July 18, 2014

Has India chosen a clever & lazy bunch of leaders in 2014?

 “In my business of research, economies of scale don’t exist” says Franz Huner CEO & Chairman of the Swiss Pharma giant Roche. According to Hurner, Competitive advantage lies in the ability to create an economy driven not by the cost efficiencies but by ideas and intellectual know-how. Therefore the task of a great leader is to create an environment in which ‘clever people’ can thrive. These people are the handful of persons whose ideas, knowledge and skills give them the potential to produce disproportionate value from the resources provided to them. [Source HBR]

Martin Sorrell, CEO WPP, a leading most communications services firm in the world also backs creativity over capital for greater returns on investment, says,”One of the biggest challenges is that there are diseconomies of scale in creative industries. If you double the number of creative people, it doesn’t mean you will be twice as creative.” Reminiscent of too many cooks spoil the broth? One defining characteristic of clever people is that they do not want to be led, a red alert for you leaders. Clever people don’t plan their pension; they know their value and expect everyone to recognize it.

The bad news is that all the resources and systems in the world are useless unless you have clever people to make the most of them.  As per Hammerstein-Equord view people can be divided into four groups based on their behavioral habits:
There are clever, diligent, stupid and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. So the groups are set as follows:
  • Clever and diligent
  • Stupid and lazy
  • Clever & lazy
  • Stupid and diligent 
Who would be the most undesirable group that must be avoided? Certainly the ‘stupid & diligent’ must be avoided and not entrusted with any responsibility as they will always cause only mischief. And the clever & lazy qualify to for the highest leadership duties, because the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for challenging tasks would benefit for great positive outcomes.  Erich von Manstein was regarded as one of Germany’s best military strategist during World War II and Kurt Gebhard Adolf Philipp Freigerr von Hammerstein – Equord was Germany’s Chief of the Army High Command before Second World War.


India has twin advantage of political stability and relative democracy but faces enormous challenges of culture war led by Hindutva lobby, poverty, and population.  The rising inequality in incomes can’t be camouflaged with strident Hindu nationalism. Indian elections present an opportunity to people to select the desirable class of leaders to take India forward. 

The mass media due to its structure and the lack of knowledge & circumstances have never educated the voters about what type of leaders people should elect that would help India march forward and develop a competitive advantage. Justice Katju, head of Press Council had warned Indians about the poor quality of journalists in India and the need for citizens to avoid voting on identity factors and chose merit for sake of progress. But Indians & the mainstream media swept aside his views and got itself a new set of leaders. The quality of life in a country depends upon the leaders it elect. India has failed once again to elect a bunch that can take it forward. 

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