New Manager

How Bharat’s new CEO inspired on I-Day

Gopinath Menon | Updated on November 25, 2017


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech covered a broad swathe of issues. Here’s a decoding of its business-speak

For the last three decades, I have regularly watched the Independence day broadcast, but have never felt as charged or motivated by any as the one delivered this year. Hence, I thought it imperative to analyse what, for me, was an engaging speech.

As a marketing professional, I found the talk in the realm of marketing as it smacked of sound business sense. It came across as one with a ‘Chief Executive’ mindset, and the soul of a General addressing his troops before a war. Here’s some marketing decode of what Modi said:

Pradhan Sevak and not Pradhan Mantri: All successful CEOs refrain from talking down to internal audiences. They always talk with them. The Prime Minister has done the same, by de-classifying the title he holds. Pradhan Sevak is a moniker that qualifies him as one in a billion. This set the tone for the bonding and for wanting to hear more.

Dignity for women: Motivating employees through their families has been an old mantra, and the Prime Minister has done just that with women.

Look at your own home and see what’s wrong with it.

The inevitable is always the one taken for granted, and the last one to attract attention. The lady of the house is always the unsung hero. If your “homemaker” is not happy and contented, she will rarely be in the right mindset to face the day, leave alone make you ready to face the day’s challenges. This is a serious issue and, if addressed on a war footing, will improve the quality of life of the entire family.

Today, millions of homes and their homemakers face this problem, and, hence, it needs to be corrected.

Skill Development for youth : Being the youngest nation is not working in our favour; in fact, it is proving to be counter-productive. Unemployed youth are like loose cannons and this raw energy needs to be channelled. The opportunity is around you; all you need to do is look closely. Example: you have to struggle to get a good driver, a plumber, an electrician and those of their ilk.

An organised “skill development programme” can take care of this; such initiatives exist but more are needed.

Model villages: Successful CEOs, always create success benchmarks to inculcate a sense of competitiveness.

Recognition motivates the winner, and charges up the follower to do better next year. Such evaluation, based on performance, is there for all to see.

Department versus department: Favouritism needs to end as it degrades genuine ability in favour of unwanted loyalty. Such behaviour will only ensure that the deserving players leave and join competitors. There should be better delegation of authority and responsibility, else the country/company will lose its man-hours for nothing.

Consortium for greater strength: If production and productivity are not optimal, create partnerships and outsource to both partners’ advantage. Use each other’s strengths to your advantage. Example: Use a natural resource, water, to create power for India and for Nepal. Build employment and enhance the happiness quotient; this will work like adrenalin for both.

Make in India for ‘Made in India’dream: Think big. Think global. Marketing alone will not suffice in the long run; growing manufacturing is critical to long-term success.

Make India the manufacturing capital of the world. We have all the ingredients to qualify. We have the knowledge, the skill, the integrity, the belief and the lowest wages in terms of man-hours as compared to the West and the Asia-Pacific.

Imagine a decade from now, when every second product has a ‘Made In India’ label. This will make Indians proud and happy, and will increase our patriotism and self-confidence.

The social corrections: CEOs have always stressed building social capital as it is advantageous for the company in the long haul. The Prime Minister has gone one step further. He has touched a sensitive nerve bravely, and with good reason.

Reprimanding the son is as important as advising the daughter in youth. Since society never felt this guidance was imperative, this led to sons assuming that to deviate from ethical actions is pardonable after a mild reprimand.

Embrace technology: The world is changing, hence, it is important to rethink and re-invent. The Planning Commission was the need of yesterday, we need to replace it with a new think tank which will adapt to circumstances better and be in sync with our key objectives of private-public partnerships, natural conservation, and renewable energy.

Hence, the need to move towards “Digital India”

Leading by example: This seems to have been taken from the Australian cricket team’s guidebook. During Steve Waugh’s time in the 1990s, it was the team’s dream to be the world’s best, and for this dream, the onus was on the captain to lead by example.

Steve was not the most talented — Mark Waugh was miles ahead as a batsman. Steve, however, more than made up with his sincerity, integrity and hard work.

So, when the PM said that if any of his team members worked for 14 hours, he would work for 15 hours, he set up the passion to go the extra mile.

Modi’s speech, thus, was like that of all great CEOs, who have tremendous belief in their own abilities as well the capabilities and talents of those whom they lead. A great inspiration for Bharat and its 122 million team members.

The writer is a senior advertising and marketing professional

Published on August 19, 2014

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