Uncategorized

I was like Kejriwal. Glad I changed

LR final-9923Many many years back, when I took up my first role as a Business Manager in a Bank, I was a bit like Arvind Kejriwal. Brash. Loud. Visibly aggressive. I always felt that the only way in which one could do well in life is by aggressively driving home a single point agenda.This approach was backed by the strong conviction that I had in my business, my team, my policies and in what I wanted to achieve. I felt at that time, that the only way of demonstrating conviction and strong will was aggression. I would try and bull doze people in meetings.  Show off as to how brilliant and aligned my team was to the cause that I represented. Ring fence the team well enough so that outsiders don’t get a chance to get inside information about the team. In essence I ran an island within an organisation.

I felt it was necessary. Necessary because there were constituents of the business which did not report to me. I ran a lending business. Like most foreign banks, Credit did not report to me. Compliance was a separate team. Operations was independent. In all meetings my approach was to highlight the flaws of the other teams and stake my claim to take over those arms of the business – if not in letter, at least in spirit.

This was the choice I made. And in life, every choice has its consequences. My choice in running after the departments, which were not under my direct control, made those teams wary. They became defensive. I made more enemies than friends. And trust me, when you make enemies at work, you spend the entire day figuring out their next move rather than work towards betterment of your business profitability.

In politics and on the central stage, Arvind Kejriwal is doing exactly what I did in my corporate life.  But I learnt my lessons. Some though counseling by well wishers and friends. And some the hard way. But I learnt them fast.

I have learnt that in life, great leaders are not those who deliver with things directly under their control, but are those who learn to work with people not directly in their span of control, but upon whom they have reasonable influence on account of stature, position and knowledge. Only if you do that, would people rally around you, trust you, work for you. And when the entire team – direct and indirect rallies around you, can success be far behind?

That’s why my unsolicited advice to Arvind Kejriwal would be – get back to work. First do things under your control to improve life of people in Delhi. They voted for you. Before you put them through hardships, get them to rally for you by fixing things under your control – things which you can do yourself. I am sure there are hundred things you can do on your own. Build a name for yourself. Demonstrate good governance. Once you do that people will themselves support you in your battle for taking control over units which you have only an influence over. And at time, it will be time for the central government to figure out a reason why they need to hold on to those departments. Give people a reason to fight for you.

Anyone can get work done by people who directly work for you. Great leaders go outside their sphere of control and change lives by influencing outcomes beyond their  direct line of sight.

INFLUENCE….. and not CONTROL is the key word here My Kejriwal. Hope you learn your lessons fast, else you will be disappointing loads of Indians who saw in you someone who could change the face of Indian politics. As of now they are beginning to lose faith in you.

Categories: Uncategorized

38 replies »

  1. Very well written sir, I completely agree, that it not about one person but a party & that he needs to not make more enemies but friends, it needs to be Inclusive Governance, as if he manages to convince 30 others then wether he is there or not there, the people will not suffer & we will be on a path towards development.

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    • Wise people did not work different they always think different …as pointed out by Ravi sir….we believed on AAP to bring different in politics & people safty…but now AAP is more into influence mode and forgotten the actual assignment for which they came into power….i humble request AAP to shows the new ways to controlling corruption & administration.

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  2. But isn’t AK actually riding a tiger? No matter what he does, he will continue to face flak, scrutiny and unsolicited advice for all his actions. Think about it – If he stops taking teams and departments head-on, we the people will be the first one to shout that AK has lost his sting. Or the fact that Power and Position has tamed him down…and he is now not much different from the spineless politicos he was once confronting.

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  3. Unfortunately this approach does not work in politics. Corrupt don’t reciprocate. They only take advantage of weaknesses, situations and loopholes to perpetrate their rule.

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  4. Nice Ravi, takes a lot of courage to admit things. You’re absolutely right. Fortunately I learned these lessons quite early in my career. Great blog!

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  5. I felt as if reading my own story, only the domain changed. Thats exactly my point, we can be aggressive and make enemies, or work together and deliver results. Greatness of a man is the right virtue displayed, which brings everone together and takes the journey forward to reach the destination! Looking back, it should give satisfaction for changing lifes for better of many.

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  6. Well said sir. The way Mr.Kejriwal has reached the level of CM , through a mode of aggression and obviously with some strategies..as you have mentioned, hope he will realize soon that the ultimate way to have success in life is , by making more friends and not enemies.. I think people of Delhi should understand his thinking and support him as well for their good sake..

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  7. Exactly!! As the saying goes You nailed it on the head. It’s very easy to point finger at some one and blame everything on them but very difficult when you are in their position. A true leader never says “If you are not with me then you are against me”. He will make sure that he takes forward even those who oppose them. The attitude, antics, speeches, words used by AK and AAP shows that they believe in the above quote. It’s very saddening to see a party which was voted to make the system better is hell bent on destroying the system completely. Very sad!!

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  8. I do not think organizational politics is similar to the national governmental politics. At the national level, the dust has accumulated so much that you need a revolution to shake it off and then begin the evolutionary developmental process.

