Archive for the 'Life' Category

12
Dec
08

Azim Premji’s secrets for success

He’s the seventh richest Indian and the 60th richest man in the world. In fact, from 1999-2005, Forbes has rated him as the richest person in India.

He transformed a company that sold vegetable oil into one of the world’s most recognised software companies.

Humble by nature, 63-year-old Premji prefers to fly economy class and is happiest when hiking, reading or discussing the foundation he has set up to promote primary education.

The reason behind Wipro’s success, he says, is an unceasing quest for excellence.

  • The biggest enemy of future success is past success. When you succeed, you feel that you must be doing something right for it to happen. But when the parameters for success changes, doing the same things may or may not continue to lead to success.
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  • We invested in uncompromising integrity that helped us take difficult stands in some of the most difficult business situations. 
  • Routines represent our own zones of comfort. There is a sense of predictability about them. They have structured our time and even our thought in a certain way. While routines are useful, do not let them enslave you. Deliberately break out of them from time to time. 
  • Life’s battle does not always go to the person who is stronger and faster. The person who wins is the person who thinks he can. 
  • Always keep in mind that it is only the test of fire that makes fine steel.
  • As you get bigger, you have to learn to delegate. It�s also an excellent way to get staff involved in the company�s operations.
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  • As an advisor, I can say what I want. If I were a politician, I would constantly have to compromise, and I’m incapable of doing that. 
  • Character is one factor that will guide all our actions and decisions. 
  • It requires courage to keep dreaming. And that is when dreams are most needed — not when everything is going right, but when just about everything is going wrong. 
  • You cannot fire a missile from a canoe. Unless you build a strong network of people with complimentary skills, you will be restricted by your own limitations.
  • Playing to win is not the same as cutting corners. When you play to win, you stretch yourself to your maximum and use all your potential. It also helps you to concentrate your energy on what you can influence instead of getting bogged down with the worry of what you cannot change. Do your best and leave the rest.
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  • Everyone feels the fear of unknown. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to manage fear without getting paralyzed. Feel the fear, but move on regardless. 
  • In our way of working, we attach a great deal of importance to humility and honesty. With respect for human values, we promise to serve our customers with integrity. 
  • Guard against complacency all the time. Complacency makes you blind to the early signals from the environment that something is going wrong. 
  • If you are always in the company of cynics, you will soon find yourself becoming like them. A cynic knows all the reasons why something cannot be done.
  • Take your time to decide what your core values are. Once you do, do not compromise on them for any reason. Integrity is one such value.
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  • Nobody can make us feel inferior without our consent. 
  • Change descends on every one equally; it is just that some realise it faster. Some changes are sudden but many others are gradual. While sudden changes get attention because they are dramatic, it is the gradual changes that are ignored till it is too late. You must have all heard of story of the frog in boiling water. If the temperature of the water is suddenly increased, the frog realises it and jumps out of the water. But if the temperature is very slowly increased, one degree at a time, the frog does not realise it till it boils to death. You must develop your own early warning system, which warns you of changes and calls your attention to it. In the case of change, being forewarned is being forearmed. 
  • Spend time with people who have a ‘can-do’ approach. Choose your advisors and mentors correctly. 
  • We need an open mind to look at things in a different way and allow new inputs to come in. Otherwise, there is a real danger of becoming complacent or even downright arrogant.
  • We must remember that succeeding in a changing world is beyond just surviving. It is our responsibility to create and contribute something to the world that has given us so much.
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  • We believe the combination of excellence in operations and strong execution of our strategy is critical to achieve our vision. We will continue to focus on both in future as well. 
  • Constantly ask yourself what new skills and competencies will be needed. Begin working on them before it becomes necessary and you will have a natural advantage. 
  • If you do not take enough risks, you may also be losing out on many opportunities. Think through but take the plunge. If some things do go wrong, learn from them. 
  • I came across this interesting story some time ago: One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and begin to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quietened down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that fell on his back, the donkey was doing some thing amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off! Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick is to not to get bogged down by it. We can get out of the deepest wells by not stopping. And by never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.
  • Some people follow the beaten path. Few take the road less travelled. Yet others choose to create their own path.
