August 29, 2011

The Indian Development Paradox

I have been away for some time since my last post on Leadership.

I recently visited India, and the first notable thing was how overpopulated and polluted the city of Mumbai was. A fetid milieu is evident in many parts of the Metro. This is also evident in other cities though at a lower scale, but a scale that has crossed the benchmark of being termed as 'acceptable", in terms of global standards.

India for long has been an epitome of manufacturing and IT prowess, but the developmental leap has resulted in a subsequent rush to one of the world's biggest metros - Mumbai. The vast pressure created by population, infrastructure needs and sanitation have been paramount, but left much to be desired from the ruling party - Congress.

Although the "common man" has now extended reach to a better standard of living, but that does not come easy given the able pressure on employment, settlement and education. The latter has now become a norm in every household, and tends to drive the middle-class lifestyle which is now estimated at 780 million.

There is ample to be invested in infrastructure and instituting policies that control the population pressure, which clearly remains the biggest threat to the country in the medium term. Awareness has to be spread among the rural settlements and simultaneously overcoming the stereo-type norms of having a "big" family.

India remains one of the emerging hotspots of IT and Manufacturing, and Telecoms in the region, if not the biggest. If corporate India could overhaul the economy to give the country a new birth, it is due time similar emphasis ought to be given by the Government to the masses to control the ill-effects of development.

May 1, 2011

What defines Leadership?

Whether during our routine or informal conversations, it is a common feature to evaluate Leaders of State or Organizations based on their set of actions that have positively or negatively impacted their Leadership. We constructively and belligerently converse about the Do’s and Don’ts of Leadership. But what defines Leadership - and more importantly enables one to “measure” effectiveness?

Peter Drucker – the founding father of Modern Management and synonymous with Leadership – keenly explores this concept. He believes that leaders are defined by their styles and temperaments, and it's what a leader knows and does that identify its “effectiveness”.

Whether that is implied in modern day economics or political framework, the notion holds true in that efficiency is influenced by the thought-process and an inclusive approach that is for the benefit of all. Several leaders fail to carry the principle forward which affects the attainment of pre-set objectives.

Presently, it is common phenomena where leadership in state-run corporations is incapacitated due to several factors, which eventually reflect leadership orientation. The masses are upset, economics suffer, and the overall development process lags behind and takes a form of a degenerative process.

Hence, the following Leadership Principles are key to effectiveness:

Management is mostly to do with people, and not things or procedures.
Today, twice as many Indian leaders as U.S. leaders believe that human capital drives business success.

Any entity begins to die the day it is run for the benefit of the insiders and not for the benefit of the outsiders.
This is most common in State Utilities as well as Corporates marred by mismanagement, corruption and resource misallocation. This greatly affects the developmental process.

Know the value of planned abandonment.
Decide what not to do. Drucker says, "Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all."

Focus on opportunities, not problems.
Be it leaders of state or organizations, it is common to assign best resources to problems, not opportunities – harming goal-orientation and delivery of objectives.

Engaging an inclusive approach.
No individual has the skills or ability to do every job. The purpose of a team is to make strengths productive and weaknesses irrelevant.

Leadership is governed by many principles, ideologies, and thought leadership. The above are the most common guidelines for a Leader to succeed - according to me. Let me know what you think!

February 7, 2011

Planning your Year 2011

So its that time of the year where we have to pan out our objectives, goals / targets for the year ahead! Isn’t it the time when you struggle to organize your ambitions for the year ahead and are torn between the paradoxes of how big or small your dreams should be? That is considering that deja-vu is a main hindrance!

It is good to have idealistic dreams as they lead us to a conclusive thought and a course of action. To set a pathway to attainment, it is essential to categorically define your targets. These could be professional, family oriented, financial, educational or spiritual. Any of these domains would attract you for your overall well-being. So how do you balance-out while intensively engrossed with the daily routines of life?

For achieving such targets, you need to treat it like any other goal you previously strived to attain. Iron out your thoughts, plan a course of action, maintain it consistently, and keep track of your progress to correct it when needed.

Don’t forget to assign a time frame – whether short or medium term, as they help you to stay on course. Write down your goals, with their progress and periodically refer to see how well you have sailed the course towards attainment. Remember to be precise in your goal definition, while prioritizing and being realistic.

I wish you well for planning Twenty Eleven!