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Posts Tagged ‘Middle Class’

ashokbhatia

LEADERSThere is something unique about managers from India. Apparently, they have a Western mind and an Eastern heart. In other words, a unique combination of analytical prowess and intuitive faculties.

Here is a thought-provoking guest post from Mr K V Rao, Resident Director – ASEAN, Tata Sons Ltd , Singapore.

“I was born and raised in India in small towns, and started reflecting how is it that so many of my compatriots make it to global leadership positions ?

Many of our ilk have left the shores, for distant foreign lands. Have studied and imbued the best of cultures, but retained some of some of that inner rusticity, and native eclectic personalities. They have made it to the top jobs of Google, Microsoft, Mastercard, or a Pepsi, and the list is endless and still more to surface. All have been exceptional fighters, who seem to compete fiercely but fairly, often guided…

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ashokbhatia

You are the main engine of economic growth,

Making global MNCs continue to fuss over you;

Splurging on goodies, traveling all over the world,

Your hard work yielding fruits which are your due.

You work very hard to secure a better future,

For yourself, for your progeny, and for your kith and kin;

The joint family system you appear to have given up,

Bringing up kids amidst the social media din.

 

You are the upholder of values and character,

Quietly paying your taxes, fulfilling social commitments;

A God-fearing and law-abiding citizen of the country,

Balancing a scientific outlook with superstitious predicaments.

 

Great sacrifices you are also willing to make,

When making India stronger is your belief and view;

You do not mind spending hours in a queue,

Retrieving hard-earned cash which is due to you.

 

Government subsidies you are willing to give up,

So the poor and…

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You are the main engine of economic growth,

Making global MNCs continue to fuss over you;

Splurging on goodies, traveling all over the world,

Your hard work yielding fruits which are your due.

 

You work very hard to secure a better future,

For yourself, for your progeny, and for your kith and kin;

The joint family system you appear to have given up,

Bringing up kids amidst the social media din.

 

You are the upholder of values and character,

Quietly paying your taxes, fulfilling social commitments;

A God-fearing and law-abiding citizen of the country,

Balancing a scientific outlook with superstitious predicaments.

 

Great sacrifices you are also willing to make,

When making India stronger is your belief and view;

You do not mind spending hours in a queue,

Retrieving hard-earned cash which is due to you.

 

Government subsidies you are willing to give up,

So the poor and the needy may live a better life;

You live the life of a silent but true patriot,

Ignoring social unrest, mobocracy and strife.

 

Corruption in high places you do not like,

Petty bribes which save you time you do not mind;

Inefficient delivery of public services you hate,

To trains and buses running late you are often kind.

 

But much like the three monkeys of the Mahatma,

Unpleasant things you do not hear;

You remain blind and muke to many a thing,

Indignities which do not touch you directly, silently you bear.

 

You remain faithful to the concept of democracy,

Keeping the flame of our independence aglow;

Pushing the Indian nation on its path of glory,

Hoping for a better tomorrow, even if the progress is slow.

 

Perhaps a day would dawn when you would speak up,

Push also for social, judicial and political reforms;

Chasing not only GDP and per capita income numbers,

But also Gross National Happiness in its myriad forms.

 

Strive for India to excel in its Millennium Development Goals,

Contribute towards building up Gross National Character;

Refuse to let caste and religion determine vote banks,

Of the unfolding Indian drama, be the outspoken main actor.

 

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/the-perks-of-being-a-vip)

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LEADERSThere is something unique about managers from India. Apparently, they have a Western mind and an Eastern heart. In other words, a unique combination of analytical prowess and intuitive faculties.

Here is a thought-provoking guest post from Mr K V Rao, Resident Director – ASEAN, Tata Sons Ltd , Singapore.

“I was born and raised in India in small towns, and started reflecting how is it that so many of my compatriots make it to global leadership positions ?

Many of our ilk have left the shores, for distant foreign lands. Have studied and imbued the best of cultures, but retained some of some of that inner rusticity, and native eclectic personalities. They have made it to the top jobs of Google, Microsoft, Mastercard, or a Pepsi, and the list is endless and still more to surface. All have been exceptional fighters, who seem to compete fiercely but fairly, often guided by their simple inner compass. All have had their roots in Middle Class India. What is the magic that’s at work ?

