homepage_name! > Editions > Number 110-111 > Business Thought - Shiv Kera

Shiv Khera

Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently

“Wise people learn from their mistakes, but wiser people learn from other people’s mistakes because our lives are not long enough to make all of our own”

Shiv Khera is an Indian author of self-help books and an activist. He launched a movement against a caste-based reservation in India, founded an organization called the Country First Foundation, and started the Bhartiya Rashtravadi Samanta Party. In 2004, he lost in a bid as an independent candidate for the South Delhi constituency in India's general election. He also filed several public interest lawsuits in the Indian Supreme Court and unsuccessfully contested the country's 2009 general election.

Khera was born into a business family that operated coal mines, which were eventually nationalized by the Indian government. In his early years, he worked by washing cars, was a life insurance agent, and a franchise operator before becoming a motivational speaker. While working in the United States, he was inspired by a lecture given by Norman Vincent Peale and claims to follow Peale's motivational teachings.

In 1998, Khera published his first book You Can Win (Jeet Aapki in Hindi), which focused on achieving success through personal growth and a positive attitude. Subsequent books that Khera authored include: Living With Honor, about living honorably and respectably in a fractured world; Freedom Is Not Free, about the need for action to reform Indian society; and You can Sell (2010).

When Freedom Is Not Free came out, Amrit Lal, a retired Indian civil servant, accused Khera of plagiarism, alleging that content from the book directly came from his own book India Enough Is Enough, published 8 years earlier. Additionally, he found out that numerous anecdotes, jokes and quotes in Khera's other books were also used without acknowledging proper sources. Khera countered that he took the notes and inspirations from numerous sources, and that he was unable to keep track of all of them. Lal finally accepted an out-of-court settlement for an undisclosed sum of money (reputed to be 25 lakh according to Khera), which he said he would donate to the Missionaries of Charity.

Khera founded the Country First Foundation, a social activism organization whose mission is "to ensure freedom through education and justice". In 2004, he stood as an independent candidate from the South Delhi constituency in India’s general elections and "lost badly". In 2008, he started the Bharatiya Rashtravadi Samanata Party. During the 2014 polls in India, he supported the Bhartiya Janata Party and campaigned for Lal Krishna Advani, a senior member of the party. Khera has also filed several public interest lawsuits in the Indian Supreme Court, and he unsuccessfully contested the 2009 general election in India on an anti-corruption platform.

He inspires and encourages individuals to fulfil their true potential. He has taken his dynamic personal messages to all sides of the globe, from the U.S. to Singapore. His 30 years of research & understanding has put organizations on a path of growth and fulfillment. His Clients include Lufthansa, HP, Citigroup, HSBC, Canon, Nestle, Philips, Mercedes Benz, Johnson & Johnson, Metlife and many more.

Tens of thousands of people have benefitted from his dynamic workshops internationally in over 20 countries and millions have heard him as a keynote speaker. He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows.

Mr. Khera is the brand ambassador of the Round Table Foundation. He has been recognized and honored by Rotary International and The Lions International.

Cardinal Rules

Mr. Shiv Khera and his entire team is committed to helping you lead, manage and succeed. To optimize performance, the following are some complimentary resources to help you move up to the next level, both personally and professionally.

Cardinal Rules for Leadership Success

1. EVERY CITIZEN HAS A MORAL OBLIGATION TO BE POLITICALLY INVOLVED BUT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A POLITICIAN.

Political involvement is crucial for every citizen to contribute towards social and civic improvement. Find out if your elected officials are your representatives or rulers? If they’re good, support them. If they’re bad, throw them out.

2. A REPUTATION BASED ON GOOD LOOKS CAN LAST ONLY SO LONG AND THEN IT FADES AWAY.

Cheats and crooks can be very charming and convincing. They’re good at creating sensations. It is crucial to do due diligence. One should check out the trail they have left behind. It will save you a lot of headache and heartache.

3. YOUR JOURNEY TO SUCCESS SHOULD BE AS REWARDING AND ENJOYABLE AS THE ARRIVAL AT YOUR DESTINATION.

If the journey is painful, even when you achieve success, you don’t enjoy it. Every action should bring some form of fulfillment and gratification. Nobody has a lease on life. The pursuit of success must be rewarding and enjoyable.

4. ALWAYS LEAVE A LEGACY. ASK YOURSELF – WHAT AM I LEAVING BEHIND? AM I LEAVING THIS WORLD IN A LITTLE BIT BETTER PLACE THAN I FOUND IT? IF NOT, THEN LIFE IS WASTED.

