How can I become PM like Narendra Modi? by @balajivis
Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
We all want to look at the end result, but not the journey that gets people there. Like other leaders in business, arts or politics, he was a result of decades of hard work. You don’t need to agree with his politics or methods or ideology, but it would be stupid to ignore the path – that is common to many politicians.
- 56 years before he became the Prime Minister, he joined an organization in which he continued through his life. How many of us have the patience and perseverance to stick to a single organization?
- 47 years before he became the PM, he wandered around the country for two years as a teenager looking for spiritual answers. We see such a quest in almost every leader. Steve Jobs, Rajnikanth, Mahatma Gandhi and leaders from all walks of life had such a wandering before they came out strong. He did a lot of random things during those times.
- 43 years before he became the PM he became a full-time volunteer at an organization. He became involved in plenty of activities & agitations. He continued his education there and got a couple of degrees in political science through correspondence education. He was very consistent in what he sought.
- After nearly 15 years at that organization, he was promoted into the political wing, 30 years before he became the PM. There he worked on organizing political rallies for the party’s top leaders [Advani and Joshi]. He knew politics both from the theory and the practice. His travels around India and elsewhere helped.
- For 15 more years he was scripting victories for others. Nobody outside knew his name, but the insiders knew how important he was.
The lucky break. Most of us have this lucky break – a brief window of opportunity that comes. Often we are too unprepared to make use of this and drop the ball.
After nearly 30 years of working for RSS, Modi got the lucky break to be Gujarat’s temporary CM – when its CM had poor health. It was only to be a few months and they needed someone. Then Modi showed his courage by telling Advani and Vajpayee who thought he could be a toothless Deputy CM, that either gets the CM post or he continues to be a worker.
The disaster hits. A few weeks into his leadership, he had the biggest crisis of his life and something that will go along with him in the history books. He was faced with a massive rioting in Gujarat for which he had little leadership experience to handle. He could organize rallies, but no experience to manage his resources enough to stop his own partymen & outsiders from rampaging. He was still in his old role as an activist than a leader – sometimes worsening the situation with controversial statements.
The fall & rebuilding: Those early months of 2002 would have been enough to sink any other leader. But, Modi survived and learnt the lessons. He quickly grew up to be a leader, cutting out his activist past. In the terms following 2002, he cut out the extremist elements from his party and government & turned attention to development. He knew the world was watching him and to his credit nothing came up in the rest of his 12 year term – in a state historically known for its huge riots [‘69, ‘85, ‘02].
In Modi’s career we can see both the virtues of experience and the perils of inexperience.
Modi had over 50 years of political and organizational experience to get to the top. He didn’t wander or waver in his associationships, making him extremely dependable for his party. He knew India very well and really honed his skills as a speaker and debater from his time as a theater artist.
At the same time, his 2002 riots show the perils of inexperience. He rose too quickly from a worker to a top leader, with no interim positions. Had he spent sometime as a Mayor or some other important leadership post before becoming CM, he could have been better prepared for the riots & saved from the black spot. This is why we should not look at rising to the top too quickly – as we might not have the tools to handle the heat. When you fall, it often destroys everything you built in your life.
Finally, people do fall. The difference between a winner and a loser is whether they get up from that fall or not. Whether you consider him as a hero or a villain, there is a lot of leadership lessons to learn from his example.