Judging by the full-page advertisements released by the Congress government on 1 January 2014, Haryana’s population is in a state of bliss with free medical care and medicines, cattle loans, loan interest waivers, crop insurance and what have you. The list of other freebies – for laborers, numberdars, chowkidars to Anganwadi workers, women, army personnel, government employees – in the “Bonanza worth Rs. 3,000 Crores ….” is endless.
Mr. Bhupinder Hooda’s current government – professional politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, their crony businessmen and wheeler dealers – has played the ruthless game of entitlement politics well this past decade, and from all accounts has made money hand over fist in the process. But so did the Chautala clan, Bhajan Lal, and Bansi Lal before him (‘sab chor hain, babuji” my farm hands say). Today the culture of corruption is endemic and deep rooted in all parts of Haryana’s social and cultural life, with public institutions demolished, and Hooda’s government is more morally debased than the reprehensible Chautala regime.
Ask Rajan, a 45 year old who works and cooks at my agricultural farm in Faridabad district, and she is emphatic that she has not got one rupee benefit from the schemes of the Haryana government in the last 25 years. And she knows nothing of any of these or other schemes I share with her as I have read the advertisements over the last year. My farm is just 12 kilometers from the million population plus cities of Faridabad and Gurgaon, so we can well imagine the situation in distant parts of rural Haryana.
Rajan is the ideal candidate for assistance from the government. She is dalit, landless, widowed, with two sons who are poorly educated, without a work ethic or values, and are currently unemployed. Her elder son worked for some years as a JCB driver at an illegal crushing zone in Faridabad, and contracted tuberculosis that the government doctors in Faridabad could not treat. A private doctor in Delhi gave him the right antibiotic course, and he is well on the way to recovery. So much for free medicines – if there are no doctors, what will medicines do?
Rajan’s experience reflects – amongst other things – the complete absence of a culture of execution in government, where an announcement is considered the equivalent of having delivered a promise. In reality, 90% of the money will be retained by middlemen and sharks from amongst the politicians and bureaucrats and the ever suffering Haryanvi citizens would have been robbed twice over – first, through heavy taxes by those who can afford to pay; and second by stealing the money before it reaches the citizen. Jab Raja Chor Ho To Kaun Bachaye?
An average strategy executed well brings superior results compared to an outstanding strategy executed averagely. Execution has been elevated to a level higher than strategy by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan in “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done”. Hooda will do well to read this and understand that execution cannot be delegated to other lower down in the chain while he focuses on poll strategy. But he won’t read this as he and his political class aren’t bothered about real results for real people (like Rajan), he just wants to win the next election and gather enough capital for the coming generations to remain on top of the grasping, greedy, sweaty bunch of professional politicians.
Execution is the job of the leader, and the gap between strategy and execution has swallowed many a promising leader in well-run companies. Good execution means consistency in delivered results, day in and day out, year after year. Good leaders build a laser sharp vision for the organization; bring positive energy to all they do; personally seek out and build a team of like minded executives; focus the company on a few key goals; actively measure the results and reward performance through an efficient MIS and scores of pre-scheduled meetings weekly, quarterly, annually. The even more fundamental key to building a successful company is self-awareness of the leader herself – introspection, striving to scale as the company grows, and that rare quality of humility.
It’s not that all business leaders execute outstandingly, but I know that a whole lot try really hard, and with sincerity. The art of execution is worth emulating by those in the service of society in each state of our Republic – public sector executives, bureaucracy, and politicians. If there was process and measurement (hence efficiency) in administration, no new strategies or plans would be required. We’d be rid of many of our problems within a decade. Simplistic? Maybe. But “keeping it simple” is often a good idea.
But unfortunately a basic premise doesn’t stand scrutiny – that politicians and bureaucrats in Haryana are there to serve society and not only their personal ego’s; that they desire to improve the lot of their suffering citizens and are not there for garnering wealth for their next 20 generations; and are not suffering from son blindness. Across the political spectrum in Haryana, the situation is bleak. The BJP is no alternative to corrupt politics in Haryana having tied up with Mr. Bhajan Lal’s son, neither do they have the caste coalition to win the elections to be held later this year. Mr. Chautala and his sons bestowed many favors when in power, and continues with a core following in the Jats but it’s difficult to fight elections from jail 🙂 Maybe the Congress will come back after all, and that is really a depressing thought.
Unless the AAP wins the 20 odd urban & semi-urban Assembly seats and some from the 65% of the population in the rural areas. Just the thought is enough to make anyone breathless.