Rajeshwar Upadhyaya, Editor-in-Chief, The Leadership Review

Rajeshwar Upadhyaya, Editor-in-Chief, The Leadership Review

March 8, 2015

Could Dr Shrikar Pardeshi have succeeded in his assignments at
Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) if he only brought the idea of ‘Jugaad’ which had served him well previously?

Could Dr Achyutananda Samanta, an ascetic of sorts, educate thousands of children by remaining committed exclusively to the idea of not-forprofit in all his endeavours?

Could Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), under Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership, have won the landslide of a victory in Delhi only by focusing on corruption and show-casing malpractices of others?

There is something insidious about success patterns from the past. Look at some mythic characters from our own subcontinent: it was ‘overkill’ or overuse of competence that caused the demise of Vali, Suyodhana (Duryodhana), and Ravana – all three extraordinary men of great lineage.

Vali stared as someone who in ‘enlightened self-interest’ shares with others but as he touched the heights of greatness he turned into someone who patronisingly grants. That is why when Sugriva asked him for another duel, against his wife Tara’s warning, he was compelled to grant it and die subsequently.

Duryodhana with his haughtiness had already gotten the entire kingdom of Hastinapur for himself but his insistence on stripping Draupadi (at the prodding of Karna) in the court brought upon Bhima’s pledge and his own death.

Ravana’s ambition had virtually conquered the entire creation for him but he knowingly took on the creator, Rama, and died by his hands. A leader fails when one of his own strengths turns against him; something that has always worked for him takes a demented turn and leads to his
ultimate failure. The Greeks called this hamartia or fatal flaw.

Therefore, while ‘Jugaad’ worked for Dr Pardeshi in Yawatmal and Nanded, what makes him an exceptional leader is the fact that he was able to leverage modern technology for SARATHI and ensure compliance with the court orders against illegal constructions at PCMC. Dr Samanta
expanded the scale at which he helped spread the benefits of education to the tribal children only by growing the revenues he generated from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT). AAP and Arvind Kejriwal had to expand their discourse by adding what was important to
the people of Delhi in order to win the elections.

The leader’s ability is to challenge the assumptions on which he/she operates and finding them inadequate readily rejects them for better and more evolved ways of doing things. Not operating from habit but from examination and studied thought. Indeed ‘falsifiability’ – there
is no truth except the extent to which it cannot be proved false.