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Indira Gandhi

I is for Indira Gandhi in AtoZ challenge.  Anyone who lived in India during the period of Indira Gandhi  will agree to the fact that she is one of the most charismatic political leader ever in the subcontinent!

If I have to pick up one quality of her, then it is her courage which impresses me  –  the courage with which she went ahead and made those major decisions in Indian politics, Indian Government and in turn in the lives of Indians.   While I am neutral politically, it goes without saying that she comes on top of my list if i look at all the prime minsters who held post in India in the past.

There are multiple views on how the Nehru family and especially Indira patronized the monarchy model in the so-called democratic India –  her dad Jawaharlal Nehru, she and her son Rajiv Gandhi all held the post of prime ministers of India.

Still, when it comes to looking at that one women political leader across the world in all these years, Indira still is as impressive as she can get.  If you need to read the life of an individual, who conquered her own demons and reached the pinnacle of power in politics in a developing country like India, INDIRA it is!!! For starters, to know more about Indira Gandhi Wiki is a good place !!

Check out the few sample pictures if you want to find out what it means to be a Charismatic leader….i was tough to stop adding more pictures to this post!!   Indira  =  Charisma !!!!

Women Leaders and Self-confidence

While self-confidence is the basis for any self-improvement, a recent article in Harvard Business Review (HBR) was very specific about the need for women leaders to be self-confident.  Leslie Pratch is the author of this article – she is a clinical psychologist who helps companies identify whether potential executives possess the psychological resources and personality strengths needed to succeed.  If you read the 16 page research paper referred in this article, it can become a long read….so i consolidated the key messages which I found helpful …….

You can read the HBR article here…..

–       Before a woman answers a question in the corporate scene, it may help to stop and ask yourself a question “do you think a man would have ever answered that question that way?”

–       You got be very confident, even though we are so self-critical inside about what it is you may or may not know.  And this will lead to taking risks

–       Gender based expectations for behavior influence the styles and evaluations of leaders

–       Men are freer to carry out leadership in different styles without encountering negative reactions because their leadership is ordinarily perceived as legitimate

–       The findings indicated that women have to have high self-esteem and high self-confidence so that they can cope with the constraints placed on their leadership styles.

Vasan Eye Care – Leadership and Management!

Effective leadership is putting first things first.  Effective management is discipline, carrying it out  –  Covey.

When you see Covey principles in action, especially meticulously implemented at large-scale, we have to commend!!   It was time for cataract surgery for dad  –   while I can call myself decently educated, when it comes to medical field, I am as novice as anyone can get….rather, I get psyched by how the medical field operate  –  I still struggle to comprehend on the fact that doctors are also human beings and their individual skills make or break a life (not a program unlike a software engineer!!)

So, when we went to the Vasan Eye Care center in Vadapalani, Chennai –  I was not expecting to see Covey in action!!   Starting from the security, receptionist, ward nurse and doctors  –   all I saw was the focus   –  CARE team in action….they have analyzed the psyche of patients, the psyche of attendants and established the processes…….!!

The experience was very unique for me  –  while I have seen the multinational hospitals, system and process  –  what was unique here was the human touch to everything  –  while the scale of operations is much smaller compared to a huge hospital, the focus to ensure the implementation of their USP  –  “WE CARE”  was amazing!!

Later I learnt about Dr.A.M.Arun and read through their vision, mission and values….nothing so unique for the story of a successful entrepreneur.   What was unique was the  business model which they implemented across this chain of hospitals.  

To put it simply –  a business model of a business is the one which converts the technical inputs to revenue outputs.  While I look at the most generic  components of a business model and see how Vasan fairs, this is how it looks

Value proposition – establishing the CARE TEAM, which also doubles up as their USP.  I feel there are probably excess staff –  but may be very specifically trained to do specific jobs  –  in an average eye clinic, I have mostly see ophthalmologist handling  the sensitive testing instruments, but in Vasan I saw trained technicians doing that work  –  while it is a guess, I think Vasan gets to have more staff on their roles at probably low-cost as they are only trained on specific functions. 

Market Segment  –   Vasan seems to target the upper middle class market segment –  who are affluent enough to spend money, but want to ensure that there are no frills  –  spend enough for the necessity!!  Look at the location of the hospital chains they have picked….their ambience is something which is not of a five-star status, but of a decent well-kept hospital.

Position in Value Network  –  Vasan probably is feeding the need for a neighbourhood eye clinic and hospital   –  replacing the individual eye clinics and the super-speciality huge eye hospitals.  In the value chain, they are probably all over   – adding value as a one time eye clinic visit, to the high-end of cosmetic eye treatments!!

Revenue generation and margins  – proof is in the pudding!!  they are planning their IPO!

Good going!!!


Category – History ; Rating  – 3.5 ; Comment – Choice of Freedom is with the individual!!

Ok, it was the Daniel Craig factor to start with  –  ofcourse, who will not recognize the Bond….James Bond!!    When the movie progressed, all I saw was the strength of the Jewish leader who had so much positive outlook and humanity even during the toughest times of second world war!!
Adapted from Nechama Tec’s book “Defiance: The Bielski Partisans”, this movie gives the account of the life of Bielki Partisans. They were led by four Jewish brothers who saved the Jews during the tough world war 2 days in Poland

While the entire movies plot is available readily in Wikipedia if you care to read, the following are something you will notice when you watch the movie
Leadership skills  –  When you put others in front of you, you become a leader in no time                                                Theories of Viktor Frankl  –  Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way
Concept of Right and Wrong –  While Tuvia wants to be a fair leader,  his younger brother Zus gets carried away and joins the Soviet  –   while it looks bad, Zus strongly exhibits the school of thought that what matters is the END and not how we reach there;
Love for life  –  When they initially decide to ban newborns into the camp and when it actually happens, the way they react –  again establishes the fact that women are much stronger than men!!  🙂  

A movie to watch!!!


Category – History ; Rating  – 3.5 ; Comment – Forgiveness and Leadership by example!

Invictus is Latin and means ‘unconquered’.  When i watched this movie, what struck me was the critical importance of respecting your enemies (are they?) for what they are and getting them on your side.  This indeed is a great leadership quality.  Not just in politics, but this skill is very much required in corporates and personal life.  How many such mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world would have been raving success if this leadership quality is practiced……..How many marriages would have been saved if this quality is practiced in personal lives…..

The interview between Nelson Mandela and the Rugby captain is a MUST WATCH for aspiring leaders.

 Just to add value to my page, i wanted to repeat the poem Invictus here (Victorian poem by English poet William Ernest Henley)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul


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