Sunday, October 4, 2009

Guaranteed formula for MBA success - Long-term vision

Guaranteed formula for MBA success - Long-term vision

One of the questions often asked by MBA aspirants, young MBAs, and practising managers is "How do we become really successful?" Let me crisply answer this fundamental question, using my experience as a guide.

When we talk about MBAs - managers - what do these guys really do? Even before that, just who are these guys? Well, the "who" ratio is approximately 20 : 30 : 40 : 10.
  • 20% are entrepreneurs - totally self-driven and in-charge of their own destiny
  • 20-30% are intrapreneurs - they are entrepreneurs inside an organisation
  • 40% are executives - they carry out things really well
  • 10% are eternal crib-nannies - the world failed to see they are god's gift to mankind

I have worked with dynamic and successful people from all categories above (the least being from the fourth). The one thread which is common to all successful people is LONG TERM VISION. Every single one I saw had at least this one thing in common - they were all thinking and acting really long-term.

So what's that? What really constitutes long term vision?

A distractor intelligently said : in the long run, we are all dead. So for him there is no point in anything that's long-term. But what is long-term? 5 years? 15 years? 50 years? In my opinion, "LONG TERM" in any decision situation is a sufficient enough time period that you allow all players in the game to have their full effect on the situation. The subject (i.e. the manager or You) waits patiently for the final effect to display itself.

Hoping that you have understood this argument above, here are precise points.

When someone is in the first stage of her/his career, it pays to remember that it is precisely that - the first stage. The whole life is yet to happen! The first job, or the first 5-6 years of your job are your foundation years when you must focus on these four things above everything else
  1. Greedily learn actual professional skills that matter - not just basic stuff like smart paper-pushing, ppt-making, and glib-talking
  2. Slog your bones off so you learn more - your body can support it now (in your twenties). It will be too late after you are 30
  3. Overlook the money you are making, focus only how much you are growing as a professional whose opinions people seek. It changes your *ENTIRE* perspective on life
  4. Try working with the toughest bosses, not the easy ones. The tough bosses will force you to grow completely out of your comfort zones, and you will thank them for the rest of your life
I feel that 9 out of 10 successful people did many of these things in their earlier years, knowingly or unknowingly.

Let me be honest, while we are in the daily rut, it is difficult to get a 30000 ft view like the one I have propounded above. But if I am sharing this with you, maybe you should take it at the face-value.

So think really long-term. Focus on the job's content, not payoffs. And taken to extreme, if you get a chance to work with a super boss, a guy who can totally change your professional calibre, maybe it'll be a good idea to do it free of charge  :-)


Jagrat said...

Respected Sir,
your take on working with toughest bosses is very true as it will not only bring forth our existing potential but also provide us with leverage for our future endeavors.

Sir, your 30000 ft view is in sync with the "HELICOPTER VIEW" proposed by Mr. Roger Harrop in our special EGLS session along with Mr. Brian and Mr. Rakesh Bhargav.


Jagrat Sanadhya


Gud morning sir,
you have told that have an experience to work with tough boss polishes a manager, that is very true. I felt the same thing after joining PROTON. We are not working actively but we feel your blessings and guidance actively. I felt many improvement in these two and a half months, which i had never before. I am inculcating honor code in my behavior and i will keep this up for sure.
Thank you sir for every thing.
Anshuman Pakharia
Fall 09, Schumpeter Hall

Unknown said...

Hi Sir,

Very valuable insights being shared in the blog post, but sir I somehow do not completely concur to them.

The most important thing according to the blog and a quality found in managers,leaders and those who are and were successful, is, setting up and working on Long Term Goals.

But sir here I would have a different opinion about it being the ultimate formula for success.
What I feel is, someone with short term goals might also have a better chance of success, as in case of long term goals, besides our own efforts, a lot of other factors get to play a major role in producing the final result, which may or may not be in our favour.

Job satisfaction is one thing but money does matter, and for the parents who have somehow arranged for their ward's MBA fees, the remuneration their son or daughter is going to get, is very importatnt.

They have expectations which need to be fulfilled, liabilities and responsibilities which they want their sons(mostly) to shoulder and relieve them and it is our first and foremost duty to do that as per my beliefs. They work their lives out, for us, sacrifice luxuries so that we get more than what they got when they children, so that we have a better life, a better future.

I do not consider it wrong for our parents to expect from us, as we can never in our life pay off their debt on us, whatever we do for their service is negligible.

I might have have deviated form the main context but, having a good first job in terms of money is important, as, in the last two years of the formal education, in our case the MBA, parents give all they've got to secure our future as in whatever they can do to support us (everything otherwise depends on us, how seriously we take the education) so that we can stand on our own feet, and be able to take the responsibilities of the family which indespensibly consists of them at the first place.

Gaurav Kumawat

Akshay Kothari said...

