Convocation Address

Respected Chairman, Mr. Chamaria, Director, Dr. Biswajeet Pattanayak, learned staff, parents, media and students; we have all assembled here to celebrate the successful closure of education in management of the twelfth batch of students of the prestigious Asian School of Business Management, Bhubaneswar. I deem it an honour to be invited to address the students walking out of the portals of this highly reputed

School with their Certificate of Post- graduate Diploma in Management.

2. My dear graduating student–friends, you were all here for two years, of your own volition, and had to prepare hard and compete with zest to seek an admission at this School. Obviously, you had made an informed decision to study management. With the certificate that you have earned today, you have all completed a long walk of education that began almost twenty years ago in your life. You will now be entering what is often described as the “real world”. As you receive several congratulations from your friends and relatives, and look into the proud eyes of your parents, you need to remind yourselves that it is also Secret Sauce for Success in Life – No Full Stops . . . time to introspect and decide the future path of your life. It is not necessary that the vision and mission statements are the preserve of only organisations and institutions. Your own life can, and should, have a vision, a mission, goals and objectives, as you spring onto your life's new roadmap filled with hope, optimism and confidence. 3. Before I share my own humble thoughts with you, as pieces of advice for the trajectory that will define your life, I would like to congratulate you for the long marathon that you have endured, that has brought you forward step-by-step and alighted you here as a professional graduate bursting with knowledge, information, skill and ideals. 4.Having capped your long journey of education with a Degree in Management, you are all obviously looking forward to management assignments that will challenge your forte. I went through a bit of mind teaser to ask myself, whether I should speak to you about management principles, only to realise, that not having gone through formal education on management, I would not be the most appropriate person to do so. However,


Convocation Address : 12th Convocation

buttressed by my own experiences in administration, I can appreciate that management is essential to any organisation that wishes to be efficient and achieve its aims. My own experience made it clear to me that management is described by four basic f u n c t i o n s , n ame l y, pl anning, organising, leading and controlling. My little reading on the subject threw up the name of Henri Fayol credited with writing a classical theory on the principles of management. Fayol adopts fourteen principles as basic to management. These include Division of work; Authority; Discipline; Unity of command; Subordination of individual interests to the collective interests; Remuneration; Centralisation; Scalar chain; Order; Equity; Stability of tenure of personnel; Initiative; and Morale. I am sure, you are all aware of these principles, as also the core content of each of these. You have also been well equipped with the skill sets of management across various domains like Finance, Accounting, Game theories, Econometrics, Forecasting, HRD and so on that will help you in making sense of a mass of data and information and deploy it in running the organisation that you will be part of. Let me however caution you at this stage itself, that the basic principles do need amendments in terms of what they stand for, in the fast changing social environment and value systems, and the impact of emerging technologies. For example, no more can one rely upon position linked authority. Increasingly

the power to guide and influence your junior colleagues will need to come from your knowledge, capabilities and moral fibre. You will be expected to deal with flat organisations and not the hitherto hierarchical ones. The corollary to these principles and tools is, whether these are sufficient by themselves in guaranteeing success in your chosen profession. Your profession, wherein you would be applying your knowledge of management is only a partial aspect of your life. There are many other dimensions beyond your career, and each of these is organically linked and will influence both your professional and personal life. What I would do, therefore, is speak to you as how you can succeed in both your professional and personal lives. 5. The first piece of advice that I would like to offer you is to look at your profession in broader terms and venture out from being mostly an employee, to also becoming an entrepreneur; a teacher, a trainer, consultant & counsellor; a civil servant; a politician; a writer & speaker; and a thinker & opinion maker and the like. Your own cultural background, societal influence, training across several educational institutions, have certainly provided you with the wherewithal to don any of these roles, based on your personal interests and passion. Gliding into a management function in some organisation, as many may do, tantamounts to 'herd mentality', and there is nothing wrong with it. However, you have also been taught to think 'out of box' as I see from the vision and mission


