Moving up the corporate ladder!

moving up the corporate ladderFriends I’ve witnessed an unprecedented corporate success story which I cherish and I am honored to be mentored under a prodigy. His idea was, “when you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat”. His success story has inspired and ignited many; he created massive opportunities and has believed in the mantra of “retort to revenge is massive success”

He got extraordinary ten promotions in seven years; I can’t even speculate on how many times he was awarded the star performer or the jewel of the organization. I’ve worked, fought and learned under him. I’ve deeply analyzed his strategy to move up the corporate chain and thought would be a good example for all to study.

Folks, great minds think differently and make others to act differently. I’d like to put out five major aspects of his approach, through which he achieved massive success and still continues to do it.

  1. Great leader ignite others, inspire imagination and instill a love for learning – I joined straight out of college, fairly new to corporate structure, the market was not doing well and the challenges were immense. He called us and took us straight to our senior VP for a quick introduction. I notice when we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage. I observed this guy actually tried to push us through the line by judging our willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait; you have to take the bull by the horn. Later I came to know the VP was amongst the founding member of the organization and first good impression on him will help us climb the ladder quickly. He might have not fairly taken us to him but unlike others, he did; highly developed leaders don’t encounter resistance from mediocre minds. They think big and allow others to think big. As a result I was never afraid to walk to any one’s cabin to push my idea through. He ignited my mind to dream big.
  2. Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving and take initiatives. In his opinion the best way to prove your credibility in a closed loop environment is to take initiative, create an opportunity and pave your way to success. He joined as a management trainee and from day one itself he took initiatives which transformed and benefitted the organization. Amazingly what inspired me was the way he uses to hop around vertical to find an opportunity. He never felt shy in asking stupid questions as he uses to tell us, a question is never stupid but an answer is. From automating the transport roster to implementing the lean principle; from helping the HR team to transform the hiring process to assisting the business in acquiring clients; from preparing decks on behalf of leadership to understanding the grey areas of the clients; from delivering speeches to sleeping on the floor to prove his point; he has done it all. No matter how stupid my idea was, he compelled me to analyze and implement it. His principle was “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity”.
  3. No is a complete sentence and often we forgot to say it. In my leap of taking initiatives I ended up with a lot of crappy work. I was finding it difficult to manage work and simultaneously the expectations from the management to come up with something exciting grew immensely. I got de-motivated, wondering how to get rid of unnecessary activities, the dice were loaded against me. Seeing me falling flat, he helped me, he taught the idea of saying “No”. He said Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best. I started to pick my battle wisely, as not all battles are worth fighting. I worked on initiatives which created phenomenal result, and said NO to work which I was not supposed to do. From disaster written all over; I became a shining star.
  4. Habitual procrastinators will readily testify to all the lost opportunities; so never postpone. Until hell freezes over we normally don’t start to work. This is actually the case of most of us and to move up we should minimize procrastination. Perhaps, I never had more yelling from him, on me sitting idle and taking no action. The irony with us is we build the plane as it fly and on contrary his ideology was to always believe in getting the better of you. For him, No news is a bad news and good work bring more work. Due to this I was constantly on my toes, I never relaxed, my mind was trained to think, to create opportunities, and find strategic work. It was quite visible on his face, by seeing lazy people he uses to become edgy. He said think up the many things you gave trying because you procrastinated, be it cycling, exercise, studying etc. Takeaway is, “improving yourself should always top any priority” and “procrastination is thief of time”.
  5. Be a leader and communicate effectively. I quote the ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. I remember an example- we won a contract in negative but management wanted us to execute and deliver the deliverables, just to sustain the relationship with the client. I was assigned a major portion of the contract to execute and from day one there were heavy escalations from the business as well from the client. In few days, I was in to a mess and in a black mood. I wasn’t precise in my communication to stakeholders and every step I took dragged me down. He took charge and told “if you have nothing to say, say nothing”. You have brilliant ideas but if you don’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere. Communicating effectively to the right person more importantly at the right time will take you places. By implementing few of his tips we actually ended the project on a positive note. The bottom line was increased and I got an award for a stellar performance.

Sometime life knocks you out, but the only thing a person can really do is to keep moving forward. I’ll like to end up with a quote from Gita “past is past you can’t do anything to change it what should concern you is your present because present will make your future”.

Contributed by Vaibhav Chandra ( Class of 2009, IBS HYDERABAD )

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