TRANSCRIPT OF LECTURE AT MLRIT COLLEGE OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
- A BUSINESS LINE INITIATIVE
Let me first thank you all for taking the time to be present here for this talk on ‘finding excellence within’. It is a pet subject of mine and something that I wish to share with you management students. One or two things that I share today may make a difference to the way you go about with your career and your life. And if that is achieved I think my coming here had achieved its purpose.
Let me introduce myself. I am Harimohan Paruvu. I was born and brought up in Hyderabad. I studied Civil Engineering and MBA at Osmania University and worked in the corporate sector for 12 years before deciding I love writing. So I quit in 2004 and wrote my first book which got published in 2007. ‘The Men Within’ is India’s first cricketing novel in English and is now a bestseller. It is touted as a self-help, management book in the guise of fiction. But far as I am concerned , it is about how to achieve dreams.
I wrote it for 4 audiences. One of which was the corporate sector. I always felt cricket had great life lessons but when I joined the corporate sector I realized there were corporate lessons too. About how someone can have a seemingly impossible dream and achieve it. I put these thoughts down in a step by step fashion, telling the story through the protagonists – the school boys who need to win a championship to save the school. It is actually a step by step guide to achieving your dreams as I see it.
The thought that stuck me was, are dreams only by default or can we design them. There are no defaults in the business world. So why are they in our life? A bad decision can cost much. But that is still money. Why are we losing our life, our dreams by not following them? So let’s see how things, seemingly impossible things can be designed. I urge you at this stage to start extrapolating what I say as a story or an example into your management lives and see how it works there.
The Men Within is a story of school kids who have to win the championship. Problem 1. Tough goal, limited resources. A Deccan Chargers type of situation. Will you take it if you were offered a job as a manager of that team?
In the book the boys are to their coach raw material that is far from desirable. Ideally, he would have liked to play with Dhoni’s team. But his brief is clear, win the school championships with these boys. How does one motivate someone to die? What’s the cause? If you are the coach of DC what would you do? Will you take the challenge?
Easy. Humans love to be good, to excel. Everyone has the streak in them. Only problem is that most of us want recognition, fame and money even before we excel. Right?
The coach appeals to the excellence within. The men within the boys. The tiger within the kitten. The potential within you. It all comes down to you. How good are you? Are you good enough for this? And then something awakens. Yes. Then boundaries are stretched. Limits are pushed. Excellence is touched. Magic happens. Someone becomes a Shahrukh, a Dhoni, a Tendulkar..Let us see how the coach does it. Extrapolate it to your life, your business decisions.
Start with the goal. Dreams. Your dreams are your goals. Do you have any dreams? Can you see your dreams? Can you feel your dreams? Are you scared of your dreams? How big are your drams? Are they your own? Get clear about it.
- Dream and dream honestly. Not about small or big but your own dream. Your signature dream.
- Take ownership for it. Can you tell others about it? Mad people they will call you, but still.
- Then start putting a plan together. All the details. Numbers, time, people. So detailed that there is no chance of a mistake.
- The yes factor. As we do in appraisals. In accounting. In maths.
- Action. No excuse for no action. In fact action itself can take you far. Most times our thoughts and plans come to naught because of no action but sometimes bad plans are fruitful because someone dared to act.
Once you have committed yourself there is no turning back and then something comes up, someone comes up and you’re off to some other plane. Normally when you put in a hard, sustained effort you are destined to win more times than fail. And then it makes sense. The journey is more interesting than the result.
And as you go for your placements, make your dreams clear. Why am I joining this company? What am I achieving? When you see your dreams you will realize how limited we are even in our thinking. The same dreams, the same limited dreams. Is there anything new? Anyway, it is more to realize how we restrict ourselves. Whatever you do, put your heart and soul, your signature behind it. Tomorrow, people must say, hey, this was done by x. normally we are scared to sign on anything because we don’t want ownership. But that’s a quality you will be asked. To know, to discriminate, to say a yes or a no, to communicate it as clearly.
You have done all that will make you feel good. You have increased your worth in a way. Now what next?
2. Belief. The difference between those who make it and those who don’t is belief. Is it different from what the heroes have? No. Look at any of them. They have enough reason not to be there. Your Shahrukh, Aamir, Tendulkar, Ambani, Gates…But they believed in themselves and stuck to it. Another wonderful word that will come up many times. I guess we can talk about belief all day and we won’t be done by evening. But then what we lack is belief that we are good. The heroes believe that they are. So how do we earn the belief? By knowing. What do we know?
Do you believe you are the best? Are there doubts about your uniqueness? How good is your self esteem? Now get up and say – I am unique with a unique set of talents and skills.
Can we sustain this belief? Normally you can with some work. But we are all used to outside approval. I say, you don’t depend on it. Depend on yourself. Go on till the YES factor tells you that you know you are good. Follow the dream in the above sequence and chances are you can’t go wrong. You are hitting the zone.
3. Now at this phase we are concerned with excellence. What then is excellence? Let us demystify it. It is now down to YOU. To the boys in the team. This lecture is about you. So then what is excellence to you? It is the same as it is to Shahrukh. It is being the best you can be at any given point of time. Now is that hard. Is that possible? Is that a choice or some boon that god must give us.
Excellence is a choice.
So choose now to be the best you can be. I will at a later point come back and tell you that you already are being the best you can be – someone remind me before I am done. Right now, take an oath and say you will from now, take an oath that you will be the best you can be, for yourself and all that you believe in. first step done, we are now tuned into excellence. The 100% you, the best you, the tiger, the potential..