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  • Managing change has a lot to go with our own attitude towards it. It is proverbial half-full or half-empty glass approach. For every problem that change represents, there is an opportunity lurking in disguise somewhere. It is up to you to spot it before someone else does. 
  • If you succeed 90 percent of the time, you are doing fine. If you are succeeding all the time, you should ask yourself if you are taking enough risks. 
  • As a country we are on the threshold of a unique opportunity. To manage this opportunity, we need to understand what will drive the changes in the future and how we need to manage them. 
  • If you set high standards for yourself, you strive to meet standards and hence remain modest.
  • The greatest benefit of your education lies not only in what you have learnt, but also in working how to learn. Formal education is the beginning of the journey of learning. In the world of tomorrow, only those individuals and organisations will succeed who have mastered the art of rapid and on-going learning.
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  • Pessimism is contagious, but then so is enthusiasm. In fact, reasonable optimism can be an amazing force multiplier. 
  • We must remember that many have contributed to our success, including our parents and others from our society. All of us have a responsibility to utilise our potential for making our nation a better place for others, who may not be as well endowed as us, or as fortunate in having the opportunities that we have got. 
  • To be able to gain the respect of the diverse spectrum in our country, better than being called just a wealthy person or a successful businessman. I have managed to gain respect of everybody that is the biggest accomplishment. All this, only because of hard work and by overcoming peer competition by working harder. 
  • Excellence is not so much a battle you fight with others, but a battle you fight with yourself, by constantly raising the bar and stretching yourself and your team. This is the best and the most satisfying and challenging part about excellence.
  • Delegating authority and responsibility speeds things up and gets decisions made faster. It empowers people more, and it allows them to further empower those who report to them, because their jobs have suddenly become much more responsible.
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  • You don’t demolish a cash-cow business. You just simultaneously try to build the business of tomorrow, which really differentiates you. 
  • I don’t think customer relationships are really owned. The customer is a remarkably selfish person: He takes the relationship to where the execution is in his favour. 
  • Any position of power or wealth means an enormous responsibility of trusteeship. The higher the share price goes, the higher becomes the expectation from investors, on the company, to perform. If the price rises to unrealistic levels, it will lead to unrealistic expectations. 
  • I think the most important reason for our success is that very early in our quest into globalisation, we invested in people — and we have done that consistently and particularly in the service business. People are the key to success or extraordinary success.
  • Our experience as a company is that if your top management is not global, they tend to collect people who are of the same kin. It is the most difficult transformation. If you are a smaller company, a less of an international brand name, it’s not easy to get the best globally as your top management. It takes time and it takes a lot of nurturing.
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  • There is one thing that constantly determines success. Some call it leadership. But, to my mind, it is the single-minded pursuit of excellence. 
  • Exercise, be active and not lead a sedentary life. A certain physical activity should be maintained — walk, skip or jog — along with a good food diet. That is the only way to de-stress. 
  • The advantage of building teams focussed on quality is that the teaming culture eventually spreads to the rest of the organisation and teaming becomes a way of life. 
  • Success requires no explanation and failure permits none. But you need to respect yourself enough so that your self-confidence remains intact whether you succeed or fail.
  • Progress is defined by the changing nature of issues that a society considers topical. We have made the transition from concern for just basic literacy to improvement of the quality of education. We need to progress from a compulsion to mass-produce stereotypes to creating independent thinkers and active learners. We have to create the right balance between our diverse subcultures and create an education system that caters to the need of every one of them.
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  • Most people wait for something to go wrong before they think of change. It is like going to the doctor for a check up only when you are seriously sick or thinking of maintaining your vehicle only when it breaks down. 
  • We should question the customer. Too often we just follow instructions. If we have a point of view that is different, we should question the customer’s instructions and say, “We think what you are asking us to do is wrong; it would be better to do it another way.” If we have to fight to make ourselves heard, we should do that because customers won’t want product problems to come back three weeks or months or years later. 
  • We cannot be the best in everything we do. We must define what we are or would like to be best at and what someone else can do better. 
  • No successful company should be taken for granted. A company to survive in this competitive world should change the rules of the game, be it its business model, technology, delivery model, supply chain that significantly affect the ongoing change of the company.



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