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Re-inventing Leadership

Extract from Ravi Chaudhry’s address on Re-inventing Leadership to Cope with Future

It is a well acknowledged fact that one can live without air for a few minutes, without water for a few days, without food for a few months and without thinking forever.

This summit is looking at the big shifts taking place today, all around us, in every field, in every country. At the same time, there is a strong emphasis that while we focus on “getting it right,” we must also deliberate on why we “got it wrong,” in the first place.

I shall focus on the relationship between those who lead and those who are led. Between those who wield power and those over whom power is wielded. Somehow, in most nations today, widespread Business-Politics nexus has confirmed the belief that business objectives and society’s needs are like the two tracks of a railway line. They appear to converge in the distance; in reality, they never do. It is a mirage.

Why is it so? In my view, two main reasons:

FIRST: Despite pervasive anger and frustration against corruption all over the world, the Elite in every country is oblivious in its sheltered world, because the status-quo is tilted in its favour, at the cost of social majorities. Barring a few exceptions, the Elite of the world has let the world down. They got it wrong not by mistake or ignorance, but on purpose.

SECOND: There is an extraordinary phenomenon in motion. Ideology is dying. Young people are not interested in debating capitalist or socialist ideas. Their politics is not about left versus right; it is about

  • authoritative versus collaborative
  • centralized versus shared,
  • top-down versus lateral, and
  • closed thinking versus transparent thinking.

This is a world-wide trend. Sadly, a large part of global political class is stuck in a stationary time–capsule. Looking at the 2 scenarios portayed – a pretty grim picture. Quite like the feelings expressed in popular Indian song Kolaveri Di: ‘the future is dark.’

The good news is that an age is called dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.

We can see it, if we realize that we will not go back to the world we knew. Those who are not a part of the growth story, will no longer accept poverty as destiny.

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