Fireside Chats and Changes in India

Ranjini Manian a change-master, Indian-style.

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Ranjini Manian through our mutual friend Barbara Annis. Ranjini, who serves with Barbara on the Women’s Leadership Board at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, is author of Doing Business in India for Dummies as well as founder and CEO of a very clever firm based in Chennai called Global Adjustments.

 I say “clever” because, as far as I can see, Global Adjustments provides everything that a non-Indian relocating to the subcontinent might possibly need to navigate the personal and practical changes required to make one’s way in a new part of the globe. Moving to India can be quite daunting, and requires the orientation that only an insider can bring. 

I have not moved to India, but I did experience the value that an insider sensitive to the requirements of change can bring when Ranjini provided invaluable editorial insights around a piece I recently contributed to the Economic Times (of India).  She also recently published this Fireside Chat with me in her own magazine, At a Glance, India’s only intercultural magazine for ex-patriots (soon to be called Culturama), also focused on questions of change for women, for teams and for India.

From this experience with Ranjini, I have gained valuable insight into how one thoughtful Indian thinks about change in a way that is quite different from how those in the West often express our reactions to change.  “People fear change” borders on cliché in our organizations, and managing change requires reducing fear, or so the logic goes. Not so, says Ranjini, or certainly not necessary.  To help ourselves move into new places both literal and figurative, please scroll down to Ranjini’s editorial letter in her most recent edition of At a Glance.

Her central message: it is necessary to both love and to let go for change to take place with grace.   

 

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6 Comments

  • Ranjini Manian

    And I am happy to be part of this thoughtspace with leaders and thinkers I would never have otherwise met across the seas from 10,000 miles away! Ranjini Manian

  • Dan Rockwell

    Katie, thanks for following through and for sharing your and Ranjini's thoughts. I enjoy your post and willingness to connect. Dan

  • Kate Sweetman

    Ranjini has shared with me her response to Dan's comment: “Saint Francis of Assissi says in his famous prayer – let me not seek so much to be loved as to love, to be understood as to understand – so it is not just Eastern thought really, it is a simple case of what goes around comes around. In business or in personal situations it is no different so long as we are interacting with human doings...we have to remember that they are human beings too , and the human touch of detached attachment, where you act , not react has a magical effect in life, peace and profit”.

    Thanks agian, Dan, for continuing the conversation. Kate

  • Dan Rockwell

    Kate,

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. I see your point. Passion certainly clouds our thinking. And I believe Eastern thought further suggests that desire is the source of pain.

    Personally, I'm very passionate and if I'm not careful I end up way off base. Other leaders around me are very helpful to speak into my passion and correct the imbalanced perspective I can have. My blog on "Pressing personal needs acknowledges the down side of passion. http://leadershipfreak.wordpre... T

    The brief solutions I offer to the blindness passion causes neglect the possibility of detached living.

    It's hard for me to understand a passionless approach when I'm driven by passion. I appreciate your thoughts on this and enjoy thinking about your perspective

    Leadership Freak
    Dan Rockwell

  • Kate Sweetman

    Interesting comments, Dan. Glad you find these ideas intriguing -- newness what stretches us. Two comments, then let's hope that Ranjini may weigh in. First, detachment. To try one's best and yet, paradoxically, to allow what will be to be without an excess of upset or even joy is a more sure approach to success in business than any I can imagine. Why? Because a certain distance allows for greater clarity. It permits an emotional equilibrium that promotes resilience. So, in the business world, the detached approach lets us take the inevitable bumps and failures in stride. As for the second point -- which comes first loving or being loved? Well, a good yogi teaches that we create our reality. That all we experience in fact comes from within. So I think you have put your finger on a key distinction between Western and Eastern approaches to life, love and perhaps business. Thanks for the comment.

  • Dan Rockwell

    Kate,

    There is something freeing about detachment. How do you think loving without expectation might apply to the business world?

    Thanks

    Leadership Freak
    Dan Rockwell
    http://leadershipfreak.wordpre...

    PS I suggest an opposite approach to the quote at the beginning of Ranjini's letter. She writes, "we learn to love by loving." Obviously there is some truth to that but at least initially, I think we learn to love by being loved. Perhaps my view is part of the challenge of understanding India.