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Believe in Yourself
si Team
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Believe in Yourself

Wouldn't it be great if you get to work in domains you love? The answer is definitely yes. It was this intention that led Suresh Kamath to start LaserSoft Infosystems, a Chennai based banking and financial software maker.

“During my time, there were only a few companies operating in even fewer domains, a domain expert had to work on the domain that the company wants him to work and not what he wants to. My motive was to create employment for such people,”says Kamath.

A graduate from IIT Chennai, Kamath began his career with a relatively unknown IT company and later got into Tata Consultancy Services. After working there for four years the entrepreneurial spirit besieged him. Bravely trusting his instincts, he left his cushy job at TCS in 1986 and started a new chapter in his life.

The new job however was not without difficulties. He tried hard at dispelling the notion that startups were ‘fly-by-night-operators.’ At a time when many foreign companies are entering India competing with homegrown entrepreneurs, our entrepreneurs should be enterprising and have to think long-term and not be bogged down by short-term difficulties. “They should attempt to succeed. A passion for ideas is a must along with implementing them. This will not just bring business to us but also remove the misconception that MNC's will take over India Inc. This will also bring in the required expertise,” says Kamath.

Switching jobs-for better or worse?
Generally people have a notion that to keep switching jobs would create a negative impression, but there are few who differ. Vasu Subbiah, Head of (Product & Partner Engineering Group) Netapp- IDC is one among them. “If you change ten companies in ten years in different areas then it shows you are heading nowhere. However, if you change five jobs in seventeen years in one particular field it wouldn't harm, rather it would help to learn something new from every switch made,” says Subbiah.

Subbiah started his career at LSI Logic in programming for semiconductor manufacturing. After working there for three years he realized that programming was not his cup of tea and he wanted to shape his career as a customer solution provider. His desire drove him to try his hand at strategic alliance, sales engineering, product management, consulting (ERP & CRM) and technical sales plus marketing in various management and development companies, such as NewChannel, Oracle Corporation, Unifym, Gensym and LSI Logic prior to joining NetApp.

Subbiah says, “Though I changed many companies my career focus has not changed much. I always had been at the customer interface.” Only a clear focus can help one to nurture his or her career. Don’t expect things to happen automatically, one has to make things happen. The lesson that he learnt in his 17 plus years of experience is, “You got to communicate to be heard, and without communicating your aspirations nobody is going to know what your desires are.” But that doesn't mean that one should blow his or her trumpet, he added.

Putting life in the life of team
Every manager has a knack for getting what he wants. He makes his team excited, solves conflicts and ignites fire in their bellies, besides having go-getter and positive attitude. Pradeep Malhotra, VP and MD of Continuous Computing is no exception. Having begun his career with C-DoT, his 13-year career has made him strong when it comes to “putting life into the life of a team member.” Experience at various companies like InterWave Communications, Trillium Digital Systems Inc. and Intel Corp. have made him stronger and bolder.

Malhotra says, “You have to get the work done. People want to do something new and conflicts may arise. But it is my job to sell the job to my people, team, company and ultimately the techie.” Hence everyone benefits. Reassure a techie about his work and the whole team stands by you.

So how does he do that? For starters, have better negotiation skills to convince the team members to take up jobs they might not be interested in. You learn this only with experience. Know their mentality. This way I not only mentor them but also learn from them that helps me to help other techies in distress.

Hence you not only help a techie but also identify and groom a potential manager in him. “Treat all the team members as stakeholders and not just as employees. Only then they will give their best. Attrition levels will shrink and the company will benefit. ”
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