Convocation Address : 12th Convocation

statements of ASBM. This blue sky thinking will allow you to progress beyond the routine to becoming leaders. While the Manager in short is responsible for organising men and materials and ensuring the targeted deliveries, the leader on the contrary sets a new vision and new goal and shows the new path to march on. He simultaneously prepares the people to take the risk needed to walk on the new path to realise the new vision and goal. Becoming a leader of an organisation would demand of you to blend optimally, your managerial skills with leadership callings. In reality, you will mostly g r a d u a t e f r om ma n a g eme n t responsibilities to leadership roles in due course. It is often said that advice is the cheapest vegetable available in the market, and its supply mostly exceeds the demand and therefore loses value. It is in this context that personal qualities of “an agent of change” or “a leader” become important, and the pre-requisite that it warrants, is to match one's thought with speech, and speech with action. Let us now survey and identify the fibre of such men and women who can be called as leaders. The thought that crops up in me at this stage is, had ASBM preferred to invite some great achiever to deliver today's convocation address, he or she would probably have cited several of his/her own l ife examples to demonstrate the qualities of a leader. Alas! I do not consider myself as one belonging to this category, and therefore, I opt to take striking examples

of men and books from public domain, and let you appreciate as to how you can shape your life ahead. 6. One the greatest leaders that the world th saw in the 20 century was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi was no Einstein by intelligence quotient (IQ); was no orator like Winston Churchill; and was no good looker like Nehru and

Mountbatten. Yet this diminutive and non- descript figure who was reverentially

called as Mahatma by the people all over, turned out to be India's Pied Piper of Hamelin, and millions of people transcending all barriers, were willing to follow him blindly on the path he laid to achieve the promised land of a free India. What differentiated him from multiple other highly capable and robust leaders, that made dense our period of freedom struggle, was his ethical leadership. He was wedded to the principles of truth and non-violence, which lay in the domain of ethics and morality. These were the traits that he had inculcated as a young student watching the mythological play Satya Harishchandra. As he grew up, he applied himself to develop on his convictions and his adherence to 'Truth' only became stronger. Assuming that a majority of you would be testing your destiny in variegated entrepreneurial domains, you are more likely to question the value system based on the foundations of ethics, may be even treat it as fluff, and hold it as alien to the hardnosed demands of enterprise where profit alone, and at any cost, is lauded. Yet, Mahatma Gandhi preferred to lead


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both political and social movements on these very principles. At the core, these movements can be considered no different from a financial project. Both need management and leadership, and both measure outcomes, which are only a little different in nature and form. Let's be very clear, that Mahatma Gandhi was someone who could reconci le philosophy and practice in action, without trampling upon the ethical values he had adopted. Notwithstanding the pressure on him and the allurement that he experienced to jump into the freedom struggle immediately on his return from South Africa in 1918, he thought if fit to first travel around the country and see for himself the situation that obtained, understand the people and assess the environment. He travelled in ordinary railway coach, dressed in the traditional dhoti and kurta that formed the attire of most men in the country, and met people from a cross section of society. The stark poverty and deprivation, as also the inhuman discrimination heaped upon the majority, sensitized him to the ground realities. He was able to appreciate, that a leadership from the pedestal far removed from the common man was the biggest obstacle, in preparing the Indian masses for a fight against the British. He was also able to understand that no physical force can match the military prowess that the British enjoyed. It was this analytical approach, historical understanding and philosophical bearing of Gandhiji that led him to construct a freedom struggle based on the principles of truth and non-violence.

It was a moral war, in preference to a physical war, that he convinced India to adopt in seeking its freedom. As the history shows, Gandhiji proved right. The lessons for you today are, that you should restrain from jumping into the pool before you have surveyed it and decided on the right tools that you need to pick from the basket of your learnings. It is also important to remember that ethical leadership does not end with its adoption, but needs to be sustained by rigorous adherence, even in the face of severe criticism and repeated failures. 7. The value of conviction in the advocated principle, and its practical utility, can once again be best illustrated from a historical event that occurred during our freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress had launched the non-cooperation movement in early 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Using non-violent methods of civil disobedience known as Satyagrah, protests were organi zed ac ros s the countr y, challenging the oppressive regulatory measures of the colonial power. Waves of people rose for the first time across the length and breadth of the country, th unnerving the British. On 5 February, 1922 a crowd of about 2,500 protestors gathered in front of the Chauri-chaura Police Station in Uttar Pradesh demanding release of their arrested leader. In the sequence of law and order events that followed, the police opened fire on the advancing crowd, killing three and wounding several. Now fearing retribution, the police and other staff locked themselves up inside the police station. The infuriated crowd set the


