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Being Consistently Committed
Ganesh Devaraj
Friday, December 15, 2006
A leader’s sense of right and wrong comes from deeply held convictions while lesser mortals follow the crowd. Leaders reach positions of high responsibility and respect while people who follow the wrong crowd, take short cuts for immediate gains, and end up compromising their long-term prospects.

The knowledge-based industry in India is growing exponentially and skilled professionals are in huge demand. During this period, one can expect societal values to also undergo change, but what is concerning is the direction of this change. In a recent article Subroto Bagchi of MindTree Consulting highlighted the number of professionals they sacked for using false credentials to get the job or availing leave benefits on false pretences. Stories abound about professionals in the IT industry switching jobs without a second thought to the commitments given to their previous employer.

What is visible is the quick salary rises that one gets when job-hopping. But what happens to such people in the long run? Do a quick scan of the top companies in India with excellent reputations like TATA, Wipro, Infosys and read the profiles of the people who make up their top management. Many had started their careers in these companies, for most it is their second company, and there are very few for whom it is their third company. This says something very important.

A leader’s most influential attribute is his character, which is built over a long period from a certain consistency in behavior. It is foolish to believe that one can hop a few jobs, get some quick salary increases, and then settle down in a company to build a career. By this time, one’s reputation has already been compromised, and they can no longer exercise any moral authority with conviction. They are restless because they do not get the respect from the people who matter and fall into the job-hopping crowd–forever looking for the right company to settle down into. How does one stay out of this vicious cycle?

First you need to develop the confidence that you can add value wherever you decide to go and so become choosy when selecting the companies. Next you need to understand your values and find a company that shares them. If you join a company just because they are working on some cool technology, it could be a short-term move. You may not like the company and its people and you will not grow in it. One way to find out if there is alignment is to talk about yourself freely during your interview and ask questions about how they do things. If you get an offer, speak to many people in the company to get a broad perspective. And finally, if you do decide to move, make sure that you fulfill all your existing commitments. Beware of companies who disregard your existing commitments and pressurize you to join quickly. They don’t value you–they just want your skills.

There are very few things in life more satisfying than finding the company that will value the unique person that is you. When you are among people with whom you can be yourself, it brings exhilarating freedom. This will unleash your full creativity and your unique style of leadership so you can leave a legacy that is 100 percent authentic you.

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