Lot of people do achieve success but there are very few, who remain successful in the long run. Reaching at the top of their respective fields is not that difficult for many, but sustaining the top slot is really a tough challenge for most leaders. We all admire successful people, but we fail to notice those qualities which differentiate a successful leader from a common man.
Today we are going to discuss about one principle “Value System” that plays an important role in shaping Successful leaders and keeping them at the top. I will discuss 3 events from the life of Narayana Murthy, former chairman of I.T major Infosys, the man who made us all proud and is a living example of great value system.
Narayana Murthy was born in an Indian middle-class family and had developed a strong sense of values from childhood. His parents taught him the importance of education, hard work, decency, courtesy, honesty, respect for others, and putting the community’s interest ahead of that of the individual.
As we go through the three events from his life, we will understand how moral values run deep in his veins and how these values reflect in his actions.
The first event is from 1970’s decade. Narayana Murthy was working as a Research Assistant in Pune. He was in love with Sudha with whom he later married. She was earning more salary than him at that time. Finally one night, Mr. Murthy gathered courage to propose to her and this is what he told her “I am 5’4” tall. I come from a lower middle class family. I can never become rich in my life and i can never give you any riches. You are beautiful, bright, intelligent and you can get anyone you want. But will you marry me?”
Sudha his wife tells “I married him because he was an honest man. He proposed to me highlighting the negatives in his life”.
Just reflect upon this. How many of us have the guts to say truth when something as important as our love and marriage is at stake. Is it not true that at the time of marriage, families from both Bride and Bridegroom hide so many important facts from each other that many times cause mistrust and lead to breaking of marriages?
The second event is from May, 1981. Seven colleagues had crowded into the tiny bedroom of Mr. Murthy’s rented apartment in Mumbai. He had decided to quit his job to create a professionally managed software company and had invited six colleagues to join him. The meeting was to develop vision for the new company “Infosys”. One of them suggested that they should try to become India’s largest software company. Someone else said that their goal should be to become the country’s biggest job creator. A third opinion was that they should strive to be the software firm with the highest market capitalization. When Narayana Murthy’s turn came, he pushed back on those ideas, saying, “Why don’t we aim to be India’s most respected company?”
Finally they all agreed to create a values-based organization. The vision statement they drafted that night was “to be India’s most respected company delivering best-of-breed technology solutions and employing best-in-class professionals”. The conversation also laid the foundation for Infosys’s value system: C-LIFE, which stands for Client focus; Leadership by example; Integrity and transparency; Fairness; and Excellence in everything we do.
Isn’t it surprising that in today’s world when most of the entrepreneurs seek for profits, here’s a man who wishes to seek respect. And see the result. In the last three decades, this man has not only earned respect but has created unbelievable wealth for himself, shareholders and employees of Infosys. The lesson to be learnt is if your basics are in place, success is bound to come.
Let’s look at the third event. In February 1984, Infosys decided to import a super minicomputer so that they could start developing software for overseas clients. When the machine landed at Bangalore Airport, the local customs official refused to clear it unless they “took care of him”—the Indian euphemism for demanding a bribe. A delay could have meant the end for Infosys before company had even started. When an Infosys manager informed Narayana Murthy about the problem, his only question was, “What is the alternative to paying a bribe?” The manager hesitantly replied that they could pay a customs duty of 135% and then appeal for a refund. Murthy told him: “Do that.”
They were not having enough money to pay the duty and had to borrow it. However, because they had decided to do business ethically, they had no choice. They effectively paid twice for the machine and had only a slim chance of recovering their money. But a clear conscience is the softest pillow on which you can lay your head down at night. This is Narayana Murthy’s belief system and he lives by it.
At times when on one hand, corruption and scams from politicians is at an all time high and on the other hand Corporate governance is at an all time low, the only ray of hope is to motivate our self by looking at the role models like Mr. Narayana Murthy. Honesty and simplicity are integral part of his personality. He is looked upon by Indian youth with great respect and it is his simplicity that has been the biggest influence. I hope these instances from his personal and professional life will motivate the young generation to lead contented life full of happiness and success.