When Narendra Modi swept to power in 2014, many of his detractors harped on the divisive brand of politics he had become known for while leading Gujarat as Chief Minister. More than halfway through his term, his leadership status and approval ratings as Prime Minister have only gone up. How did this happen? The short answer: leadership done right. For the long answer, read on.
The Religious Angle
To unite a group of people with purpose, you need to infuse them with a sense of ownership that comes from the very top. Until a few years ago, Indians were divided along communal lines but lately the nation is united around the topic of nationalism. The Indian Army has renewed respect and after actions like surgical strikes, confidence in the country and its ability is sky high.
It is not even necessary to know the founding principles of your religion. After all, no one expects a Hindu to know all the Vedas or a Muslim to recite the entire Quran by heart. All you need is to believe in the principles of your religion and follow its rituals.
In business, too, I have created a similar structure that introduces an element of religion to reinforce the idea of Gorb among my workforce. On Tuesdays for example, the team has to wear orange Gorb T-shirts compulsorily, thats a uniform. Uniform means that we are one irrespective of position or place of work. Uniform represent our religion therefore like any religion it has it’s own guidelines to give respect to the religion aka brand. This is the same T-shirt that our delivery experts & Hub staff wear when they prepare orders that reaches people’s homes with our food. We are essentially creating a religion out of our t-shirts by making it an offering we wear every week.
The idea is two-fold. One, it reminds everyone every week that they are working for a business that hopefully means everything to them. Two, it also aligns with the lowest rung of people, aka delivery experts, who work for Gorb and makes them feel important.
Here’s a video where we made our delivery experts & hub staff feel important for their efforts during Diwali season and share their contribution to the entire team.
The Art of War in 2017
From Modi to Baahubali. What is the one thing you remember from the movie that has broken all records? The war cry Jai Maahishmati by Baahubali, right? There’s a reason war cries are popular. They bring together an entire army under one anthem and unite them unlike anything else.
Being a big fan of war cries, I created one for Gorb as well. It came to me soon after we received our first round of funding. I sat with my core team and told them to imagine that one person who said Gorb would never work. (We have our fair share of detractors too). People with questions and question marks are aplenty and the Gorb war cry was created as a response to these detractors. My simple message to my team was that we are fighting a war and we need this war cry to power ahead.
What do both of the above points mean? It means that businesses that set out to disrupt the ecosystem need to have a different style of leadership, organisation and ways for the team to come together and bond. Like any religion, organisational religion is also a way of life for the team to have a uni-directional approach as “We are best” and “We feel proud”.
Creating a religion means accepting its philosophy wholeheartedly and following a ritual that shows you are in this for life. It is also an identity you can wear proudly, like the Gorb T-shirt. On the other hand, a war cry is a powerful reminder of why you’re in business and what keeps you going – your detractors. Showing someone who has no belief in your ideas that you can execute your plans successfully is the best way to shut detractors, a strategy PM Modi has managed to do effectively.
I have shared some of the strategies I have created and successfully implemented at Gorb.
Do let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.