There is a lot of insecurity amongst the powerful and influential people today, as always, perhaps? Insecurity breeds insecurity. When the powerful are insecure, they inevitably exploit the powerless.
Students graduating out of the leading educational institutions, who are expected to lead, begin with, or rather, are equipped with this sense of insecurity. If this assessment seems thoroughly incorrect, read no further. But if there appears to be truth in it, let us explore more of the truth.
Businesses today seem to have more adversaries than stakeholders. In other words, those who were stakeholders have become adversaries. Consumer, regulator and the peripheral society have since long become adversaries. They put pressure on profitability. Off late, channel partners, vendors and even employees are treated as outsiders. It wouldn’t be surprising that the board of a company considers public shareholders too as outsiders, rather than owners of the business. Who, then, is the insider? Is it just the bunch of top executives? That is the position a typical management graduate is groomed to occupy, right?
What happened to the classical ‘win-all’ idea, which gave birth to some legendary businessmen of the yesteryears? I'm not so sure, but it may be true that today, legendary, visionary business leaders are the ones who aim at size, market share, valuations and profitability of their ventures/companies.
We have stories of business leaders, who worked in the capacity of trustees of the wealth of societies and nations, who had no fear for the survival of their own selves, their family and their individual identity. Do these stories inspire or even interest students at the leading management institutes? If they don't, are the institutes perturbed?
Nowadays, one hears stories of people who tread off the beaten path - engineers becoming farmers, business tycoons becoming monks and the like. What do these stories mean to a student? Are these slotted into ‘spiritual pursuits’ and therefore irrelevant to business management?
Mine is such a story. The lure for a better life led us from an elite urban life, from a successful corporate career to a life on the farm. We try to grow our own food – fresh, nutritious and tasty. We don’t send our children to school – they’re getting the best education we know of. They’re saved of the systemic education, which seems hell bent to encourage comparison and instil the insecurity. We do not measure wealth in currency, but in real terms. We find it unnecessary to assign a monetary value to our wealth. We find ourselves not conforming to generally accepted norms because we find many of them irrelevant.
I knew I may not be popular or famous. But I never thought I’ll become irrelevant, forgotten and buried in obscurity.
It is not about me or others like me, who've walked off. My question is whether I'm helping or encouraging my friends to view life from a new perspective?
Off late, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m in a war. I’m a character in the war, against fear. If I don’t put up a committed fight, I’ll be doing injustice to my role.
Fear is contagious. It spreads from leaders to the followers. The fight ought to be against the fear in the hearts of those who are poised to lead. Businesses and business leaders are arguably in the forefront of how the world is led today. They’re as powerful as politicians and religions.
The question is, “Are the institutions awakened to the need of the hour? Do they feel responsible for the direction businesses take? Or are they too trapped in the same insecurity of rankings?”