The Hunt – Part 3

The 2nd Musketeer…

Before we hop on to our second tale, I would like to thank all those who have joined the hunt so far.  All the shots at cracking the ‘universal’ secret have been innovative and richly illustrate the diverse intellectual depth amongst our readers.  However— purely from the judge’s discretionary privilege—just a handful have come close, and so far I am obliged to host only one expensive dinner!  But there is good news.  You see, our expedition is far from over and there is no need for the hunting party to disperse as yet.   Perhaps this 2nd musketeer will guide us closer to the destination…

Do you know ‘someone’ who lives life a little larger than you?  Like when you watch the IPL cricket finals together, his boisterous roaring for the Chennai Super Kings dwarfs your half-baked cheers.  When you dine together, his taste buds seem to relish chicken tikka and curd rice with an equal enthusiasm. When you drink together, he loosens up even before the first sip of his single malt.  And when he discovers your ‘Kolaveri’ dance on YouTube, he excitedly calls you in the middle of the night!  If you know ‘someone’ who fits the above criteria, I would recommend enrolling him in your inner circle of friends.  The ‘zest for life’ is a contagious traitthose who enjoy this great gift called Life, tend to rub it off on others around them as well.  Take it from me, as I speak from personal experience.

In the winter of ’96, the young Cybage was upgraded to an empty row-house in Kalyani Nagar.  Our family followed suit as we took up a rental apartment in the nearby Gera Harmony society.  Kalyani Nagar was a ghost town in those days.  A whole bunch of investors had picked up properties right before the real estate crash.  As a result, the suburb was colonized by empty societies, deserted lanes, and sporadic street lights.  Life outside the society was scary, the one inside was lonely.  There were only four inhabitants at Gera.  One of them was Koratti R Chandrashekar (KRC), Parametric Corporation’s local sales manager.

KRC’s 1BHK was diagonally opposite ours on the 3rd floor, a small garden separated our balconies.  His place seemed to be the only one having any action in Kalyani Nagar, with a regular late-night ruckus.  What a nuisance!  Our frustrations piled up.  Eventually Ritu, carrying our troubled baby Misha, went knocking on KRC’s door to vocalize our collective annoyance.  She came back with an invitation for their next party!  And that’s how we entered KRC’s house and life.  Eight weekends later, KRC and I became kind of close friends.  Eight months later, it was all over.  KRC took up a job with Hughes Software in the UK (they were his earlier employer in India as well).  The new role required him to set up the company’s European sales operation.  The move was tactical, not strategic.  It was not the position, but the income in “pounds” that lured KRC to relocate.  And thus my happy-go-lucky friend slid away before I could get my arms around his professional identity.

KRC and I

Interestingly, it was only after he flew away that I began to learn about his professional side.  Over the next six years, I met KRC on a biyearly basis.  Every time he visited India, he would ensure a side trip to Pune.  Reason?  Partly because of the sentimental attachment towards his first little ‘home’; and partly due to his growing fondness for our family, particularly our ‘million-dollar smile’ kids as he affectionately christened them!  It was a recurring semester rendezvous—he would arrive in Pune, come straight to borrow our beat-up Maruti 800, and then have dinner with us the night before his departure.  Each trip allowed me an opportunity to track his professional progress.

By 2003, KRC had built up Hughes’ European business to US$200 million revenues, set up offices in several European countries, and ramped up a small army of 15 sales professionals.  Of course, this phenomenal success had come with a price tag—living in & out of suitcases in every country imaginable, with marginal time to enjoy his newly bought British house and newly born daughter.  Meanwhile, Flextronics acquired Hughes’ software business and there was a change of CEO.  KRC stayed put through the churn.   And just when I was this close to figuring out his secret success formula, KRC sold his Gera flat and stopped coming to Pune.

KRC – Swinging away…

Fortunately, by then, Cybage had forayed into Europe; so now my UK business travels started.  My first voyage saw KRC pick me up in his new BMW 550 Sport.  We went pubbing in London, laughed and caught up on old times.  The episode had a déjà vu effect a year later, except the pickup car was a tad more expensive. A  BMW 730 Sport.  His home also had seen a proportionate upgrade to a row house.   His company now had been sold to EchoStar, and there was a new CEO at the helm.  Shortly thereafter, EchoStar sold its software business to Aricent.  This resulted in one more new CEO, and of course a major promotion—KRC now became “Vice President – Global Major Accounts” for Aricent.  He celebrated his success by purchasing his 3rd house in 2006 with an astonishing price tag of over million dollars!  Then in 2010, KRC quit Aricent to play golf.  Six unhappy months later, he boarded Infosys as the European “Head of Sales for Engineering Services”.  Twelve unhappy months later, KRC rejoined Aricent as “Senior Vice President and Global Head of Sales”.

