After the resounding win in the Election 2019 in India, PM Narendra Modi gave his first speech at the joint parliamentary meeting of the National Democratic Party, before starting his second term. The leader of the country spoke like a true leader of modern business. After all the famous Winston Churchill once said, “Politics is not a game, but serious business.” PM Modi agrees with the ideology of Business and Politics. He knows that the nation is a business and should be run like one! His speech certainly indicates that sentiment.
As I listened to the speech, I could picture many leaders nodding their heads in agreement. Is it wrong to hope that the executives would have focused on the expressions of the attendees? With vicarious pleasure, maybe! The mighty MPs are as scared and humbled. They would have recalled similar meetings in their conference rooms with their reporting managers and CEOs, as individual and collective future were discussed. As a hard-working executive married to a Founder & CEO, I am in the unique position to understand both the vision of the Prime Minister and the dread of the MPs.
Here are my #10takeaways from this speech!
- You have to think of the larger goal – During his speech, the Prime Minister told his future and present MPs, “Work for your constituency, but don’t forget the country as a whole”. Go treat yourself to chocolate chip ice-cream if you have never heard this or as a leader said this! If you are an executive, your company may not be going places – so go ahead and look for a new job! Are you a leader who has never said this, then it is high time to buy an MBA book.
- You have to take care of your constituency – Each MP is elected from a constituency. The MP is responsible for ensuring infra, education, jobs, etc., for all the people in his or her constituency. Similarly, while executives work for the larger vision of their organizations, each wants their department to ace their performance. Don’t expect any business leader to say this – it is expected of you – just look at your KRAs! It is the classic case of Business in Politics!
- Energy – Most journalists and bloggers are focusing on the two words the prime minister used – energy and synergy. Now, if you are working with a successful organization or an entrepreneur who has come from one such organization, ‘Be energetic, people’ is a catchphrase you hear, and imbibe, becoming a part of you. All leaders want people with energy, but what about the laidback, and not so ‘lithe’? They are the ones holding the fort while the energetic are brandishing their swords, sorry, getting clients onboard!
- Synergy – If this word does not begin to describe new age business lingo, then somebody, please reach out and give me a lesson. A quick search on Google shows this definition, “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other substances, to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” For those of you going “What the funk”, it means when all employees work together, happily, then the business is a success. Leaders want it, employees want it, but individual goals can become, to put it nicely, roadblocks to companies shopping for success! It happened to the Congress – so, yeah, a break in synergy can happen anytime and anywhere!
- First Time Leaders – Shed Your Arrogance – In modern businesses, is arrogance a gift or a curse? We want all our leaders to be humble, but a certain arrogance, which stems from self-belief is required. As an executive and manager, I know the line separating belief from bumblebee is so thin it’s almost invisible! But, the PM, put the win in perspective, you cannot afford arrogance. Similarly, business leaders will have no qualms in telling their people, the need to be humble, always be available and remain attached to their roots. This is Politics in Business!
- Nothing is off-the-record – How true! How quaint! How modern! We all know the reality of social media. The permanence of a social post! When an MP speaks to a journalist off-the-record, the PM warned, don’t be surprised to see a news item the next day focusing on your words. Ok, your leader will not say this, but every seasoned executive knows that what they speak in hushed conversations is misinterpreted and told to the immediate boss and their boss! So, seriously, think, rethink, repeat and then speak!
- I am one of you –When PM Modi says this, we want to believe him! Every leader worth his salt says this! Every executive wants to believe! How many executives really believe this statement? How many leaders are not lip-syncing? The ones who behave like they mean it are the ones who manage to scale new heights – their people are happy to follow them. For the rest, executives know you are lying, really we do. Say it, as you mean it, and then walk the talk!
- Give VIP Culture a boot – Imagine an India without the “Do you know who my father is?” culture. I cheered on hearing this and will give be highly impressed when (IF) it finally happens. But, in organizations, the client is the VIP as is the senior management. You can’t even think of giving them a boot! My takeaway – clients are partners and when there is respect and positivism, there is no VIP culture, just two separate energies synergizing! I am getting good at the business talks!
- Ambition and Aspirations – This is a big one – the PM spoke about national ambition and regional aspirations. In business terms, it is personal aspirations and business ambition or vice versa? If you know the difference, share the details. I believe aspirations are the stepping stones for ambition! The formula is – Aspire-Aim-Achieve. It’s not as simple or awe-inspiring as it sounds! The PMs NDA speech became wonderful with these words, but the magnitude of living up to these is huge! Executives and leaders know it so well – who has not attended seminars or created PPTs with objectives, strategies and tactics! That’s the finer print, or way forward, for these two lofty words.
- Women Power – Women have stormed the Lok Sabha in large numbers – the PM focused on this with a smile. Not enough, but higher than ever before. Out of the 724 women who contested, 78 women have been elected. Should this be big for a country which already had a woman Prime Minister? It shouldn’t be but it is! The elections 2019 are a springboard for the bigger role women will play. How does that resonate with modern business? Every day, across the world, women are breaking barriers to break the glass ceiling, and yet people will ask them – when will you settle, who are you seeing, etc. Look up Jemimah Rodrigues people or simply ask Mr Rahul Gandhi, who has been handled the bastion of his family – why – because he is the son! Patriarchy continues to rock, and it will sink us all! Smart business owners and leaders don’t differentiate.
Take a lesson, or teach it to others, politics is business, business is money, money is happiness, and happiness is people!