LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FROM GRASS ROOT

PROF. DR. KHAWAJA AMJAD SAEED,
Oct 19 - 25, 2009

PRELUDE

For business success, several factors from fortune to serious application of management techniques are described. However, leadership as an engine of growth has emerged as a single distinct factor for ensuring development, possibly with sustained approach. There are all types of leaders. But their two categories namely, Transactional Leadership and Transformational Leadership are well known.

It is generally believed that true and genuine leadership ought to grow from grass root. This piece shares global experiences on selected basis.

PREREQUISITES

There are five pre-requisites for developing grass root leadership. These are listed below:

* Freedom to think and urge to apply.
* Supportive enabling environment.
* Thrust for innovation.
* Urge to contribute to society.
* Institutionalized arrangement.

Attention needs to be given to ensure full support to positive environment on the lines of above aspects in the organizational set up.

GLOBAL EXPERIENCES

Some selective experiences in grass root leadership in five continents of the world are shared below:-

NORTH AMERICA

CANADA

The President of Waterloo University of Canada who is Chief Executive of Research in Motion (RIM) innovated wireless web system in the cell phone. This has been the result of grass root research which has benefited the users of the cell phones throughout the world.

Another excellent example is from Alberta where a female engineer separated the sand from oil-creating tremendous job opportunities and scrapping the sand-oil name from Canada to oil from Canada.

USA

Two brothers developed Google from the grass root research and has provided leadership for the benefit of society as a whole. Google search enables wealth of information to be tapped. Dr. Micheal Hammar at 48 years of age introduced re-engineering as a managerial tool in 1993. He later developed a Hand Book on Re-engineering in 1996. Time Magazine in a special review listed his name as one of the top 25 scholars who made great contributions in the synergistic efforts for development of USA. Across the world, business community has benefited from his thought and economy, efficiency and effectiveness have been major outcomes benefiting the world as a whole.

Prof. Dr. Joseph Schumpeter innovated the concept of "technology" as a major factor for reducing the cost and thereby not only benefiting the systems across the world but also resulting in entrepreneurial profit.

Muhammad Ali from the grass root rose to the occasion and popularized boxing on global basis. He is well known as the champion in boxing history. This has provided a great entertainment to viewers.

Bill Gate, a drop out from Harvard Business School, introduced all types of innovation from the grass root in Information Technology area and he is currently ranked no. 2 as the richest person in the world. His contributions have created wealth out of new factor of production namely, knowledge. The innovation of windows was introduced by him to create efficient business environment.

AFRICA

There are several examples of grass root leadership in Africa. Several African countries have grass root leaders. They have served the noble cause of society. The example of Mr. Nelson Mandela is an outstanding one. However there is an example of SANABEL from Egypt which can be cited as an institutionalized effort from the grass root to serve the noble cause of micro credit network. It consists of around 12 countries and the contributions include helping poverty stricken, dispossessed and under-privileged people During May 2008, they held regional conference in Tunis on Micro Credit. The network is an outstanding example of an institutionalized effort at the grass root to address burning problems facing the African region.

EUROPE

RUSSIA

During Yelstine time, it was ordered that grass root efforts should be made to develop leaders in Tennis of international stature at school level. Talent hunt was undertaken and from this effort now around 12 international stature players from Russia are on the international grid. The top three positions in Beijing Olympics held in August 2008 were won by Russian Players. Dominteva earned the gold medal. Safin earned the silver medal and third medal was also won by a Russian.

UK

It is generally believed that 90% of the contributions in innovation have emanated from the grass root. In UK, SMEs have contributed tremendously towards the success of corporate sector. Several business schools are developing entrepreneurs and are making contributions for the socio-economic development.

ASIA

BANGLADESH

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Younas who started Grameen Bank in Bangladesh presents an outstanding example of grass root leadership in particular in women development and prosperity at grass root level. Because of his global work, he has also earned nobel peace prize.

CHINA

China, at one time, was an opium eating country. Under the dynamic leadership of Mao, great changes took place and roots for the grass root leadership were firmed up. Today, China has a rank of no. 3 in the world of exports. Recently in Beijing Olympics China ranks no. 1 with USA as runner up with no. 2 position. Looking at the grass root result, the world is talking about CHINDIA (China and India) as the growing global power house.

INDIA

Grass root leadership has been conspicuous in several areas in India. Information Technology Today, has earned great respect through her service to 82 countries of the world through BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and is foregoing a head with KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) and EPO (Engineering Process Outsourcing). In cricket, grass root leadership has developed on international scene in India from all geographical parts namely, East: Kumble, North: Kapel Dev, West: Gavaskar and Tandulkar, South: Dravid. From the grass root leadership, India won the World cup in 1983 and T20 World Cup in 2007

JAPAN

Japanese introduced bottom up administrative approach and this has resulted in the development of various grass root leaders. The above aspect was institutionalized through a management technique known as KAIZAN (Continuous Improvement).

PAKISTAN

Grass root leadership was developed in the Northern part of Pakistan through Agha Khan Rural Support Program. The implementation of this resulted in substantial increase of per capita income of the residents of Northern Area. Grass root leadership was developed from the establishment of a Second Business School in the history of Pakistan by the writer. Several examples can be quoted in this respect. However the name of Mr. Agha Ashraf from grass root can be cited. He obtained his MBA from the University of the Punjab, Pakistan and has put Pakistan on the map of 32 countries of the world. Several NGOs are developing grass root leadership in Pakistan. One grand example of an NGO network is Akuwat. In the last few years, they have developed grass root leadership through 100 Micro enterprises. Pakistan won the World Cup in cricket in 1992 from players who hailed from grass root.

SRI LANKA

Several leaders in Sri Lanka were instrumental in paving the way for grass root leadership. In particular, Premadasa, a former President, played a great role in achieving break through in literacy and shelter for all towards the end of the 20th century. In 1996, World Cup in Cricket was won by her in Lahore.

OCEANIA

Grass root leadership in New Zealand through the dairy products has put them on the map of the world. The rise of grass root leadership in Australia has attracted a very large number of students on global basis. In sports-particularly in cricket, grass root leadership in Australia earned high prominence in the world.

MOTIVATION FROM LEADERS

Lord Budha

He kindled the light in such a manner as resulted in grass root leadership in Sri Lanka, Thailand and in particular in Taiwan where a book has been written on the theme of corporate leadership in the light of Lord Budha's guidance.

CONFUSCIST

He hailed from China. Originally he was a civil servant and became management leader by introducing the values which he tried to indoctrinate in society resulting in developing big grip of grass root leaders. His influence continues to dominate in Singapore and in several far Eastern countries.

MAHATMA GHANDI

He introduced way of leadership based on the non-violence approach resulting into leadership at grass root level.

ALLAMA IQBAL

He advocated change and was the thinker of Pakistan. His inspirational poetry paved the way for grass root leadership.

MUHAMMAD (PBUH)

His exemplary conduct earned him rank no. 1 in the world and as the last prophet guided the world as grass root leader.

QUAID-E-AZAM MUHAMMAD ALI JINNAH

He himself exemplified as a grass root leader and became the father of Pakistan.

WAY FORWARD

Challenges of the 21st century are numerous. The history is replete with examples of supportive approach and enabling environment which have been instrumental in developing grass root leadership. Institutionalized approaches has enabled the world to share an era of prosperity, qualitative education, poverty alleviation in developing countries across the world. All the stakeholders must rise to the occasion and need to meet contemporary Challenges. The earlier a strategic plan is developed the better. The fruits of grass root prosperity are numerous and will indeed result in higher standard of living and wide spread prosperity and happiness across all segments of society.