Corporate musings

Corporate Advanis


Ofcourse Advani is not the hot topic now … Especially after Modi’s “toilets first, temples later” comment. It’s great to watch Modi throwing a small lighted twig over the fence and the Congress party then picks it up, fans it and makes it into a big fireball…. Making Modi even more famous in the process. Fascinating to watch the Modi juggernaut roll – many corporate and life lessons that we must draw from the 2014 election campaign. Another day, another post for that.

I want to go back to June of this year when Modi was made into the BJP’s election campaign manager and Advani resigned. This scene plays out in almost every corporate house… A younger person, capable or not so capable, gets promoted and the older colleague just quits in a huff, or sulks his/her heart out. The older colleague would be even more heart broken if the promoted colleague was his mentee ! There are very few people who can see the mirror and know exactly where they stand in their organization and accept the facts. The beauty of this situation is no one is wrong, each is right in their own way – the younger colleague feels he/she deserves the promotion as they know the new world and want to take the firm in a certain direction. The older colleague feels miffed that their experience and contributions are not valued. Both are right. The older colleague should know when to step aside and let new blood move up, and the younger colleague should take help from the older colleague in navigating the political landscape, know about the historical mistakes the firm made, and as a sounding board. The more relevant person will get promoted. Simple.

The second time, Advani again didn’t openly welcome Modi’s projection as the Prime ministerial candidate. Age should bring maturity but it rarely does. The older one gets, the more difficult it seems, is letting go. The lesson for all of us is to remain flexible and adaptable right from the time one is young, go with the flow. I have this principle which has always helped me “try hard for what you want, if you get it, enjoy, if you don’t, accept what comes your way and enjoy”. Getting fixated on one thing and just one thing – power, position, prime minister’s job, vice president’s job etc etc is a sure recipe for disaster. Flow with the times, sticking to your way of being won’t allow you to remain relevant .

Some of the corporate Advani’s are more polished and awesome actors, by the time you realise they have a knife, it’s late. An important lesson for all of us was given by George W Bush Sr – “Trust, but verify”. Being gullible is sweet but doesn’t get you anywhere. I am currently reading Gurcharan Das’ “Difficulty of being good” and the chapter on Yudhishtra speaks of the same thing more eloquently, an excerpt pasted below –

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So even the Mahabharata exhorts one to be smart and not gullible. Watch out for the Advanis in your midst, some who might not start out as one, but could turn midway. Remember Advani was Modi’s mentor, but is unable to digest Modi’s elevation as the PM candidate of the BJP.

It is difficult being good, but being gullible is inexcusable. If you do get conned, laugh, cry, get it out of your system, learn and get on with it. Life and success have to be fun after all. Also understand, the Advani’s in your world have a role to play – they amplify your goodness, fade away after some time, and give you a contrasting point of view. Pick the important things they have on offer and gently let go.

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