Turning 16: What did I learn? (1/3) | Tech Mahindra

Turning 16: What did I learn? (1/3)

Dear friends,

November 2020 (almost) marks the end of an eventful year, and the beginning of my 17th year with Tech Mahindra. I vividly remember, the first years between just two offices – at Chandivali in Mumbai and Sharda Centre in Pune – and a journey that I began with 5,000 odd colleagues, which continues till date as we pride ourselves as a 125,000 strong multinational company present in 90 countries across the world, and rooted in India.

In my blog today (which is, by the way, an extract of my first-ever podcast), I share a few learnings from my 16-year journey.. they’ve become life lessons for me:

1.A culture that makes everyone belong is a culture that belongs to everyone. Back in 2004, I’d see young colleagues spending time together after office, playing mock cricket with modified bats, and I would join in. Today, 16 years later, am happy that hasn’t changed. We’ve retained the soul of the small company in the body of our large organisation.  At the core of our culture is the celebratory spirit and the giving spirit. I am proud that teams like Josh and location councils ensure we celebrate each moment even as we drive positive change in the lives of all our stakeholders.

2.If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right. The question to ask yourself is – how much do you laugh while you’re at the workplace (or work, in the current times)? If you treat others with respect and are treated the same in return, get to collaborate and work as teams, have opportunities to do good outside your work, improve yourself as a person and a professional, and are constantly on a journey of change – you have a higher chances to find yourself smiling at work. Thankfully, and thanks to all of you, I’ve always found myself there.

3.Tech makes a difference. However, it doesn’t change a few things. Take preparation for an important client meeting, for example. Back then, we’d require going to a library or consult people to find information. Today, tech brings everything in your hands – yet, it cannot and should not replace the advance preparation. Tech may have given you smarter, easier ways of doing it, but the very need for it remains as it is..

4.The sea and the sand, the grass and all things grand – must be enjoyed barefoot. Why does the food van in a local market serve better noodles than you’d have in the finest restaurants? Why will first-hand experience always be a better teacher for you than someone else’s knowledge and wisdom? As human beings, we are driven by natural instincts of curiosity, adventure and the need to make new relationships with ourselves and the world around us. It is important to keep that streak alive in us.

5.The Social Animal, since forever. The Social Network, forever & beyond. The need to connect with fellow beings is as old as the fire or the wheel. I’d say, ‘stay connected’ is easily one of the good disorders to have in our life. In fact, if I were to believe my favorite coffee ad, you meet 80,000 people in your lifetime and I’d give you only one takeaway, borrowed from the ad itself: “you have a moment now”. I’ve followed one rule here: never, ever eat alone. The best bonds are formed over food. You can try!

6.Be a good leader. Be a good follower. And know when to be what. Those who know me well, know that mine is what you’d call the Panchayat style of leadership – believe in the power of collaboration, and never be the first or only one to decide. I’ve benefitted greatly from having great heads, hands and hearts in my closest team – for me, the goodness of a group has always worked better than the greatness of a person. At the same time, one must understand that sometimes there won’t be a plan B. Therefore, you should also know when to switch from being peacetime to wartime leaders. Our fight against the pandemic is one such example – when you go out with a single goal to survive to live another day, the bigger picture takes a backseat, and conquering the immediate battles helps you eventually win the big war.

7.Never waste a good crisis. The wise man couldn’t have been wiser. Question to those who live in the Netflix generation; think & tell: do you think the cinema industry died because of OTT or did it survive because of OTT? There will always be an opportunity of window, if not a whole new door, when the other closes on you. Find it. Embrace it. Transform. Become more, different, new – whatever time & the situation demand of you. If I can’t inspire you enough, let Amitabh Bachchan say it: ‘jo bhi ho, setback ka jawaab comeback se do’ (whatever happens, answer setbacks with comebacks).

On this note, I’d like to thank each one of my colleague at Tech Mahindra, who have helped me be and remain a part of this great institution, and hope that you’ll continue to teach me in days to come, too.

Stay safe.

Stay connected.


Note: This article is an extract of CP's first podcast with Tech Mahindra, released on his 16th work anniversary with the company, and is the first blog in a three-part series. Listen to the podcast (on Anchor or Spotify) for the full conversation, which including a rapid fire with CP | Read more blogs by CP | Follow CP on LinkedIn & Twitter

About the Author
CP Gurnani
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra