Making Out

  • Atul Sobti
  • India
  • Nov 21, 2014

Make In India surely has to be complemented with Make Out of India. As FG has said earlier, for India to truly become a world economic power we will have to also go out. We will not only have to be a major exporting nation, but will also need to set up operations abroad – especially in the developed world. China has got its products and operations and people into almost every country (Chinatowns of course proliferate across the globe – the latest being in Africa). What would/should an Indian Multi-National Corporation (MNC) ‘look’ like? We currently have no defining/differentiated Indian MNC structure or culture. We would probably be happy to copy the West  - in language, dress and custom; become a US/UK look-alike (the B team). It is a good bet that China would not do (is not doing) likewise. And therein may lie the answer to out futures – good or bad.

What should be our USP? What Indian values should an Indian MNC have, and what Indian experience can it promote? Would Indian MNCs be really professional? Will we be transparent? Will we truly decentralise? Will we let go of the Finance function? As a worthy benchmark, let us see what Japan did, and what it offers: deliberate decision-making, attention to detail, process orientation, discipline, teamwork, quality and punctuality; top electronic products; the Japanese language; a bowing custom – for welcome and farewell; unique food & drink – sushi & sake; a ‘no tips’, but exchange of gifts, culture; a special sport – sumo wrestling; geishas, green tea and tofu.

All this, delivered while happily wearing western business suits – always black; and taking up baseball as a new national sport. Our strengths and uniqueness, and competence - in the corporate cum country world - should similarly be leveraged. On a global basis, Indian executives are well-known for hard work, intelligence, confidence and ‘jugaad’. We are truly acknowledged in the IT and Finance world. We should aim to achieve world-class status and scale in this soon. Strategically, as corporate cum country, we should be promoting our ‘soft’ side – versus a ‘hard’ China (reminiscent of the USA-USSR ‘real’ versus ‘image’ war). We have some real ammunition here: Bollywood; Hinglish (our unique mixed-language); and Classical music, singing and dance. We should also create some India specials: a new dress (maybe short kurtas for men and women, over pants or jeans) – and of course now the ‘Namo Suit’; or a unique ‘Namaste’ greeting - we already have the garland/tilak tradition. How about a ‘global Chaat’; or a ‘Triple-Daal’ course; or the biggest, fattest Wedding tamasha? We should develop a Kabaddi stadium. Better, we should integrate Cricket with Baseball – now that would be a home run! Of course, along with economic might, we need to make ourselves militarily ‘buland’ also. America may be software and Hollywood – but it sure can play hard-ball when it needs to!



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