Elections and Leadership Lessons – 4. Change management

Very soon CEOs will be renamed CCOs – Chief Change Officers. It’s a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world that we live in and only he/she will succeed who can bring change and manage change effectively. For sometime now, my status message on our internal chat system is “Change before change, after is too late”. Mr. Modi was the only one who got the point in the recently concluded elections …

As part of my MBA classes, our Organization Behavior professor, Prof Martins taught us change management. The change management cycle has 7 steps – Understand, Enlist, Envisage, Motivate, Communicate, Act, Consolidate. Simple steps if done in sequence, would ensure that we bring about change painlessly. We did a simulation and everytime we did a step wrong, we would lose points.

Just overlaying these steps on the election campaign run by Mr. Modi.

Understand – Mr. Modi got a team together to collect data on local issues and national issues. He clearly saw the wave against Congress and picked the important issues on hand – policy paralysis, slow growth, no jobs. He also understood the youth was going to be a major factor as new voters.

Enlist – he got a core team together. It helped him that the BJP cadres were behind him. But from the huge party, he picked a small core team for the campaign.

Envisage – Mr. Modi had a clear vision of development and growth. While the other parties made him a target, and couldn’t articulate their vision clearly, his vision was clearly laid out for not just winning the elections, but for the next ten years !!

Motivate – This step was Mr. Modi’s best. With his skilful oration, the ability to speak extempore and the team supplying him with relevant information, he just got the crowds rooting for him. He has the ability that all great speakers do, of connecting to the audience and motivating them. None of his speeches were without rhetoric but they also had a lot of substance.

Communicate – well, no one was in any doubt about what Mr. Modi wanted to do, he wanted to be PM and he told everyone what they would get in return if they put him in that chair ! The “chai pe charcha”, the brilliant use of technology, the super effective radio campaign – there were communication lessons at every stage of his campaign.

Act – Act he did ! Starting from the first minute of taking office. And getting the SAARC country leaders to come for the swearing in ceremony, what a coup 🙂

Consolidate – that’s what Mr. Modi is doing now, by being inclusive and walking the talk.

It almost seems like Mr. Modi was a fly in the wall during Prof Martins class on change management – he has brought change in copybook style and in the process, proved the change model too.

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