Many youngsters have been asking me as to what is my advise to them on being successful in their career and in the cut-throat competitive Corporate world. These are the competencies that you will have to acquire & master to be able to reach to the top, sustain there and be successful :
1. Comfort around Top Management
You need the support of the Top Management and your peers to be successful. You need to work as a team to build a successful enterprise. If you are not comfortable working with the Top Management team (superiors, peers), you are unlikely to succeed. Hence its very important that you maintain a very good working relationship & understanding with the Top Management to succeed. If you aren’t, you are most likely to fail.
2. Managing Boss
It is a reality that “you cant choose your boss, your boss can choose you”. We have no other choice and hence we need to find a way out to manage with the Boss. Cribbing about the boss is not going to take us anywhere. We need to understand his style, his expectations, his behaviours and also his idiosyncrasies and adapt ourselves, failing which there will always be strains in our relationship and gaps between expectations & delivery.
3. Business Acumen
No organization is built for charity and no one works for charity. There are tremendous pressures to deliver profits and maximize return on investment. Hence it is important that we understand our business, the competition, the market, the future, our products, our customers, our strengths, challenges, our people to be able to relate to their dynamic needs and build business strategies. Otherwise we would be operating in a vacuum akin to the “frog in the well” and likely to be consumed by the looming disaster. Many professionals often work in “silose” and dont realise that they are only a “means to an end and not an end by themselves”
4. Managing ambiguity & change
In todays world, the only thing constant is Change. The world is dynamic and is changing at a rapid pace day by day. Hence we need to learn to manage in a dynamic environment, live with ambiguities and cope up with change. We need to be flexible and adaptive and be able to drive business through these changing environment. You have to decide whether “you want to lead change or let change lead you”
5. Decision Making
It is often said that Executives are hired to make decisions. Hence it is very important that Top Executives take decisions as quickly as possible rather than procrastinate for that perfect decision. The competition is fast changing and we need to be in a position to take quick decisions and move faster than our competitors. Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail. Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than lack of specific knowledge or technical know-how as an indicator of leadership failure.
As the famous KungFu artist & actor late Bruce Lee has said
” If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you will never get it done”
6. Chase success and not money
Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana – You have the right to perform your actions,but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions.
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani – Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty.
This message was from the Lord Krishna to Arjun during the Epic War of Mahabhaarat when Arjun was not willing to fight, given that he had opposite of him, all those persons he considers to be his own. Then Krishna explains to him about his duties. The above verse, which is among the most famous verse in Mahabhaarat, is one of those explanation he has given.
In this case Krishna tells Arjun that no matter what is the result of the war, he should not be worried about it. His duty is to fight, then he has to fight. He wins or loses that is not important. Even if he dies during the war, he will attain heaven because he has correctly performed his duty.
Now coming to the second phrase of the above verse, Krishna also advises Arjun that he should never let the fruit be the purpose of his action, in this case the action is his fight and the fruit is either he wins or loses. In other words he is not supposed to worry about victory or defeat. Either one wins or loses, he must be neutral about it.
In simple terms it means: Keep on performing your duties without being attached to the result of your actions. Either you get something or you don’t get anything, you should not worry about it. You should have a neutral behaviour.
Well its easier said than done in this materialistic world and what is referred to as the “Kalyug” period. It also reminds me of what Late Dr Abdul Kalam once said ” Love your Job and not your Company, for you may not know when the Company stops loving you”. Organisations come and go, but your profession, your skill is what remains with you and hence you fall in love with it, pursue it with passion and rigor and continuously work towards improving it, chances are that you will succeed much better& faster.
7. Quit when people ask you “Why and not Why-Not?”
If you are not comfortable with any of these or if you find the environment is hampering you or if you fall out of favor of your seniors, its better you move on than remain there either sulking or fighting a losing battle. And remember a leader should quit when people ask “Why – did he quit?” rather than when they ask “Why is not quitting?”
He is a certified CEO / Leadership Coach, Mentor for Startups, Blogger & a Speaker. In a career spanning nearly 3 decades, he has been Head of HR and held leadership positions in India & globally in organisations like Schneider Electric India, American Power Conversion (APC), Chevron Texaco/Caltex India, Praxair India, Co Systems India, Indian Herbs & ITI.
He was the Honorary Secretary of the National HRD Network, Bangalore Chapter – 2000-2002, Cluster Lead – NHRD Bangalore Chapter (Whitefield & ORR) in 2014 and currently theVice President – NHRD Bangalore Chapter. He was the member of the India HR Council of the AMCHAM, New Delhi, Panelist on the Roundtable of HR Directors of Petroleum Companies, ISP Mumbai and Member of the India HR Council of Conference Board.
He strongly believes that HR is not for faint hearted professionals. He believes that “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going” and can be reached at email@example.com