Sunday, June 18, 2006

Managing Individual Impacts on Society

Individuals Matter

Individual impact on society has not always been fruitful rather many a time it had been catastrophic due to lack of sufficient knowledge and vision. Sometime because of lack of in-depth understanding of social problems, individual efforts had been fatal for the human growth. That may be the simple reason for the existence of regionalism, casteism, discriminations, poverty and so on in the society even after so much development. High level intelligentsia has failed the common people. Humanity has suffered.

It is correct that every vote counts in a democratic set up. It is proven that democratic system is the best form of governance. In democracy, every citizen feels the part of governance. There is a sense of participation. It is believed that the opinion of majority counts. The leaders are forced to take decisions based on the interest of majority of people. The leaders are supposed to take decisions for the betterment of large sections of the population. Leaders are to show the path to communities to improve the lifestyle of people. But in reality, is it correct? Are leaders following the interest of majority in partially educated communities? Are leaders not taking arbitrary decisions? Are decisions not based on individualistic appreciations rather than communities’ opinions? This was amply clarified in the recent strike conducted by the communists’ parties of India. This has happened in past with humanity. This is happening in present to human beings. Till the time, major policy decisions are taken for the betterment of humanity, it is good, and otherwise, it is a heinous crime. In next few paragraphs, I will explain these existing individualistic approaches of the leaders in Indian society. How they have negatively impacted as a deep rooted scar to human societies?

Seriousness of Individualistic Approaches

There is nothing wrong in this information age with individualistic approach. Any individual can have more knowledge than others. Any body can posses more wisdom than others. Ideas are not the slave of background, richness or status. Ideas can emerge to anybody, anytime and at anyplace. It just needs fertile mind and concerned knowledge. It needs a will to unlearn old ideas. But the problems comes when, ideas are generated with some selfish motives. Ideas are propagated with some preconceived calculated impacts. Ideas are generated to keep the majority in dark rather than spreading openness. Ideas are spread to continue developing status rather than making the people developed. The leaders belonging to the Communist parties of India are doing the same. They are calculating their gains in terms of vote to conduct strike. They are planning a strike on the issues where they feel majority of illiterate people will blindly follow them. What is the use of the leaders’ wisdom? During Industrial age, when they used to conduct strike, it was mainly to safeguard the interests of poor workers. But today’s’ information age has brought a difference. There is no need of similar strike to safeguard the interests of poor people. They need not do strike to improve or safeguard the interest of workers. It is not Industrial age, it is information age. The time has changed. The policies have to change. The methods have to change. The leaders of old generation have to understand the complications to unlearn their old concerns, old methods, and self defeating ideas. They have to unlearn their self defeating ways to do politics.

The Communist parties gave a call for nationwide bandh on 13 Jun 2006. Strike had paralyzed Kerala but did not affect West Bengal at all. Delhi faced partial impact. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee dominated the roost. He is showing the color of our political leaders. He is showing the power of individualistic influences on our communities’ behaviours. When he gave a call not to go for strike, the whole of the Bengal understands the importance of work. Bengal needs FDI (foreign direct investment) to improve the condition of poor. Bengal needs FDI to generate employment. They do not need strike; they need investment to protect the interest of their workers. There is a significant change of perceptions. Can one individual change the perception of entire community? Yes it can. But he needs to be the Chief Minister. How important this simple aspect is to be understood by all the intellectual body of the rising communities. It is important to understand the seriousness of these individualistic approaches. You can not do anything with any idea till you have power to empower your thinking. If people at powerful position do not take wise decisions, whole of communities suffers. Can we say that few individual has been responsible to keep the whole of community backward or deprived?

Existing Ground Realities

Case 1

If Buddha has realised the change of situation in 21st century, is it a surprise? How peculiar is the situation? One person of the party feels that FDI is important to alleviate the poverty from this poor country. FDI is required to build infrastructures to empower educated and uneducated people of this country. One individual feels but the party feels otherwise. Party is busy in harnessing vote. Party is busy in doing unnecessary strike. Part is busy in calling bandh. Party is busy in striking against airport privatisation or any other privatisation initiated by the government. There is an urgent need for all the people to understand the game plan of our leaders. It is important for all of us to realise that how these individualistic approaches have kept this country poor for so long. The ideas of the leader at helm have ensured that country does not move in a right direction at right speed. The revolutionary steps by Buddha have shown that it is not the wish of the majority of people to go for strike. It is the wish of few of the less knowledgeable leaders. The strike prone West Bengal can continue working on bandh day. Is it a big surprise? Is individual setting directions for majority?