Typically, in a middle class family, that typifies some common basics – a high dose of personal values with low resources, what in a South Indian phrase is termed as “high thinking and simple living” hard work, education, discipline are the key mantras drilled into young minds, to help them break through the glass ceiling. Exceptionally strong personal family bonds, and a natural willingness to put oneself down for the other, compassion and care seem to naturally flower

What are those simple things that make them such effective leaders. Here are some reflections:

  1. There was never enough ….’   If one grew up in my generation in middle class India, life was always on the edge. Just about balancing ends with limited means. That meant, living happily and contented with what you have, than to aspire for what you don’t. Realism, practicality. But, also have the uncanny ability to stretch the buck – unbelievable value engineers, we are naturally. No wonder, hard to beat an Indian at cost cutting. !. Defining needs vs wants was deeply embedded in the frontal lobe of the mind, filtering away desires 🙂
  2. “We always ate together….” . Families would wait for each other to eat together. (Also the fact that there were hardly fridges then, and you ate hot and fresh !). There was sharing and caring. The bonds built were deep that lasted a life time, and giving and serving each other, imprinted that quality of care for a lifetime for another member of the family.
  3. “We celebrated together, we mourned together …” Families, lived as communities, extended with relatives, friends and neighbours. Much to the chagrin of modern nuclear families, there was little private and personal space  ! … All celebrations were shared, and so were the strains of illness or misfortune. Jumping in to help, give someone a shoulder was so very natural. That was the normal thing to do, not an act of valor or sacrifice. Your loss was mine, your success too was mine. Empathy a natural flow.
  4. Maths and English, are important…. “. Our fathers simply emphasized on 2 subjects, Maths and English, particularly in South India, as if they were meant to train the left and right brains, and eventually spur some whole brain activity. In hindsight, they seem to make sense. English opened the doors to global opportunities, the computational abilities pushed forward analytical thinking.
  5. “ We laughed a lot, joked, and pulled each others leg…Families, neighbors, and community living provided the best of entertainment, and a source of immense comedy. Radio and cinema were the only companions, and Black & White TV just came in with one or two long running serials. Sense of humour was valued, and we learnt to laugh, when nothing else could be done. Being sportive and getting the rough edge, is so normal, no big deal. It built great resilience and forbearance, for there were many things we could not change but had to live with.
  6. We prayed together….. . There was always a routine of prayer, whether you liked it or not. Before you start the day, go to college, go to exam, go to an interview. All of which, reinforced the positive belief, that no matter what, there is something more powerful and higher that resides above you, and cares for you should you make the effort to reach out. It ingrained the simple truth of focusing on the effort and leaving the ultimate result to the forces that be. It also made one more prepared to take risks, and face failure – a trait that today people struggle with, to fail, and yet to rise and be innovative.
  7. “ There is always a fix ….”  Last but not the least, there was never a “no” to be taken. There is always a fix, a ‘Jugaad’ if you may, or a work around. Hard to accept and give up. Persistence, thinking upside down, creativity or sheer street-smart tactical reflexes. Or the ability to bow, and accept failure honestly and humbly. It’s a potent combination of inner strength and outer smartness, to craft a strategy that works in the face of adversity.
  8.  “ You are not the smartest .. “. When you grew up, you always had someone much smarter than you, much better than you. You often wonder you were blessed or damn lucky to be where you are. There is a common streak of simplicity and most importantly humility. Go back to point 6, above – there was also someone “above” there who wished you well. Humility reinforced. !

It is not the top management schools that honed the skills alone, but the middle class homes of India that gave many of our generation, that inner compass and embedded CPU that makes one see life with a set of different lenses.

Leadership today, hinges on the ability to inspire, share, care, lead with empathy. Inflect clarity, sharpness, and fight the forces of competition with courage and tenacious persistence, never to give up. The ability to remain cheerful, spread laughter and joy around the work place. The training school of which is located in middle class Indian homes, that have often produced top class international business leaders.”

 

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