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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Development in a Trimester of rural management

John Stuart Mill is right here: there is no development, democratic or economic, without an educated citizenry. Hence with this statement, I will shade mine myopic narrative of the last 3 months of the education. Roughly, the things I am doing out here is to fight the common perception between development and management.

During this trimester of PGDM-RM (rural management) at XIMB, the question that was constantly asked by me was how much of it is “Development” and how much “management” ? With rural India in the context, this issue becomes a divergent for many budding rural managers.

The purpose of nearly all writing is to communicate easily. Here in 10 points is what I learnt in 3 months:

1- The first lesson towards developing an understanding that development is not merely about subsidies, urbanisation and poverty but also about being sensitive to the people.

2- As an aspiring rural managers should have understanding that must encompass history, sociology and the economic factors that also shape people’s lives. Quality of a learner is never an accident. It is always result of intelligent effort.

3- Between intention and implemention, there is a step called planning that needs learning from experiences, peers, teachers and most important through insight of a common wisdom of people.

4- We as managers, leaders and adminsitrators counsel and judge people without knowing much about them. Before presuming to do so, we need to be educated about why people behave the way they do. Then ask ourselves a far more difficult question: ‘Who am I to talk to other people and advise them about their development?’

5- There is nothing called perfect system, we try to make a system perfect by adapting ourselves to the problems at hand. One has to challenge organizational culture without destroying it.

6- Intent and honesty of purpose indeed attracts the valuable talent across the strata of society. But what you want to do and why holds important parameter for the people involved in any project. The character of a person/institution can be the most powerful yet most difficult competitive advantage to develop and maintain.

7- Omission is usually a luxury of the person with many choices. That we do knowingly. But denial is the instrument used by us for avoiding grim realities and ours responsibility.

8- Money does not motivate people, people want social recognition and autonomy.

9- People have capability to become intellectually self reliant and a lot of sustainable knowledge is hidden in them. They only need facilitators like us.

10- As an engineer, I learned that there is immense need to demystify technology first for the rural populace so that they will have the confidence to use and manage it. Technology can't be monopoly of engineers and technocrats.

It is the sheer desperation and helplessness that opens the world for a miracle. But messiah appears only at the time of immense crisis and disaster. We can't wait for Anna and Gandhi to show us the path always.

Develop a vision and skills for implementation, the rest pieces of mission will fall in the right places !

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