Today’s shade of mindset is inspired by a leader who left a deep impression in my mind and left behind future ready learnings that I use even today.
I was working in marketing with ITC Hotels in Chennai when I got the wonderful opportunity to work with The Maharaja Group (Now known as the Capital Maharaja Group) one of the biggest conglomerates in Sri Lanka into diverse activities. I was assigned as Marketing Director of the New Zealand Dairy Board as it was their flagship company and a joint venture. I was based out of TMG’s corporate headquarters in Colombo. The CMD of the group was Mr. R. Rajamahendran a dynamic leader who was a future ready visionary. I was requested to work with him on Corporate Communications for the group and used to end up often in his board room or in his office, planning corporate strategy for the group. The credo for the group was ‘The courage to be different’ I saw him living the credo and taking the group to incredible heights. I did not then realise that it was his mindset and later became the company purpose, but now reflecting back I realise the value of developing this mindset and implementing it. I dedicate this article to Mr. R. Rajamahendran!
Demystifying ‘The courage to be different’
We have always heard “Think out of the box” …” This approach lacks innovation” …” What’s the differentiator” etc. The courage to be different means two main things. One, challenge the status quo and two have the risk-taking appetite to do things differently. There is one word which does not exist in this mindset. ‘Complacency’. You need to define your purpose and pursue it relentlessly. Needless to say, that you need to have your ear to the ground about customer feedback and competitive innovation. Your product/service needs to have distinct differentiators. Innovation should be the first natural impulse. Inventing and creating trends should become your second nature. Be future ready.
Making courage, your second nature
We all have fires burning within, big ambitions and the zeal to excel. These spirits are at their peak during our 20’s and early 30’s and as we taste success and create a niche for ourselves in this world there is a tendency for us to become comfortable and complacent. Courage means that we constantly dare to step outside our comfort zone and climb again. Keep being our best self. Restart, relearn. One of the main reasons for this constant reinvention is because of our environment which is constantly changing. Consumers want different things all the time, more than ever before. Competitors are constantly innovating new products. There are new trends of being an organisation which is environment friendly, creates social impact, cares for its employees etc. Accepting change itself needs courage. Be courageous, stay ahead.
You need to be different to be noticed and respected for what you bring to the table. There are ‘’me too leaders who walk this world, dime a dozen and then there are leaders who make a difference and then become role models for aspiring cutting-edge leaders. Create a positive impact with your efforts, think big. Positively disrupt the market with the products or services you launch. Progress in leaps and bounds. Create sustainable progress. You need to create a natural strategic mindset which is future ready.
Follow leaders who have had the courage to be different
Identify leaders you want to follow, use their life-stories to pivot yours. Better still look at the positive domain disruptors in your industry. Map them. How did they meet their challenges? What were the difficulties that they encountered? How did they overcome them? What leadership style did they follow? Let them inspire your thoughts and actions. One very important step though. Is your purpose outdated? Do you need to repurpose? This approach needs a lot of effort, but the outcomes will be well worth it.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”― Winston Churchill
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