Recipe for success

Dear Raunak,

I am going to start updating this post on what traits I typically see in someone who is successful at workplace. May be useful for me to introduce you to a few of these when you are of appropriate age. May be this post is for me and not really for you. Whatever it is, here is what I want you to know about things I learnt from my career.

Remember that not everyone will have all traits and when things go wrong, nothing can save you. You just wait for the phase to pass, be optimistic and truly believe a new chapter and a new beginning is round the corner. You can't see it but it will be there and it will be fine.

Be genuinely nice to people, help them grow, mentor them, always wish for the best things to happen to them but keep a professional distance. You will have to take hard decisions sometimes and it will be impossible to execute if you look at everyone as friends. You have to make it easy on yourself to look at things objectively sometimes. If you are running a business or working for a company, profitability and the values you have for your customers are paramount. Some people fit the role they need to play, some people unfortunately don't and you will realize that after hiring them.

Be humble. Really really humble. Titles, recognition, fame, nothing matters. You will be the happiest if you are oblivious to the halo the world puts around your head sometimes. Always look at your position as just one of the wheels that is needed to keep the machine working and you are as important as any other part in the system. Resist the urge to show off your title. When people accept you for who you are and not for what role you play in a particular company, you will really make friends.

Be creative and bold while building a vision but be organized and controlled while executing it. If you focus on details while building a vision, you are not being ambitious enough. If you are creative and have a free flow style of execution, you are a making a mess.

Project management and knowing details is the most valuable skill you will need as you grow in your career. It is also the hardest to manage a project because managing people is easy, managing a process is easy but managing people who influence various processes and driving all of it towards one goal is tough as hell.

Know your numbers. It does not matter which industry you end up working in, no matter which profession you pick up, you will have to be data savvy. If you don't have this skill, you will never reach your full potential. Period.

Be articulate. In your first 5 years of your career, let all the articulation be about curiosity, learning and showing results. This is also when you will slog day and night but don't shy away from it. You need a strong foundation for your career and this is when you build it. Next 5 years, articulate your goals, and execution plans. This is when you will be building your leadership skills and if you can't articulate goals and execution plans, you should consider not aspiring to be a leader. The 3rd 5 years is when you will get real leadership opportunities. Articulating to influence and inspire is what you will need at this stage. Also don't forget about all of the other things I mentioned above. Every single one of them will not only apply at this stage but will be essential for you to survive.

Network deliberately, enjoy meeting people genuinely. Being known as a good person with a clear mind of what you want to achieve is a lot better than being known as successful. Success and failure is cyclical. If you have a healthy mind, you will learn to cope with this.

Prioritize family. If work does not allow you to give due quality time to your loved ones, you are in the wrong job.

I can't wait to see what you end up becoming when you grow up. It will also be fun to see if this post remains relevant 10 years from now when the world would be an altogether different place.