Mediocrity and excellence belong to the same continuum. Just as fear and bravery are. If you have one, the other exists. So pick yourself. Same as the heroes. It is not luck. Push the right hand side.
To me there is only one thing. An excuse or a result. You stop because of you and no one else. Not anything else. If you make up your mind you can.
The 100% example. It will teach you that once you decide, you can.
Why we don’t achieve excellence? Now we have established that excellence is within us right. We have established that we can reach it. Now it’s pertinent to wonder why we are not. Fear. Most of us believe we are not good enough. If we believe we are good then nothing really stops us. This is where belief comes in. when others say things we choose to believe them. We set up for failure, for a passing mark, for floating along aimlessly. Be default. We may look at failure and worry and say I don’t want to fail. But there is a bigger fear. More potent. Fear of success. It will keep you in failure all the time.
First and foremost we need to believe we are good. We need to increase our own opinion of ourselves. Increase your self worth. Because that decides what you take to the world outside. And how you fare. Think now.
Let me quickly run through how we can stick to the excellent part.
First by identifying excellence when you had it. Then perpetuate the same thought.
You must have felt really good. You must have felt the YES factor. In these times it does not matter whether anyone is applauding you. You are doing it for yourself. Do it again. Stop looking over your shoulder.
Self worth. We are increasing our self worth along the way. We are increasing our confidence. Our market value. We are increasing our clarity of the world we are in.
Do something that pushes your boundaries, discomfort. Be comfortable with discomfort. To smile at a stranger is new. To say something nice to some one is new. Bu the moment you do it, you have grown a bit. You have set new limits. Remember these are the things you will remember. So try and do something new everyday. In small ways. Push those limits. When you have two choices, do the one that uncomfortable. Face the fear. It dissolves. Else it becomes bigger.
On self worth. On our understanding of ourselves. Do we know what we are? Can you answer the question what am I? What do I want? What am I good at? What value am I giving?
All of us from the outside know you are capable of moving the world. But do you? It is a commentary on our own self worth. So all that we do must be addressed at that. Even if the whole world says you are lousy, your self worth must be so good that you still say I am the best.
To improve that we choose excellence. We push 200%. We feel new limits. We see perfection. We understand. We figure out the details. We always do a good and pucca job.
As a student then what are your plans? Your dreams? Your value? Your potential? Can you put a value on yourself?
Do it because that’s how you get salaries. Improve self worth through your pursuit of your excellence. Be the potential you are – you’ll never know it but try and get a number there. Be fully prepared. No excuses for that.
Know what is your best.
Worthiness – how to increase
1) To improve self-worth we must first try and put a price on ourselves.
What do you think you are worth? What are the various services that you can sell?
What is the value you carry with you? What are the talents you have? What are the skills you have? What are the qualifications you have? What are the things that you can do better than others? What are the things you are best at? / If you sell all these services what do you think you will earn?
2) Knowing oneself – strengths and weaknesses, what you think of yourself, self appraisal, finding out what you did right, what your biggest strengths are, habits to drop to get into the next level
3) Physical Attributes – Your sense of dress / Your fitness / Your diet / Your other habits / Your manners / Your personal hygiene
4) Soft attributes
Your attitude / Your knowledge of subject matter / Your awareness-career, political,
Your personal code of ethics / Your commitment / Your honesty /Your reliability
Your communication skills / Your idea of yourself
5) Managerial attributes
Taking new challenges / Delivering jobs on time / Solution orientation /Leadership qualities / Public speaking / Taking the initiative / Team player /Action orientation
Strategic planning / Tactical execution
Know oneself through others eyes – what others think of you
Take at least 5 inputs from 10 people and collate
Taking inputs from others – filter only positive knowledge
Sharing knowledge with others – teaching
4) Gap – Find out the gap between your concept and excellence
5) Plan – Fix a time frame on how to cover the gap
6) Preparation – Be ready for next level in all ways
7) Winning pattern – Find examples where you have been the best you
5) Action is important– Zone of discomfort
6) Meet successful people in the area
Meeting the best in the business / Meeting losers to know what went wrong / Doing something new to propel your business plan / Journal to register your thoughts / Updating knowledge
7) Speak your mind / Speak your ideas /Ask for what you want
A healthy self worth will be all about your strengths. You will feel much more confident, worthy. You will get clarity. Good.
Tomorrow you go to the workplace. What is it that you are taking there apart from your qualifications? What is the value you are adding? Do you know what you are there for? Just a salary. A meal. A tag.
No, get real. Get higher. You are there to make a difference to this world. Believe in that. Take a dream. To be the best you can in your job. To take complete responsibility for your job and to stretch all your limits. Don’t be another paper pusher. Make the difference. Be the difference.
Do not link your work to money. To appreciation. Do it for yourself. Now you have touched an excellence within you. Sweepers do it. Washer men do it. Barbers do it. Why can’t you? Be the pro you are within.
Take this to your jobs. Your careers. Your own dreams. Your enterprises. You will leave the world a better place.
There will be times when you feel like this not working. Remember perfection is already within you. Inside every rock lies the sculpture. The key is to chip away at whats not necessary, not in adding to it. Don’t look out. Find it within. Excellence is a choice. Action is the key
Believe in yourself at all times. In your team. Trust your teammates Good ethics always help.