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police station on fire, killing all those trapped inside. This incident caused deep hurt in Gandhiji, who held that the avowed principle of non-violence had been compromised, and that the people

were yet to understand the value of non- violence, and in result called off the non- cooperation movement. Most leaders

including Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh were dismayed, showed unhappiness and even resistance. After all, there was a visible mass uprising against the British Raj for the first time. Unmindful of all the criticism, Gandhiji stood his moral ground, demonstrating that principles were more important in the long run. It is this sincere adherence to the principles he advocated, that made Gandhiji a credible leader in the long run. He was therefore able to mould the movement, lead the people and negotiate with various stakeholders including the British for shaking off the yoke of slavery in 1947. As for you, as would be managers and leaders, the take away is, 'don't be afraid of criticism as long as you have chosen the principles and the path that you truly believe in'. The criticism may make you sense a whiff of failure at times, but dust it off remembering that you need to lose many a battle before you can win a war. We all remember Thomas Alva Edison for the light bulb that he invented. But do we know that, before he succeeded with his light bulb he had conducted at least 1000 failed experiments? Had he not believed in the experiment he was conducting, he would not have st continued till the 1001 experiment

which gave the world the light bulb. You will do well to remember that every failed experiment is one step closer to success, and there can be no arrival at the final destination without displaying courage, conviction and confidence. You will need to nurture these values, for they cannot be taught in a classroom. 8. We are taught and also we read that success in business is a function of our ability to mobilize resources, use technology, forecast demand and prices, win new markets and maintain robust balance sheets. If this be so, then what use are the principles based on morality? This dilemma will continue to haunt you at every step as you will find the rabbit racing ahead of you, and you, the slow moving tortoise may feel frustrated being left behind. Now, therefore, let us look at the kind of race that you should choose to be in. One of the good books that I have read, that highlights ethics as a fulcrum to sustain business in the long run, is “Built to Last” by Jim Collins. Many of you must have read it, and may do so if not already. Collins undertakes a rigorous analysis of “visionary companies” that have been maintaining dominance for hundred or more years, across multiple generations and product cycles. The book explains by evidence as to why some companies manage to endure through the ages, while others falter and fade away though in the same domain and size category. Collins proves the hypothesis that visionary companies revolve around a purpose. A purpose adds that finer difference to a simple minded business strategy. A simple strategy means making 'X' product


Convocation Address : 12th Convocation

for 'Y' consumers. Walt Disney, for example, could have said 'we make cartoons for kids'. While this describes what the company does, it does not through light on the core of the company's existence. A purpose, by contrast, entails an enduring vision that will last for hundreds of years, based on principles that are never rendered archaic. Disney's mission, for example, is “to use our imagination to bring happiness to millions”. On the face of it every company's aim is to make profit, and therefore, words like purpose, endurance and so on may generate cynicism in you. This is not surprising given that, we generally tend to take a partial view of any context and categorise it as “This or That”. On the contrary, keeping at bay binary choices, we will be left with the happy option of “This and That”. In Collins' analysis, the long enduring companies had all embraced the paradigm that “you can live by your values and also create profits”. My young friends please remember, at all times, that if at all a conflict arises between purpose and profit; visionary companies will be putting purpose first. Assigning lower premium to short term profits, they are driven by the belief that profit cannot be the reason for the living, while they do need to generate profits to sustain themselves. As Collins says, “profit is the oxygen, food, water and blood for the body, which are not the 'point of life' while without them there is no life”. Comparing such enduring companies with the historic “control group” companies, that were bracketed in the

