[Debate] Why Were the Arab Revolts Doomed? The Same Reason Why the Green Movement Was Doomed
critical.montages at gmail.com
Wed Jul 11 16:12:53 BST 2012
Why the Green Movement is doomed
Everything I wanted to know about revolution, I learned in a project
by Siamack Baniameri
Change, revolution, transformation, reform is a project. Like any
project, it has to meet certain requirements to succeed. Every project
has some common principles. The outcome must be clearly defined, right
team must be assigned, a clear strategy must be put in place, risk
assessment must be implemented and most importantly … the process must
be executed by the right leader. The leader must be able to sell
his/her vision to the team. The team must be able to sell the leader’s
vision to the stakeholders. The leader must consistently explain the
outcome to the team, anticipate roadblocks and recalibrate strategy.
The team must share the vision and trust the leader. The leader must
execute, foresee, inspire and reiterate. All stakeholders must be
There are many examples in history that support this theory. Ayatollah
Khomeini for example ran a successful project to overthrow the Shah of
Iran. He clearly defined the outcome: “Shah must go.” He then defined
the vision, “independence, freedom, Islamic Republic.” He assigned a
team of nationalists to run the campaign inside and outside of Iran
which gave his movement a nationalistic credential. In his taped
speeches he reiterated the vision which included phony catch phrases
that brought all factions of the opposition together. He inspired
people and executed his project (revolution) with tight grip. And
ultimately his project succeeded and his goals were achieved. Some
argue that the Ayatollah was a con artist who deceived the populace to
establish a form of government that served only an exclusive segment
of the society. That might be true, but it does not change the fact
that Khomeini was an effective project manager.
Nelson Mandela is another example of superb project management. He too
defined his goals clearly: “Apartheid regime must vanish.” He
developed a roadmap that directed his team to pickup arms and fight
the government of South Africa. But he cleverly changed course when he
realized that his original strategy did not bear fruit (flexibility).
He quickly purged his team of leftist radicals and replaced them with
lawyers, political experts and clergymen (recalibration). From his
prison cell, he explained the reasons behind the change of strategy to
his new team (risk assessment) and invited his team to go out in the
field and sell the vision to the community. The common goal brought
the stakeholders (residents of the townships) onboard and the roadmap
gave the team a clear path to follow. The vision was defined, the
outcome was explained, strategy was in place and the execution was
carried out. Mandela won. Apartheid lost.
Gandhi and MLK took the same path. They too followed successful
project management principles. During the life of any project, things
will go wrong all the time. But a great project manager maneuvers
his/her way around obstacles with the ultimate goal in mind.
Now, here it goes: the green movement lacks most, if not all elements
of a successful project management. There is no clear leadership.
Therefore no clear path has been set by the leader(s). No vision, no
cohesive strategy and most importantly: no clear goal. The team can
not define its objectives with a unified voice. The vision has not
been communicated to the stakeholders; therefore, just about every
participant has its own version of the outcome. People are not clear
as to exactly what the goals of the movement are. Other than
participating in demonstrations during IRI national occasions, there
is no clear roadmap. Lack of cohesive strategy has allowed IRI to
easily manipulate the movement’s rank and file.
Some argue that people are the true leaders of the green movement.
Though sounds romantic, the argument holds no water as it implies that
a car with strong engine but no wheels can get you to your
destination. One thing that the green movement has clearly going for
it is passion. But passion alone will not achieve goals. At some point
a project manager with strong leadership skills must emerge or this
movement will eventually flicker out.
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