Case II

The similar situations are occurring in the case of reservation. Just few disgruntled leaders have felt that reservation is serving their political interests. They are not bothered for any further repercussions in the society. They are not bothered for communities’ developments. They are not bothered for backwards or deprived people. They do not feel ashamed in dividing the communities for their gains. Is there any surprise that caste discrimination exists in this society even after approximately sixty years of the departure of British from this land? Caste discrimination is like a cancer in educated society. They have been kept alive intentionally by the few well known leaders including Nehru and Gandhi. They are being kept alive today by their followers. They have kept it alive for their secured status. They have ensured that normal people will never come to know their ill thoughts. They have power to communicate. They have power to spread wrong and selfish messages in a positive frame. They have done these intelligently. Further, VP Singh and Arjun Singh have joined to keep the caste discrimination alive in an educated society. How to understand the motives of such disgruntled and selfish leaders? It is a complex situation. Intelligentsia has failed to find the solution. Intelligentsia has no power to empower their wisdom. They sit in their drawing room and cry. Leaders are taking the poor and deprived for a ride. Few leaders are doing such politics of discriminations even in this information age which are shameful. It is barbaric when government stops the payment of striking doctors of AIIMS. How to judge right or wrong? Who knows truth? Why the leaders are spreading wrong messages to conscious citizens? Even Media is acting biased. But these will not go too far. Such shortsighted leaders and media will have to pay heavy price in 21st century.

How to Face the Challenges?

1. Challenges to Educated People

There is serious challenge to all educated people to understand this situation. It is important for all of us to analyze any major steps taken by parties or leaders. We have to be conscious to stop the exploitation. Today when country is rising, it is not the task for poor to become rich; it is an urgent need for even rich to ensure that other poor people become rich so that rich can become richer. No rich can become richer in this rising country unless economic condition of poor improves. These basic requirements to generate richness are not simply understood by political leaders because they are not loosing anything. They are able to maintain their status amidst poor. They are able to win election among poor people. They are able to get vote when the poverty prevails. That is how Lalu ruled democratically the poorest state for continuous fifteen years. Rahul wins election from one of the poorest districts like Amethi of Uttar Pradesh. Keeping poverty and deprivation does not disturb the status of leaders. But shortly, even leaders will feel the changes.

2. Compulsions of Corporate World

Corporate people of India are seriously concerned about these developments. They feel the pain. Today when there is an urgent need to achieve more than 10% growth to alleviate poverty, it is a challenge to all intelligentsia to frame new policies. That is the reason; Sam Pitroda, Narayana Murthy, and others joined hands to speak against reservation. They understand that backward and deprived people have to become rich for this country to make many billion companies. Ajim Premji talked to Buddha to stop strike so that BPO industry can run smoothly. Call Centers and BPOs have generated hope of better future. A disciplined India will be able to impress Western customers so that the companies can generate more outsourcing jobs. More jobs in this country will provide more employments. More money inflow will provide better infrastructure to this cash deprived nation.

Tata has become interested to establish the factory for first dream car of 1 lakh in West Bengal. Buddha has to show results and leadership. He knows very well that how much West Bengal has suffered last few decades. He has to unlearn many of the teachings of his predecessor Jyoti Basu. He is compelled to take unlearned decisions. He has to change his mindset. He has to meet the demand of 21st century to keep himself alive in politics. Why not other comrades are learning the compulsions of 21st century? Other leaders must learn from Buddha compulsion including national opposition parties like BJP. Leaders must understand the compulsions of corporate world to make this country rich. Leaders must do politics of rich nation. Shortly India is becoming developed. No leaders can afford to do politics of poor nation here.

Initiative to curb negative impact from Individuals

It is important for an educated society to curb negative impact from individual on society. The whole set of institution exists to save the interest of humanity. In spite of many systems, the problems occur and society faces the hardship in term of slow progress, lack of basic infrastructure, miserable lifestyle, etc. The individuals sitting at powerful position need to take cognizance of this reality not only for the betterment of humanity but even for them. Nepal is a very current and good example for the rise of common people. The people sitting at powerful position can not take the citizen for a ride for long time. There is a need for all the powerful people whose ideas impact on society need to note five salient points to reduce the negative impact-

1. Always use correct source of wisdom,
2. Never take the innocence and ignorance of common people for granted for long time,
3. Do not rely on your inner strength rather believe on data,
4. Immediately unlearn all conventional way of working or taking decisions, and
5. Exploit information in this information age to create wisdom.