same sector and era, it emerged that the latter had eventually fizzled out only because, they had focused more on profits to the neglect of principles. They cut corners with their customers, dissatisfied their staff, and churned out mediocre products. This approach made their quarterly reports look great for a few years only to lose momentum finally. Now recall, the fourteen principles of management that I initially shared with you and realise their barrenness, if not embedded with enduring values of ethics and empathy. For example, one of the important principles of management refers to 'remuneration'. An organization that underpays will find it hard to attract quality workers and keep them motivated. Lee Kuan Yew the leader who built the modern Singapore famously said, “If you pay peanuts, you only get monkeys”. As a head of an organisation, you will have to ensure that your employees are paid well and commensurate with their work, and are treated fairly. These are natural traits of a person possessing empathy. 9. Moving ahead, let us enlarge our horizon and identify other positive qualities that you will need to succeed. Some traits that come to my mind readily are innovation; ability to think and be different; willingness to try and readiness to fail; the spirit of never say die; seeking an opportunity in every challenge; single minded purpose; passion; and ability to work hard. I believe that you would benefit from some elaboration on each of these, for they have the innate strength to serve as your torch bearers as you wade through pools of muddy water and slushy puddles, in search of light at the end of a


seemingly endless tunnel. In business you will have to register profits, and also account for the same, which means that you have used minimal resources and derived optimal returns. This assumes that you are able to compete and be better than others in similar category. Your ability to create product differentiation and adopt efficient processes will determine your competitiveness. This warrants newness at both process and product stages, and therefore, the need to be innovative at every step. It is not for nothing that people say, 'innovate or perish'! You may however remember that 'innovation' is different from 'invention', for innovation does not have to be new to the world; it just has to be new to the local context. Innovation differs from 'ideas' in the sense that it has actually been made operational and implemented. You need to be innovative to be a step ahead of your competitors, if you need to be a leader in your domain. How effectively can you think different and be different from others in the contemporary world of dense competition? We can find answer to this in Richard Bach, who has given us one of the most inspiring stories, woven around a seagull named Jonathan Livingston. Jonathan or Jon in short is no ordinary seagull. While rest of the flock of seagulls is content learning minimal simple flight, Jon seeks to learn more. Not satisfied with learning to fly just for the purpose of catching fish for food, he wanted to test the limits of his ability, and therefore, flies out to sea alone past the

other gulls and embarks upon rigorous flying practice. Jon's defiance of traditions and conventions brings him nothing but resistance, ridicule and solitude that came from being out casted. “Why, Jon, why?” his mother asked. “Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can't you leave low level flying to the pelicans, the albatross? Why don't you eat? Son, you're bone and feathers!” I don't mind being bone and feathers, mom. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can't, that's all. I just want to know. ” Jon continued to learn and pushed himself to the limits of flying. The solitude did not crush him and he continued with his solo practices, trying different styles and different heights and pushing himself into unchartered frontiers past the limitations of space and time on a daily basis. He was chasing a greater purpose in life. “What he had once hoped for in the Flock he now gained for himself alone; he learned to fly, and was not sorry for the price that he had paid”. Finally, Jon had managed to reach the new world, which none of his community members had ever tried to do so. When he came back, he was received with aplomb and perceived as different and accepted as one. They all now came forward to learn from him the new art of flying, and also appreciate that the purpose of flying can be beyond merely gathering of food. Young friends, please recognize the real Jonathan Seagull who lives within each

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8 one of you, and put aside everything that limits you. Believe that you can be free only if you are willing to exhibit the courage to do things, the one that many including you are normally not ready to do. Each time you push yourself, recall Jonathan “who knew with practised ease that he was not bone and feather but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all”. You may do well as you step out today, to kick start your race to learn to fly, guided by the philosophy that there is so much more in life beyond materialism. All human beings suffer from egos. It is ego that does not like the thought of facing failure, and wishing to avoid this at any cost, unfortunately coaxes one 'to not even try'. After all, the easiest way not to fail is to never try in the first place. If you choose this easiest of alternate options you have by default opted to miscarry life. If you want to be different and stand out, you must first overcome the fear of failure. I once again refresh your memory with the invention of light bulb by Thomas Alva Edison. If one can succeed at the first attempt, it is probably more a lucky accident and a fortuitous coincidence. All of us know, life itself is an evolution and man the Homo sapiens has evolved through several stages from a single cell amoeba. God himself, it appears, has had to conduct several experiments before arriving at the most evolved species of life, humans. While you appreciate that you cannot succeed without the risk of failure, you may have to also remember that repeated failures can bring despair and