5.THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS IN LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE DECISION ITSELF.

If the process is right, chances are, 8 out of 10 times, your decisions will be right. If the process is wrong, then, chances are, 8 out of 10 times, your decisions will go wrong. Two by default may be right but that is not the way to make decisions in life.

6. INDECISION IS THE WORST KIND OF DECISION IN LIFE.

Indecision is also a decision by default. I decide not to decide. That’s what it means. The window of opportunity does not remain open forever. It requires the right decision at the right time.

7.EITHER WE ARE GOING FORWARD, OR WE ARE GOING BACKWARD. THERE IS NO STATUS QUO.

Either we are growing, or we are dying.

8. ALWAYS RESPECT THE DIGNITY OF THE OTHER PERSON. MAKE SURE YOU BUILD OTHER PEOPLE’S SELF-ESTEEM. GIVE SINCERE APPRECIATION TO OTHERS AND LET THE OTHER PERSON SAVE FACE.

9. ALWAYS WRITE DOWN YOUR PROBLEM. WHY? IT CRISTALIZES IT. NOW YOU KNOW WHAT THE REAL PROBLEM IS, RATHER THAN WHAT YOU THINK THE REAL PROBLEM IS. THEY COULD BE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. MANY TIMES, WE KEEP LOOKING FOR ANSWERS NOT REALIZING THAT WE MAY NOT EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT QUESTION.

90% of the solution lies in properly identifying the problem. Problems do not get resolved by avoiding them. Continued problems generally point to the cause being people, rather than things.

10. ALL PROGRESS IS CHANGE BUT ALL CHANGE IS NOT PROGRESS.

Evaluate change. Some change needs to be persisted, some needs to be resisted. Every change is uncomfortable, no matter what.

11. EVERY WRONG TEACHES THE WISE WHAT IS RIGHT.

Wise people learn from their mistakes, but wiser people learn from other people’s mistakes because our lives are not long enough to make all of our own.

Cardinal Rules for Sales Success

1. SELLING IS A GREAT PROFESSION WHERE KEEPING A SCORE CARD IS MUCH EASIER THAN OTHER PROFESSIONS.

Both performance or lack of it cannot be hidden in sales.

2. MARKETING ONLY IDENTIFIES AND STRATEGISES SOURCES OF REVENUE. ONLY ‘SALES’ GENERATE REVENUE.

In a profit & loss account of a financial statement, only sales represent profits. Everything else are overheads, including the CEO’s salary.

3 IF YOU HAVEN’T MADE A SALE, DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR PERMANENTLY. ALWAYS MAKE AN EFFORT TO KEEP THE DOOR OPEN BECAUSE WITH TIME, THINGS DO CHANGE.

4. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK. ATHLETES TRAIN 15 YEARS FOR 15 SECONDS OF PERFROMANCE.

Without hard work, talent is totally wasted. Edison said, genius is 90% perspiration and only 10% inspiration.

5. A WRONG THAT TAKES PLACE THE FIRST TIME, MAY BE A MISTAKE OR HUMAN ERROR. BUT THE SECOND TIME, IT IS FOOLISH AND STUPID.

I think it is not out of line to say that most people or organizations can, and have been able, to survive their initial mistakes. The real cause for failure is in the repetition of mistakes.

6 SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE LEARN FROM THEIR EXPERIENCES. THEY DON’T KEEP EXPERIMENTING IN LIFE PERMANENTLY.

Learning from experience is quite different from experimenting permanently in life.

7. SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE SUCCEED BECAUSE THEY LIVE BY A SET OF PRINCIPLES, NOT TRENDS, FADS AND ADS.

8 SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE PREFER NOT ASSOCIATE WITH ANYTHING OR ANYONE RATHER THAN COMPROMISING THEIR VALUES BECAUSE THEY NEVER PUT THEIR CREDIBILITY ON THE LINE.

9. SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE EXERCISE BOTH THEIR MIND AND THEIR BODIES, BECAUSE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER IS LIKE RIDING A BIKE WITH A FLAT TYRE.

10. SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE PREFER TO HAVE A FIRM MENTAL HOLD THAN TO KEEP RUNNING AFTER GOLD.

11. OUR EXPECTATIONS BECOME A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.

Successful people expect success in life and are never disappointed, whereas failures expect to fail and are never disappointed either.