Respected Sir,
Good Morning.
It feels bad if you are moving to college and your vehicle slips in Mud at 7.56am and hope for attending the college Ends on the Spot.But thoughts change after Reading your post and i thank to GOD for doing that with me.First time i m proud to miss my classes because after reading your BLOG it feels like attending a life session.

Really this post touched my heart because the word "LONG TERM" is my blood now.
Thanks to STOCK MARKETS for that.The lessons which i learnt from Stock markets in last 3 years i m sure even IIMs cant provide that and surely no Bussiness school in India.
Journey from Index 21000 to 7700 was the biggest learning experiance of my LIFE till now.
The life Priciples i learnt from this journey are as follows-:

1)Emotions and Thoughts can flow at highest speed sitting Infront of BSE,NSE terminal and now i have a Control over them.
2)You cannot earn Profits till the time you make huge losses.
3)Do differnt from what a common man thinks.Growth comes out of the Chaos.
4)World has 1000s of shortcuts to make Money but its hidden in LONG TERM.
5)To accumalate money is a very long process but to loose it is the shortest.
6)World has the Formula to test the WORST of your PATIENCE and if you dont Panic in that Process it also has the FORMULA to make you Rich Overnight.
7)Only those people DIVERSIFY who dont have Confidence in what they are doing.

Last but not the least-
World is ready to FOOL you on each and every RATE its you have to Decide on which RATE you can afford to Become FOOL.

Being a PIG for 3 years in stock market i learnt strategy of being a BULL or a BEAR.

I invested "X" amount which left with 25%of "X" and now again i made it 6X.Life is more of a PRACTICAL then Theory.
I am Invested for a very LONG TERM now in a Company posting losses.

Highly Inspired by Warren Buffet and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.Hatts of to them.

Reading your Blog i felt this Experiance worth sharing.The period which you mentioned about Structuring yourself rather then making money can be said as a Consolidation Period.It again needs a High Patience with Emmense Hardwork.
I want to be the First 20% an Entrepreneur with a Self made Destiny.

Manmeet Arora said...

Nice insight Sir
This is serious stuff.
Young managers really expect five figures in comfort zone without having a single "T" line on their foreheads.
This section will really help students to measure themselves before facing "real and true" world.
The broken system needs new approach which students should understand.

swati jain said...

good morning sir,

your experience continiously add value in my personality beacuse i always eager to learn new things.

sir i have a query regarding long term vision

can you give some brief about long term vision beacause i thought what i imagined is my long term vision which is somthing like entrepreneur.

PROTON Swati jain
Fall 08

Anurag Khandekar said...

Respected Sir,
After reading the blog two points come to my mind :

1)Be ready to grab the offers and opportunities as they arrive, and remain alert and vigilant to grab them at the right time.

2)Always remain adaptable and amorphous, because it is not possible that in every situation you will be fulfilling your most intrinsic desires in the form of fetching your dream job.

So i would like to conclude by saying that an opportunity left is an opportunity lost. So we need to capitalize and en cash every opportunity.

Warm Regards,
Anurag Khandekar

Unknown said...

Respected Sir,
I am a pt student preparing for CAT.I have recently started reading your blogs and am really finding them very thought-provoking.They provide such a relief from the pressure of MBA entrance exam preparation.Thank you so much sir.
Warm Regards,
Sakshi Dubey

Test said...

Sakshi - tension nahin lena! Always be cool, and take it as it comes. I am glad that my blog is helping you balance things slightly better. Best of luck!

Anurag - yes, but identifying the right opportunity to invest oneself in, is also important. When we are young, not many opportunities may come by (because of our limited social and professional circle) and hence seniors may tell us figuratively that "never lose an opportunity". But what it means is that "never lose a relevant opportunity". Now one needs enough maturity to see what's relevant :-)

Swati - Long term vision? OK.. let me give you an exercise. Think what you want to see when you will be 70 years old. Look back upon your past 50 years.. what do you wish you would see? That's long term vision (seeing forward now).

Manmeet - the system surely is not entirely "broken" as successess regularly emerge. But yes, a large part of it is outdated, outflanked and outpaced by the modern world and its gizmos. We need to set a balance between what young people truly need, and what senior wish to impart.

Akshay - that was a fantastic post, and great to hear about your experience. Good that you have your photo loaded on your profile (so all of us can see it). My advice to everyone who comments here-take some effort and put your photo on the blogger profile (if you use this). It helps others 'see' who you are. Akshay - your experience is very interesting. Now also start working on your grammar, spellings and language which you can polish really fast, given your strong determination.

Gaurav - good that you have a different point of view. Please do read my blog again, and try to see that I do not differ from what you feel. Only thing is maybe I am suggesting a different (and moer time-tested) route to where you wish to reach. best wishes!

Anshuman and Jagrat - let me warn you! It looks easy to read and concur with.. but working with tough bosses is not everyone's cup of tea. They can make life truly miserable in the short run, till you raise the bar yourself (for personal performance). That said,let me repeat- the best thing a young professional can do is work with (under) a really tough boss. Similarly, the best thing for a vendor (supplier) is to have a demanding customer (this is what the legendary Jack Welch of GE taught his executives always).

ansha said...

