Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Reaching the top – 9-Point Formula
PR Veteran, C K Sardana describes a proven formula for reaching the top not just to perform but outperform and outsmart others!

A batch of 276 Engineer Trainees joined a leading Public Sector Undertaking in 1978. After undergoing six-month training at Corporate HRDI, they were posted in different Units and a few in the Corporate Office.

After nearly 30 years, one reached the top position as CMD, five became Directors and twelve became Executive Directors. Out of the balance, about 30 left the Organization and remaining could reach middle level position at Corporate/Unit levels.

How come, only one out of 276 ETs reached the top? In his case, as also in the case of five Directors, there must have been something outstanding. Which were the outstanding traits? Let me elaborate.

Sustained self development -- There is a word in Japanese -- Kaizen -- which means Continuous Improvement. Japanese, as a people and as a nation, follow this dictum. This was the guiding factor for the above Six persons. Through self-study and observation of the 'achievers' style of thinking, responding and operating, they developed themselves not just in knowledge but in the practice of the knowledge gained. 

Enhancing professional qualifications -- During the job, they looked out for institutions running specialized courses, through distance mode, in key Management areas like International Marketing, Law, OR, HR, Financial Management, Entrepreneurship etc. They joined those Courses and thus obtained an edge over others.

Exposure in/through leading institutions – They always looked for specialized courses – short term and long term – in institutions like IIMs, IITs, Universities – and persuaded the Management to sponsor them. Institutions included world-renowned Harvard Business School in USA. They attended those courses thereby enhancing their self development leading to gaining name and fame as ‘achievers’ and also those with ‘potential for higher responsibility’.

Movement within the Organization -- Initially, each ET was allocated to a certain Department. Having spent a few years in that Department, they offered themselves for posting in other Departments including Finance, HR, Marketing, Administration -- to name a few. Here they learnt the nitty-gritty of those functions thereby equipping themselves for varied and higher responsibilities. 

Membership of professional bodies – They became active members of professional bodies like AIMA, ISTD, Institution of Engineers, IEEE, Quality Forum etc. This brought them in close contact with professional in various fields thereby enhancing both connections and connectivity required for upward movement.

Reading success stories – Success stories of top corporate leaders like JRD Tata, Dhirbhai Ambani, V. Krishnamurthy, S P Wahi, to name a few in India, and Ford of USA were their favourite books. It was not casual reading but looking for outstanding traits, taking notes and preparing action plan for implementing them in their own life. They kept self-monitoring as a regular exercise.

Body language – This includes communication skills. No matter how much one knows the subject, what is more important how does he communicate that to the peers, seniors and those who matter. The latter form impressions from the content and the method of communication. Such impressions help selecting among so many candidates the best for higher positions.

Remaining in focus – Remaining in focus is different from remaining in limelight. The latter may produce animosity among various aspirants for higher positions and, therefore, should be shunned. Instead, remaining in focus should be aimed at.

Confidence in self and in associates – Without this, no one can rise. The six achievers, mentioned in the foregoing, followed  a sustained programme of developing their self confidence and also confidence in associates. This helped them reach much higher levels than those who had also joined the Organization at the same time.(The author is Former General Manager/BHEL/New Delhi. Email id:casardana@gmail.com. M -09893556483

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