hopelessness, making you want to give up. This is a point at which you will need to gather all your courage and strength, hope and optimism and make another try. Robert the Bruce, the King of Scotland, had to fight six battles in his efforts to ward off the King of England, who was out to conquer his kingdom. Badly beaten in the sixth battle, Robert the Bruce and his army were forced to flee and hide in the woods. As the distraught King lay in a cave on his back with no further hope, he happened to notice a spider over his head, getting ready to weave her web. He observed that the spider failed six times in her efforts to throw her thread from one edge of the cave wall to another. Six times the thread fell short. “Poor thing!” said Robert the Bruce “you too, know what it's like to fail six times in a row”. But the spider did not lose hope. With greater care she made the seventh attempt and finally succeeded. Seeing this, the King almost forgot his own agony and humiliation and cried “Yes!” “I too will try a seventh time!” He fought the seventh battle only to succeed in beating back the King of England out of Scotland, and regain his territory. To this very day, friends, the victory and independence of Scotland is traced to a spider that inspired their King, Robert the Bruce. You may need to be Robert the Bruce many a time in your life; and for inspiration when you need, search for a spider in your own family or around you. At home it would be your spouse or children or siblings or parents. In your neighbourhood or your work place, it could be anyone. There will be several occasions when you

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9 will be challenged by your own limitations and feel insulted. You have to learn to fight back by re-equipping yourself and re-seasoning your courage and conviction. This is the stuff that great leaders are made of. Take the case of Mahatma Gandhi, who was travelling from Durban to Pretoria in the then racially segregated South Africa. He had to face the humiliation of being thrown out with his baggage in the midnight hours, only because he was seated in a first class coach and the coloured were not allowed to even when possessing a valid ticket. The bitter cold of Maritzburg on that wintry night touched a raw nerve and made the cold more unbearable. But being no ordinary man, he did not let this discrimination pass by as a mere personal ignominy. He went through a churning only to end up with a resolution

to fight against discrimination, the non- whites were being subjected to. It is this

positive resolve that arose from a humiliating experience within the very initial days of his stay in South Africa, that led him to fight for the rights of Indian settlers. South Africa turned out to be his laboratory to test the vitality of Satyagraha as a platform for mass mobilization. On return home to India, Gandhiji was well prepared to accept the mantle of leadership of our freedom struggle. Just think, what only if he had decided to brush aside the humiliation and quietly accept the long held regulations even though discriminatory, as normal. Learn to see an opportunity for change and growth in every obstacle.

I have told you so far, that you need a purpose to succeed and sustain it over long periods of time. Gautama Buddha had a purpose when He taught Four Noble Truths in His very first sermon at Sarnath. Jesus Christ had a purpose when He gave His ten commandments. Simi l a rl y, Pr o p h e t Pa i g amb a r Muhammad had a purpose when He served as a messenger of God. Every great religion and philosophy has had a purpose besides laying down a path for the people to walk on. These have stood the test of time and continued to guide the lives of people generations after generations. You too need to have a purpose in both long and short terms, embellishing it further with a single minded attention. No business can succeed without single minded purpose. Let us take the example of Jack Ma, the miracle man of China, who came to successfully build Alibaba, rivalling similar technology companies of the Silicon Valley. A man with modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher could raise one of the world's largest companies, an e-commerce empire, on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Jack known for his simple but effective communication, is popular for his quotes. Of several of his message pregnant quotes, one that is apt for you reads more like an Aesop Fable: “If there are nine rabbits on the ground, if you want to catch one, just focus on one. Change your tactics if need to, but don't change the rabbit...............Get one first, put it in your pocket and then catch the others. ”

Convocation Address : 12th Convocation

10 It seems as though Jack Ma drew his lessons from our own Mahabharata story. The Pandava brothers were put to a test of 'sharp focus' by their Guru Dronacharya. He perched a wooden parrot on a branch of a tree and asked the brothers one by one, as to what they are seeing as they get ready to shoot their arrow. While all brothers including Yudishthira described that they were seeing bird, tree, branch and so on, Arjun was the only one who told, that he could not see anything but the bird's eye. Friends, you need Arjun's sharp focus if you need to shoot your target, and Jack Ma's business sense if you want to achieve your goal. In either case, it is single minded purpose that matters most in gaining success. Various demands of character and traits that we have spoken about so far will become less burdensome, if you let yourself be enveloped by passion. Passion goes beyond the callings of a duty and drives you blindly just for the love of it, and just for the sake of it. The need to demonstrate “passion” when working for Alibaba was summed up by one employee as “being a swordsman is all about being hot blooded”. The same employee explained further that compared to other firms, “people at Alibaba are more passionate about their work, more honest, and more hardworking”. I can drive home the meaning of the word “passion” better, when I share with you the story of Vincent Van Gogh, the Dutch painter. A picture of tragedy, he lived a very difficult life and died young at

