In this book, veteran marketer and leader Harrish M. Bhatia, distills practical learnings from his 38-year long career spreading from Aristocrat luggage to Onida, LG India and DB Corp, on navigating corporate life. He presents these in easy to absorb bite-sized formats which will be useful for entry level professionals. Here are a couple of extracts:

In the initial days of your career, there are so many things you can do right. One of them is taking initiative. If you can get things done without having to be told to do them, you will be an asset to any organization you are in.

If you are just starting out in your professional journey, let me give you some valuable advice – don’t just do your job. Get out of the mindset of taking a backseat. If you see something that needs to be done, a problem that needs to be solved, and you have the necessary abilities to get it done, then go out of your way and do so. Don’t wait for someone to tell you or assign the task to you. If you think that someone else is better off doing the work, or no one is going to listen to or appreciate what you have to say or do, because you are too far below on the ladder, you are wrong. Proactive employees, no matter how junior or senior they are, are always appreciated in organizations. Because such employees can lead the change.

But there is a caveat that I must add here – don’t jump the gun. To paraphrase a popular expression, there is a time and place for being proactive. For instance, you might not be the right person to take the initiative for pitching the marketing campaign for the entire organization, not in your initial years at least.

Ideally, don’t let there be a mismatch between your abilities and the task you take on. And don’t just take initiative for the sake of it – there are plenty of others out there who can take things up for the sake of being labelled proactive and leave things in a state where others have to salvage them. If you are taking something on, take it to the finish line. Only then the initiative will matter.

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Take responsibility for your actions

If you want the bouquets, be willing and courageous enough to accept the brickbats too.

To err is human – an oft quoted expression. But what makes us a better human being is to own up to that error. Yet, so many of us shy away from taking responsibility of our actions, often fearing the backlash that will come in its wake. And one couldn’t be more wrong.

In my long journey as a professional, I have always made it a point to take responsibility for my actions, good or bad, and expect others to do the same. For I do not believe that owning up to your faults or mistakes makes you smaller in any way. In fact, it is when you fail to take responsibility for the part you played in something that you lose some of the goodwill that you have so carefully built for yourself.

Taking responsibility for actions is what is called accountability, in fancier terms. And accountability is one of the most desirable traits for any young professional to cultivate. It shows that you are dependable and will not jump ship when the times get tough. Believe you me, the earlier you learn to accept the responsibility for your actions, the better it will serve you in the long run. If you are ambitious right from the start, as you should be, know that a leader who takes responsibility for his actions is well-respected by peers and colleagues everywhere. I say this often enough - don’t blame the circumstances, the people around you, or the timing. Be honest, be brave, and own up to your actions.

The rewards that come from taking responsibility for your actions far surpass the brief reprieve you might get from shifting the blame when it falls on you.

(Harrish M. Bhatia is President (Media/ Entertainment and Consumer Durables) at the Dainik Bhaskar Group, India’s largest Hindi language newspaper group. These extracts have been published with permission from the author and publisher)

Check out the book on Amazon

Management and Life Lessons from Ground Zero

Harrish Bhatia

SIA Books

₹275/ 162 pages

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