The Professional’s Professional – Professional’s Quote


The "professional" who had been a mentor to the colleague attended the services, consoled the colleague over the loss, cancelled a 3 day ski vacation to work with the colleague on the business plan and it was submitted on time without any attribution to the "professional".

Pradipt Kapoor is a senior executive in the IT organization at SITA, based out of London. For those who do not know, SITA is the world’s leading provider of communications and information technology solutions. In the airline industry, the computer terminals are often called SITA terminals. Pradipt is a great professional who came into IT from a non-IT background. He has been an entrepreneur is his previous life and he has this story that exemplifies professionalism.

One of my sales managers in a past company came to me with great concern. He knew he was on the verge of signing a deal but he wasn’t convinced that the solution we were selling to the customer was needed by him. The customer seemed to want a “Rolls Royce” where a bi-cycle would do. It seemed that this was because the CEO of that organization wanted an IT solution without having any knowledge of IT. Even though the commission associated for the deal was big for the salesman, he felt uncomfortable. We went back to the customer seeking a meeting with the CEO. We explained our views to the astounded man. In doing what was the right and not the convenient thing the Sales manager not only won favor of the customer but also built the reputation of the company. He put his personal short term benefit to a side.

Uplifting stories of professional conduct go beyond the white-collar mould. Here is one from Venkatesh Komarla who heads delivery at MindTree’s Knowledge Services business.

Venkatesh started life at MICO Bosch’s India operations as a graduate engineer right out of college where he picked up his first lesson in commitment and ownership, not from a CEO or from a management classroom but from two workers on the shop floor.

While I have seen many examples of professional behavior quite a few times, the instance that I remember quite often is my experience at MICO, Bosch. I joined MICO straight from engineering school and immediately after training was placed on the workshop floor as its superintendent. This was the first shop floor started at MICO, in operation for almost 4 decades, and consequently had very experienced employees – most of them with a service record of over 20 plus years.

This workshop was marked for modernization in a different facility. Once the modernization was to be complete, the employees were supposed to move over to other jobs within other workshops. I continue to recollect the dealings of my two foremen – Prakash and Gundanna. Both were in their late forties, had a tremendous understanding of the manufacturing process, had good understanding of the operations, commanded the respect of their teams, and had given their best every single day.

Under any other circumstance, either of them could have easily taken over the stewardship of the entire workshop but here they were – asked to work with and report to a 22 year old workshop superintendent. They did aspire to become superintendents one day but this new reporting structure did not bother them one bit. They went about their work as they had done for decades. They ensured that I was brought up to speed on how things worked and helped me come up to speed on operation. No job was too mundane or no activity trivial. They took the same interest in every single activity. They did have personal concerns but never once let that affect the quality of work. Over a period of 6 months, we built a great relationship and smoothly transitioned off all the employees to other divisions as we closed down the shop. They were consummate professionals.

Like Pradipt and Venkatesh, another great professional I have come to know is Warren Luedecker. Warren is a lawyer by profession. He is one of the most inclusive, most empathetic legal professionals I have ever met. Warren was corporate counsel at AIG when MindTree was engaged in protracted negotiations to win their business. Here is a touching account of ownership and commitment Warren has to share:

A colleague was under a tight deadline for submission of a business plan. There was a tragic death in his family. The “professional” who had been a mentor to the colleague attended the services, consoled the colleague over the loss, cancelled a 3 day ski vacation to work with the colleague on the business plan and it was submitted on time without any attribution to the “professional”. However, the colleague had the courage to explain the genesis of the document and the result was a stronger bond in the unit of the organization.”

Comments
Shruti Srinath Says
Saturday September 5th 2009

Dear Subroto,
It was so heart warming to read these inspirational stories. I still channel the impact of your mentoring in my early professional life to my current profession and motherhood :) I thoroughly enjoy learning and teaching these life lessons every day.
Thank you for being you.
Regards
Shruti

Regards
Shruti.

Neville P Says
Tuesday September 8th 2009

Hi Subroto,

This is so much in tune with the Values that form the cornerstone of MindTree.

Looking forward for the release of “The Professional”

Thanks,
Neville

Nithyanantham T Says
Tuesday September 15th 2009

Dear Subroto,

Unlike other’s write ups, your column(s) always imprint core values in the mind and heart.

Regards,
Nithya

Friday September 18th 2009

I was deeply inspired by Go Kiss the World, which I accidentally picked without knowing that you were the author. It was to explore ‘Entrepreneurship’. But the reading helped me learn a lot and triggered rediscovering self. It was 3-4 months back. It also inspired me to develop reading habit. I look forward to reading The professional. Thank you for sharing life lessons through your writings (Books, Blog and Forbes – Zen Garden). I am sure in The Professional there would be more to learn and help ourselves in becoming!. Above examples sets the ground…

Gunadhara PC Says
Monday September 21st 2009

Sir,

Thanks for always sharing the good lessons.

My son is 2.5 years old. For the past two months I am in a search of a good school. Each time I visit a school I am getting a shock after seeing their fee structure. My aim is to give good education to my son. But not sure this would make him good professional in future. I have not even spent Rs 25,000 till my PG. Is it worth spending big money on his education? Have you drawn a correlation between basic education and professionalism? I really want to understand your views on this, sir.

    Lakshmi Says
    Monday April 26th 2010

    Dear Mr Gunadhara,
    Although you have asked this question to Mr Bagchi, would take the liberty to express my views. Don’t spend the money on the school. Spend the time with him and teach him your values and dreams. While reading the book Professional, there was on pattern that I could sense, was people who were grounded and hand values, did have a very strong family values. Most of the parents today shift this responsibility to the school and later to the corporates, whose primary responsibility is not to teach values. Education can give knowledge but the wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong and to take the right decision comes only from the family. I could relate to you as I have been going through this dilemma of school education for my children.

Kuljeet Kaveeshwar Says
Thursday April 1st 2010

Sir,

In this new information age it’s nearly impossible to find the right content. It’s an ongoing quest and quite frustrating at times to sieve through a sea of information to find anything useful. I am an avid reader and have read book after book on management and have been toying with the idea of starting something on my own I have always known – what line of business and where will my first orders come from but had the initial hesitation for not having 100% clarity on who all should be involved and what things do I have to think through, and should have covered, before starting.
Just last week my kid brother gave me your book The High-performance Entrepreneur and what I have learnt from your book is priceless. I want to write a note to you to express my gratitude for sharing your thought with us. I am thankful beyond words and finally feel like I have found a mentor in your writings

Veena Raju Says
Sunday May 23rd 2010

Dear Subrato,

Thank you to reviving my reading …. i cud’nt put this book down. A phase of transition from being a professional to a stay-at-home-mom, this book brought back my confidence.

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