Change Management is often a very abused term and only if it were rightly meant, there would be more growth, peace and prosperity around us. I am almost forced to write this piece on Change Management today as through my working day, the topic kept coming up in various forms that prompted me to contribute my sound bytes. However, the most compelling reason is to pay tribute to Radhakumar, (http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/2/radha_kumar_s_break/) who is a member of the team of interlocutors engaged in a dialog in Kashmir to find a political solution to the problems of the region.
She was a serene and composed picture explaining to television anchor Barkha Dutt of NDTV 24X7 that “In a process such as the one undertaken in Kashmir, it is important to listen, no matter how unpalatable that might be to the listener”. This is the first and foremost principle of Change Management. It is important to listen to people on whom change is envisaged and not dismiss them with pre-judgments or impose upon them with ones own judgments. To quote Radhakumar again from another instance, she simply puts across the basic truth about change management “the point is that we do not want to truly commit ourselves”. Change / Transformation happens only when the process of Education, Ownership and finally Commitment happens! My humble salutations to a true practitioner of transformation / change management. Congratulations to our Home Minister Mr. Chidambaram for his excellent choice of interlocutors for this truly delicate exercise. He is probably the best Home Minister India has had since Sardar Vallabhbhhai Patel.
There is so much going on around us and we all respond to the cliche of only change is constant intellectually. Well, change is a more physical process than that. Change Management is a process that is traversed continuously between the status quo and the desired state. Whether it is a business enterprise or a nation, the process of change critically involves people who must go through the process of education, ownership and commitment. In the case of Kashmir, the Indian government may have to learn something new that has eluded it so far from creating a comprehensive solution. The more one procrastinates, the more complex the situation gets with unwanted warts. Jammu & Kashmir are an integral part of India and the people from the region freely use the airtime of the Indian National Constituencies and hopefully, this process will produce a solution that addresses the context of the conflict and resolves for a brighter unified nation.
In the meantime, our over enthusiastic media has been focusing on whether Arundati Roy should be charged with sedition not because of concern for her but because it is a sensational news item. Such distractions are common in a process of change and must be nipped in the bud. Why does it take our law minister Mr. Veerappa Moily to just inform one and all that the government has more serious work than consider one lady craving for attention to be a serious threat to the state? Finding a solution and implementing it in Kashmir is not just the prerogative of the Home Ministry; it is the obligation of the Government of India that is vested with the constitutional, judicial and executive powers to govern, administer and grow the Republic of India.
Change Management is a specialized job that needs to be handled by specialists. I am hoping that the Union Home Minister will continue his good work by instituting a Program Office to bring over the Transformation / Change in Kashmir; moving it from a region of strife to a region of prosperity. He has often articulated that the story of India is that of a young vibrant nation eager to find its rightful place in a global economic order. It is important to find a compelling vision of an inclusive Jammu & Kashmir and the role of the people of the region have in fulfilling that vision.