Three Success Lessons From A Successful Indian CEO

At a recent speaking assignment at a company’s annual day, I got a chance to listen to the inspiring speech of Ghanshyam Dholakia, the managing director (MD) of the Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd.

Mr Dholakia shared an advice with his employees to succeed in life. “To succeed in any job, profession, business or in life, you need to ask yourself the following three questions,” he said.

1) Do you do your job without being reminded?

If you need reminders and follow-ups to complete a task, you will find it difficult to achieve something really worthwhile in your life. Taking responsibility of a task is a characteristic of dependable people. If you need reminders to do something, you reduce the speed of the team of which you are part of. A team or an organisation can grow only if all the members take up their share of responsibilities, and perform the tasks on their own.

Being able to complete tasks on your own requires constant self-motivation. And this self-motivation is an asset, which can take you ahead of the others in life.

2) Do you do exactly what you said you will do?

Successful people keep their word. They do whatever they said they will do. They don’t cut corners. They always deliver satisfactory performance. On the contrary, losers speak more, and do less. They make a lot of promises, but don’t keep them. Their performance is less than satisfactory.

If you cut corners, if you always leave a task before its completion, if you over-promise and under-deliver, you are reducing your chances of success. Talking is easy. Doing is difficult. But, it is action alone which will produce results and that only will determine your trajectory.

3) Do you do it when you said you will do it?

Your relationship with keeping your time reveals a lot about you. When someone meets you for the first time, they believe your words completely. They presume you will do all that you said you will do. This belief remains till you perform your first task with them. If you fail to arrive on time or get late on your first promised action, the credibility of your words crashes down. Your punctuality about keeping your time will determine your dependability. People form opinions about you based on your performance on time front. If you are late in fulfilling your various commitments, your word starts losing its impact.

Your trait about punctuality starts when you arrive at your office everyday. For instance, if the time to reach your office is at 9 am with 15 minutes’ grace time, there will be three types of people in the company:

a) Those who always arrive at work before 9 am
b) Those who arrive after 9 but before 9:15 am
c) Those who always arrive late after 9:15 am

Everyday these later-comers give some or the other excuse for being late. These lame excuses are meaningless, except that those who fall under this category prove only one thing that they are not dependable. They can’t keep their word. These people will not get any responsible assignments, if there is alternative. Their chances of success will always remain limited. Also, it is not only at work that the credibility of these late-comers is weak. Such people fail miserably in keeping up to their commitments in all areas of life, at work, at home or in the society. Arriving late or not doing anything on time is their common trait.

So, ask the above three question to yourself. If answers to all these questions are ‘yes’, you are on the path to success. If not, you have some work to do.

This is a really useful and ‘workable’ advice from a man heading an organization of more than 8,000 motivated employees.

The manner of speaking matters

Heard two back-to-back announcements by two airlines announcing departures of their flights at Ahmedabad airport.

The lady announcer of IndiGo started “IndiGo announces the departure of its flight to Mumbai….”, spoke the name ‘IndiGo’ in a very low and unclear voice only once in the beginning of a rather long announcement, which is generally missed by the passengers as they are not able to hear initial words, due to the sudden start of the announcement.
Result? Total confusion for most of the passengers as for which airline the announcement was.

Next announcement was from SpiceJet. The lady started with “Kind Attention SpiceJetters…This is an announcement for passengers traveling by SpiceJet flight number xyz…”. Also, she spoke the word ‘SpiceJet’ 4 times clearly and loudly in the same amount of time.
Result? Total clarity about for whom the announcement was.

At a terminal where 5-6 airlines operate flights to a small number of destinations, the name of the airlines deserves the most clear mention.

Common sense, no?
But common sense is not common, no?

SpiceJet makes it loud and clear. IndiGo needs to improve skills on meaningful communication where it matters.

To be aware of the effect of our communication, we should hear through the ears of our customers.

