I’m giving a talk tomorrow to a group of team leaders in our call center. The topic is on “Creating a Company Mission Statement.” I’ve been working on a proposed statement for our organisation and I’m hoping to get the thoughts and ultimately the buy-in of the people who are really at the pointy-end of the sword on this. But I’ve got an ulterior motive as well, I want to challenge them to create their own personal mission statement for their lives. The reason for this is that I think my company, and it occurs to me on the 60th anniversary of its independence this country, needs great leaders to carry us to the grand visions that we have for the future – and great leaders start with a mission, a purpose, a raison d’etre.
We went to the cinema this afternoon and saw The Simpson’s Movie (review: Two thumbs up, but really just a long version of the TV show.) While we were waiting for the movie start time printed on our tickets, which we keep relearning in India means when the doors open, not when the film is supposed to start, we dropped into a bookstore located in the Metropolitan Mall here in Gurgaon. There, I saw hundreds of titles on how to improve your job position, how to make millions, how to profit from the market, how to get what you want from others and a lot of similar topics that seem to be quite popular in this booming country. It brought to mind a long-held belief of mine that the way to do better is to be better.
I don’t believe success is a matter of technique. Call me a dreamer, but I believe the way to get ahead in business, to improve your lot, to make all the money you want and to be happy doing it is to make yourself the best person you can be. “What does this mean in practice?”, I asked myself as I thumbed through a book by Donald Trump. What it means is if you want to be happy and successful, don’t read books by rich people, read books by and about great people. Great people with great ideas have something to teach us about ourselves and about life, things that we can incorporate within us and use in all our pursuits for the rest of our lives. Techniques are just techniques, they have their time which comes…and goes.
This brought me around to an excellent blog entry by Tom Vander Well called “Great Service Principles are Great Life Principles“, in which he concludes,
When I’m old and gray (grayer than I am now), it really won’t matter much – in the grand scheme of things – if I helped a person raise their QA score from 83.8 to 95.9. What will matter is that someone picked up on a service principle, applied it, and it made a positive difference in their life and their relationships.
I think the converse of the this concept is true as well, a principled centred life, one based on deeply held and considered core beliefs and positive values will lead a person to be successful in whatever s/he endeavours to do. As the Two Steves at Freakonomics might put it I think; what we are is the thing we have to sell in the market. We can mess with the packaging and I suppose that doesn’t hurt, but it’s the product that really matters – improving the product changes everything for the better.