Story about Integrity and Values – Professional’s Quote

Needless to say, there was shock, dismay and disbelief on our face when we heard this - why would someone want to do this especially when this outcome had helped us qualify?

In the last blog, I had shared with you how had I reached out to a world-wide group of people I deeply admire for their professionalism while writing The Professional. I had asked them these three questions: what qualities did they admire in a “professional”? What were some of their own uplifting experiences in dealing with other professionals? Three, what were their recollections of unprofessional conduct?

These men and women, from a diverse set of fields, indicated a list of qualities. I collated the feedback to rank the most coveted ones.

The top ten professional attributes that jumped out were:

1. Integrity
2. Commitment and ownership
3. Action orientation and goal seeking
4. Continuous learning
5. Professional knowledge/skills
6. Communication
7. Planning, organizing and punctuality
8. Quality of work
9. A positive attitude, approachability, responsiveness and
10. Being an inspiring reference to others, thought leadership

It is redeeming that Integrity came right on top because that is the one with which I open “The Professional” which will be on your hands soon.

The Professional contains an expansive conversation on the subject that is often considered prudish but in reality, is the keystone of the arch.

While discussing instances of professional conduct while researching for the book, here is a great lesson from the life of Amit Varma, a man I deeply admire.
Amit got his MBA from Kellogg School of Management and has been with MindTree ever since we started. Today, he heads MindTree’s worldwide consulting practice in IT strategy out of California, USA. Here is a story about integrity and values from his school days that has shaped Amit’s business outlook and I am sure will touch you deeply:

This is an incidence that goes some time back when I was 14 yrs old and was representing my state (West Bengal) in cricket. We were playing the final game of the qualifiers and the semi finalists would have been decided based on the outcome of this game. We were playing Karnataka and both of us needed to win to qualify – we still had an outside chance of qualifying based on the outcome of another game but Karnataka had to beat us to qualify. It so happened that the weather intervened after the first half of the game and per the rules the points were to get split between the teams. This would have given us the advantage and would have helped us qualify based on the total points and would have knocked the Karnataka team out. We were all rejoicing in our dressing and the high fives had started when our coach walked in and said that he had agreed to play the game again the following day. Needless to say, there was shock, dismay and disbelief on our face when we heard this – why would someone want to do this especially when this outcome had helped us qualify?

Our coach told us that if we really wanted to win the championship, we should do it by winning and not by relying on statistical methods – in his words “you win by playing; if you had to sit and do statistics, you are all better off sitting in school and attending the right classes”.

We lost the game the next day and didn’t make the semi finals! None of us could ever believe that our coach had done this to us.

It so happened that Karnataka went on to win the championship and when the team went to collect their awards, their coach called our entire team on the podium and ensured that we all received the awards with his team. He specifically called out our coach and said that if he had not been professional and agreed to play again, some other team would have been receiving this award and he actually went on to dedicate the award to our coach and us.

We felt extremely humbled – the seeds of professionalism were probably sowed in most of us right then and there but the true understanding of what happened sunk in much later in life. Even today I ask myself – would I have done the same had I been in our coach’s shoes especially with the benefit of knowing that we actually lost the replayed game? As much as I’d like to think I’d have done that, I’m really not sure.

Some of you have asked me if there are ways to pre-order copies of The Professional.

Well, ask your favorite book store for your copies – I am sure there would be enough copies for everyone.

You could also order your copies soon at:

Until the next time, be good and drive safely and stay in touch!

Gurudatta Says
Tuesday August 25th 2009

Dear Sir,

If i’m right, its just about a week’s time for the book to hit the stores.. i hope there would be a wide range of readership, in particular from students who are on the verge of entering their first jobs.. may your book sow the professional approach in all of them, right from their first days at work.

I haven’t come across many books which links the fresher to the job, and i hope your book would do this bridging and thus bring clarity about their profession.



Om Mohapatra Says
Tuesday August 25th 2009

Dear Mr. Bagchi,

I am an avid reader of your books and I thoroughly enjoyed both your books. They are very connecting to the youth and they give examples from real life which in turn breaks the myth that “There aren’t many good people around”.

I look forward to meet you and read the book “The Professional”.


Praveen Says
Wednesday August 26th 2009

Dear Mr. Bagchi,

Once searching the web I saw some of your articles. I read them all. I read the making of MindTree Part 1, Part 2 and your books… Every time I read your words I feel a positive energy, a divine push to achieve something and I work hard to develop myself, my knowledge and my Mind.

Only God knows that may be this is the reason that in last 3 years I have traveled from being a field boy to take up a good position in the Marketing Division of an MNC. I know that this growth is not enough to satisfy me but it gives me pleasure that my hard work is paying off.

I am writing all this not to show any thing about me, but to tell you that how your words are inspiring even simple people like me who has spent his whole life in a small village in UP and saw the big city only when he was out in search of employment. I request you to keep on filling our minds with all the inspiration.
One more thing I am really impressed with is the word “Gardener.” I really feel that you are not a Gardener for MindTree but for all the people who are getting benefit from your writing.

I will keep growing my personal and professional achievements of my life and may be one day will fulfill my dream which is “Meeting you in person.”

Thanking you for all you have done for me and lots of people like me. I am also waiting for your next book The Professional.



Saturday August 29th 2009

Dear Mr Bagchi,

Amit’s real life experience is truly inspirational. Such events leave a lasting impact and shape the character of professionals. I find it challenging to discuss values and ethics with MBA students. But such real life stories can surely make the discussions more meaningful. Thanks for sharing. I am eager to get my hands on ‘The professionals’ asap.


Taranjot Saini Says
Sunday August 30th 2009

All I would say is your book is true in it’s own sense and some how the incidents mentioned in the book, as you have gone through happens with many people throughout thier careers. As I read the book I was able to co-relate many events that have happened with me too.. Frankly speaking I wondered as if my story had come infront of me.

Your book must have given supportive wings to many minds which look forward to carve thier space in today’s world.

I feel blessed to have read this wonderful book.

– Taranjot

Anupam Says
Sunday September 27th 2009

Hi Gardener,

As always, enjoyed this blog. Looking forward to attend the book reading session in Cross Word.

Best Regards,

Joydeep Mukherjee Says
Wednesday October 7th 2009

Dear Mr Bagchi,

Though I am not a regular reader of your books / columns, I have just bumped into your blog/forum where you have discussed many a thing on Professionalism – there are at times when I get lured to the materialistic world in my life – but everytime I bump into the blogs of people like you and again get into the track!
Thanks for these enlightening thoughts.


Tasnim Faruqui Says
Saturday April 20th 2013

Dear Mr. Bagchi,
I am an avid reader and read your book “The Professional”.
I got curious when around five years back I got a email with an article “Go kiss the World” and I could relate with it as I also have a father who was a Engrr in the Railways but led a life of impeachable integrity and honesty.
I am reading The Professional Companion these days by completing one chapter a day.This is one of the best work books that I have had and will serve me in the future endevours in a very big way.
The topic and exercise on integrity cleared many cobwebs.I think this chapter should be included in the curricula of all Indian Universities.
Tasnim Faruqui

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