In the last four years, we had two family vacations to the UK.  During our last visit, KRC and Martina drove us to the oldest (about 1500 years old) pub in the UK in their second-hand Aston Martin.  Two beers down, I pestered him for his success formula.  He replied with a single-malt face “Nothing specific. I just got lucky with the right company.  I understand Aricent and I understand the business of our customers.  And I realize why we are the best company in the telecom servicing industry.  And that knowledge makes deal closing easy. ” I didn’t get it.  Then last year, our families accidently ran into each other during our Kumarakom  holiday.  “Please illustrate with an example”, I urged him.  He narrated how once he ended up sitting next to the Vice President of Lucent Technologies on an international flight, and how he spoke nonstop for four hours on why Aricent is a better company to develop technology for Lucent than Lucent itself!  Six months later, Lucent sold its India captive center to Aricent! As simple as that!

A ‘Bachelor of Science’ graduate leading a team of IIMs and equivalents in a mammoth telecom player—how can it be “as simple as that”? Surely, like Navendu, KRC also possesses some secret recipe for professional success?  But here is the funny thing—Navendu succeeded while hopping multiple jobs.  While KRC is doing the exact opposite—staying put, even though the company ownership keeps changing hands!  Then how is it plausible for the recipe to be ‘common’?  As the riddle is getting foggier, it’s time for a breather before we leap into our third and final tale.  Meanwhile the commenting doors are wide open for our brilliant detectives…

And for those not into stressful detective games, here is a stress buster quiz:  If you had a six month sabbatical from work, which of the following relaxing therapies would be your primary choice…

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Original, Skills, Strength, Style

22 Comments

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  1. As a follow up to my last comment, the reason for KRC’s success is also the same, his individual strength of sales combined with understanding the strength of his organization and finally conveying that to the customers which makes all the difference.

  2. Leonardo Dicaprio is his latest movie, depicting a infamous stock broker in USA, has a line – “There is no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a rich man and I’ve been a poor man and I choose rich every ******* time”. I believe it’s the desire of living a good, luxurious life, the monetary incentives that pushed both the gentlemen to achieve success. Like I am commenting here, to get that ‘expensive’ dinner 😛

  3. I think the PASSION, THIRST and INTEREST with mental hunger to LEARN, EXPLORE and DISCOVER something new is the success Mantra i.e just 1 thought ‘CAN I PUSH A LITTLE MORE, JUST ONE MORE STEP’ is the secret leads to successful professional on any front.

    • The answer to this one would be a little comparison , as in how we see things, and specially the growth in those things [Areas].

      Let’s take sports for the sake of argument.

      1. There are legends in a specific sport
      2. And there are legends who are Professionals in multisport http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_multi-sport_athletes

      So when it comes to compare the two , it is hard to get a common link. But the link exist. And it is as simple as “Core competence”

      1. The one who tried multiple sport and excelled, always has the basic of any game understood . and applied them to the new environment. Success followed
      2. The one who perfected one sport to the level of legend, simply understood the way they connect to the game , and success followed.

      In the words of the article posted:

      1. Navendu Mathur :- Knows his core competence as Marketing guy, and he just changed the game every now and then.
      2. KRC :- Found the connection to his Sales strength with the company profile, and he just polished it to the level of perfection.

      Like the first article comment “Diversified enrichment of the core competence”, one diversify in product they market and one diversified in reaching out to the clients.

  4. It’s all on our mind. I think it is the decision about what you want to do with your life and who you want to be. Once, this is clear then we can collect all the cards that will enable you do to be a success and strike the right ones at the right time. Always have the ability to adapt to change. Be lucrative to changes around you. Taking into consideration all factors that matter for being a success, the most important is the making your mind to “whatever may come, I would make it happen.”
    As it is said, “the greatest barrier between you and success is “yourself.”

  5. I stick with my earlier answer. I feel the same for KRC its the ‘Decision Taking’ capability which is the secret of his success.

  6. I think for any success, its a mix of skills, luck, opportunity, support from near and dear ones, and of course the people that you work with. It is also about taking decisions at right time – whether it is to leave a job or to stick to it.

  7. A key ingredient to success is being cognizant of ones STRENGTHS and leveraging them for opportunities that come our way. It may be in the same job/ organization or in varied industries/ jobs. That coupled with good luck is the right mix for success, in my opinion.

  8. Again I think that the ‘universal’ secret hidden in this story is ‘Belief’. In case of Navendu, it was self belief. In case of KRC it is the self belief as well as belief on the organization.

