Modi’s FIRST 100 DAYS

October 26, 2014

Modi’s FIRST 100 DAYS

I have been paying attention to new Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and his first 100 days. There has been tremendous attention paid to him, similar to what we saw when President Obama was first elected back in 2008.  Modi won by a landslide last spring and vowed to bring change to the populous country in 60 months. Clearly, he does not intend to make huge wholesale changes in his first 100 days but there is a sense that there might be some directional winds blowing that begin to tell a narrative about who he is and what he expects to do. As we all know, the first 100 days is more symbolic than real but let’s be honest, first impressions count. 

Modi has managed to provide some hints in his first 100 days although he has many more months to go before his first term ends. The first 100 days, a topic we often advise CEOs and other top executives about, is to hint at continuity and change. He has done that. The new prime minister has managed in this brief period to reassert the authority of his office.  It is clear from all his activity that someone is fiercely in charge of the nation. He has also showed determination laced with caution. I read in one article that he criticized some senior ministers for inappropriate dress and expects everyone to keep up with him as he burns the midnight oil. I was fascinated to learn that in his Independence Day speech, he talked about how women in his country needed to be treated better and proposed a return to more civic duty. 

Two things really fascinate me. One is his adoption of what I call an operational tenet. This is a call to arms from leaders in the first 100 days to help people (or employees) know what is expected of them. It is not a strategy but a thematic stamp. It is a single maxim that contains a practical directive that people (or employees) can follow in their everyday lives. It should be memorable such as Never Lose a A Sale or Low Prices, Every Day. I learned that Modi started a plan to provide “a bank account for every household” which would put an end to what he calls “financial untouchability.” Definitely a theme that sends a powerful message — an end to financial untouchability. Wow. A good one.

The second part which fascinates me is his adoption of a Twitter account — @narendramodi. Apparently it has sparked lots of CEOs in India to get on the bandwagon and relate directly with their customers. Modi has 7.35 million followers. That’s many. Richard Branson has 4.6 million, by comparison.  Some recent tweets congratulate people for cleaning up after firecrackers that were lit during their new year’s celebration. He tweeted about the importance of Clean India, probably a campaign he is supporting. But Modi is definitely engaging his constituencies and letting them know what’s important to him. 

Good start. 



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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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