A trip with a CEO

In Business, People Management on August 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm

While on a flight from Bangalore to Mumbai, I met a young CEO. His name is Aaditya and he was sitting next to me. He looked cool, calm and comfortable whereas I looked like an excited puppy sticking to the window. Aaditya flipped few pages of a business magazine and than pointed towards a book in my hand. With a slight smile, I gave him the book. Aaditya absorbed himself reading the back cover and than the preface. After sometime he lifted his head and with a slight smile asked me: “So, you want to become a CEO”. Puzzled with his query, I answered: “Yyeah…. at some point of time”. I aligned my posture to reflect what I uttered. I asked Aadtiya about his job role and came to know that he owns a company. He started with a few friends. The company is doing well and consistently growing. Our conversation soon became serious. From technology trends to lifestyle, we shared our views. Noticing the right time to learn from Aadtiya, I fired a couple of queries.

Me: There is a lot of risk involved when you own a company.

Aadtiya: Risk is everywhere. Even if you are not doing anything, there is a risk of survival. Risk is in relationship, in a job and everywhere. Even while we are flying on this plane, there is a risk. What if this plane crashes the next moment?

Hearing Aaditya’s words, I started praying. This was my first air trip and Aaditya’s words were enough to ignite fear inside me. I could feel sweat on my palms.

Aadtiya continued: The real risk is when you are not pushing yourself to the limits to fulfill your passion. Where there is no risk, there is no significant gain.

Me: But at some point of time you must have felt that if an idea fails….?

Aaditya: Not all ideas turn into a rewarding reality. But this does not mean that you must stop ideas from evolving. It is not important that you failed, what is more important and of value is that you attempted to bring your idea to reality. To learn fast it is necessary to welcome the setbacks.

Me: There are a lot of complexities involved in a business. If it grows, chances are that it becomes unmanageable.

Aaditya: Life is full of complexities. Complexity transforms your personality. Men with magnetic personality are those who lived with more complexities.

Business becomes unmanageable when you loose focus.

Me: But size does matters at some point of time?

Aaditya: Definitely size matters. But it is not a problem. Problem is when you are not expanding your horizon. And if you are not doing business to grow, why the hell you are running a business? What’s so exciting about running a business is that you have only two options. Either you grow or leave the market.

I remember words of Richard Branson:

“Every time a business gets too big, we start a new one. Keeping things small means keeping things personal”.

Me: How you handle people? It is difficult to retain the best people.

Aaditya: True. We actually try to avoid projecting how many number of people we hire. We keep it small and we keep only the best. As far as retaining the best is concerned, we try to give our people the sense of ownership. We strive hard to create an exciting work culture. We want our people to enjoy work not just live with a burden to get a pay-check.

It is difficult to retain people when your company follows hidden practices, blame-game and looses focus from individual values. Not only that, the employee must feel that he is growing with the company and the management is concerned with his individual growth.

We keep reviewing our best practices so that we are able to offer excellent working conditions. When your employee is fit and energetic only than you can expect better results from him. We try to keep their levels up with all sorts of creative activities.

I could feel our plane descending and disappearing in clouds. I realized that my destination is near and thanked Aaditya for his valuable tips and insights. We exchanged our business cards and waited for the plane to come to rest.


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