More Advice from India // Reading for Rebels

indianewdelhiOn my flight back from China, I found a copy of Business Today, India's leading business magazine. The Jan 11 issue features a cover story titled: The Best Advice I Ever Got with pearls of wisdom from a handful of very successful business executives — most of them Indian. I shared a bunch of quotes and my thoughts earlier this week in the post, Pearls of Wisdom, and here is the second installment. "The poor know a lot more than us." — Vikram Akula, Chairman, SKS Microfinance

I promised myself years ago that I would learn from everyone I met. I haven't been 100% on that, but I try to approach every single person from the perspective that they can teach me something, no matter their status or experience.

"Just watch customers and how they behave." — Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group

I talk a lot about what's wrong with market research, and this quote provides the simple solution. It's not always about elaborate questionnaire design that asks the wrong people the wrong questions. Sometimes, it's just about paying attention to what people are really doing.

"Be fair in life, work, and relationships. If there is an agreement that is 60% fair to you and 40% fair to the other, as soon as the other gets an equal offer it will walk out." — Deepak Puri, Chairman, Moser Baer

Back to the long view of things. Trying to win on every deal by shorting the other side of the table is a tough way to live. It takes a lot less effort to make deals that work over the long run than to constantly be replacing one short-term gain with another one.

advice1"Do what you really love doing, and nothing less than 200 percent." — Chetain Maini, Deputy Chairman, Reva Electric Car Company

"Have total schradda (involvement, devotion) in whatever I do. Whatever I do, everything begins and ends in losing myself in action, not in despair, cynicism, or frustration." — Captain CR Gopinath, ViceChairman, Kingfisher Airlines

At my first Vistage meeting, the guest speaker told us his goal for that day, and my job as a leader, is to leave everything in the room. Put it all on the table. At the end of each day, you should be spent because you've given 100%. I guess that's what schradda means.

"You can't build a successful business without a successful family." — Lord Swraj Paul, Chairman, Caparo Group

I don't have too much to say about this because I'm still learning to embrace it myself. Not too long ago, I believed that being out all night was important to my career success. But as life goes on, it becomes more and more clear to me how much it matters to have people in my corner, and to be working to create a life with someone. At this point, Christie (my wife) inspires me on a daily basis to do the best I can for our future together and the future of the world we live in.

"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens." — Dr. Seema Shanghi, Director, FORE School of Management

Classic Stephen Covey. Our circumstances are outside of our control. Our response to those circumstances is always within our control. Take responsibility for every action and choose wisely.

People love to talk about karma, usually after they get parking tickets. In truth, karma is about cause and effect. Every single action has consequences. Whatever you do, you’re choosing to accept the consequences, whether you want them or not. Think about that.