2014 General Elections in India are historic in lot of ways. It is the world’s largest election ever with 815 million people eligible to vote, with over 100 million new voters. These are the longest (9 phases, 35 days) and the most expensive (INR 35 billion, USD 600 million government expense; excludes political campaign spending) elections in the country ever.
The most fascinating part of the election is the NaMo phenomenon. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister candidate of the Bhartiya Janata Party, has taken over a party with many contenders for the top post. Political outcome of the election apart, there are a few key learnings that can be taken from the him and applied to life and business.
If you listen to Modi or follow his style of functioning, one thing that you will see from the get go is his vision and determination to get his message through to the voters of the country. He might not be the most eloquent speaker in the world, but he knows how to get his message through. He understands what language his audience will connect with and adapts his script accordingly. For example, his team divided one of the battleground states in 36 zones and he had a different message for each zone in that one state. The biggest lesson here is that you got to understand your audience. Do your research and make sure you know your customers. It’s much easier to mold your script to fit their thought process than to ask them to adapt and understand you.
Second key thing to understand about NaMo campaign is the grip Modi has on his campaign. The man leads from the front and has complete control on the campaign. It’s more about team management than micromanagement. What Modi has made sure is that he has people whom he trusts at the right places. Whether it is people in-charge of battleground states or the core team responsible for seat distribution, he has mapped capabilities of his team members to the jobs. Lesson: You cannot do everything alone, but you need to lead from the front and be in-charge and responsible. You need to build your own team of people you can trust and count on. You need to leverage the strengths of your team members. Different people have different capabilities. Put them at the right places and make them accountable.
If you watch NaMo speak, walk or talk, you will notice an amazing amount of energy. It is said that power brings energy in people and you have the energy to work round the clock on something you love. This appears to be more true here than anywhere else. Modi has an energy which is in-turn induced in the millions who attend his public rallies. His energy shows his commitment to be there and do what he is doing. Key thing to learn from this is to do what you love. Do it with 100% commitment. Make sure you are immersed in it. This will provide you excitement and energy to do it and increase the chance to success.
NaMo team is expert in what I call aura development. Whether it was “Jitega Gujarat” (Gujarat will win) in assembly elections or “Vote for India” in 2014 general election, Modi creates an aura which gives you a feeling that if you are voting for him, you are doing the right thing. You are doing it for your state, for your country. Lesson: Take the center stage. Position yourself to be synonymous with the larger purpose. Represent the space and do it with authority and conviction.