29th November 2010
Achieving big things in small steps
Here is a lightly edited version of one of my emails. It talks about how leadership is made up of small steps towards the big goal.
I admire most those who lead. Just go and do whatever is needed. That is why I admire N.Krishna (here) – not necessarily for the kind of work he is doing (he would have been more effective through FTI – but maybe he can be persuaded to join FTI even as he continues his current work), but for his initiative.
When Gandhi started many of his movements, he didn't seek permission, nor support. Perhaps moral support, but that's it. He just went ahead and did whatever needed to be done. People followed. In the millions. He built credibility through a series of very small actions – not more than 20 small actions in his entire life. That's all it took to throw out the British (of course I'm simplifying things, but that was the core).
Leadership is demonstrated through SMALL actions, not big ones. You wrest the leadership, you take over. That's all it takes. Others follow – if you ideas makes sense. They would have thought of it themselves if they could, but now that they see it, they think it will work. So they follow. But it is crucial that ideas have to be led by someone who believes in them, and will persist.
So the main thing is that the leader doesn't lecture others (that too, may be needed – but very subtly!). He simply does what has to be done.
And through a successive series of small steps focused on the bigger goal, the big picture then starts falling in place.