Guest column: CEO of the Year Rajiv Bakshi shares his learnings

Only thing finite is time, use it well!

MUMBAI: Over the past few years, young executives and management students have reached out asking for advice on how to plan a successful and rewarding career. I am no certified expert, and I am still striving, grasping and improving each day; but I think I should share some learnings from my career. Hopefully, they come in good use in your journey.

Starting off as a young management trainee in 1999 to being awarded the CEO of the Year has been a fulfilling ride, packed with opportunities, surprises, failures and joy. In the first of the series (this is me being blatantly hopeful), seven notes for early stage professionals:

1.    Do the small things perfectly, and primed for the big day: We are all excited and eager to lead the top initiatives of the company, often not realising that we are not yet prepared for it. The best use of your time would be to execute your daily tasks, however small and insignificant, with perfection. It will build the right attitude and character, and will lead you to scale high performance benchmarks. When you take over the big project, you should be 110 per cent ready.

2.    Relax, you are not so important: Too much time is spent worrying about the reaction, perception or consequence of actions. In doing so, authenticity is sacrificed and opportunities are passed over. Every action will lead to a reaction. Chill and give your honest best to every task. Be consistent with your approach. Don’t self-judge, enough people will be doing it for you.

3.    Break the Rules: Rules are often expectation benchmarks basis the past experience. In a dramatic and disruptive environment, how far can you go if just you adhere to the done and dusted rules. Remember, break the rules, not the law or trust. Take bold risks.

4.    Only thing finite is time, use it well! You will not be 25 again. Most of the events may never get repeated. There is no undo button in life. The 1 per cent achievers have used time well. Plan your year, month, week and day as well as you can.

5.    Be proud to be different: Let that be the biggest risk you take! We are all distinct. Our life paths have been unique. Our circumstances are contrasted. However, our goals and aspirations are quite similar. To realise them, don’t try to merge with the crowd. It reminds of something I read many years back, “we all want to go to heaven, but none of us want to die.” If you want to stand out in a group, you will have to do better than wear neon yellow. Let the real you shine up in the room. Be authentic and be proud of it. The world is craving for diversity. You will be helping their cause.

6.    Life is a continuous trade off: Be ready to sacrifice! I learnt this from my HBS professor Sunil Gupta. Trade off. It’s a core ingredient in defining corporate and brand strategy. Wanting it all is a sure route for stress and anxiety. I am not suggesting that you have to ignore the important tasks, people and goals, except that you will have to learn to prioritise. Train your mind to be able to make those tough decisions, be it in personal or professional lives, especially when they come in conflict. What is more critical for your overall well-being and aspirations is a personal choice. Make that choice, and stand firmly by it.

7.    It’s the companion,and neither the journey nor the destination that you enjoy most: When you commence a long journey - colleagues, friends and family will be your biggest asset. Value them and their contribution. Surround yourself with a group of well-wishers, critics, coaches and role models. Riding alone is quite a boring affair. There is no joy is reaching a destination alone. Even scaling the Everest is a group expedition.

(The author is chief operations officer – revenue at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. The views expressed here are his own and may not subscribe to them.)

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