Me, Micromanagement and Narendra
Like all my stories, this one begins with the debate I often have with my husband. I am a micromanager. And he on the other hand is a people’s man. A motivator, a delegator and an ideal leader who reinforces the creativity of his team and celebrates in their target completion more than the company’s joy in having the task done. Undoubtedly it’s the most effective way of management. He is appraised for this year after year. While I have been often criticized for spoon feeding my team mates and getting work done exactly the way I would want, rather than leaving scope for mistakes, improvement and self realization. I may not be perfect, yet I am a perfectionist. I set my own policies, quality checks , operational processes and even schedules. Many a times, I see my way as the only ideal way. While I still believe that its true – because I set my way based on a lot of logic, I leave no benefit of doubt for someone else’s creativity.
However, having said that, I have been no failure. Have tasted success, appraisals, achievements , and even won hearts of my team mates at the end of task completion ! The need to justify my micromanagement, once led me to reading an article in Business Week. It said iPhone5 would never have had bugs and maps app with issues, had Steve still been alive. Steve would get to details with his engineers and test, design, himself.
Oracle’s (ORCL) Larry Ellison, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Bill Gates, and Amazon’s (AMZN) Jeff Bezos all micro-managed, and their companies all delivered phenomenal growth and innovation under their watch.
Most companies have great innovation ideas. But what separates the winners from the losers is not their ideas, but their ability to execute. Great innovations are often delayed and watered down by cross-functional teams that have disparate motivations. A CEO who is a micro-manager has the ability to cut through roadblocks and force uncooperative team members to take on audacious challenges that drive value. Steve was famous for pushing his engineers past the bounds of what most considered reasonable—and getting great results from it.
A good micro-manager has the ability to ensure his or her team stays focused on the customer and delivers an experience that delights, without flaws.
Disney (DIS) founder Walt Disney was a well-known micro-manager who obsessed over every detail of every ride design at his theme parks. While he was roundly criticized for this, the end result was an amazing experience for park visitors, making Disney stand out vs. all other less inspired competitors.
It’s no coincidence that many great micro-managers are owners or founders. To be an effective micro-manager you need a clear vision for success and how to achieve it. You also need confidence and risk tolerance. It is much easier to be a delegator/motivator CEO. If an initiative fails, delegators can always blame others. Micro-managers, on the other hand, risk their own skin every day.
If you are serious about results, micro-management is a big advantage. The key to being a great micro-manager is to be selective. If you micro-manage too much or create unwieldy approval processes, you create unproductive bottlenecks. Successful micro-managers insert themselves into mission-critical, customer-facing aspects of the business.
Sam Walton (Wal-Mart Stores (WMT)), Bill Marriott (Marriott International (MAR)), and William Rosenberg (Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN)) were all well-known micro-managers who spent a large part of their time visiting their own stores to ensure their product was top-quality.
Companies without micro-managers are more susceptible to product and operational crises, because their leaders are less able to identify potential problems on a proactive basis.
And we are now on the verge of choosing the CEO of not any other company but the one that literally gives us our bread and butter. India. Yes, we do not need a PM. It’s a word of the past. We need a modern CEO. A bit shrude, even autocratic and is blinded by his own vision for the company India. India has its own customers, its own brand, marketing strategies, employees, operational policies, and even rivals. We need someone to take this company head on. Enough of pampering the company by calling it Mother India. The Rural India. The Kisaan vikaas india. Enough of you Gandhi. I mean Mahatma Gandhi. Let me tell you, we did not get freedom because of your silly ahinsa rallies. We got it because of the autocratic, man of the era, Mr. Hitler, whom british were so drained out of fighting with, that instead of deploying more people to take care of business here, they decided to let go. And if Hitler was really bad enough as portrayed, why did Subhash Chandra Bose ally with Japanese ?
Indian herd was clueless then and is clueless now. We just know to follow. Our politicians fooled us then and fooled us now. While Gandhi was playing his funny tactics here, Indians were allying with Japanese, got in Hitler’s help to shoo shoo the British. And once done, branded Gandhi as the father of Nation and India itself as our mother ! really ? and we still believe that ?
Get over it guys. Running India is a serious business. A company with highest potential , maximum man power, maximum capital resources and wide geography. Don’t we know how America and China are scared of Indian progress ? You really think US and Britain had boycotted Narendra Modi because of Gujarat riots ? As if they care so much ?
Narendra Modi (from here on, calling him Narendra – somehow calling him by his first name makes him My man) – is a micro manager through and through. If you have read latest stories, he even micromanages the arrangements for his rallies ! decides the flowers, and the way supporters are ferried (via elephants or buses) and even the schedule and duration.
His major achivements are seen in his home state. In terms of transit, Ahmedabad under Narendra pursued a bus rapid transit system that’s proven more successful than others in India. Pune’s BRT rollout has been an outright disaster, for example, with its leadership sent to Ahmedabad — or “NaMo Land,” as the Pune Mirror calls it, referring to Narendra’s leadership — to examine the 75-kilometer network and figure out how to make its own lines work. While Narendra prioritized the BRT system, the city is currently planning for a proper metro line that will connect it with the nearby state capital, Gandhinagar.
According to the new city plan for Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest metropolis, vast swaths of the central city will be buildable up to fairly high densities, allowing for a dense thicket of mid-rises and even short towers. While transit corridors will be upzoned and left in private hands, slum dwellers on the banks of the Sabarmati River were removed to outlying areas, as is customary in Indian urban renewal projects. In addition to rezoning land along the river, the project reopened waterfront space for public use and added amenities like an amphitheater, food courts and play areas.
Narendra has often coupled density hikes with infrastructure by charging developers for increased FSI. In Ahmedabad, the money will mainly go toward infrastructure, while in Surat the connection was even tighter — development at densities up to mid-rise levels will finance Outer Ring Road, a 66-kilometer (41-mile) corridor around the city. “Surat has also made its mark as the ‘Flyover City of Gujarat’,” reads his website, “due to the many flyovers that have been built to ease traffic from congested areas.”
Narendra has, presided over a general loosening of zoning regulations in Gujarat. Smaller cities have already seen increased densities. In Rajkot, a city of 1.6 million, Narendra personally announced the decision, saying that “the state government has decided to approve a 25 percent increase in [allowed density] for the benefit of common people” — a move also welcomed by real estate developers. Jamnagar and Surat, too, saw density boosts.
Narendra’s main strength is economics. The markets are ecstatic over his rise, and he’s running largely on his record of growth in Gujarat, which he’s led as chief minister since 2001. The northwestern Indian state has seen 10.3 percent annual growth between 2003 and 2012, 2.4 percentage points greater than the country as a whole, appealing to a country whose economic growth rate has slipped to around 5 percent.
Like many however say, progressing a state was easier – like even UP and chattigarh for that matter – simply don’t listen to anyone and do what you want. However, running a country, and territories like Delhi with internal pressure, may be different. How his micromanagement skills take him through remains to be seen. Whether he will get bogged down with sheer pressure and vastness of governance, or have a few trusted aides whom he shall delegate enough to be micromanaged, will not only make a new story for company India, but shall also justify and reinforce the thought process of working into the minutest detail as a leader.
The story is yet to be revealed. 24th April, here I come to vote. Lets see what happens.