Page 11 - IACC Newsletter March 2013 Issue no. 9

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Prakash Iyer, MD, Kimberly Clark speaks on ‘The Habit of Winning’ at Power Breakfast Meeting
January 23, 2013 heralded the beginning of the 2
series of the IACC Power Breakfast Series. After an entire year of
successful and widely appreciated breakfast meetings, IACC sought to raise the bar further.
The first breakfast meeting of the 2
series witnessed a speaker unlike any other. A man who’s talent and charisma could
only be matched by his humility- Mr. Prakash Iyer- Managing Director of Kimberly Clark Lever Pvt. Ltd. In addition to being
an accomplished entrepreneur, Mr. Iyer has also written a book titled “The Habit of Winning” which was the topic for the
breakfast meeting.
Dr. L.S. Kanodia introduced Mr. Iyer and stated that they he was also looking forward to hearing what Mr. Iyer had to say, as
were the rest of the guests.
Mr. Iyer said he was humbled to see such an amazing turn out despite the fact that it was 9:00 am on a Wednesday morning.
He also mentioned that apart from speaking on the topic, he looked forward to hearing what everyone had to say and
perhaps learn from them.
Mr. Iyer said that he would share his experiences through a series of anecdotes which would elaborate the key points of the
day’s discussion, since he believed that stories are an excellent tool when it comes to communicating a point or perspective.
He also spoke about the beginning of his career as a soap sales man while emphasizing one particular instance when his boss
at the time was scheduled for a site visit. To his good fortune, Mr. Iyer was supposed to pick up his boss from the airport and
bring him to the main store, which of course, was something that his peers green with envy. Mr. Iyer was eager to make a
good impression on his boss as they travelled in a car to their destination from the airport. To his surprise his boss didn’t ask
him a single question aside from the routine small talk.
When they arrived at the store, one of the laborers who were responsible for loading boxes into the trucks saluted Mr. Iyer’s
boss followed by an excited salutation. Mr. Iyer’s boss turned to him and asked him what the laborer’s name was. Mr. Iyer
was tongue tied, for that is the one thing that he didn’t know, despite taking great efforts to remain updated on everything
from the country’s economy, to technical information about his own product line. Mr. Iyer’s boss turned to him and said “It
is hardworking laborers like that man, who make the organization look good” and that if he had known his name, he would
have liked to have shook hands with him. Mr. Iyer recollected how this particular instance taught him one of the most
important principals of leadership, that is to respect and acknowledge the people who are working in the front lines. That
would include everyone from a driver, a lift man and a sales executive to your own maid working at home. We must have
the ability and drive to provide these people with the recognition and appreciation that they deserve, for without them, we
would not be able to function as we do.
Mr. Iyer cited another example which was about Mount Everest and the first people who managed to climb to its highest
points. He made an interesting point after he posed a question to the audience. The question was “What does it take to
A variety of answers echoed through the conference room. Determination, strong will, dedication, team work, the right
attitude and unwavering effort were amongst some of the answers. After a long intuitive pause Mr. Iyer said the one most
important thing that is needed to succeed is the mountain itself. Without the mountain, there would be no goal, nothing to
achieve. He emphasized how we must set our goals and that once we have done so, everything else would fall into place.
Mr. Iyer then chose to shed light on another aspect through an amusing example involving rabbits. He explained that life is
like a garden and our goals are like elusive rabbits scampering about. There are rabbits of various colors and as we spend
our time chasing these rabbits in hopes of catching them. The rabbits are symbolic of our goals and things that we would like
to achieve in life.
For example, you chose a brown rabbit and then start to chase it. The primary mistake that people make is that when they
are unable to catch the brown rabbit, they deviate and start chasing a different one. At the end of the day, despite putting in
a great deal of effort, they end up not catching any at all.