Personal Branding Lessons from Priyanka Chopra

I am a Priyanka Chopra fan. She is one of the best things that has happened to India’s entertainment industry. Here are some reasons why Brand PeeCee clicks so well.

1) Connect with the best

PeeCee has worked with the best of the actors in Bollywood. She has worked with all the Superstars of her time. Also, for her music albums, she has joined hands with the best in the world like, Will.i.am and Pitbull.

In an industry where availability, relationships and friendships create collaborations, PeeCee has gone much ahead by connecting only with the best.

2) Dream big and act BIG

Instead of being limited to Bollywood or India, this lady has made the world as her playground. It requires a lot of self-confidence, talent and commitment to have a vision to make a mark globally. There is hardly any other such personality in Indian entertainment scene who has dreamed and realized this big.

3) Be persistent

Success in Beauty pageant, Movies, Singing and Lyrics writing. This multi-talented beauty is persistent in her excellence.

PeeCee puts a lot of hard work in all her movies, songs or other assignments like events, shows etc. Today she is the only actress in Bollywood who can do some multi-talented roles or gigs which the pretty young (or old) things of Bollywood just can’t imagine. She can be called the only real superstar in the current breed of actresses.

4) Make this world a better place (Not in Beauty Queen style!)

All beauty queens have lots of theories of making this world a better place, which they themselves naturally forget after the pageant, because they have mouthed those great-sounding concepts without really understanding what they mean. PeeCee has really made this world a better place through her work.

5) Be unique

Most of the Indian actresses are beautiful dumbs, who can’t be more than a good-looking, necessary accessory to a male lead. PeeCee is refreshingly different. She is a beauty with a functional brain.

Just as in Bollywood, where she created her own unique space without any godfather or uncle or father to hold her hand, she has created her own unique identity on the world entertainment and music scene.

Today, one can confidently say that nobody can fill in the shoes of Priyanka Chopra. She is really unique.

6) Be professional

PeeCee has not allowed controversies or personal tragedies stop her.

She was embroiled into some media created flings with her co-stars. She has withstood all her relationships related gossip or controversies by maintaining a very dignified silence and let her work answer all the gossip mongers.

She exhibited her strong commitment when she resumed work within few days of losing her biggest strength, her father.

7) Be playful

PeeCee comes across as that beautiful, young, naughty woman who captivates your attention not only with her charm but also with her brain. She is intelligent, playful, desirable, seductive and smart.

8) Communicate wholesomely

PeeCee is articulate. She communicates very well. Along with commendable linguistic skills, she also uses a lot of body language to express herself. It is always a delight to see or listen to her speak.

Many beautiful actresses will come and go, but Priyanka Chopra has created a unique space which will be very difficult even to match. PeeCee is one of the best things that has happened to Indian entertainment industry.

Unique, playful, persistent, expressive, smart and desirable – Brand Priyanka Chopra has all the attributes of a successful personal brand.

Airtel, if your front-end is good, the back-end will be much better

The people in our company who interact with the customers can make or break a lot of things concerning our brand and organizational image. Whatever could be our strategy, planning and projections, if the people at the front desk mismanage customer experience, it all crumbles.

So, the way your receptionist treats your visitors, the tone with which the telephone operator greets a caller on phone, the manner in which your watchman behaves when a visitor comes in, the treatment that your counter sales person gives to a customer, the manner in which the waiter handles a guest at a restaurant – these are all the critical points where a lot of problems, disappointments, grievances and heart-burns to the customers occur. Most of the customers’ problems arise when they are treated badly by the front desk or the customer service people or call centre. If this starting point of trouble is taken care of, a lot of back-end work can be avoided.

This is more crucial for a service organization. I had a recent experience where a timely, sensible action could have saved a lot of headache and hardwork from back-end team at Airtel.

As is the case with many irresponsible and tired front-end people sitting on the customer-facing desks of many powerful service brands,  the employees at Airtel Relationship Centre (ARC) at Malad-West once more mishandled one name-transfer request from us. Their carelessness cost us 10 days of a disconnected phone, which could have been done in 48-hours, as promised by them.