the age of 37. Vincent faced several failures. He was incorrigibly unlucky in love and all of his relationships ended badly. He served as a Pastor in a remote mining region, where he tried to help the poor, but suffered a crisis of faith feeling he was not able to do much for the destitute folk. One question that constantly troubled Vincent was “What is the purpose of my life?” It was following a series of failures, in both personal and professional life, that he began to draw and paint, where he found his passion. He is known world over for his sunflower paintings. He did hundreds of those and only to tear each of them, just because he felt that the painting had not captured the

true intensity of the feelings of a sun- scorched flower. He would stalk out and

stand under the scorching hot sun, only so that, he could feel the feelings of the sunflower and capture the same in his paintings. He probably felt satisfied enough eventually to leave behind a sunflower painting as an immortal piece of his creation. This desire for perfection is a manifestation of nothing but passion. Intelligence, desire, purpose and passion will all be rendered barren unless translated into action by soiling one's hands. There is no substitution to work, and hard work at that. I recall my own Director Dr. S. V. Patil at my college repeating often, “Even Einstein would not have become great if he had not worked hard”. The idolised high IQ of Einstein would have blushed unseen on the canvass of space and time, if he had not put in proportionate work of commitment. Hence, be prepared to pack your quiver with the arrow called 'hard work'. Please

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11 remember the common advice that you got from your parents and teachers about the necessity of burning your midnight oil, and know that it will never meet its expiry date, till you want to stop your growth. Norman Borlaug, the agricultural scientist, known as the father of world's green revolution, learnt very early in life the value of hard work. As he grew up on an Iowa Farm and learnt at a neighbourhood high school, David Bartelma, his high school principal and coach told him as he practised for his wrestling match “give the best that God gave you. If you won't do that, don't bother to compete”. This one advice remained as Norman's watchword through his life as he worked on the research farms of Mexico to breed new varieties of wheat, that helped him to battle and end world hunger. 10. Graduates, I have taken you through the magic box of personality traits, to which the life's success is hinged. I only hope that you are not scared of the cacophony of demands on you shooting out of this box. There is no need to be, for I have shared with you real life characters – ordinary men who grew great by their own efforts and the qualities they made a habit of. The success in their lives was not for themselves alone. Their success was a success for the society, for their achievements helped in transformation of the world they lived in, and continue to matter during the times beyond their own existence. Why doubt then, that you too can make a success of your life? st You are the children of 21 century that is so different from all the centuries and

millennia that we have shut doors on. You are also living in an India that has found greater confidence and is ready to experiment and experience the new flight horizon for creating a more prosperous life for its people. This offers you a new opportunity and a challenge that should spiral you into several adventures. We are still a growing population, and India will host the largest number of people by 2030. The population of today and tomorrow will not be the silent minds of yesterday. It will be an aspiring society, and also a more creative society living as it would be in a world with open access to information and knowledge. It would, therefore, be natural that the people would demand better access to quality food, nutrition, health, education, enabling environment for creation, and in general a standard of living that personifies dignified human existence. It will also be a society that demands greater equality, and e g a l i t a ri a n i sm fr e e o f s o c i a l , psychological and political barriers. As the society races to find for all, the true meaning and spirit of our great Constitution and ensure equality of rights and equality of opportunities, you as enlightened citizens and leaders in various domains will be called upon to shoulder critical responsibilities. And, leadership always means responsibility. 11. The challenges of change management, that your generation will face are bound to be more profound, than felt by all your predecessors. The first major structural change in human world happened 10,000 years ago, when man shifted from forage to farming, and learnt to harness the power of animals in supplement with that of the human for purposes of production,

