We celebrated Teachers day recently, and when I was wondering who could one of the best teachers who could inspire a nation, one name which struck me – my friend Pulela Gopichand. My association with Gopi started fourteen years ago, when he was starting a badminton academy in Hyderabad. The purpose was clear. A champion who wanted to dedicate himself in building more champions for the future. Our association continued to grow and I still remember in 2016, PV Sidhu won the silver medal for badminton and Gopi was the coach. I spoke to him at length on this amazing feat as he was her coach. The flow of emotions generated by PV Sidhu’s pulsating match where she defeated the then world champion was spontaneous and overwhelming. I wanted to live the moment of victory and my spontaneity of connecting with him and by celebrating that moment together.
During pandemic, we started Consocia Conversations every week, and we invited for our associates and clients every week and we invited Gopi recently. My team peppered him with questions, and as earlier, and all of us were struck by his courage, tenacity, simplicity and humility as shared the secrets of his achievements. As the team listened with rapt attention to his anecdotes and the stories of how he created victory after victory from even the most difficult of situations, it struck me how these learnings are equally applicable in business situations.
Gopi touched upon several times on the importance of courage, and having a strong unwavering faith in ones abilities. Over the years, I have often counselled top corporate executives about sticking to the values of the company, no matter how difficult a situation we were facing. Having trust in your own abilities, and having self-confidence can make a person a winner even if he or she is entering uncharted territory. I re learnt this when I started my own business and was pitching to clients on subjects which I was touching for the first time. Though my company had just been launched, but there was supreme confidence and courage that I and my co-founder Praveen Aggarwal started off with. We exerted ourselves and formed a long term business relationship with our first client. When sportspersons have faith in self, they win matches, when entrepreneurs have faith in self, they win clients and create victories for the clients.
Every now and then I get goosebumps when some of my ex direct reports tag me in social posts to thank me for helping enable them achieve success. Champions like Gopi helped me revisit my purpose of nurturing and growing people in the field of branding, communications, advocacy, engagement with stakeholders and new media.
One of the tenets that Gopi discussed, was his approach towards creating success for self and others. He spoke on how it was important to shift the mindset towards fostering an environment that makes all team members winners. At Consocia, there have been several occasions where clients have faced business crisis. Irrespective of the client servicing team, I have motivated and guided all Consocians to come forward and work as one. With combined efforts, we have produced excellent results and created outstanding work which has resulted in accolades from clients.
With passion, courage and selfless dedication, Gopi has changed the status of badminton in India and his coaching has brought honour to the country several times. His academy has produced multiple champion players including Saina Nehwal, P. V. Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Parupalli Kashyap, Srikanth Kidambi, Arundhati Pantawane, Gurusai Datt and Arun Vishnu. He guided Saina Nehwal to win the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and P. V. Sindhu for the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Businesses and communicators who follow these sterling qualities will triumph in every arena like this champion will create more champions.
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