Dream of a developed India

A rich country will not have much deprived people. The life style of citizen will improve. The more rich people will make this country developed. We all must join hands to improve our life free from discriminations, regionalism, casteism and other malice. There is no reason when we talk of development; we do not take better policies decisions. Government must rely on solid information and knowledge to set the direction of growth to achieve the desired result of progress otherwise talking about developed India will remain a dream - Big Dream. Can we keep this rising country developing for long time? If we want to be developed, we have to reduce the impact of few unqualified and uneducated individual to impact our society.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Understanding Complications of Inner Strength

Searching Inner Strength

There is a serious misconception regarding inner strength of any individual in society. Human growth outside the domain of biological or biochemical remains very-very complex. There are many aspects which have not been given their due in the evolution of human civilization. It would be very interesting to discuss and analyze these aspects keeping human growth in mind.
Inner strength is not available as easily as is presumed to be. Like knowledge, it is also to be acquired or achieved or gained. It does not come to human beings through mere birth. Inner strength remains as illusive as money, position, caste, creed and status. It would be really interesting to analyze those sources from where they are presumed to be originating.

Sources of Origination

In general, inner strength comes to individual from three radical sources –

Inherited - You get close relatives, ancestors, background, close-associates, friends, and assets.

Circumstances and Situations - This empowers you with qualifications, knowledge, experiences, wisdom, and exposures. This results to successes and achievements, and

Human survival instincts - This forces you to acquire love of life, awakening, human behaviour and habits

All three sources are very distinct in nature. It is very important to understand the control of individual on these factors.

Detail Discussions

As it is evident regarding complications, the sources of inner strength need elaborate discussions-

Inherited - Ingredients like close relatives, ancestors, background, ancestral assets are available to the individual as inherited gifts. The irony of human beings is that the person who gets them never realizes the worth of it while the person who never gets them has to create them through very tough measures, which takes many a time a whole lifetime. Even close associates and friends are available to individual on an inheritance basis only. A person born in a backward community gets these entire ingredients mainly from a similar status. The majority of the people remain similar in nature. In the course of their lives, they are surrounded by the strength, weaknesses and aspirations of those people. That is where the question of unlearning comes into picture to reduce the anomaly in the system. The people born in a backward class family have to fight from the existing setup to come out of their hardwired backward mentality before they can do anything worthwhile in life. In real life, one has to face these challenges in an open society. Fortunately, we are born in the era when we are fighting for equality and human rights for each and everyone. All of us are linked by these situations. That is the beauty of life. When we are fighting at the organizational, country or continental level, it is imperative that every individual remains conscious about these developments. A similar problem exists among the people of other communities such as forward or scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, Americans, blacks, Europeans or Muslims, etc as it is found in backward communities. We all have inherited hardwired self-defeating qualities. To have inner strength, every individual from any community will have to understand these anomalies and fight at his/her level to remove them.

Circumstances and Situations - An individual is born in a particular place and she hardly has any control over it. Depending upon her place of birth, she faces circumstances and situations. She can hardly do anything about it. The qualifications, knowledge, experiences and exposures come from these circumstances and situations mainly. So called wisdom comes from this. One tries very hard to achieve wisdom without realizing that wisdom has its own limitations of situations and circumstances. The person acquires knowledge only from the resources available to her.

At times, we are very pleased with our simple success, thinking about self greatness without realizing the contribution of circumstances and situations. We generally think of as free and independent will even though these are illusions. Most of the time, we think and act, even react and are a lot more susceptible to outside influences than we realize. When we are living in deprived and disturbed society, we become too defensive and egoistic on the other hand, while we should have been conscious and more subtle. This results in a situation that if somebody asks a question, we come up with lot of explanations even for the things we don’t have explanations for.

Now, when tremendous opportunities evolve in prevalent situations and circumstances, there are a lot of people in the country who have taken advantages of these developments through proper unlearning. Swaraj Paul must have understood the compulsions of situations. He left his village in Jalandhar, Punjab, in the 1960s and did not come back for the next forty years. He maintained different situations for his successive growth to become one of the biggest businessmen in England. Azim Premji is a brilliant example who built an empire on his ancestral assets through totally new methods and processes. Instead of ancestral business of oil and food products, Wipro migrated to Information Technology and ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services). During the 1980s, when engineering colleges in the country were teaching hexadecimal programming (machine level language programming) on microprocessor 8085 and 8086, M/S Wipro was dealing with computers and software programming. They changed their circumstances and situations to build a separate and progressive empire.