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12 transportation and communication. Since then, the velocity of change and canvas of impact have only been gaining pace, influencing all walks of life. However, the changes remained gradual, almost intangible till the first Industrial Revolution came to influence th Britain in the 16 century. Thereafter, there have been more cataclysmic changes impacting the whole world eventually, as mankind went through the second and third Industrial Revolutions. We are all now on the threshold of the fourth Industrial Revolution, which is expected to be unlike anything experienced so far. The new suite of technologies is beginning to break all artificial constructs of nation and nationality, held sacred so far. Imagine the unlimited possibilities of a society with billions of people connected by mo b i l e d e v i c e s , e n g e n d e ri n g unprecedented processing power, massive storage capabilities and knowledge access. Also confront the confluence of emerging technologies encompassing artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, sensors, block chain, interest

of things (IoT), web of things (WoT), self- driven vehicles, 3D printing, nano- technology, bio-technology, materials

science, energy storage, quantum computing and so on. With these new creatures in the world you will inhabit, you will have to be prepared for 'continuous creative disruptions' vis-à-vis business models impacting and reshaping production, consumption, transportation and delivery systems. Changes in the economic domain can also be expected to effect concurrent shifts in our social

world, that include the way we work, communicate, connect, inform, express, entertain and in general live. In a fast changing world, where paradigm shifts become the norm, you will have to be running all the time to ensure stability in your two worlds of professional and personal. India will expect you to create jobs for self and for others. Gainful employment and sufficiency of incomes should remain your concern, and in a way define the purpose of your life. The nature of tastes and preferences will continue to trigger changes in the nature and magnitude of demands. For example, McKinsey report in their 'Globalisation in Transition', that the rate of growth of trade in services is already higher than that of goods by 60 per cent. I had begun by saying that we shall look at success in both professional and personal life, as each invariably impacts the other. The essence of various factors delineated for professional success also hold true for your personal life, mutatis mutandis. You need to make a success of both, for which you need to be a well practised trapeze artiste capable of a fine rope walk that inter-links the two. Families constitute the primary building blocks of our society. Today and more so during your times the family units are/will be highly vulnerable. Greater degree of mobility for academics and work; and higher order connectivity with individuals and collectives, are more likely to expose families to external influence, and dilute

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13 the bonding, challenging the very stability of a family as basic unit. You as a husband or a wife – will need to be passionate about, committed to, and work hard for nurturing and sustaining your families. The marriages less rooted in traditional values and rendered vulnerable by new structures have already begun to face threats, as seen by increasing number of family splits. You will do well to remember, to remain committed to your spouse. The biggest casualty, and victim of dissonance between spouses, is the child. No amount of financial support can be a substitute for the love and affection and social and psychological security that a child can get, when brought up together by loving parents. As you strive to make a mark in your profession, ensure that you are not creating children who are insecure and hungry for love. Doing so, will be disservice to the society, that you are all committed to serve. Dissonance in families today can be traced to our blindness to the contemporary needs and new aspirations of the modern women. The women of today unl i ke their predecessors are rightly demanding equality and respect as individuals. As men, you need to understand the new man-woman equation, and practise it at home. This is not hard. The family structure is also getting horizontal, just as in your workplace, and one needs to respect the new order at both places. Another important aspect I wish to

highlight is about your world view vis-a- vis the consumption patterns and

creature comforts. To quote Gandhiji again, “there is enough on this earth for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed”. When you can rationalise your material demands, there can only be less pressure on the chase to acquire personal wealth. 12. It is time for me to bring down curtains on my talk. As I do it, let me reiterate the exponential changes influencing our world and the accelerating pace of change, it is acquiring. It is as though to prove the old adage, “change is the only constant”. According to me, all that you have learnt and read till now is only a minimal threshold, that you need to use as a foundation and build new edifice, unless you want to be left out of the race. Desire for continuous improvement combined with flexible approach to life, will keep you excited about making success of your life. This is what will help you to become part of the story making that our nation and the world at large will be busy with. 13. I am sure all of you are set to take off on a new journey and write a story for yourself. While reminding you, to never be afraid of trying and failing only to finally succeed, let me share with you what Vincent Van Gogh said, “a man who knows not what is sorry, has no story to

tell”. May you all be able to tell many- many stories to your children and grand- children as you progress through this

beautiful life on earth. Thank you one and all.