(Image: AAP website)
Love him or hate him, you can’t get away from the #NAMO wave in India. Shri Narendra Modi symbolises the aspirations of the Indian business and all including me are waiting for his coming to power and setting the base for a robust industry growth.
But in the middle of this wave there is another wave, a much smaller one, which probably is more strategic and can change the future of our nation.
That wave is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP ) or the common man’s party and led by the charismatic Arvind Kejriwal. A year ago when Kejriwal formed the AAP I did not give them much of a chance. But contrary to my expectations they grew and when my mom told me that she was voting for them, I was amazed at the transformation.
So what makes Arvind Kejriwal so special? How has he managed to swing where others before him have flopped? and is there something Indian businesses can learn from him?
Start with a large base. Kejriwal came into national prominence with the Anna Hazare anti corruption movement. The movement captured the imagination of the entire nation and put Congress on the back foot. The ramifications of that movement are being felt today as well.
Kejriwal was a key leader at that movement and I think the core leaders of AAP and some very important relationships were formed under the shadow of the movement and how the Government dealt with them.
Even in the past most business leaders forge important relationships before they step on to the big stage. Kejriwal used the movement as a staging area, and later when the party was formed he was able to leverage that relationships. I think Indian business leaders can do that.
AAP had a very interesting way to build its manifesto. They had stalls in every constituency and citizens were encouraged to walk in and write their concerns and the changes that they want in their area. That formed the manifesto for that area. That way they had 70 odd manifestos. I have known friends who went in and wrote the manifesto for their areas.
In an age where the customer is empowered like never before, does it make sense for Indian businesses to get more local, invite customers to write the agenda for the company ? I think it makes great sense. technology and the use of internet can ensure that such a mechanism can be worked out. I think the long term strategy of the company should be made after taking the customer’s sentiment’s into consideration.
Kejriwal kept the communication very simple. This was the biggest drawback of the Anna Hazare movement. Anna concentrated on the Lok Pal Bill and many citizens were confused about it. But Kejriwal concentrated on a very simple communication- He was against corruption and the congress in Delhi represented a very corrupt organization. So the net result was that people associated with him and with AAP. He choose the party simple as the broom, a weapon to throw into the bins all that was wrong.
Indian businesses need to keep the communication very simple. The vision of what the company can do for all stakeholders should be very very clear. Rather than using fancy jargon, companies should paint a very simple picture. Marketers please read this very carefully 🙂
A leader leads by example. Kejriwal could have chosen a very easy seat to contest. Instead he choose New Delhi seat and then went to campign and beat the incumbent Chief Minister Sheila Dixit. It takes guts for a first time politician to come out and beat the leader on his own turf. Great leaders have done it and so did Kejriwal.
I often see Indian business leaders choosing easier options and not taking on tough opponents. Once a leader does that then it galvanizes the entire company and leads them to victory.
So these are my 4 lessons. Do you think there are others. Please do write in and I would be happy to include them as addendum to the post…