Depending on which side of the political spectrum you belong to, you may either be a staunch supporter or a critic of Narendra Damodardas Modi, the BJP’s official PM candidate for 2014 general elections. Love him or hate him, but you can’t ignore him. Even his detractors agree that Modi is a perfect blend of an astute politician and a shrewd businessman. His decisiveness, clarity of thought, personal integrity and missionary zeal is beyond doubt. It is because of these unique selling propositions that he was elevated despite opposition from within the party.
So what does India Inc think about the PM-select? A recent survey of 100 chief executives conducted by Nielsen for Economic Times revealed that 80 per cent of the respondents want Modi to become prime minister. What is it that makes Modi the leader of masses as well as classes? What are the lessons that business leaders can learn from him? The very reason why Modi scored a hat-trick in 2012 Gujarat elections is due to his extraordinary leadership skills. The charismatic leader possesses a number of leadership traits and business leaders could well learn a few lessons from him and implement them too.
The art & science of communication
Modi has mastered the art of communication. He is one of the few politicians who has used technology to connect with people be it in the form of Google+ hangouts, projected 3D public speeches or twitter. Seen in an organisational perspective, while one-to-one interaction with each and every employee may be impossible, leaders need to be aware of the current trends in technology and use it to their advantage. Wise and correct use of technology can invariably help reach out to a larger employee base and bridge the communication gap.
Identify opportunities & take risks
As a business leader, it is important to see opportunities when they knock on the door and grab them. Many were left wondering when Modi offered land at dirt cheap rates (something he is accused of) to Ratan Tata to set up a plant at Sanand. Soon, investments poured into Gujarat regularly. While making decisions, leaders need to not only keep the present in mind, but also have foresight to envision the future.
Quick decision making
When Tata decided to relocate his dream project from Singur, Modi moved with Usain Bolt-like speed and got the MoU inked within 96 hours of Tata's announcement. It is said that Modi makes it a point to return the calls of large businessmen within 24 hours. For urgent calls, the response comes within three hours. If something cannot be done, Modi says so without beating around the bush. It’s a well known fact now that it is primarily the speed and the single-window clearance of Modi that make investors in India and abroad flock to Gujarat.
In a competitive business environment, it is not only about identifying opportunities, but a lot also depends on the speed with which decisions are taken.
Be confident and play to your strengths
Modi is never low on confidence and that is probably one reason why he is able to inspire confidence in the electorate. Be it his rally in Hyderabad or for that matter his address on August 15, he focused on his strength - his development card. As a business leader, it is important to be confident about one's organisation, product and project and let it pass on to the target audience.
Set an example
Leading from the front is something that Modi can do naturally. He has been very successful in selling his ideas to people and firmly believes in letting the work do the talk. The biennial Vibrant Gujarat – a brain child of Modi’s – and its success is a case in point. Likewise a true business leader too needs to show action along with his words. The leader needs to be honest, hardworking, sincere, set an example and make the first sacrifice.