Recently the CEO of India IT major Infosys lamented that the Indian executives don't speak up and they chose to follow the instructions given by the superiors. Well an overwhelming majority of Vishal Sikka’s counterparts in India inc may differ with him profusely, not on the nature of Indian Managers, but about the undesirability of such an attitude among the executives. In traditional segmented society of India where India Inc is firmly in the stone carved hands of few families & castes since 1947 employees are treated like slaves and the business owners lord over their subjects just like the benevolent mai-baap would in the nineteenth century.
Millions of bright young women & men join India Inc every year upon graduation, subsequently failing to migrate abroad or ensconce themselves in the hallowed civil services, just to be discovering that silence & compliance are the two major virtues over skills, attitude and hard work for a successful career. Silently complying with orders from the top may not result in great productive work for progress of the company but it keeps the boss happy and the subordinate in the job. Therefore good executives prefer to follow instructions and off the nerve wrecking journey to find a new elusive job in India.
Dr Manmohan Singh in 90s brought in a welcome change to the moribund tradition bound Indian society and infused a new spirit of freedom in the economic activity. The liberalization of government controls on the commerce had its domino effect on how the India Inc behaved and operated till then since 1947. MBA graduates were catapulted to numero uno position suddenly as most desired professionals for leading the India Inc to new heights. Unfortunately India Inc since then has returned to pre 1990s behavior & approach to management. That’s why innovations, skills and creativity have evaporated from amongst the existing management pool in India which is the prime mover of economic growth. Subservient & complaint managers can’t think out of the box.
India need to set up dedicated national institute for Sales Management which could provide training and orientation to Sales Managers. The USA has been built by the Travelling Salesmen, how India affords to ignore such a critical skill? An ideal sales trainer is a guy who keeps her/his feet firmly on the street and head in the boardrooms so as to bridge the chasm between the two ends of the commerce. Sales trainer can motivate the teams by working with them on the street as often as s/he would bring them into the classroom and listen to the feedback. Since India is large, disorganized, scattered & developing market it needs trainers who could help the executives focus on a particular segment while avoiding the curse of tunnel vision.
Training is like a game, a demanding sport that requires regular preparation before every winning performance on the field. India Inc needs to allow more open environment from the street to the boardroom so that innovation could keep flowing in like a cool breeze for a healthy bottom-line.