Pot-Holed Roads & Organisational Reality. Leaders Beware!

It’s been some time since I write a post. The Shah Of Blah & Hira Singh are battling in my head to be heard, but they have to wait. I have a lingering flu from my travels, and don’t feel like editing my photos, but here are some thoughts from the road.

It has also been some time since I wrote about organisations, leadership and all that sweet, sweet jazz.

When our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was elected to the Post of Prime Minister, he came in on the back of promise of development, He used his humble origins to good effect, and was helped by the country’s distaste for the Congress Party and the Gandhi Family. He started off on a good note, talking about development, discipline, a clean India, and swept the world with his charm.

The rhetoric built up – Clean India, Make In India, Discipline, etc. So did the strange voices, talking of a hard line Hindu world view. These voices also said that India had invented planes and space craft several thousand years ago. They spoke of the people from the North East part of India as immigrants to Delhi. They spoke of conversions to Hinduism and encouraged the vandalisation of churches.

Anyone who knows about the chaotic traffic in India knows of the state of the roads. They can best be described as pot-holes stitched together by bits of tar. Navigating these roads alongside murderous drivers requires sublime skills and Divine Intervention.

To add to the joy, we have speed-breakers and police barriers. The police erect these barriers because they have been told to do so, and sit by the roadside scratching their testicles while they wait for the next terrorist attack.

While the rhetoric speaks of development, the actual practices on the ground reflect an entirely different reality; a reality where there is every effort placed to ensure that movement is obstructed.

Now, if I were to use this as a metaphor for many organisations, (and, I am talking of organisations as a whole, not just the corporate ones) doesn’t this seem to be disturbingly familiar.

Leaders come, talk, and go. Their trips are arranged, the lawns manicured for their benefit and everyone fawns in their presence. So, while the leader starts to believe in his/her own myth, life close to the road continues to be a series of obstructions.

Once in a way, a wake up call is given.

When Barack (as our PM kept calling him) came to India, our Prime Minister wore a suit with his name embroidered into the seams. As per reports, it cost about 17,000 US Dollars. For a poor country like ours, this is small change.

The transformation from the humble tea seller to the 17,000 suit-man was complete. The myth continued to build.

During the recent elections in Delhi, his party got a massive wake up call, when they won just 3 seats of the 70. The other 67 went to the Aam Aadmi Party, lead by a chap called Kejriwal. Kejriwal is called The Muffler Man, because he wears a muffler in a strange manner. Perhaps he likes Frank Zappa’s song – The Muffin Man, and decided to wear a muffler.

While the myth, and the rhetoric continued to build, our PM seemed to forget that he actually has to start to get things done.

This may seem familiar to some of you…

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