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Inspiration for Indian Youth – Sunil Robert

4 October 2009 One Comment

The part 1 of the interview with Mr. Sunil Robert can be found here: http://coffeewithsundar.com/i-will-survive-sunil-robert/

Mr. Sunil Robert works for TCS Financial Solutions, where he runs the global Analyst Relations and Public Relations program. Sunil has also been the front end of the Marketing arm for i-flex in North & Latin America. Sunil holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and another Master’s degree in Communications & Journalism that helps him to bridge the gap between pure communicators who often miss the business landscape or Business strategists who have the know – why but don’t often have the know-how.

Me: What were some of the learnings you had in your career? Some things which you learnt the hard way?
SR: I was 18 years – a struggling immature kid when I joined the work force. I was too naive in transaction initially. My first learning was that the corporate world is a very competitive place. I was taking people at face value. You see, coming from a very mild & protected back ground, I was suddenly facing the hard realities of life.

As you keep going through life experiences, you realize that life in the corporate world is not very different from that of the personal life. Rules of relationship don’t change. My freshness, energy & innocence helped in my career. In my life I met a number of genuine, honest people with no politics. Those few good souls changed my life. 10 years ago, I had one of the nicest bosses in my life. Always polite, not angry, very humble and corrects your mistake with smile. Even I want to be like that for young. Even the people I don’t like also gave me deep, deep insights. In essence, my corporate experience was “An accelerated course in maturity.”

Me: Who were your role models?
SR: Well a number of them have influenced my life. One of them was my school teacher, who inspired me to love public communication. I was no body then. The influence is unforgettable. When I was 18, I came across a person named Ravi Zacharias. He was one of the most persuasive communicator, whom I met. He was a great human being. He never let achievements to come in the way of relationship. Even I want to influence the lives of youngsters in India. Apart from them, there are business leaders who are my role models. I have spoken about them in my book – I will survive. They run organizations by the sheer strength of their persona. One of them is Ratan Tata. He has 350,000 employees working for him. We approached him with the manuscript and asked him if he could write the foreword. His office is inundated with such requests. But he was willing to spare time for it. They inspire me. Even I want to pass on such generosity to young people. If I don’t, I will be failing him. Some time back, I met a guy, who said his brother is a writer and wanted me to help him out. I spent some time with him and helped him out. We fail if we don’t pass on the generosity in spirit. Not only professional, but also in the personal life. The book – I will survive is also a guide to young people. It has all the lessons which I have learnt the hard way in life. It is in a narrative style which appeals to the young audience.

Me: Why is the book named – I will survive?
SR: A number of reasons.
1. Indians are a resilient lot. We look at the crisis at eyes & won’t blink. We are a great nation of survivors against the external imperials. Surviving is our national trait. Hence the name.
2. People need some support. Generally we tend to think that we might through a tough time, but we always have the belief – “I will survive”. This book is not catering to Celebrity & successful people. It is for marginalized. This is for people who are seeking inspiration to succeed in life.
3. I was in late 30s when I started this book. But not many people write autobiography at this age. I was wondering if I was too early. I thought “would you rather be little early or a little late”. I knew that this book was for youth and I wanted it to be relevant. I thought I will go in for it a little early and I knew “I will survive” with my decision.

Me: You have now been in the corporate world for more than a decade. Do you see India changing?
SR: Yes of course! I have only great news here. In the late 80s, we were over-whelmed and were always in awe with our counter parts in US. It has always been our culture of respecting others. Today, after being in the IT industry for 10 – 12 years, I can say that Indians are good or probably better in managing others. Our culture is very unique. We are not very combating and westerners are comfortable with that. We have shown that world that we are amazing in technology & engineering. Now, Indian managers & professors are also empowering. We are well poised to move into top management of some of the top companies.

Me: A good number of people are going abroad. A lot of them are working with international teams in their work place in India. What are your tips for working in this new international environment?
SR: Indians are well positioned to work in Global community. In our schools, we have friends who speak 2 or 3 different languages at home. Youngsters play cricket, where people come from different backgrounds. So, our kids are exposed to handle diversity very easily. It is a part of our skin. There are few areas where we need to fine tune ourselves. Things like etiquettes, differences in our cultures & theirs, where to bond, the social set up etc. This will help us to easily handle global communities.

Me: Sir, it has been amazing having you on this show. I am sure your book would go on to inspire many more Indians. What are your future plans?
SR: I will be taking up full time writing. Writing this book has been amazing, but it was a tiresome and quite an experience. So, I want to be doing this full time. The good news as far as the book – I will survive – is that it has gone for re-print in just 2 weeks. It has got a critical mass following.
My next book is also towards young executives, Indian professionals & managers. I want to help serve young professionals & managers.
A lot of people define success as “where you are now”. But for me it is important to add another parameter. Success is a measure of “Where you arrive, from where you started”. I am happy with where I have arrived from where I started. I want to go on to become an inspiration of many Indian youth & young professionals.

Me: Sir, Thank you so much for sparing your time. It was indeed a pleasure to have you on this show. Thanks once again. I am sure; this book would be a huge success. You are going to be an inspiration for many young Indians sir.

SR: Thanks a lot Sundar! I am also very happy to be a part of this show.



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