A lot would have happened across the world, since I wrote in the last issue. Significant, life changing, world changing events ….. 26/11 in Mumbai & subsequent events, Slumdog Millionaire, A New ‘Audacity of Hope’ rising in the United States of America ….. How will Obama ‘Change The World ?’ !! There seems to be chaos & confusion. “Where are we headed ?”, we ask each other & ourselves.

That takes me to what I wrote in the last issue, “Strategic Leadership in Business” ….. it requires efforts to clear confusion & to get clarity in business, to determine ‘Current’ & ‘Desired’ states, to make choices to allocate resources in the most effective manner to deliver Value to our customers, to get The Right People to Execute Well & then to monitor, measure & reward them.

When we work for any organisation, in some way or the other, big or small in scope, we think & evolve business frameworks for our areas of operation. We do it for our products, functions or departments and at senior levels, for the entire company or for our own businesses. In most cases, we draw from & build on disciplined strategic frameworks and concepts by people like Porter, Ansoff, Drucker, BCG, Kotler, Jack Welch, Louis Gerstner, Howard Schulz, CK Prahlad, Jim Collins & many others who have shared a whole world of experience with us. We involve in rigorous analysis as Product Managers, Functional Heads, CEOs, Businessmen & Entrepreneurs varying the scope & breadth of our coverage, depending on our level & role.

This structured, disciplined approach in our work enables us to look at details, while keeping in place the context of mapping the ‘Whole’. Rarely, however, do we adopt this approach or reflect with the same rigour, structure & discipline, when it comes to levels above & below the company i.e. for the Individual Microcosm or the National Macrocosm. It could, I feel, help at both the levels ….. The Individual & The National, if, in an integrated manner we apply the same approach as we use in our professional work setup in our companies. As an example, let’s attempt to go through one route of thinking we could build on, to look at India as an organisation, to be run professionally ….. as Jim Collins would say, with Disciplined People, Disciplined Thought & Disciplined Action. As for any organisation, the starting point remains our Desire, Mission, Vision, Strategy, Values ….. Let’s try ….. !!

Desire : To see a Developed, Prosperous & Healthy India.

Mission : To create Total/Balanced Wealth i.e. Spiritual, Physical & Material Wealth for India. Striving for only Material Wealth, as reflected in economic & financial indicators alone, maybe necessary but not sufficient. Similarly, just taking pride in the Spiritual & Cultural background of India may not be enough. Physical Wealth i.e. Infrastructure, Health etc. & Material Wealth are also important & therefore the need for Balanced Wealth Creation ….. A balance of Yin & Yang.

Target Audience/Size : A billion + Indians (Customers !!).

Customer Deliverable : An environment which is conducive to the development of full Creative Potential for every Indian, which, when made All Inclusive & Collectively Exhaustive, creates A Whole, a Lot Lot more than the sum of parts.

Situation Analysis : A billion + people; 50% below 20 years; Infrastructure, Literacy, Health Care need improvement; Rich & Diverse Cultural & Spiritual Heritage. If the Potential of a Culturally Rich, Young, Billion plus people can be unleashed & sustained by keeping them Healthy, there can be Magic !!

Strategy : To develop Human Resources by providing education & employable skills, enhance efficiency by providing the required facilities/tools & make them sustainable by keeping them Healthy. The rich cultural & spiritual heritage to be built into education early in life, so that along with the Right Skills, they develop an Inner Strength & Maturity that they can draw on, throughout life. These are assets which should not be left to be dabbled in, late in life. If built in the early years, the young can become a lot more Effective, Transcending themselves & not ‘Wasting their Youth’.

Vision : To see India as The Number One Country in Total Wealth Creation. We can have The Best Product in The World i.e. Our People

What adds Value to Customers (Indians) ? : Education, Healthcare, Right Facilities/Tools

What to Measure ? : ‘GDP/Capita’ ….. the measurable, purely economic component (not exhaustive & sufficient, but surely, still necessary) that drives the whole machine, the measurable outcome that fuels growth & success; each unit i.e. each person will then become the driver & beneficiary from the process; Inclusive Growth reaching out to the Last Indian, in the Last Lane, in the Last Village ….. !!

Right People : To develop people with 1) Right Skills 2) Great Execution 3) Passion for India

Values : Integrity & Ethics, Freedom of Thought & Expression, Continuous Learning throughout Life, Respect for Everyone, Humility, Cultural Sensitivity, Celebration of Life.

Brand : India

Brand Positioning : Professionalism with A Heart. Young, Skilled, Warm, Confident, Rich Cultural & Spiritual Heritage, Inner Strength ….. Good Orderly Discipline resides here !!

The above illustration is definitely not the final word in The Journey that India is on. However, as in an organisation, continuous education, training/retraining & Brand Communication (with Strategic Organisational Needs in focus) play a crucial role, so also in this case. This is NOT about forcefully imposing a way, but by nurturing an inclusive & harmonious interplay of ‘Purusha (Soul)’ & ‘Prakriti (Nature)’ ….. The Indian Way !!

Having a 360 degree, all encompassing approach could allow collective development of the Individual & the ‘Organisation’. If each individual is going to be the basic unit of measurement of organisational & national development, applying this framework in a disciplined & structured manner to develop individuals, can lead to multiple building blocks working separately, creating a movement which reinforces the bigger cause.

Coming closer home to our areas of work, the same applies to development of people within our businesses & organisations. Very often we ignore the development of our staff & people. We think that they will leave us after getting developed or trained, little realising that underdeveloped employees will suppress our own growth. Not only that, our customers see them as suboptimal service providers & go elsewhere. People development remains The Key in all areas of life. Infact, it is ECHO principle at work ….. Employees’ & therefore Customers’ Health reflects on Owners’ Well Being !! Also, employees are more loyal, passionate & effective once they see efforts for their own development too ….. And why would you then not pay these developed people well, if they are good performers & if the fear is that they will leave for better salaries (which is also not always true). As GDP/Capita can be a good indicator for India, so also Revenue per Employee can be used in our businesses. Develop employees to lead to Higher Revenues & The Cycle continues ….. each effort contributing to The Bigger India Dream/Vision : To see India as The Number One Country in Total Wealth Creation with The Best Product in The World i.e. Our People

The New India will be created by each one of us contributing in our own way, in our own businesses, in our own companies ….. In the words of Abdul Kalam : ‘Creativity comes from Beautiful Minds’ ….. !! The Outcomes one gets are a result of what one plans & prepares for. Ultimately, as someone said, ‘Luck is The Residue of Design’ …..

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