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Remembering Dr Kurien - Leadership Lessons

 Verghese Kurien

Today is death anniversary of Dr. V Kurien, father of white revolution in the country and a great institutional builder. I would like to pay tribute to this great man with few leadership lessons learnt from him.

I was fortunate enough to have worked with Dr Kurien for more than 10 years, earlier as a ghost writer for many of his letters, articles and annual report speeches and later as assistant in Chairman's office. Therefore had an opportunity to observe him closely and learn lot of things. Sharing some snippets of his thoughts:

On Leadership & Professionalism: 

Co-operative leader should be like Tribhuvandas Patel. To state briefly, once you become leader of a co-operative, you can lead the co-operative well and give it proper direction only if you give up politics in that particular organisation. 

Secondly, professional management is extremely necessary for co-operatives. If you’d asked Tribhuvandas, whose contribution was greater in creating Amul, he would’ve said mine was greater. If you ask the question to me, I would say his contribution was greater. Fact is, both were appropriate in their respective roles. It is necessary that both should manage their respective work. Because, how to run the organisation is the manager’s job. It is extremely important that organisation’s decisions should be taken in the interests of the farmers. While managers should work with a clear goal and make policy, it is for the leaders to supervise them. It may be said that leader and manager should complement each other. These leaders have a clear goal and they have the skill to direct the work towards the goal. They have a combination of honesty and faith.

Tribuvandas Patel appointed me because the main reason was that I was not associated with any political party. He gave me the freedom to work and gave me co-operation for building my team. You won’t believe it, in the initial stage of Amul, six experts with Ph.D. from various foreign universities were employed for Amul.

Corruption begins at the top. If the man at the top is clean, people working under him will also remain clean, and no sort of corruption will have any scope anywhere in that organisation. But if the person at the top is corrupt, then there’s no hope.

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