Great post.
please pardon my saying so but if i believe that success is the course, the process for me, as i am not yet in a position to envision the long term goal.
Is it wrong on my part to celebrate or relish or derive satisfaction from the small achievements i come across while working for "something bigger"???
(I am not yet sure about what that "something big" is for me,my life and my career..)
Your take on this sir, would be a great help.
Thank You
Ansha Tare

Unknown said...

Respected Sir,

Its quite right that one should have a long term vision to get success in his/her life.

Over here, I would like to share my 'idol' My father's(Mr. Harkantbhai U. Joshi) experience. He may not be a great entrepreneur like you Sir, but whatever he has achieved in his life yet is quite remarkable.

A graduate with the hope of starting his business came to Ahmedabad in 1986. Initially he borrowed some rupees from his sister and started running the business of 'Trading of Tiles and sanitory' in the small shop of rent. well, for the first 12 twelve months it was quite tough to sustain. However, my father has a 'Long term vision' to be a successful entrepreneur. So, he struggled in the initial years but, as he has good communication skill, Risk taking ability and also a great kind nature towards the people became worth for him.

Today, he owns a bunglow, one big show-room of 'Tiles and sanitory', one big "god-own', one factory of 'Manufacturing of Parking tiles' and also 'two cars' and 'three 2 whellers'. Furthermore, in Ahmedabad, people of this industry especially see him with a respect. Thus, I am very much proud of my father and I always try to become a person like him.

So, here, the conclusion is one must have the 'Long term goal' in his mind and as this goal is self-decided one must work hard to complete it.

Have a look at Mr. Mukesh Ambani, he teaches us to always keep our vision high and clear. Also, he teaches the entrepreneurs that 'Don't think about how many resources you have to start OR run the business, but first start the business and then get the resources from anywhere.

Well, this is all from my side. However, Sir I want to know what kind of improvement I need in writing blogs?

Keyur Joshi(SICSR-Symbiosis University-MBA(IT)-F.Y.)

Kanchan Pahuja said...

Respected sir,
first of all sir i am really very thankful to you because i am pursuing MBA but really first time i knew that what should be our long term vision..
ur saying that we should work with toughest boss but don't u think that it requires lots of patience and real zeal to go ahead in life,someone should be there to motivate you continuously , otherwise you will end up with negative thoughts...
warm regards,
Kanchan Pahuja

Rhishikesh said...

Respected sir,
once again an excellent article. I do agree with all ur points and specially i should mention the point of long term vision.

u r the greatest example of long term vision. i just cant imagine what was there on ur mind when u started PT. rejecting calls from all iim's and starting a tution class in a garage!!

and i guess the time will soon come when PT Universe will become a global brand having management colleges world wide and also tution classes.i wish u best of luck sir.

u have qualities of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and executives. all in one!! am i right sir??

Abhishek said...

Thanks a lot Sir for sharing best thought (your default inbuilt property ) again

With Warm Regards,
Abhishek Bhargava

Ved said...

Respected Sir,
If fresher entrepreneurs set their long term vision then his first action would be to build a true & committed team around him whoes opinion should match with the entreprenur.
His team member would be Mentor, family, experts, friends, VC, Investor.
Now here the problem comes that how should identify a committed team that help him to accomplish his vision, because if his vision is big then many of them reluctant to join or even refuse to listen his idea.
reason could be:
1.Time constraint
2.Competitive era
3.Risk involvement etc.

So what an entrepreneurs should do to dvelop interest among his best possible team.

Test said...

Dear Ved - Creation of a committed core team is maybe the MOST important thing you will do in your life as an entrepreneur. That said, you may need to repeat this twice or thrice also! This is a fairly simple exercise although.. all you need to realise is that the key members need to give their total loyalty and sincerity to the task you assign them, without asking too many questions (and retaining full right to question anything and everything positively). Best of luck!

Abhishek / Rhishikesh - thanks for reading and commenting!

Kanchan - true motivation comes from within, not from outside. Remember this always.

Keyur - I am very impressed with your father's achievements. You should learn as much as possible form him. He is a role model for you. Best wishes!

Ansha - remember to celebrate every so-called small achivement. These are stepping stones. The moment you learn this simple trick, you learn a fundamental route to progress. Best wishes!

Akhilesh Dubey said...

Thanks a lot sir.

I fully agree with all 4 things you mentioned.and I will follow every word of yours.

I would like to quote words of 43rd US president here.

“I am a person who looks long-term, and I recognize the path we need to take. There will be moments when people are unhappy and disgruntled with some decision-making. Nonetheless, what matters most is to reach the destination. And my job as President is to see clearly where I want to go and be steadfast in my resolve to realize that vision.”

George W. Bush - 43rd American President.

Akhilesh Dubey

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