Today the world is changing at an even faster pace and to be successful, do keep that mind open, let all kinds of new ideas and inspiration flood in and be the best leader you can learn to be !
There is an old cliché that two things work best if they are open – an open parachute and an open mind! And for people leading teams and companies in the corporate sector, keeping an open mind is probably one of the best pieces of advice they can get. And, they need to take it for sure!
As one goes through a career, there will always be unique experiences and new inputs that will confront us, and how we tackle, absorb and assimilate these experiences often determine how effectively we learn and the success we will attain in our careers . In my own career, I have been through successive experiences that taught me more than reading a million management text books would ever have.
My most profound learning has been the ways to relate to colleagues at work. When I took up my first job in the eighties in Crompton Greaves’ Switchgear manufacturing factory in Nasik, I had come into the industry after living in fairy traditional middle-class environments where respecting elders and others, was very much part of the growing up process. The early experience in the manufacturing unit was no different, respect given to very senior visitors from the Mumbai corporate office often bordering on the obsequious!
Moving to run my own entity in Mumbai, I transported the only culture I knew into the new firm in spite of having the privilege of working with very young colleagues who would have been glad to be treated as friends rather than subordinates. But the real eye-opener for me came when I joined the very high energy and strong relationship oriented computer consulting and training firm NIIT in the late eighties. Creating by professionals with a large cohort of IIM and other MBAs in the mix, the atmosphere of total camaraderie and informality first came as a cultural shock but within the short time span of three years, became a preferred mode of relating to colleagues and everyone up and down the corporate hierarchy.
In 1991, when I got headhunted at the age of thirty-four to become the CEO of APTECH, an environment of informality and friendliness was the culture I could transport from Delhi to Mumbai and in spite of having a direct subordinate group in their late forties and early fifties, I found it extremely easy to relate to the twenty-year old’s who formed the marketing and technical base of the company. This air of bonhomie and the creation of span busting vision communities led to our incredible success in the next nine years of very high retention and motivation levels and incredible success in racing the top of the computer training industry in India and many global destinations.
The ability to keep an open mind and adapt my management and leadership style has continued to be one attribute that has taken Zensar from its early beginnings in 2001 to become a eight thousand people strong firm touching half a billion dollars in revenue and a track record of growth and low employee attrition that is the envy of the industry. I have seen in most of my colleagues across fourteen nationalities, the willingness to realize that generations now change every five years or so and there is much more we can learn from young colleagues than by relying on traditional styles of management. Today, the world is changing at an even faster pace and to be successful, do keep that mind open, let all kinds of new ideas and inspiration flood in and be the best leader you can learn to be!
Photo credits : Vecteezy.