Read an interesting article depicting Management Lessons from Anna Hazare published in Tripura Times dated 19th of October 2016 from the links below or from the text pasted subsequently.
For PDF version click on the link below-
Management Insights from Anna Hazare Campaign
Dr. Manishankar Chakraborty
The perfect management teacher
Anna Hazare is synonymous with good governance. He is a perfect example of being a revolutionary in the modern day world. His non-violent approach waking up an arrogant government from its deep slumber and reminding its democracy and not an autocracy are being applauded by one and all. The mass following of his campaign, even without any backing from any party, devoid of deep pockets, strictly on the plank of Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of ‘Be the change you want to see around yourself’, speaks volumes of his leadership skills. Spreading out the tentacles all around the country by leveraging the free press of India and complimenting with the active social media platforms like blogging, twitter, networking portals made even the best of the Public Relations experts sit back and take notice. Handling the vicious smear campaign of the ruling elites, rejecting the carrot offered by the opposition and still continuing with its objective based approach is an example of his integrity, ethics and single-mindedness of a modern day mass leader. Adds, Mohanlal Jangir, an entrepreneur based in Nagpur, “India needed a change agent with the mindset of today and values of yesterday, for the metamorphosis on the morrow”. Anna Hazare and his crusade against corruption is just the beginning of many such civil societal voices in a vibrant and dynamic democracy like India, which is currently plaguing with the ills of the society, the laid back attitude of the so called educated citizens of the country.
Anna Hazare and his campaign against corruption provides lot of learning to the management geeks, be it a student, a researcher, a teacher, a practicing manager, an entrepreneur or a consultant. The article throws light on few of the major insights derived from the campaign initiated by the modern day Mahatma with representations of people from all walks of life.
(1)The right time for the right campaign – The timing for the campaign against corruption initiated by Anna Hazare is perfect. Most of the time a campaign of national significance fails to draw the attention of the masses as people are busy with other priorities. Anna Hazare decided to start his movement when most of the Indians, especially the powerful middle class were completely fed up with the governance of the ruling parties and the myopic approach of the oppositions. Corruption has penetrated through the ranks and segments of the society and every single activity in a country like India has a chain of corruption attached to it, be it booking a railway ticket, renewing a license, managing the cops to hide one’s fault, getting that preferential treatment in a public hospital, fastening up any work embroiled in government red tape etc. Indians were realizing that and were silently falling prey as there was no one to take that initiative. The few whistleblowers couldn’t withstand the power of an authoritarian regime with a democratic outlook. None dared to be that change agent, which everyone visualized. The mega scams of yesteryears like Chara Gotala died a normal death owing to the lack of public pressure. Many other similar scandals are either out of the public memory or have left the priorities of the investigating bodies, for obvious reasons. Indians were slowly starting to accept it as a way of life. This series of failures increased the confidence of the scam stars and they decided to make the public exchequer their own savings account. It cascaded into a series of scams of gigantic proportion, resulting in the common public seething with anger. For a change, this time round it was a little different though, Indian media didn’t remove those news items from their headlines for a long-long time, the follow-up was done with persistence and public in general were realizing the gravity of the situation. Attack on the yoga guru, Baba Ramdev in New Delhi, followed by his aggressive remarks provided Anna with an opportunity to make his case more real and long lasting which he did successfully. Anna Hazare and his team of experts who were themselves the victim at some point of the time or the other decided to join the bandwagon and slowly but gradually differentiated themselves on a one agenda at a time basis. The rest as they say is history and the movement has proved the importance of timing so as to successfully win through a campaign. Lessons for political leaders going on rath yatra’s and dinning with Dalits!
(2) One step at a time – Anna Hazare’s campaign didn’t have many objectives. They have clearly formulated a step-by-step approach as a result of which everyone right from the top to the bottom is sharing the same goal. Corruption in a country like India can be closely related to many other issues impacting the common man, viz. electoral reforms to name one. But, Anna and company decided to give one shot at a time so as to take one issue to its logical end before starting off with a new agenda. Most of the modern day campaigns either by political parties or even organizations and companies fail because they get obsessed with little too many without even completing a single agenda. This distracts people and gradually the followers erode resulting in the campaign dying a slow premature death.
(3) Teamwork- Anna’s tirade against corruption is a perfect example of teamwork. The higher echelons comprising of national figures like Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal and others have been handpicked and have been given tasks commensurate with their abilities, experience and skill-sets. Although the recent press report suggests that there are some minor fragmentation within the members and Anna, it’s going to mend up quickly as everyone who pioneered this movement, termed as a second war of independence, and would like to see their name engraved in the historical folklore, culminating in bridging their momentary indifferences. The formation of brigades representing all the districts and towns of India out of sheer love for the person and cause attached to him, even without any monetary benefit makes one understand the importance of team building if the vision and mission is transparent and inclusive. An important lesson to the political parties who need to bribe people with booze, money and transport so as fill up the rallies of their leaders! That the top management comprised of respected citizens from different walks of life only added to the mass appeal as educated people who are generally away from such issues/elections embraced the agenda with gusto and formed a formidable unit.
(4) Media Management– For any mass campaign to succeed in a country like India, one has to know the intricacies of managing the electronic and the print media effectively. The free press of the country can make or break the best of the campaigns. To add to that the presence of a good number of netizens voicing their opinion and participating in issues of national or regional significance through platforms like blogs, microblogs, networking portals makes the job of a media manager even more difficult. Team Anna’s right timing enabled them to cash on the media frenzy people to understand the gravity of the prevailing situation. Moreover, the effective way of managing the media platforms with aplomb provided by the team members in a unified way made the task that much easier.
(5) Leadership– Anna Hazare provided an example of perfect leadership by walking the talk. He resonated better with his audiences mainly because of his no nonsense attitude towards the government, a humble, simple, ethical and clean image, of speaking after doing something formidable in his own village, made everyone understand Anna means business. The cause attached to by the team along with his image and his democratic style of functioning made everyone to rally around him without much effort. Modern day world lacks political leaders who can unite people from different caste, creed, religion, ethnicity, solely on the basis of a common objective, but Anna provided the perfect setting of how one can unite people under a single umbrella that too in a diversified world like that of the 21st century.
(6) Handling allegations smear campaign, frontal attack with aplomb– Leading a campaign which would target and tarnish the image of the ruling elites meant getting it back in all forms and manifestations. The smear campaign meted out to Anna and his team by the ruling UPA, the silent poaching being done under the curtains by the opposition (read NDA) couldn’t have much impact on team Anna.
This speaks about the unfazed mindset of the leaders not to falter and give up their sacrifice which compelled an otherwise silent ruling party in the center to make noises in line with the team’s agenda. The repeated volleys of allegations were handled with ease by team Anna and this proved the sincerity of the members towards the cause. Challenging the government to conduct and point out any evidence of the allegations being labeled against his team presents his integrity and value based management of the campaign.
(7) Men-management Skills and Dynamism– Anna Hazare has displayed fantastic men management skills with the handpicking of the right person at the right time and allowing them to work independently in line with his organizational mission. He is capable of understanding the individual abilities of a person and thereby positions him/her for the right job in his crusade, culminating in the optimization of resources. The decision to revamp the core committee by roping in people from all section of the society, so that everyone is adequately represented in the moment defining revolution speaks about the dynamism and foresighted approach of Anna Hazare.
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