Luck Favors the Prepared
Date: Monday , January 04, 2010
A focused goal will have several stones on the way, and the one who is prepared for them, luck will curve those stones into opportunities. Years back when Vivek Mohindra, entered MIT for his PhD in engineering, he had a clear vision for his future to make it big not in the technical rather in the business world. The combined effort of his wit, determination and luck is vividly witnessed when he managed to have an MBA degree from MIT's SLOAN school of management without any 'working experience' - a prime criteria to get admission over there. Today, Mohindra has reached the peak of his career steering the business of a multi-billion dollar company Freescale Semiconductor, as its Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Transformation. In this role he maneuvers to re-strategize the product development strategies, the business management strategies, which involve construction of a new way for the company to reassure its leadership in the industry.
The diligence and the spirit to manage different situations is a reflection of the experiences Mohindra had in the several turns of his life from a Head boy of his school to the stints at his first job in Mckinsey, where he had efficiently worked with around 30 companies. "The experiences in my boarding school rallied round to build and define my personality and made me understand the importance of being responsible," he says. As the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Dell’s North American Small and Medium Business Group and the partner co-leadingMcKinsey’s Global Semiconductor practice, Mohindra has obtained the necessary skills that allows him to emerge a winner at every step. For him, the passion lies in achieving the un-doable by keeping his work interest ahead of his own. His long drawn networking skills, an experience in diverse industries and the knowledge that he gathers through his passion for reading helps him to adequately steer his roles. When he looks back at his career in McKinsey and his experience in Dell where he learnt the tactics of product development, corporate management and marketing, Mohindra knows he has the knowledge to play his new role with efficiency. He worked with several global semiconductor and technology companies on both strategy and operational issues and was also on the McKinsey Early Tenure Learning Leadership team that had oversight for associate training globally.
Being a company oriented person, the Freescale SVP doesn't jump at every opportunity that comes to him in the shape of a new job, rather he is evaluative. He looks for three prime factors - 'a clear challenge, sponsorship and support, and a committed leadership’ and Freescale was a perfect match for him. The passion for his work earned him great respect from his fellow workers over the years and in Freescale his old acquaintances knew that he would be apt for the job. The challenges that he faced in his career were always a learning ground that allowed him to excel in any tough situation. "My business days in Korea, without the language knowledge were a big challenge, however, those days taught me the importance of non-verbal communication. A learning which I can use at any point of my life to understand situations better," recalls Mohindra.
As he is always ready to accept and explore the opportunity in what his destiny brings, Mohindra's luck preferred him more. So, ensuring a better thoughtflow, he chanced upon the great leaders like Michael Dell and Jeff Clarke at Dell as his mentors. However, only advice from mentors is not enough, you need to know what you want to do in your life and as Mohindra knew it, he could use the advice in appropriate places whenever needed. He is introspective and hence, never gets swayed by anyone's opinion rather he works on his own judgments to ensure his win in every position. His traits like being a good observer and a listener and being curious by nature helped him to understand situations and act accordingly. As a man of principles, he has always prioritized his work before self. "If you help the company to be a huge success then personal benefits will follow its own," he asserts. The importance that he gives to his work makes him very blunt in his actions and this straight forward attitude helps him to garner more respect, though there is always a chance of things going awry under such reactions.
There are numerous principles that he has picked through the experiences in his professional life and as an advice to the budding professionals he shares a few of them. Professionals should always be very passionate about the work they do as money and success usually comes from that. He always believes that one should keep expanding one's skill set as these skills will then assist the future growth. Today, as he sees young professionals he wants to see the zeal to achieve the goals that they may have set for the future. At this stage one should have a plan of where they want to be after 15 years. Even today, though he has reached the peak of his career, Mohindra has a quick answer for any query of his future goals. "At the professional level I would like to be a CEO of a company. At the personal level I would like to see myself flying a plane when the kids are a little more grown-up, and at the societal level I would like to see us as a world provide basic amenities like water and electricity to all around the world. " he promptly replies. His noble wish to make available all the basic amenities to all sections of the people throws a light on the concerned side of the person. With re-sounding dreams at all levels, Mohindra is prepared to grab hold of any opportunity that his luck may unfold for him and at the same time he is determined to expand his own skills through an in-depth footing in his current role.