After the astounding success of the Robin Sharma leadership event in Bangalore that was sponsored by the non-profit organization Rang De On Feb 29 at the Taj Vivanta, Yeshwanthpur, the leadership guru to the world's best CEOs talked to media representatives in a press conference.
Excerpts from the press meet that saw the famed author at the receiving end of inquisitive queries-
Q: What would be the one piece of leadership advice you would give Indian politicians?
Ans: I am an author and a leadership expert and I am absolutely not educated on Indian politics. I primarily speak to business leaders. But the fact is that leadership is not a popularity contest and they have to throw their egos out of the door and focus on the larger good. He reiterated his point made in the seminar- :"Victims make excuses, leaders deliver results."
"In India, we have a culture based on excuses."
Q: Who is your greatest inspiration?
Ans: This is like asking me who is your favourite child. There are many people who inspired me, my children, my readers, the 900 people who attended my event inspired me. They all took the trouble to learn today what they could become tomorrow. Mandela, Mother Teresa, Steve Jobs, Amazon's Jeff Bezos. I also hold Picasso in special regard as he was one shining example of striving for excellence.
Q: On the next generation of entrepreneurs who are powering India with start-ups -
Ans: Start ups and entrepreneurial innovation of the kind that comes from India is amazing. I have been watching it as early as decade back. These young thinkers who venture out on their own, the mindset should be value creation rather than profit creation. They are focussed and with the facility of technology can add value. They also believe in creating work places that people actually enjoy coming to work. They are also aware on how to groom top talent and making leaders at every level. These start-ups also deliver results in a quarter that the old fashioned companies deliver in 12 months.
Q: How realistic is the idea' Lead without a title' in present times?
Ans: Based on my decade and more of working with business leaders from all over, if this idea of leading without a title had no traction I would have gone out of business years ago. This idea stems from the fact that not one person can do the entire work efficiently. What's unrealistic is that only three people working in an organization, and all the others neither innovate, push the needle forward and not take responsibilities. For me, this is a definition of a bankrupt company.
Q: Are Indians already an enlightened lot?
Ans: I would say Indians relative to a lot of other nations have a huge appetite for self exploration. The birthplace of yoga, meditation and in a country where there are a lot of leaders who are self-evolved they have the advantage of mental mastery, character building and spirituality. But with my 15 years of helping organizations and meeting people, I have only met a handful of enlightened people.
Q: Is your first book the best?
Ans: I would call my latest book – the secret letters of the Monk who sold his Ferrari my best and number 2 would be The Leader Without a Title. Every single sweeper, taxi driver, mother, father I have met have displayed leadership in their areas. My other book, The Greatness guide is also have made some great impact.
Q: Does being systematic kill creativity?
Ans: No, it does not. The likes of John Grisham and Picasso were a disciplined lot who would be at their desks at 5am and have ritualized this act. They were not the kind of people who lived in the moment. Let planning be the springboard, so that spirituality can be our splash. I have the luxury of going to work three days a week and during the rest I meditate, plan and divorce myself from the world, read and dream. I also wake up early and do all my activities on schedule.
Q: From your earlier talks as well as the one made today, you have mentioned that your children are one of your inspirations. What would be the three rules you would want your children to live by -
Ans: I teach them the value of being massive dreamers, since our lives reflect the signs of our thinking; to stand for excellence in whatever they choose to do and to be the kindest and the most courageous person.