  9. Listen to your Heart
    Ask Others opinion
    Take the correct step
    If you miss the Bus, catch the running train.
    Be true to yourself

  10. Communication skills

  11. Skills, self-belief and a goal drive approach are the keys to success. A right mix of all can help you achieve greater heights of success. In my opinion that’s what reflects in these stories. One where the 1st musketeer had the skills and the self-belief to match it with any company and second where the other musketeer also had strong self-belief backed by his skills to envision the desired goal

  12. His understanding the business of customers and convincing skill played key role for his professional success.

    He is loyal, enthusiastic and fun-loving.

  13. Packaging – How you package yourself/your Organization

  14. This one put my mind into a twister. Are we saying here, that there is just one ingredient in the recipe for Professional Success? I believe otherwise,…for me it is the right combination of the few critical ingredients, which are brewed together in correct proportions, under the appropriate environment conditions!
    While Navendu’s saga breathed out as being primarily an opportunist, KRC has a different story to dwell upon.
    Breathe with your company, through its happy times and sad, so much that you feel as one! He stuck with the company, through its various transitions, and chiseled out a path for himself with a foundation so strong that he could mirror its soul. His professional expertise, and depth in understanding and believing in company business, understanding client business and need, helped him with the knowledge in representing his company and showcasing the best that they had to offer. He was handsomely equipped with two major tools – His passion for his work and his confidence in the company – its existence, its services, its quality.
    During my induction, I gathered from one of the presenters, that the majority of Cybage alliances is by word of reference. Cybage partners have experienced what we have to offer, what the employees think of Cybage and overall what we mean when we say “It will be done”. And it is because of this belief and confidence that they can vouch for Cybage. This feeling of oneness, which the employees share with Cybage, has helped Cybage scale new heights and along with it, the employees!

  15. “Mind you own Business” must be his secrete line…

  16. Universal secret of Success is
    -look forward, achieve the best that you can in a Do or Die situation, forget about concentrating on your Exit strategies.
    -No Risk No Gain.
    There is a real life story about a combat between a small army and a Huge army. After the small army crossed the bridge over a river the King cut the Bridge, hence his Army has no other option than fight with the huge army resulting in his win.

  17. According to my observation I could say the story follows the proverb when Life throws Lemon make Lemonade out of it…But KRC went beyond that and started Lemon Recipes and business… 😉
    I could relate the first incident with the last one…When he was partying hard with full buzz and when someone went to convince him about the trouble he invited them for the party as if convincing “lets enjoy the party together”…Profitable + Convincing for Both…
    Most commonly other person might would have quarrelled or lower the noise and lost the moments of life….
    And the last incident how he convinced VP of Lucent on how better and profitable for both will be his Company…
    KRC has a strong marketing skills by which he can convince a other as if “Give me your flower and i will give you the scent of it to sell more profitably and make Life”…

  18. Being Receptive-
    A group of Saints was meditating for years in a deep forest. A learned man from a city (Pundit) happened to pass-by. When asked about the mantra, they all were reciting together, they said that they were trying to please God. The Pundit burst out laughing that its not the way how God could be pleased. So the group fell on his feet and asked to teach them how they could make God happy.
    So the rest part of the day, the Pundit was uttering different ‘Slokas’ that the group was repeating.
    Next dawn as the Pundit woke up, to his great surprise, he saw, the group approaching him, crossing the river by walking on the water. This power, they had attained through ‘Siddhi’.
    They offered the spell bound pundit to teach the mantras again, because yesterday they could only repeat in his presence and have forgotten now.
    However, the Pundit fell in their feet and apologized for underestimating them and asked for their pardon and instead made them as his Gurus.
    Increase the Face Value-
    One can get only 15 minutes to Demo a Banking application to a Bank. The decision maker will be least interested in the Technology (Latest/Hi-tech) that will be used. If he provides a Go-Ahead, it will be only because of the face value/trust.
    Contacts-
    A nice contacts lists and PR skills is certainly going to help.

  19. 1. Willingness to change yourself to adapt to the change outside
    2. Navendu and KRC both have decent graduation. So it is not the “Class Work” that is important but the “Home Work” is all that matters. They both must have definitely done strong home work, to face the change, every time. Home work is knowing what you are good at and why, acquiring skills on the job, quick learning from observations, taking calculated risks etc. This makes adapting to the given situation easy. And then as Darwin said “Survival of the fittest” you would emerge as a winner.

  20. In both the persons, there are few common attributes one of which is to ‘influence’ people/groups. [This certainly comes from their years of hard work which has helped them to have good understanding of their companies strengths/weakness & competitor products/services.]

    Self-aware people are naturally more alert, focused, confident, happier & charismatic. These qualities of individuals work for them to make them more ‘luckier’ than others.

    I think KRC & Navendu have carried ‘realistic’ expectation from each changes as they have repeatedly proven that they are extremely ‘adaptable to change'[this is the second common attribute about them].

  21. For KRC, his confidence in his abilities and belief in his strengths, seems to be the winning formula.

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The Hunt – Part 3 | Arun Nathani Blog