During this period of opportunities evolution, one more very interesting thing happened in India. The people with high calibre, zeal and enthusiasm changed their circumstances and situations consciously. At the changed place, they continued working in a changed environment with a different set of people. They earned professional satisfaction and earned achievements, the whole world recognized them. Chandrashekar, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics and Amartya Sen for Economics were the famous ones. The changed environment have provided immense growth possibilities. Today, in 2006, we can proudly say that Indians have the highest educational qualifications of all ethnic groups in the US. Almost 67 percent of all Indians have a bachelor’s or higher degree (compared to 28 percent nationally). Almost 40 percent of all Indians have a master’s doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average. Today, these statistics makes Indian proud, but just think of twenty years back, people had to take hard decisions to leave their near and dear in this country and settled in a new environment. In better environment, they preserved their caliber and excelled individually. The credit also goes to USA or other European nations to provide healthy atmospheres.

Human survival instincts - There are a few prerequisites for human survival. If those prerequisites are met, then only does the human being grow to adulthood and then think of progress and growth. The basic survival is based on tremendous inner strength of the individual. The further progress and growth has to be based on separate and exclusive factors. Human survival instincts come from within. They are habits, awakening, human behaviour and love of life. They generate a force in human beings. This is the force which contributes in moving life. They help an individual to grow, help an individual to be conscious of surroundings, get educated, and learn all good behaviour and human traits. The inside force is very natural and forceful. If, fortunately, one has these forces in a supporting environment, they help the individual to sustain and at times helps her to grow, but if unfortunately, circumstances and situations are not understandable nor cordial, society gulps up these individuals. The powerful force within itself kills the individual. The individual is not able to exploit these forces. Terrorism is a clear cut example of such futile situations. The society, family, individual and above all humanity become the biggest losers.

Just think of the situation during the era of Brain Drain. Plenty of high caliber individuals remained in the country to avoid brain drain in 1970s or 80s. They were patriotic and disciplined individuals. They were hard working and devoted. They excelled in their field. But if we try to count them today for their contributions, we will find them marginal compare to the contribution made by NRI (Non-Resident Indians). Today, after 30-40 years, when we have one of the finest economists of the country as a Prime Minister of India, he reminds us that it is was not Brain Drain during the Congress rule of the 1960s or 70s or 80s, but it was a Brain Gain. He is correct. Today, a developing country like India is flourishing on those drains which flew in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and other European countries for the last thirty years. The flourishing growth, which we observe today in India and even in Asian countries and we are proud of are those brains. The Brains which were left behind in India must have been rotten, or rather they would have gone down the drain. Those brains in this country are still stinking at places. It is not very difficult to observe and meet such brains in our national news papers articles and media. There are plenty of examples; a good and brilliant brain left behind in the developing country during those periods with all forceful energy in this environment, survival remained a challenge for them. It is important to understand them. It is essential that the force within is preserved in correct environment.

Final Analysis

The sources of inner strength are limited. They have their own inherent limitations. A person has to grow and develop within those limitations. The growth and development of inner strength are generally taken for granted. In a society of the developing world and even developed world, it is essential that we concentrate and harness the sources of inner strength. It is said, ‘Changes provide opportunities’. The changes which I have explained and elaborated in the previous pages must have provided all of us plenty of reason to believe, the availability of opportunities in the world. In society, we have plenty of examples of these opportunists like Narayana Murthy, Dhirubhai Ambani, APJ Abdul Kalam, Amartya Sen and so on. They have taken advantage of changed situations by creating different circumstances. The rising and successful people are the result of improved circumstances and situations. It is important that we remain conscious to create a better situation to generate stronger inner strength. The few important steps can be summarized as follows-

1- Detach from past,
2- Understand and believe on your potential,
3- Enhance you knowledge,
4- Demand for your contribution,
5- Never rely easily on others,
6- Never get evaluated by inferior person,
7- Listen to expert Advises,
8- Always look for new ideas,
9- Review your thinking and actions.

Thinking and actions depends upon so many factors. Once we understand these limitations, we should never take our thinking and action for granted. We should never be overconfident in our thinking unless we have been able to change the ground situations. The confidence and utilization of inner strength can then only be ensured. Feel free to raise any doubts because that will ensure clarity in your inner strength.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Wanted: Global souls to run global companies

Edwin Sim recently spoke with William Barnes of the Financial Times. The following is his story which was published in the Career Asia section of the Financial Times on March 23, 2006.

by William Barnes, Financial Times

Managers at international businesses must expect to move country regularly. Could this help create a class of cosmopolitan, constantly mobile workers?

