[AI] off topic but good

Subramani L lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in
Mon Jul 2 01:01:41 EDT 2007

I remember reading this a couple of years back. It's worth mentioning that lessons like these should be learnt repeatedly. Thanks Kanchan.


-----Original Message-----
From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of pamnani
Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2007 3:12 PM
To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
Subject: [AI] off topic but good

No virus was detected in the attachment no filename

Your mail has been scanned by InterScan.

Sorry for the off topic posting but its worth a read. Asif mentioned the name recently because e wants a book written by the author and recently we have been discussing jobs so I thought it was worth reading by the group.

 Worth a reading... These are personal views of Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan,

 Executive Director - Tata Sons.

 Great Stuff from a great ex-HLL manager. (Source:







 A Story on how to manage your career & your expectations

 by R.Gopalakrishnan

 There is a saying that "Experience is a comb which Nature gives

 to man after he is baldAs I grow bald, I would like to share my

 comb with your people, about their career ahead.

1. Seek out grassroots level experience

 I studied Physics and Engineering at University. A few months before

 graduation, I appeared for an HLL interview for Computer Traineeship. When

 asked whether I would consider Marketing instead of Computers, I responded

 negatively: an engineer to visit grocery shops to sell Dalda or Lifebuoy?

 Gosh, no way. After I joined the Company and a couple of comfortable weeks

 in the swanky Head Office, I was given a train ticket to go to Nasik.Would

 I please meet Mr. Kelkar to whom I would be attached for the next two

 months? He would teach me to work as a salesman in his territory, which

 included staying in Kopargaon and Pimpalgaon among other small towns. I was

 most upset. In a town called Ozhar, I was moving around from shop to shop

 with a bullock cart full of products and a salesman's folder in my hand.

 Imagine my embarrassment when an IIT friend appeared in front of me in

 Ozhar, believe it or not! and exclaimed, "Gopal, I thought you joined as a

 Management Trainee in Computers". I could have died a thousand deaths.


 After this leveling experience, I was less embarrassed to work as a

 Despatch Clerk in the Company Depot and an Invoice Clerk in the Accounts

 Department. Several years later, I realized the value of such grassroots

 level experience. It is fantastic. I would advise young people to seek out

 nail-dirtying, collar-soiling, shoe-wearing tasks. That is how you learn

 about organizations, about the true nature of work, and the dignity of the

 many, many tasks that go into building great enterprises.



 2. Deserve before you desire

 At one stage, I was appointed as the Brand Manager for Lifebuoy and Pears

 soap, the company's most popular-priced and most premium soaps. And what

 was a Brand Manager? "A mini-businessman, responsible for the production,

 sales and profits of the brand, accountable for its long-term growth; etc.;

 etc. I had read those statements, I believed them and here I was, at 27,"in

 charge of everything". But very soon, I found I could not move a pin

 without checking with my seniors. One evening, after turning the Facit

 machine handle through various calculations, I sat in front of the

 Marketing Director. I expressed my frustration and gently asked whether I

 could not be given total charge. He smiled benignly and said, "The

 perception and reality are both right. You will get total charge when you

 know more about the brand than anyone else in this company about its

 formulation, the raw materials, the production costs, the consumer's

 perception, the distribution and so on. How long do you think that it will



 "Maybe, ten years", I replied, "and I don't expect to be the Lifebuoy and

 Pears Brand Manager for so long"! And then suddenly, the lesson was clear.

 I desired total control, long before I deserved it. This happens to us all

 the time - in terms of responsibilities, in terms of postings and

 promotions, it happens all the time that there is a gap between our

 perception of what we deserve and the reality of what we get. It helps to

 deserve before we desire.



 3 Play to win but win with fairness

 Life is competitive and of course, you play to win. But think about the balance. Will you do anything, to win? Perhaps not! Think deeply about how

 and where you draw the line. Each person draws it differently, and in doing

 so, it helps to think about values. Winning without values provides dubious fulfillment. The leaders who have contributed the most are the ones with a set of universal values  Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King for

 example. Napoleon inspired a ragged, mutinous and half-starved army to

 fight and seize power. This brought him name and fame for twenty years.

