21 Men Against 10000 Men..

“21 men against 10,000 men” – What are the odds of the former holding against the latter?  Conventional wisdom will give us just one answer; next to nothing.

And that’s where the military ethos comes into play.  Not only these 21 brave men fought till their last breath, but delayed their enemies long enough to advance any further.

Lt General Rajesh Kochhar, AVSM, SM, VSM – Chief of Staff, Army Training Command, shared many such military stories during his lecture on “Essentials of military leadership”.

As per the General, military ethos places the interest of the country and men under the command of an Army Officer.  And the corporate world can benefit immensely from the Army ethos that stress on dedication, justice, equality and total commitment.

He used many such anecdotes to explain how one can learn and apply the lessons from these stories to become an effective leader in the corporate world.

With 39 years of distinguished service in Indian Army, the three star General has fought many battles for the nation and also under the United Nations flag.  The General, himself an engineer, used the law of thermodynamics to explain the relationship of challenges in the making of a leader.  “Higher the heat, greater the expansion” is the essence of the second law of thermodynamics.  So is the life of a leader.  The bigger the challenge, the greater the opportunity for leaders to shape their own frontiers.

He emphasised the importance of ethics, values and morals, in the making of a Leader.  His lecture was punctuated by pearls of wisdom from military leadership.  Sample this: “Whether you lead five men or five million, the essentials of leadership are the same.”  Talking about the principles of leadership, he said that true leadership means developing others and encouraging them to take leadership roles at all levels.  Leaders genuinely believe in what they are doing and engage those around them in the same way.  While dwelling into the nitty gritties of strategic planning, he said: “Disagreement during strategic and planning stage is acceptable, argument beyond that is unacceptable.”

Drawing upon his vast experience of leading from the front, he said that as a leader, people should trust you and be sold on your vision.  He asked the audience to not complain about what they do not have and to remember that people are more important than resources.

In the end, he stressed upon the need for leaders to uncomplicate issues for their followers. He said that an effective leader understands the KISS principle.  “Keep It Simple, Stupid”!!


Speaker Series is an event where PGPX students interact with top managers, executives, thought leaders and innovators from the corporate and academic world.  PGPX at IIM-Ahmedabad is a one year fulltime MBA course, for students with substantial work experience, and is ranked 11th in the world in the Financial Times Business School rankings.

Article Courtesy : Abhishek Gupta, PGPX ; Photo Courtesy: Sameer Madan, PGPX


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