Nick Leeson, the legendary destroyer of the 233-year-old Barings Bank, was by his own admission naive, immature and unworldly when he was working in Singapore in the 1990s.

Left unsupervised he secretly ran up £830m in trading losses before he was discovered. Barings was subsequently sold to a Dutch bank for £1.

Raw pride and a reluctance to admit that he was failing stopped him telling anyone about his rapidly climbing losses, he explained in a recently published book.

Mr. Leeson did not claim to be discombobulated by working in an alien environment, indeed he enjoyed the tropical social life. But he has said that if he could put the clock back, he would not have got on the plane to Singapore.

How many of today’s budding global warriors will end up wishing that they too had not “got on the plane to Singapore”?

Until a few years ago the expatriate executive was widely understood to be someone acquiring a building block of career experience that would benefit him or her and the company.

In the last few years the spread of globalization has reached the point where businesses in global markets now expect their managers to relocate with few guarantees for the future on either side. Increasingly these moveable executives will be Asian, particularly Indian and Chinese, as regional domestic Giants reach out into the world.

The old-style western expatriate has not always been appreciated. The 19th century British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, said that when he required advice in handling a foreign country he would ask a 20-year expatriate for his opinion and then do the opposite.

But at least in the 19th century working overseas was considered a high risk gamble at best or akin to taking holy orders. It was rarely – as today – deemed ordinary and easy.

In external appearance most modern businesses, superficially shaped by similar management solutions, tend to look familiar. But the reality is that diverse cultures, histories and stages of development make the intramural corporate experience very different, at least in emerging economies if not everywhere.

Western executives are increasingly attracted by the monetary and intangible rewards offered by ambitious Asian groups. At the same time, established global businesses blithely talk of building up diversified multinational managements made up of staff holding a variety of different values and attitudes.

“Some people love the speed of it, the variety and excitement and the opportunity. But there are others who really don’t welcome this and do not relish what’s going on,” says Edwin Sim, managing director of Human Capital Alliance, a consultancy.

“You have to know what kind of person you are. Modern management is tricky enough in one’s own culture. You need energy, flexibility and a certain toughness to do it in another country,” he adds.

Conventional academic preparation might help an executive avoid becoming another Nick Leeson (who had no formal training), but will probably do little on its own to unravel exotic business practices.

India may be poised to overtake the US as the world’s biggest producer of MBAs, but that doesn’t mean a foreign MBA will be able to spring open business mysteries that remain as delicately localized as they ever were, says Jane McKenzie, professor of management knowledge and learning at Henley Management College in the UK.

“That’s not the way education works. We provide a set of business tools and logical rigour. Ultimately our students have to take what is valuable for them out of the course and adapt that for local conditions,” says Prof McKenzie. “Anyone who claims paper qualifications are a panacea is a fool or a charlatan.”

Academic research has unsurprisingly found that expatriates with the most positive and flexible attitudes flourish best. A PwC Study discovered, less obviously, that almost two-thirds of foreign assignment failures were blamed by companies on the mismatched expectations of their executives.

Manifold factors can cause a clash between an expatriate’s pre-arrival assumptions and the reality, some only tangentially related to the work culture, such as climate, isolation or problems with a spouse.

Findings like this have encouraged some experts to conclude that a cosmopolitan managerial class, effortlessly confident in a multinational environment, must emerge to serve global business. Some argue that tomorrow’s managers will be “global souls” who habitually dabble in multiple cultures, to use travel writer Pico Iyer’s phrase.

The management pundit John Adams has suggested that such future internationalists will evolve while accompanying their parents on overseas postings.

So is a self-perpetuating managerial class destined to run global business?

Perhaps not. Languages and international experience are valuable but not everything, says Anders Lundquist, managing director of Bangkok-based headhunter Pacific 2000. “If an executive is at ease with himself, confident in his expertise and willing to adapt, he can go far. It’s a matter of character and energy, as it always has been,” he says.

A recent study by Erasmus University, Rotterdam, found that if a manager could survive the first six months in a foreign country without undue strain, the chances of eventual success were high. If, however, the shock of arrival was not quickly controlled, executives often became demoralized and foundered.

“The world is everybody’s oyster in the longer term,” says Prof McKenzie. “When logistically there are no management barriers left, we will be left with cultural differences.

“Whoever manages the space between these cultural differences is doing something important.

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