 But all the while, he was driven forward by a selfish and evil ambition,

 and not in pursuit of a great ideal. He finally fell because of his selfish

 ambition. I am fond of referring to the Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play

 Trophy. It was instituted in 1964 by the founder of the modern Olympic

 Games and here are two examples of winners. A Hungarian tennis player who

 pleaded with the umpire to give his opponent some more time to recover from

 a cramp. A British kayak team who were trailing the Danish kayak team. They

 then stopped to help the Danish team whose boat was stuck. The Danes went

 on to beat the British by one second in a three hour event! What wonderful

 examples of sportsmanship! Play to Win, but with Fairness.

 4 Enjoy whatever you do

 Sir Thomas Lipton is credited with the statement, "There is no greater fun

 than hard work". You usually excel in fields, which you truly enjoy. Ask

 any person what it is that interferes with his enjoyment of existence. He

 will say, "The struggle for life". What he probably means is the struggle

 for success. Unless a person has learnt what to do with success after

 getting it, the very achievement of it must lead him to unhappiness.

 Aristotle wrote, "Humans seek happiness as an end in itself, not as a means

 to something else". But if you think about it, we should not work for

 happiness. We should work as happy people. In organizational life, people

 get busy doing something to be happy. The more you try to be happy, the

 more, unhappy you can get. Your work and career is all about you reaching

 your full potential. Working at one's full potential, whether it is the

 office boy or the Chairman, leads to enjoyment and fulfillment.

 A last point about enjoyment. Keep a sense of humor about yourself. Too

 many people are in danger of taking themselves far too seriously. As

 General Joe Stilwell is reported to have said, "Keep smiling. The higher

 the monkey climbs, the more you can see of his backside".

 5 Be Passionate about your health

 Of course, as you get older, you would have a slight paunch, graying of

 hair or loss of it and so on. But it is in the first 5 - 7 years after the

 working career begins that the greatest neglect of youthful health occurs.

 Sportsmen stop playing sports, non drinkers drink alcohol, light smokers

 smoke more, active people sit on chairs, and starving inmates of hostels

 eat rich food in good hotels and so on. These are the years to watch. Do

 not, I repeat do not, convince yourself that you are too busy, or that you

 do not have access to facilities, or worst of all, that you do this to

 relieve the stresses of a professional career.

 A professional career is indeed very stressful. There is only one person

 who can help you to cope with the tension. That person can also help you

 avoid the doctor's scalpel, and to feel good each morning - and that is

 yourself. God has given us as good a health as He has, a bit like a credit

 balance in the bank. Grow it, maintain it, but do not allow its value

 destruction. The penalty is very high in later years.

 6 Direction is more important than distance

 Every golfer tries to drive the ball to a very long distance. In the

 process, all sorts of mistakes occur because the game involves the masterly

 co-ordination of several movements simultaneously. The golf coach always

 advises that direction is more important than distance. So it is with life.

 Despite oneà¹,â,¬â"¢s best attempts, there will be ups and downs. It is

 relationships and friendships that enable a person to navigate the choppy

 waters that the ship of life will encounter.

 When I was young, there was a memorable film by Frank Capra, starring James

 Stewart and Dona Reed, and named "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE It

 is about a man who is about to commit suicide because he thinks he is a

 failure. An angel is sent to rescue him. The bottom line of the film is

 that "No Man is a Failure Who Has Friends".


 My generation will never be twenty again, but when you are older, you can

 and should be different from my generation. Ours is a great and wonderful

 country, and realizing her true potential in the global arena depends ever

 so much on the quality and persistence of our young people. Good luck in

 your journey, my young friends, and God be with you and our beloved Nation.

To unsubscribe send a message to accessindia-request at accessindia.org.in with the subject unsubscribe.

To change your subscription to digest mode or make any other changes, please visit the list home page at

More information about the AccessIndia mailing list