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  9. The advice is pretty solid, cogent and well-intentioned. But with all due respect, I dont see a situation where you (or many others) “were a bit like Kejriwal”. The author, and a lot of us, trained to be managers, joined a corporate, learned the ropes and kept moving forward. We had a template. We werent placed in a dysfunctional organisation (politics/governance), didnt have to quit what we trained to do (civil service) to do something completely different (grass roots politics, going against the establishment). We didnt have a situation where one is called to account daily by the media, expected to deliver in a few weeks and have an uncertain amount of time in which to fix issues. And unlike the loans business, where you could still fire your DSA or staff, here you cannot fire anyone! And remember, here Kejriwal being held to account for law and order without control over policing. Wonder how you might react if held to account for building, ATM or IT security, even though your job only covers lending sales! 🙂

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  10. I really like the line that ” …get them to rally for you by fixing things under your control – things which you can do yourself. ” It is only the 1st month in office and AK has started complaining instead of focusing on the low hanging fruits first. He needs to set some short and medium term goals and get a credible name for himself by making a road map for meeting some of the expectations.

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  11. All of us have Kejriwals in us: we too are not happy about many things around us. But, as you said, ‘working with’ is the method not trying to control. We, a team of people who want to work for change, call it positive activism and trust me, we were able to impact positively even on the most corrupt officers. It needs more conviction, voice and energy.

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  12. Every new role comes with some LEARNING, UNLEARNING and RELEARNING phases.
    AK has been successful in LEARNING the condition of the state and highlighting the key initiatives required to bring about the positive changes.
    What AK needs to take into consideration (very quickly), is to UNLEARN some of his methodologies followed during the initial stages.
    And going by his records, I am sure he would be quick to RELEARN the apt approach in order to justify the beliefs of the AAM ADMI.

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  13. Boss, well said. There are 2 take away points from this blog. 1. A good, matured approach towards every one in an organization which is the easiest way to win people – fortunately I follow this from the beginning of my career. 2. Of course the second one is for AK, as rightly said, there are umpteen things he can start with !! People like us are all waiting for AK to prove himself, so that we can expect some AKs from across the country !!

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  14. Totally agree with Amitabh… Let’s get real. This is not a meaningless issue of running a corporate division…we are talking about human safety and security here …especially in an environment where all around you don’t want that change especially those who have powerful vested interests. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

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  15. AAP’s AK does not listen to anyone. That is how he got to where he is now. So all those who are telling him what NOT to do, don’t waste your time.

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  16. Business is far different from politics. So i wonder how you compare you experience with AK. Its like comparing Rathan TATA with GANDHI or Netaji.

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  17. Business is far different from politics. So i wonder how you compare you experience with AK. Its like comparing Rathan TATA with GANDHI or Nethaji.

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  18. Business is far different from politics. So i wonder how you compare your experience with AK. Its like comparing Rathan TATA with GANDHI or Netaji.

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  19. All that what has been said is good if all the teams are truthful and honest. What do you do with teams that use lies as a strategic tool. They only understand when they are challenged with objective truth. When they know others are watching and lies will not stand, only then do they improve. With parties like Congress who have been fooling people even before independence, only Arwind-giri will work.

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  20. Great article! AK needs to know that he has to work with other teams (like police), making them his enemies will not help anything. If he feels police is dysfunctional, he needs to work with them to improve them, instead of pissing them (and everyone else) off.

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  21. All valid points in the context of the corporate world, Ravi. Can’t agree more. But is the country-level backdrop the same? Is the latter’s wild-west dynamics the same? In the limited time he has before Congress withdraws, he is working to deliver manifesto promises, failing which the same junta will turn around to say ‘see we told you novices can’t deliver’. Safety of women linked to lack of police effectiveness linked to reporting structure linked to HM’s corruption is something even you and me can decipher as a high-probability root cause. What is wrong if he is resorting to extreme tactics to attempt to resolve the root cause, especially given that the window of opportunity is small and that the opponent is Goliath. Let’s give him the benefit of doubt that he knows what he is doing (he’s sufficiently high-IQ: IIT and IRS and we’ve seen his interviews). In the ‘safety’ of the corporate world, there is a CEO who can see right from wrong and get the errant team to cooperate if what Ravi’s team is highlighting is right (one might say that the mid-manager should do his bit first in ‘bringing the cross functional team together’, but lets focus on the end game). In Kejriwal’s case, we the citizens are that CEO. Can we let him down by not supporting him in his actions? Should we expect him to be diplomatic in his ways when Goliath is errant? And how long are we willing to wait for Goliath to mend his ways….another 60 years? Shouldn’t David hit him in the eye now?

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  22. In india we have waited too long a period to get things done.Mr.kejriwal has come and people expect a lot from him.time is too short.he has no other alternative.at this juncture we have to support him.At least he had the guts to expose things boldly

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  23. I can say I identify with you. I should have written a similar article from my experience it would have benefitted some at least. I am glad you did. Very well articulated.

