Pradeep Udhas is one of the founding partners and a senior partner with KPMG in India, a global business executive with more than 30 years of industry experience in management consulting, technology, private equity and strategy. He was also one of the pioneers of ‘off-shore’ software development paradigm in IBM. He is on the National Board of IACC (Indo-American Chamber of Commerce), member of Founder’s Circle of Avasara Leadership Academy. Earlier, he has served on the executive council of NASSCOM, the global board of TiE, and the advisory board of St. Xavier’s college, Mumbai. He is also a professional singer and has scored music for a Bollywood film.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s journey from humble origins to the leader of the world’s largest democracy reflects, in the words of Barack Obama, the ‘dynamism and potential of India’s rise’. It is a story that carries some valuable lessons for the corporate world.
Obama penned his thoughts on Modi as part of an article by a world-renowned magazine in 2015 as:
“Determined to help more Indians follow in his path, he’s laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls and unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change…Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern — a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a ‘digital India.”
As a leader, PM Narendra Modi (NaMo) commands high approval ratings amongst the global leaders. About 78 per cent of the people surveyed in India Today’s Mood of the Nation poll found the performance of PM Modi to be outstanding/good1.
I first had the privilege of interacting with PM Modi in 2007, while he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
He was releasing a discussion note that I had co-authored on “Accelerating growth in Gujarat” ; and I was immediately struck by his level of interest, intellectual curiosity, and knowledge on the subject.
I have always been curious about his leadership style, or what I call NaMo–niti. What are the qualities that make him such a unique, decisive and an inspirational leader to many?
- An all-rounder: Outstanding leaders tend to display a high Intelligent Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), Social Quotient (SQ) and Adversity Quotient (AQ). With his ability to absorb and analyse complex topics, his sharp oratory and people skills, and ability to unify millions towards a cause and stand-up to adversity, he displays a rare combination in all these four quotients. I feel PM Modi’s appreciation and talent for poetry, music, and sports enables lateral and holistic thinking. Many musicians, artists and sports figures are in awe of him. Also, he has a deep spiritual side to maintain equilibrium and the ability to appreciate the broader challenges that humanity faces, such as the environment, mental health and peace.
- A visionary: I have observed that PM Modi has an intuitive understanding of human and mass psyche, his oratory skills and charisma inspires complete devotion from his followers. I have been quite impressed with his vision to transform India into a “leading light of the world”, not only in terms of self-reliant, atma-nirbhar economic power, but also as a strong, yet kind and inclusive nation in the spirit of India’s long-standing tradition of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’. He has always been at the forefront to adopt pollution control and renewable energy measures, be it the Paris Climate Agreement – the mission to reduce fossil fuel energy to 50 per cent by 2030. Swatch Bharat Mission, Digital India program, Global Yoga initiative, Ayushman Bharat, National Education Policy (NEP) are some of the exemplary initiatives undertaken under his leadership.
- Master strategist: He has earned the reputation of a tough negotiator for India’s interests on the global stage. He took decisive actions in disputes with Pakistan and China, be it the ‘Surgical Strike’ on militant launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or the India-China skirmishes near Bhutan and Ladakh. He is known for his ability to foster strong relationship with global leaders across political ideologies. This quality shines through not only in Obama’s profile of him, but also in Obama’s successor and political adversary, President Donald Trump’s praise for his “true friend” PM Modi2. At the same time, he leverages his business acumen or ‘baniya buddhi’, a Gujarati trait, with Industrialists and global leaders. Ease of doing business (or lack thereof) has long been an impediment for foreign investment in India. He has introduced many economic reforms and enabling policy frameworks and FDI norms. India has been rapidly moving up the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings and is likely to break into the top 50 on this index this year.
In summary, NaMo–niti brings together a diverse set of leadership qualities, drawn from different walks of life, to inspire and drive success. As India faces one of its most challenging periods since independence, billions have hopes on PM Modi leading the country through successfully.
I wish જન્મ દિવસ મુબારક અને લાંબી જિંદગી to Narendrabhai.
DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not necessarily represent those of KPMG (in India). Assumptions made are not reflective of the position of any other entity other than myself.