Guest AuthorPrabodh Sirur

Pat and Tom Peters

Source |  |  BY:Prabod Sirur , vice president Hr  Manipal Technologies 

Pat, who was our CEO in mid-2000 , moves on from his position as CEO of NIIT in about 40 hours from now. I dedicate this article to Pat.


Pat (Rahul Patwardhan) was loved by all of us because of his sheer brilliance and his extreme focus. Every meeting with him was a learning workshop. We always came out richer after meeting Pat.

I won’t write too much about Pat (he never wasted time in listening to praise). You can surf the net to know more about him (the search count is over a lakh as of today).

Let me come to the topic of Tom Peters and of how Pat, Tom and I are connected (I think I am boasting now!)


Tom came to prominence with his book In search of excellence. The book is an essence of the study of 43 companies considered innovative and excellent. Tom Peters and Robert Waterman found eight common themes which they argued were responsible for the success of these companies.

Tom is a heavyweight management guru (google search count – over 5 lakhs as of today).


One fine day (I think it was somewhere around 2008 or 2009), we received a document from Pat. It had an unexpected title – Have you in the last 10 days?, written by Tom Peters (somehow I can’t find it on the net. What I found now is Top 50 Have yous).

It was a two pager and had a list of 50 questions posed to the managers. It made the readers look inward and improve rather than strategizing to beat competitors.

Some of these questions were:

  • Have you called a customer…TODAY?
  • Have you invited a leader of another function to your weekly team meeting?
  • Have you celebrated in the last week a milestone reached?
  • Have you in the last 24 hours injected into a meeting “I ran across this interesting idea”?
  • Have you taken an interesting-weird outsider to lunch?
  • Have you in the last six months talked about the Internal Brand Promise?
  • Etc.

The whole day I was thinking about these 50 questions. I had to do something about this gift from Pat.

When I read and re-read the questions, I found great treasure in them, gems for an individual to create his/her personal brand.

Most questions were about building relationships – relationship with clients, relationships with cross functional teams, relationships within teams etc. Some others were about learning, teaching and mentoring others. They were about making others successful, they were about thanking others. Here is a graph of how these 50 questions were distributed (my interpretation).

The study of these questions was getting interesting. I said to myself, “Why don’t I create a calendar based on these questions and circulate it to all our managers?” and I created one, an Outlook file so that the user could get a reminder for each activity.

I am sure some of my old friends must surely be using this calendar.

Hope you also benefit from Pat’s gift and create your own personal brand and succeed.



Let me now write about Camille Pissarro (1830–1903), one of the important Impressionist painters. Pissarro was Danish-French impressionist. Art historians called Pissarro the “dean of the Impressionist painters”, not only because he was the oldest of the group, but also “by virtue of his wisdom and his balanced, kind, and warmhearted personality”.

Impressionism is an art movement. It was started by painters to challenge the then existing style of painting. They redefined painting as an impression of one’s mind rather than what is seen by the eye. Whenever I write about the Impressionist painters, I think of innovation; I want to learn from their conviction to challenge the status quo.

This painting by Pissarro is called Fields painted in 1877.

Photo credit:

Hope you enjoy this creation.

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