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  24. “I was a bit like Arvind Kejriwal. Brash. Loud. Visibly aggressive”

    He is anything but brash, loud and aggressive. Anyone who sees him objectively will find him soft spoken and humble. Yes he is stubborn, which is the need of the hour.

    ” I would try and bull doze people in meetings. Show off as to how brilliant and aligned my team was to the cause that I represented. Ring fence the team well enough so that outsiders don’t get a chance to get inside information about the team. ”

    I am glad AK is far from all this and has made AAP as the most inclusive and democratic party in the history of India. SMS referendum, anyone?

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  25. Arvind is a hot potato for media or opposition nowadays.I wll not try to praise AAP but focusing Arvind only.

    bcz action speak louder then words alwys.In AAP thr might hav chance corrupted people May join,As we knw we can’t judge book by its cover as we all knw vry well.For me all parties are honest but thing is people hav becom corrupted or selfish.Arvind May hav be less experience to rule people as compare to Modi or Rahual but did u notice ny CM in delhi or othr has tried to stop corruption lik that?(dekta hai, narzarandaz krna alag baat hai)

    now Qus.Why only arvind targeted?if u hav ask sam question other politician problem will solved automatically.Now u did’t asked sam qus bcz hv less believe thm I think so.It May be one reason, seems tht he belong to category of white crow(few member came ths category) in d surrounding full of black crow.

    .oh! Soory I hav add extra insult into injury!we should praise good step,seats dificaly bother ny Indian.Also we should oppose wrong one(Don’t spare Arvind also).

    Don’t put all the eggs into one basket I.e.ur party basket.We r Indian not partian.Always support positive thing instead of supporting negative.

    Modi,Rahul,Arvind,Lalu,Mamta,Comrades all r Indian man.INDIA first only thn we can grow.!”Nhi to ladte rho tim pass tab bhi hota tha abb bhi ho jayega.!”

    PREM

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  26. Very well said.People submit to you when they can relate with you and are confident about you.
    So Sir i too believe that Arvindji should concentrate on the things directly under his control and let the positive change be felt by all those who have shown huge confidence in you. When people see the positive effect , those against him will also admire him, After all every won wants to live peacefully and with dignity.

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  27. The comparison was impressive, but I feel it this way “Instructions to ride a scooter and to drive a lorry is different, the same way corporate life and Political life too”. We cannot directly compare and conclude, it’s too early to do so… Let’s wait at least for an year, eventually we would get to know 🙂

    To support the statement “I was like Kejriwal. Glad I changed”, please share the proofs on how Kejriwal is like you.

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  28. What the author says makes sense in the corporate world, where most of the people play by rules. However, come to public life and politics, and the context changes. The most powerful and influential people currently in the system are definitely not those who “have reasonable influence on account of stature, position and knowledge” but those who have either a dynasty to back them or brute power. Corporate world is hardly representative of evolutionary instincts that humans are born with. Obviously, one can not discount power one wields due to one’s knowledge and competence, but when standing against corrupt, selfish, raw-power, one can not rely on that alone. I am not saying that one should take violent or illegal route, but one that is justly forceful.

    AAP is in hurry? No, AAP is going by its priority list. In which, security of people and dealing with corruption are highly placed. While dealing with these two things, AAP is facing no ordinary office going colleagues, but people far more sinister and dark. They have to be forceful in their ways otherwise – one day…

    And believe me, before you start guessing if I am an AAP party worker or someone related to them, I am no propagandist and have nothing to do with any of the political parties. This is an honest opinion.

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  29. What the author says makes sense in the corporate world, where most of the people play by rules. However, come to public life and politics, and the context changes. The most powerful and influential people currently in the system are definitely not those who “have reasonable influence on account of stature, position and knowledge” but those who have either a dynasty to back them or brute power. Corporate world is hardly representative of evolutionary instincts that humans are born with. Obviously, one can not discount power one wields due to one’s knowledge and competence, but when standing against corrupt, selfish, raw-power, one can not rely on that alone. I am not saying that one should take violent or illegal route, but one that is justly forceful.

    AAP is in hurry? No, AAP is going by its priority list. In which, security of people and dealing with corruption are highly placed. While dealing with these two things, AAP is facing no ordinary office going colleagues, but people far more sinister and dark. They have to be forceful in their ways otherwise – one day…

    And believe me, before you start guessing if I am an AAP party worker or someone related to them, I am no propagandist and have nothing to do with any of the political parties. This is an honest opinion.

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    • Well articulated, Ashutosh. Unlike the soft & cushy corporate world, this is as rough as the terrain can get. Extreme measures are required for extraordinary circumstances that India finds itself in now, after 65+ years of great tolerance and servitude on the part of us citizens. [I have spent 20 yrs in the corporate world, 10 of those in senior roles, so deeply familiar with corporate best practices. I am not an AAP member. But want to see India’s true potential realized]

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  30. Fully agree, on dot. Well articulated views. AK should focus on things under his control and do justice to the people who repose faith in him and AAP.

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