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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The first page!

The science of Management or the art of Leadership? While a good manager can give growth exceeding the conventional growth rates, a good leader can cross the conventional, by leaps and bounds and give stunning growth generally considered impossible by the uninitiated.

The nation however requires both, at various levels and cutting across sectors to propel it out of the state of inaction it finds itself in today. Yes it is possible to turnaround organizations, states and nations in time frames barely considered adequate even for mere planning purposes.

I am neither a manager, nor a leader, yet my team delivered a stupendous performance at both these places and that is what amazes me and also confuses me. What is important, to be a top notch manager or a leader or both. Or just to be. Perhaps just being myself without being conscious of the invisible cloak that the chair provides was the only thing that helped in what could be achieved. And this leads to another internal turmoil, whether delivery leads to self actualization or self actualization leads to delivery. Confusion reigns supreme, silently though in my own mind and that wisely brings me down to earth after the “high” of my last assignment. I need to remain firmly wedded to the ground.

My last two stints, at Madhya Pradesh Tourism for around three and a half years followed by two and a half at the Delhi division of the Northern Railways, both times as the head honcho of the organizations have been experiences beyond compare. While the first was an open territory waiting to be unleashed, the second was a closed domain that needed to be pulled out of the abyss. The important point was that both responded favourably to resuscitation attempts at the first go and that further reinforced my belief in the belief that this country is just waiting to happen.

This is not a book on how. This is a book on what really happened at both these places, the silent revolutions that my team brought about, without ruffling many feathers.

What finally resulted was amazing, even though it was fun along the way. And fun it has to be. Even the renowned Walt Disney had once said:

“It is kind of fun to do the impossible”


  1. What makes you different from others is your result-driven approach unlike the procedure oriented behaviour of other bureaucrats. What made you superior is your fearless honesty and intolerant attitude towards any sort of corruption. You are focussed, you know how to effectively use the machinery, power and people for the good cause. So you will continue to deliver, wherever you will go.

    But i have another point... it is easy to work when you have a machinery in place,authority, funds, and people. Have you ever thought how difficult it is for a social entrepreneur to work, when s/he has no machinery, no funds, no people for the good cause and a very discouraging attitude of government.

    Your task is not at all easy, but think how difficult is the task of those who have all these qualities but have to fight with the system.... and people in the system.

    Looking forward to some tips from you for social entrepreneurs like us.

    1. The road is not easy. Keep on banging your head and either the head will break or the door shall open. Keep on fighting. Remember that the negative forces generallly do not have any commmitment, even in the matter of putting road blocks. The man who has commitment shall ultimately win.

  2. Lions like you are required to tame the chickens in the government system.

  3. people occupying powerful chairs are afraid of wild horses 'cause they feel he will control everything. they feel, the core is control. probably, thats why petty politics is played when they r abt to retire n involve in politics to control. I,ve seen officers feel they r kings n they try to fool all around but r they not fooling their ownself is the real ques.

    conventional managers/leaders feel acheivement by possession of control of system, people. the real manager/leader is facilitator, one who makes them free of all controls.
    evolution of innovation was a result of freedom not control, the nature continuum is a result of freedom not control. those who think to control are afraid of the power of the colleagues/subordinates n also know that he himself is nothing in front of them.

    indian(subcontinent) system or even places where asking ques. is sin, the managers/leaders are actually afraid of the power of people under them thats why they play politics i.e, strategy to dominate to supress the real leaders. the real leaders are the common people.

    tell me frankly, do the superior officers have the real know how of basics to solve the basic. they gather from dn n co-relate their gained infon. n order as if they have given soluns.

    we need to be set free. it is long awaited. britishers went but our own whites took over thinking them to be british. thinking beyond brain n logic is needed. freedom is the gift people need for all in any organisation to progress.
    we r already far behind the schedule. u can understand in this short life with 30-40 productive yrs. where we can let our people reach. only freeing them will give solun.

  4. A lot depends on how organisations treat their employees... is out of the box thinking encouraged? is risk taking frowned upon? is a young employee displaying outstanding skills encouraged, or is he viewed as a potential threat to the system and its masters? Leadership involves to keep your employees so motivated that they deliver the best. Unfortunately in Railways, the morale of employees (esp young officers) is abysmally down. A lot of this can be attributed to initial days of training and posting... where bosses do nothing but vent their own frustration on them. I agree that there are exceptions to this, but majority of our middle managers do not realize that a very important aspect of their work is to encourage and groom the newly posted guy under them... the same guy will turn out to be a good leader tomorrow .... otherwise, the old story will be repeated again & again