January 17, 2009

"Best Advice I Ever Got"

Business Today recently had an interesting cover story featuring various entrepreneurs, CEOs and other prominent personalities on the best career advice they have received. I liked the following a lot:

Venu Srinivasan, TVS Motor Company

Take risks but one at a time
“I have received much advice that has had a profound impact on me both as a person and as a leader. My personal friend and philosopher, Prof. Lord S.K. Bhattacharyya, Head of Warwick Manufacturing Group, has had an enormous influence on my growth as a business leader. His advice: never take more than one risk at a time. He typically classifies risks into people, markets and money—three legs of a tripod. If you take more than one risk, the tripod loses balance. For instance, he would say only when you have a strong team and a stable market, can a financial risk such as an acquisition be attempted successfully. In the early part of my life, my father and uncles played an important role in teaching me the TVS values—trust, integrity, discipline.
Aamir Khan, Actor

It’s better to go wrong with your own instincts than somebody else’s
“I think I was around 14 when, during the course of a conversation, my uncle Nasser Hussain told me to follow my heart—and that has kind of stayed with me ever since. Quite often in life, he said, you are faced with situations where you may tend to go wrong— but even so, if you follow your heart, it’s always better to go wrong with your own instincts than on somebody else’s. I believe following this advice has been instrumental in my choice of profession—especially since many of my well-wishers were against it. Their fear was not entirely unfounded…. they wanted me to have something to fall back on in case I didn’t succeed in tinseltown, whereas I was very clear that I wanted to dive right into filmmaking and acting rather than study commerce. Since then, pretty much all my decisions have been based on this philosophy of trusting my own instincts. While I was close to my uncle, I did not seek regular advice from him…. It was my own path and my mistake to live and learn from.”
Nimesh Kampani, JM Financial

Never borrow for personal needs
“For me, it’s my self-consciousness and intuition that have been the guiding force. But I have inherited the value systems and principles from my parents. My father followed the golden principles—never borrow money for personal needs and don’t ever give guarantees. He would always say: ‘The repayment liabilities are yours. You can’t disown them. On the other side, the asset that you believe belongs to you, may or may not remain of that value always. So, the value of assets goes down but the liabilities stay with you. Live within your means.’ So, he would also explain to us by saying: ‘Liabilities are like taxi meters, which keep running 24 hours, even when you go off to sleep. The interest meter runs all the time. If you do business with your own money, you can withstand any bad time.’”
Jinesh Shah of MCX:

Results matter, efforts don’t
“At 24, as a fresh engineer, I had joined the Bombay Stock Exchange as part of a team building the online trading platform. We were all working overtime... I vividly remember an old wooden signboard proclaiming ‘Results Matter. Efforts Don’t’, in the settlement system room where we were given training. These words really woke me up.”

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the Private Equity and Venture Capital ecosystem in India. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.