Friday, February 26, 2010

Meeting NRN

I happened to meet NRN. This was possible as I am a part of an initiative. This is my attempt to reproduce his words in the meeting.
Disclaimer: This may not be his exact words.

1. What is leadership?

Leader is anyone who can bring around transformation: Transformation to the system, life standard, joy.

2. What keeps you going?

For the past 400 years, India had no recognition in the view of the first world. In 400 years, India has earned the respect and recognition in the fiend of IT. And Infosys plays a major role in it. And this (Bangalore DC) is the place where I made it happen. I am proud that I am a part of this. I have played my part as a patriot.

This is the place where I feel that I have transformed the lives of hundred thousand youngsters. In a month, I am in India for just 10 days. In those 10 days, I always like to visit this place. Nothing else excites me more.

Look at me. I am 63 years old. I am diabetic. I cannot eat more than 1 roti. Why I am saying this is, after sometime in your life, nothing excites you. What excites you is the feeling that you have contributed to the betterment of your nation, your society and people around you, the feeling that you have raised your nation in the view of others.

You youngsters have got an opportunity to drive this further, take our nation to great heights. Don’t miss it. Work hard. Only honesty, dedication and hard work can make it happen. And this is what real patriotism is all about.

Any third grade politician can shout “Jai hind”, any thief can hold a national flag and shout “Bharath matha ki Jai”. That doesn’t make you a patriot.

Do your work good, aim for excellence; show the world what we can offer. That is what true patriotism is.

Look somewhere down the line, your kids might ask you a question: You had a wonderful chance, why did you miss it? You can fall down in the eyes of your colleagues, superiors, friends but the real fall is when you fall down in the view of your children, your own flesh and blood.

My father was a proud man, a great father, an honest, decent man. A school teacher who delivered decent youngsters year after year, But he would put his head down in shame for one single question of his 12 yr old kid.

I asked my father: “Why did you not fight against the British? Why did you accept their rule?” He had no answer.

I don’t want you people to face this, so please make use of this opportunity. And please all of you in this room propagate this to the other levels.

3. Have you ever had to choose between values and success?

Yes, there had been a lot of instances where we had to make a call and we always stood by our values.

In the early stages of Infosys, we were getting a new project and the customer was willing to loan us an IBM machine but demanded that we should have phone connection, so they can have the updates over calls. When we approached the telephone department, we were told that it would take 2 years to get a connection but it could be quick if we could bribe him.

We decided to work from the client’s location rather than bribing the telephone department. The project margin became thin but we took the hit.

There was another instance where we were trying to buy some land in Bangalore. Previously the land was sold for 9.92lakh per acre, so our quote was 10lakh. But there was a gentleman who demanded 40k for ever acre and it was a 10 acre land. We went ahead to the ministers and bureaucrats and they saw us as decent people and approved the land transfer. But that gentleman went to the union and created problems and the land prices went up to 14lakh per acre. Now we could have either paid this gentleman 4lakh or pay 40lakh extra for the land. We paid 40lakh extra for the land.

4. Have you ever felt in any situation that Nandan could have been in Infy for some more time?

Nandan is a good man, a good friend and a very bold, intelligent and knowledgeable person. By bold what I meant to say is we used to fight a lot. Whenever I hit him, he retaliated with the same force. That gives me the confidence that I can say anything to him and be very honest with him.

And yes, it would be great to have him involved in certain decisions which I don’t want to disclose. But we have deliberately kept him out. Because he is with the government now and involving him would send false messages to people. But if the question is Do we miss Nandan, the answer is definitely yes.

5. What will be your response if you see Infosys losing its values once you are out?

Values are not rules that are set. It is when people work together; the juniors learn from the seniors, it becomes a part of them. Without knowing, values seep into the system. But if someone is keeping these values only for the sake of me, then it is of no use.


Akuiso iso said...

That's interesting post. Very informative. Thanks for sharing...

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