"Getting the best out of people is going to be the biggest challenge. On one side you will have rising Customer demands and brutal competition to meet those needs, and on the other side you will have people expectations going through the roof due to acute shortage of knowledge workers. The topology of the future business will be a highly dynamic one. The challenge is huge but then, so is the excitement." - Azim Premji
Azim Premji is the current chairman and majority stake owner in Wipro Technologies. Wipro Technologies is an IT service company established in 1980 in India. Wipro Limited, which dealt in hydrogenated cooking fats along with consumer products, grew from a company of US $2.5 million to a giant of $1.4 billion under Premji's leadership. It is headquartered in Bangalore. From inception the software and hardware divisions have been headed by him. He encourages young entrepreneurs and success seekers to keep 8 tips in mind and make it part of their continuous growth.<-- More -->
1. Stop Looking Back
If you keep looking in the rear view mirror, there is a good chance that you will miss what is in front of you. People who live in the past develop a mind-set that assumes that yesterday's realities will continue and in a predictable fashion. The road ahead has no resemblance to the one that has gone by. In order to sense future pro-actively, you need to look for not only different answers but different questions to ask. The old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" needs to be turned on its head. That is the slogan of the complacent and the scared. In the world of tomorrow, you need to change before it becomes necessary to do so. Don't wait for it to break, it may be too late to do anything about it.
2. Create a Powerful Vision
You must articulate your own Vision of the future. Make it powerful enough to ignite the combined imagination of people. Let it become a rallying point to create a positive stretch. The Vision must always be beyond reach but not an impossible dream either. You must communicate the Vision in a way that it generates enthusiasm. Use Vision to drive change.
3. Create The Right Muscle Tone
Strategy equals execution. All great ideas are meaningless if they are not implemented rapidly and efficiently. For this, the organisation must develop the right muscle tone. Big commitments are a series of small commitments and if one gets into the habit of meeting small commitments, there is a good chance that the larger Vision will be achieved.
4. Improve Your Speed
The winners of tomorrow will not be those who have resources or who are bigger but those who are faster. Speed will be the overriding success factor. This will be true of both the Old Economy and New Economy organisations. Both need to have information at their fingertips, use whatever technology they have at their command so that they can organise themselves to operate at lighting speed.
5. Never Compromise on Values
There are absolutely no quick routes to sustainable success. That would be my sincere suggestion to the new entrepreneurs. At Wipro, we defined our Beliefs long before it was a fashion to do so. Values provide a moral compass to guide you over stormy seas. They give the necessary resilience to face adversity. In the beginning at Wipro, our Values were more a reflection of personal Values. But we soon realised they made eminent business sense. Once people realise that they are dealing with an honest company, they do not expect any thing dishonest from you. It saves their energy and yours. It also pushes you to give your best to your Customer, since that is the only reason with which you can command business.
6. Learn to Manage Paradoxes
You may not always find clear black and white answers to all situations nor have at your command all the data to make a perfect decision. If you wait for perfect data, you may be too late to act. Procrastination in the name of reducing risk actually increases it. You will have to learn to take each situation on a case to case basis, make a judgement on available facts and move ahead. In fact the essence of managing is managing paradoxes.
7. Attract And Retain The Best
This tip will not be applicable to individuals but will be useful if you have a small business. The most important challenge will be the war for talent. This war will become only more intense with the widening shortage for talent world-wide. You will have to think out of the box to attract and retain knowledge workers. Organisation structures will lose their meaning. Even today, if every one acted exactly as per the organisation chart, the business will close down. While roles need to be defined, people ultimately define what they can contribute. Give them the freedom to do their best.
Retention will require more than compensation and stock options. People need to feel that the organisation cares and that their opinions count. You must learn to really listen to people. This means that you must work closely with them, take note of the choices they make, the way they interact, who supports them and why. It is this personal touch that will make a large company have the look and feel of a small organisation and help people to build bonds with their organisations.
8. Play To Win
Playing to win is one of the finest things you can do. Playing to win stretches you and everyone around you. It gives you a new sense of direction and energy. Ultimately, your only competition is yourself. Playing to win does not mean playing dirty. If you cut corners along the way, you will miss out on the personal satisfaction of winning. Because, winning means reaching the depth of your own potential and utilising it to its fullest.
Ultimately, your only competition is yourself.
Courtesy: Article is adapted from a speech given at Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
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