What if India were a company and Prime Minister Narendra Modi its CEO? Among other things, it would mean that the leader would be subject to annual and mid-year reviews and would have a Human Resources Department breathing down his neck if he failed to meet targets.
In this imaginary (and kind of wonderful) world, three-and-a-half years into his leadership, as his company faces a slowdown, CEO Modi receives a letter from a not-so-happy HR head:
Dear Mr Modi,
As per your date of joining on May 26, 2014, you have been with us in the capacity of CEO for more than three and half years. You will agree that post your selection, the board of directors and the shareholders gave you full support during the induction period and trusted you blindly in whatever actions you took. We were all aligned that you would turn this company around ASAP. However as head of HR, it pains me to convey that there is nervousness over your performance and worse, about the way you are going about things.
Please take this mid-year review seriously and in the right spirit, so that we can change course before it is too late.
On performance, you have yourself admitted that that the company is nowhere near the double digit growth you had talked about. This despite the industry not coming under any severe external shock. Our manufacturing is down, hiring is down, projections are off the chart and your much touted digital payment and tax revamp system are simply not working. Clearly you have launched ambitious plans without any thought about execution – this is simply not acceptable.
While performance can still be improved, the HR department is deeply worried about your way of functioning. There have been multiple reports of members of your information technology cell abusing others, threatening to use violence and making sexual slurs – are you absolutely not aware of these practices? Also, I hear that there is an IT Head in your team who has openly tried to justify assassination? I am sorry so say Mr Modi, this open intimidation and abuse of people is not our company culture and we cannot allow you to change that.
Also it has been noticed that you have been absent from office on the pretext of tours. We are having a hard time explaining the audit team why we ran up such massive bills for these tours when the returns were negligible. You went abroad and signed multiple MoUs – but there is no investment on the ground, no manufacturing happening. You said that you will build the image of the company abroad – but the only thing that was built was your own personal brand. Please note, HR is disallowing you any more foreign trips in the coming months.
On communication skills, you had bowled us over in the interview round, but now we hear that your communication with the team is one-sided and there is no room for any feedback and questioning. This sort of behavior is harmful to the long term prospects of the company and I would like you to work as a team player. We don’t want a group of two-and-a-half-men running the company. What is point of having people like Sush and Raj when only Amit and Arun are used for decision making?
I would also like you to respond to allegations of taking credit for others’ works. Is it true that you have taken older project files and made jazzy PPTs out of them and presented it to the shareholders? While your presentation and marketing skills are legendary and may have got you this job, please know that you had assured us that you would be a “game-changer” and not a “name-changer” as is being alleged.
In the end I would like you to refocus your energies on the fires that have to be doused at home. It seems that an emergency in London or Portugal office has your immediate response, but you are too busy to respond to a critical emergency in your home branch.
Please note that the only criteria you will be evaluated on hereon will be your actual performance and not your assurances. It is your performance that will make or break your case when the shareholders meet next. I hope you will be able to allay the fears of the minority stakeholders as well to show that everyone’s rights are being looked after and that growth is actually taking place.
Head – HR.