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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Outperforming oneself

That the rapid improvements that me and my Delhi division team dreams of, would come only with perfect teamwork is something that all of us have now started appreciating. The rapidly changing scenario, here in Delhi makes me vividly recollect the unconventional start of 2008 when my entire MPT team watched “Goal”.

It was the third movie that we, the MPT team, watched in the office and during office hours on the first day of 2008. The intention like in all previous shows was not just entertainment, but to instill in the staff, ranging from peons to the top management, a strong sense of desire to achieve something for the state of Madhya Pradesh. This show, like the previous ones was attended by the entire staff together, without caring a fig for the official hierarchial system that prevents a managing director from breaking bread with his peon. For a true cine experience, popcorns and coffee were also served during the show. Well changing thought processes is a long drawn out affair but a beginning would have been made, if my men just start talking and dreaming about doing something for the state, deliverance will automatically follow.

Lagaan, Chak De and Goal mark the beginning of a new era in Indian cinema, an era where movies have starting working as a management tool to inspire the populace into achieving something extraordinary in their ordinary lives. “Lagaan” was the story of a ragtag team of rustic Indians coming together to beat a team of britishers at the very british game of cricket. “Chak De” is the story of how a much ridiculed and maligned Indian women’s hockey team puts its act together to win the world cup and the latest in the series “Goal” is the story of how a football club in Southall, London, pulls up its socks to achieve the impossible task of wining the league championship and in the process saving the club from extinction.

The common thread in all the three stories has been the presence of one single individual in the role of captain or coach, who inspires the team members to achieve very high performance levels, levels that were originally considered impossible by the players as well as the general public. The single individual, around whom the story rotates, be it Amir Khan in Lagaan, Shahrukh Khan in Chak De or Boman Irani in Goal had an extremely high power catalytic effect on the performance of the team. All leadership qualities, about which we read in management books were amply visible in these three individual roles.

How true it is. The hindi phrase “Akela Chana Bhad Nahi Fod Sakta” is now not true. It is always one single individual who makes a difference. A group of rudderless people, howsoever brilliant they may be on an individual basis can not and shall never be able to bring about turnarounds. Be it the Delhi Metro, the Reliance empire, the Microsoft or public sectors like the ONGC or NBCC, all have been led to success by individuals who have outperformed even the most optimistic of expectations. People who have defied the word “impossible” and inspired their men to outperform themselves, not for a materialistic gain but for achieving self actualization are the ones who actually change the world. India needs more of such men in pivotal roles cutting across sectors and territories and this is the true message of “Lagaan”, “Chak De” and “Goal”.

1 comment:

  1. A real good piece. India in general and Indian Railway in particular should also have many true LEADERSHIP positions and top leadership (is it MR in case of IR !) should ensure the right incumbants/captains. When will we be awake!!!