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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What is a Bangladeshi Manager?

Every (one) Bengali is a poet/singer, two Bengalis become good friends and love to speak in Bangla and three or more Bengalis immediately form a political party. So the current notion is such that we Bengalis are emotional, we are usually friendly and we are very politicized. Anthropologists know better perhaps why we don’t possess the ‘kshatriya’ traits of a warrior, we are not aggressive, rude, risktaking, proactive. We are rather laid back, reactive, let others take the initiative first, we prefer to wait, watch and take a long time to decide whether to move or not. Most of the time we are moved or led by non-Bengalis. The British came, the British went, the Pakistanis came, the Pakistanis went, all of them followed the ‘divide and rule’ philosophy very successfully, leaving us divided, reeling from lack of ambition, identity, leadership. I guess the time is right to wake up and take ownership of our management. Let four or more Bengalis now form a business startup (not a pol party anymore) that would generate profit, be global and will become a brand ambassador of the greatest brand we all possess-Bangladesh.

Management driven by patriotism can work wonders. Many of our telecom, cement, banks, etc. are led by non-Bangladeshi managers. We welcome foreign mentors who would lead us and establish the foundation on which we can built upon. But in my personal humble opinion, I would prefer the eventual surrender of market opponents to the hands of a ‘Made in Bangladesh’ General Osmanis rather than to ‘Foreign Generals’ every time or for a long time, originating from India, Pakistan, Egypt, Norway, France, UK, USA etc. So how do we build the Bangladeshi manager waiting to take over the global boardroom? This war can be built on a few broad strategies.

There is no alternative to knowledge, the more we know than others the better we can take advantage of others ignorance.

Lets build networks, networks of Bangladeshi business professionals across the globes so that we can exchange business cards, ideas, technology, investments etc.

Learn English, one more European language (preferably French or Spanish) and ofcourse Chinese. Lets be proud of our Bengali heritage and uphold our expertise to foreigners in their language.

Lets be vocal and aggressive, when we do a sales pitch, when we give a presentation, when we argue with our foreign counterparts. Let us not be polite where it is fine to be rude.
Lets not get carried away or be upset with short term gains, wars won/lost, lets be long-sighted and plan to win battles, not just wars...boardroom wars.

Just some off the head principles that Bangladeshi managers might find useful, I am sure there are successful examples contradicting the ones above, hats off to them. The bottomline remains simple. They say that there are no guards in the hell cells where Bengalis are kept to be punished for their misdeeds. God asks his deputy ‘Why?’. Deputy says that in that particular cell, when one Bengali tries to escape, the others pull him down, so in the end, none can escape anyways, they themselves make sure they don’t get out of the mess, so we don’t need to put a guard there. Lets be managers in such a way that we get to see foreign guards in our doorsteps, afraid of our growth, energy, potential and ofcourse---unity.


ZI said...

A wonderful piece of writing, inspiring yet so distant from the reality. I just want to add one point to what have been written - Bangladeshi managers need to change their ATTITUDE towards themselves and towards others.

I have been working in the telco sector for few years with two of the largest MNCs in turn. Most of the 'deshi' managers (here I mean senior managers) that I have seen, lack assertiveness in their attitude in upward communication while holding a permanent coercive mode in downward communication.

What I am trying to pinpoint here is that we need to undergo an overhauling of our general attitude of DISRESPECT towards other.

Good Samaritan said...

I strongly feel that there is a scarcity of good manager material in BD. I will not say that there aren't ANY, but they are very few in number.

We should work on developing our managerial skills before we can move on to win those boardroom wars.