PM Modi's Surgical Strike on Black Money has important lessons for business leaders in the context of Digital Transformation.
The decision that shook the nation overnight has lessons in leadership, risk-taking and working towards an actionable vision for large-scale change. Just like a revolutionary business decision, this move was followed by disbelief, doubt and then twitter trolls.
However, if we think deeper, there's a list of meaningful lessons embedded here:
1) The Tenacity of a Leader
Leaders aiming for digital transformation need to set direction without fear. It's imperative to take risks in order to drive a revolutionary change. The fear of backlash, barriers, and structural challenges need to be dealt with for a greater long term vision.
2) Devil is in the Details
Before orchestrating a bold move like this, careful planning and execution of small correction is necessary. Modi's surgical strike on black money was preceded by at least two years of policy developments leading to this big bold move.
3) Socially Adept
Innovative and disruptive strategies don’t matter if the people with game-changing ideas are not able to communicate them in a way that diverse constituencies will embrace. And communication goes both ways: Digital transformation leaders listen hard, too.
4) Strategic Surprise
Nobody saw it coming or was prepared; or had even any idea of this happening. Sometimes, it's strategic to keep big moves a surprise before the roll-out is announced, to avoid unnecessary speculation, correction or retaliation.
5) Killing the 'Fakes'
Terrorists and drug cartels were supplying high-value fake currencies into India for a long time. Similarly, big organizations often have fakes draining resources and wealth out due to inefficiencies at various stages. In a single stroke, transformation kills the fakes.
With a single stroke, PM Modi decimated or at least made life quite turbulent for those who have untaxed cash income, those who smuggle fake Pakistan-printed currencies, political parties who have truck-loads of cash in vaults or jihadis who transact in cash. It is a brilliant move. A strategy that will go down history as something remarkable, strategies that will be documented in Harvard Business School case studies.