Raj's Lab

Strategy and Entrepreneurship


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You don’t need a purpose to live!

This is a continuation of what started as a talk on Saturday evening, went online as a blog ( http://rajshankar.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/when-should-an-entrepreneur-think-of-purpose/ ) on Sunday and led me through a day of extremely spirited discussions for & against on Monday. While some agree that purpose can make a difference to the startup, many have questioned its authenticity. They feel its just a flashy statement created to look interesting in front of the customer. Its contribution to the firm’s evolution, growth and sustenance has been questioned strongly. Voices are stating that one does not need a purpose to live.

I AGREE COMPLETELY! You don’t need a purpose to live life! Why do you?

You need it only if you intend to give meaning to your everyday actions!

You need it only if you intend to have at least one man / one woman (not family) miss you!

You need it only if you want to live a life of service!

You need it only if you want to derive joy in enabling another live better!

You need it only if you want to be self-driven!

You need it only if you want to sustain your passion & energy!

And many more… BUT why do you need a purpose to live? To live like any other plant, animal and so many human beings who live their lives in a pre-programmed way – you don’t need a purpose. You only need it if you want to wake up every morning to get back to what you love doing irrespective of the outcome. You need it if you want to thrive not survive! You need it if you want to give not take!

So don’t worry about not having a purpose – if all you want to do is just live! AND the same holds true for firms too!


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Good Will Auto Stand!

If you ask any person who has ever visited Chennai even once, they would definitely talk to you about the auto-rickshaw experience. It has become such a common sore point to even residents of Chennai. A recent guest reconfirmed through his experience that things have not changed much over the years.  An auto-rickshaw man asked him for 200 rupees for a short haul of less than three kms.

If you ever dare to actually get into a conversation with any auto driver as to why they charge such exorbitant prices, you will hear reasons ranging from seemingly logical arguments such as petrol price rise, traffic diversions, traffic congestions to the most irrational arguments such as cost of a meal in Saravana Bhavan Hotel, lack of enough travellers, increase in cost of living etc.

Though personally we use a particular auto rickshaw man in our area extensively and have had extremely good experience consistently over years, such experiences definitely remain only as an exception.  Hence when the need arose last week with our regular driver not being available, I decided to do a particular shuttle by the public bus service, rather than get impacted by ‘the auto rickshaw’ experience. Since it was not the peak hours of the day I was able to get a much cherished window seat and watch the city pass by (!)

At junctions where auto stands are typically located I found a common sight of a bunch of auto men chatting up. What also struck me was that many of these auto stands actually had a name.  To my further surprise I found in my short journey more than three of them having the name ‘Good Will Auto Stand’.  This got me thinking.

Many of these auto drivers may have been coming to the stand for many years if not decades – atleast once in a while they would be wiping this board and also decorating it during functions and celebrations. Why didn’t it strike them to even consider why they or somebody before them could have named the auto stand as ‘Good Will’?  In their job as auto drivers what is the meaning of the word and how does it apply to them?  If only they attempted to understand the meaning and its relevance to their job the reputation of Chennai Auto Rickshaws; would have been very different.

My thought process extended these questions to business as well. Almost every business house has a fairly well written Vision, Mission and Value Statements. They are normally beautifully framed just like the auto stand name board. They are also cleaned often, decorated and maintained regularly.  All employees of the company pass by it almost every day.  Just do exactly that Pass By.

As business owners have you taken enough effort to disseminate the intent behind these statements? As an employee have you taken the effort to understand how this impacts the way you execute your responsibilities? If indivuduals at corporate take conscious steps towards understanding and imbibing the guiding principles in daily work –  wouldn’t the company and collectively the industry be percieved with more respect by their customers?

Are you thinking enough on these lines?  Doesn’t this deserve your priority attention?


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Book Review: “Full Steam Ahead” – Powered to the hilt!!

Book : Full Steam Ahead!  Authors:  Ken Blanchard and Jesse Stoner

There is so much spoken and written about ‘vision’ for a business. It is almost as-if a war would break out (intellectually) about what the words ‘vision’ and ‘mission’ mean and which is bigger?
 
This little book titled “Full Steam Ahead” is actually a book about ‘vision’ – I never thought it would be when I looked at the title. But once I started reading it, I realized that this is another little gem that Ken Blanchard and team have given us. There is a philosophical bent to the ideas presented apart from the absolutely logical build-up of the concepts. This combination along with the slight emotional connect through story-telling that the authors have achieved, has made the book un-put-down-able! You will not be able to stop once you start, till you race to the end. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised even if this beats some of the real blockbuster movies hands-down in storyline!
 
If not anything else, the price of the book is more than worth for just the following pages: Purpose (39), Values (63), Picture of the Future (78), Vision (80), Test of a compelling vision (82) and For Vision to become Reality (120). These six pages captures in essence the message of the book. But reading just these pages is not a substitute to reading the book!
 
According to the authors, vision is made up of three components (Purpose, Values and a Picture of the Future) and putting these together and implementing it in the present is what makes the difference! I strongly recommend this little book to every person even if they are just toying with the idea of creating a meaningful life – while for every entrepreneur it should be mandatory reading!

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