Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Unusual people do things differently

Unusual people do things differently by T.G. C. Prasad

The author has recounted his experiences and wisdom gained through his interactions with a wide spectrum of people from all walks of life. These range from his kid's school founder, to an encounter with Mother Teresa, while he was a school kid, to a chartered accountant, to a person selling ad space in the classified section of the newspaper, to a tree lover who by setting up an innovative non-profit project is helping bring back the much needed oxygen on Planet Earth... the list goes on and on.

Prasad rightly points out that people are aligned to one of the six broad themes, viz: (i) Strategic and focused on value creation; (ii)Perspective and derive creative solutions; (iii) Driven by business excellence; (iv) Deploy professional skills to win; (v) Passionate and lead from the front (vi) Sensitive to people and are customer centric.

Even as it was difficult to zoom down to my favourite chapter, if I were to select I would say, I have two favourite chapters.

The brief encounter which the author had with Mother Teresa showed him that she has a large heart and is able to appreciate kindness. This story is captured in the chapter: Giving is important, not how much. Prasad was then in the second grade and he gallantly parted with half his money, which was given to him to buy candy, of just 50 paise. Mother Teresa did not laugh at him, but she embraced his gesture. At times many of us say, "Oh, what is the use of donating anything. There is too much poverty and whatever I do will not make a difference.". Actually it does make a difference. Giving is important and this chapter is truly a gem.

"Keeping Happy" is another favourite chapter of mine. Prasad's friend, an HR director in Microsoft learns how to be happy. The hazards of a spending society are clearly elucidated here. The key message is: Cut the strings that pull you down and then you can automatically soar.

I learnt a lot from this book and some key lessons that I learnt are:

1) In negotiation we must aim for a win-win story. A victory where the other party stands to lose is no victory at all.
2)If you have hesitated to mentor someone, just go ahead and do it. You can learn a lot from a mentee. Mentoring is bidirectional and an enriching learning experience for both.
3) Service is all about meeting commitments. Transparency is the key to healthy relationships with customers/clients.
4) Leadership is not about charisma or great speeches or designations. It is all about taking initiative and doing the right thing.

Unusual people do things differently, is a good read and I would recommend it. There is always something that we can learn from others. In fact, after reading this book, I've observed how much I have learnt from my parents, my family, my teachers, my friends, my bosses, my colleagues and all those whom I have come in contact with.

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