In an appeal to the youngsters and aspiring entrepreneurs, Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy told them to work harder with discipline and good values so as to make India a worthy competitor to China.

The way China has progressed in the past 44 years leaving behind India by six times, India too can gain its due respect globally if the youngsters decide to make things happen, Murthy told students at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) during a talk on entrepreneurship.

“When I was young and visited Paris, everybody looked at India as a land of filth and poverty. But today there is a certain level of respect, not very high though. But thanks to the economic reforms of 1991 and missions like Make in India and StartUp India, there is a certain respect. And thanks to the NRIs, Indians have also demonstrated that they can create wealth for others,” said Murthy.

He added that it was through the success of companies such as Flipkart, Oyo, Byju’s, etc. that there has now been a considerable interest to invest in India. However, he also said that “every adulation comes with a tremendous responsibility.”

‘Country ahead of personal interest’

Murthy said, “Today, there is an expectation that you will move the country forward. My request to youngsters is to work hard, be disciplined, have a good set of values and put the interest of the company, community or the country ahead of your personal interest and show a lot of energy and enthusiasm besides innovation.”

Responding to questions from the authors (and IIM-A alumni) Ujwal Kalra and Shobhit Shubhankar of ‘Startup Compass: How Iconic Entrepreneurs Got It Right’ , Murthy gave two attributes for the success and longevity of an enterprise — competence and a set of enduring values.

“The competence includes skills, expertise and experience. Unless you are competent, you will not succeed anywhere in your objective. Competence is a necessary ingredient but it is not sufficient ingredient. The sufficiency comes from values,” he said.

According to Murthy, a value system is the ability to pay a certain cost in order to enhance the confidence of every other member of the team in the leader. He said, “That’s the only way you can make those people achieve the plausibly impossible. And to ensure that there is a certain level of confidence and hope, you have to follow a certain protocol for behaviour amongst your team. That’s what value system is.”

When asked if he were to choose a mentor for himself, Murthy said, “It would be JRD Tata. The reality is that there has been no business group with a such social conscience as the Tatas.”