During my recent business trip to India one thing that struck me is the increasing presence of ‘western’ food chains and all in all even lifestyle. A few days ago an article on Forbes India pointed this out “Eat street: India is the new battleground for global burger chains” .
Now, going well beyond the given rhetoric relevant to the ‘western junk food’ conquering the ‘east’, I had the opportunity to observe and ponder about a spreading of western lifestyle reaching well beyond food, clothing or changing customs: something that seems to be reaching the way that many indian junior managers, moving rapidly upward within the career ladder, interpret their own corporate role. All of this is an integrated process.
Western food chains, shops, brands, music (I attended a birthday lunch in a fancy restaurant within Mumbai where the US pop music from the 70s was played non-stop!) appear to take rapidly over the corporate developing and affirmed geographical areas.
Even some of the imposing corporate buildings seem to be built in typical US fashion requiring structural maintenance after just a few years from construction. It all tends to have a flavour of pretentious, know-it all, superiority that little has to share with the humble yet determinate, firm and consistent entrepreneurial spirit typical of the indian tradition.
I begun to think that, while pundits in the US start to point out the qualities of a more balanced, health conscious, professional lives driven by ‘getting back to basics’ in learning about our inner potentials and using them at work with skill and awareness; emerging corporate India seem to be losing this kind of mindset (in actuality part of its very own tradition) heading towards what the west has been going through and it is suffering from.
India, its traditions, its culture, even its mindset (very much related to Jugaad, a skill to face reality in creative, innovative constructive ways, no matter the lack of opportunities or resources at hand – more on this topic coming up in these pages) deserve to be rediscovered, understood and valued not only by us ‘westerners’ but possibly also by the rising corporate India to avoid falling into mistakes made in the west.
A strong sense of unique identity, on key factors that now corporate west wants to integrate for sustainability, has always been an integral part of India, why miss it? why don’t leverage on it though a process of integration with the lessons learned and in the process of being learned by the west? It would be quite interesting to open a conversation with the rising corporate indian on these topics.