Finally, Mahesh Narkar, a senior at Andheri office of Airtel handling transfers and customer verifications, took charge of the case and moved the things swiftly. If Airtel is a good brand, (which, as a customer I firmly believe it is), it is because of the people with strong initiative and customer focus like Mahesh Narkar.

But, Airtel can be much better, if the callousness at ARCs is reined in. A lot of unnecessary work for people like Mahesh will be saved only if the front-desk people take care of handling customers well.  A stitch in time can save a lot many in future…!

How to execute? These ADMI students can teach us.

Well, ADMI stands for Alkesh Dinesh Modi Institute for Financial And Management Studies. I attended an MTHR Global event hosted by ADMI at its beautiful auditorium within its vast facility inside Mumbai University campus on Saturday, 27th August, 2011.

On that day, whole Mumbai woke up to a rain-drenched daybreak due to incessant rain since previous night. The morning was no better. After a brief respite, the very heavy downpour had restarted. All the planning for the whole event was facing a possibility of complete failure, because of the heavy rain. But the event went very well, despite all the natural odds faced. It was all due to the great work by the management students of ADMI. Their work on that day was in true sense exemplary. Following are some of the very obvious things which made this challenging success possible.

Plan… Plan… Plan… : As one entered the venue, it became clear that the entire event was meticulously planned.

  • Right at the road leading to the campus, ADMI student volunteers were standing to guide the participants, expecting the question marks on the faces of the visitors looking for the directions and guiding very promptly. Signboards at all turns helped one reach fastest.
  • All the volunteers were given clear roles and responsibilities and the whole schedule of the day and arrangements were well-planned.
  • In fact, the event was planned and executed just like an event management company might have done it (after charging a few lakhs of rupees, of course), but these young people did it themselves, with meagre resources.

Team work works : The entire team of students worked as a single unit. There was continuous interaction and communication among them, as the day progressed and newer challenges kept coming. They solved all challenges by being together and working in unison. There was no boss here, but I think it did not matter, the event was the boss and they respected and responded to its demands…!

Pour your heart into it : Whatever they did they did wholeheartedly. Their complete involvement was inspiring.

  • Every guest was respectfully escorted with umbrellas in the heavy rain.
  • All the needs of the guests were attended to promptly with smile, respect and grace.
  • When the guests entered the walk ways which had become slippery due to rain, these boys and girls politely alerted the guests to take care. I was alerted at least 10 times during the day, by different people, every time, just in time to prevent me from falling…! So were other guests.

Enthusiasm is infectious : Despite the inclement weather and the innumerable and unexpected challenges thrown by it, these boys and girls performed with alacrity. Their enthusiasm was rubbing off positively on each other. This enthusiasm kept them up and running throughout that rough day.

Empowerment gives powerful results : The young students did not have many resources at their disposal, but they operated perfectly in spite of those constraints or limitations. One of the reason for their excellent output was the powers and freedom given to them. They did not have to go to anybody or ask anybody while fulfilling various needs and requests of the guests, some of them may be unexpected, but came because of the rain. They took instant decisions and did whatever was possible to do. The credit for this perfect empowerment must go to their director and the placement officer, who were representing the institute administration at this event.

Take on a crisis as a challenge : Any planning could have gone haywire on that day, due to the very difficult rain conditions. The guests could not reach in time, the speakers were stuck due to rain, the food to be served was two blocks away, and the rain was pouring like cats and dogs. These ADMIs took that all in their strides and did whatever was needed. They converted this crisis into a challenge and overcame it.

It made me thinking : Money may be able to buy many things. But, can it bring in such remarkable enthusiasm? I think, it is difficult to buy. And the organization which has such ADMIs inside it, can overcome any challenge, natural or otherwise. I thank the students of ADMI for showing us the way to perfect execution no-matter-what….!