Cardinal Rules for Business Success

1. IF YOU CANNOT CAPTURE THE ATTENTION OF A PERSON IN 30 SECONDS, YOU’VE LOST THEM.

Make sure your first sentence grabs their attention. Otherwise, you’ll lose them before you get them.

2. A QUALITY PRODUCT AND PROVEN VALUES ARE CHERISHED AND RESPECTED UNIVERSALLY.

To a person of integrity, a spoken word and a hand shake amounts to a commitment.

3. UTILITY TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER AESTHETICS.

In the long run, ordinary aesthetics with an extraordinary utility are far better than extraordinary aesthetics with poor utility.

4. SUCCESS DEPENDS ON GIVING DUE IMPORTANCE TO DETAILS.

It is the little-little things, that make a big difference. The question is, ‘If they make a big difference, how can they be little?’

5. IF YOU COME ACROSS SOMETHING WHICH IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, CHANCES ARE, IT MAY BE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. THIS IS THE TIME TO BE CAUTIOUS AND EVALUATE ALL THE THINGS THAT COULD GO WRONG.

Taking a long hard look at what could be wrong does not mean having a negative attitude or being pessimistic. Being cautious is good, but don’t let caution paralyze you into inaction.

6. CHOOSE YOUR ADVISORS CAREFULLY. CHOOSE AN ADVISOR WHO HAS A TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS HIMSELF. DON’T GET YOUR ADVICE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING FAILURES BUT TEACH YOU HOW TO SUCCEED.

When you get advice from veterans, you will save yourself a lot of headache and heartache by avoiding the pitfalls in life. With good advisors, your odds of making the right decisions and succeeding become much greater.

7. WHENEVER YOU MAKE ANY PRODUCT, MAKE SURE THAT THE QUALITY GOES INTO IT BEFORE YOUR NAME EVER GOES ONTO IT.

Every company, every product, every person carries a brand equity. Whenever anyone thinks of you or your product, what comes to the potential user’s mind? Why do people buy brand equity? Because it guarantees minimum standards. The answer is TRUST.

8. IF YOU WANT AN HONEST OPINION ABOUT ANYTHING, THEN ASK: 1. A PROFESSIONAL WITH INTEGRITY; 2. WHO PUTS YOUR INTEREST BEFORE HIS.

Remember: A wolf can never be a guard to a sheep.

9. NEVER OVERPROMISE OR EXAGGERATE THE CLAIMS OF YOUR PRODUCT. WHY? IT IS BOTH UNETHICAL AND SELF-DESTRUCTIVE.

Remember, our credibility determines our profitability.

10. ALWAYS SELL THE SIZZLE, NOT THE STACK. PEOPLE BUY BENEFITS, NOT THE FEATURES.

11. REMEMBER, HONESTY IS NOT A POLICY. IT IS VIRTUE, A WAY OF LIFE.

Every transaction calls for trust. Honesty creates lasting relationships and new opportunities in life.

One needs more than Professional Qualifications to be a Professional

Years ago, in Singapore, I gave a taxi driver a business card to take me to a particular address. At the destination, he circled round the building. His meter read $11 but he took only 10. I said Henry, your meter reads $11 how come you are taking only 10. He said: Sir, I am a taxi driver, I am supposed to be bringing you straight to the destination. Since I did not know the destination, I had to circle around the building. Had I brought you straight here, the meter would have read $10. Why should you pay for my ignorance? He said: Sir, legally, I can claim $11 but ethically I am entitled to only 10. He further added that Singapore is a tourist destination and many people come here for three or four days. After clearing immigrations and customs, their first experience is always with taxi drivers and if that is not good, the remaining three to four days are not pleasant either. He said: Sir, I am not a taxi driver, I am an Ambassador of Singapore without a diplomatic passport. In my opinion, he probably did not go to school beyond the 8th grade, but to me he was a professional. To me his behavior reflected pride in performance and character. That day I learnt that one needs more than professional qualifications to be a professional.

According to NAASCOM, 90% of graduates are unemployed. The same sentiment is shared by corporate leaders. Holistic education has two components.

One teaches us how to make living.

The other teaches us how to live.

One without the other is incomplete. A professional leader is a leader who needs to manage a business, and needs to wear many hats. He needs to be a team leader / team player, a psychologist, an administrator, a visionary, a great sales person, disciplined, competent, a great communicator, and most importantly, someone who takes ownership.

Team Leader / Team Player

A leader cannot succeed without a good team, and there are no readymade teams. Many times you hear that the leader is good, but his advisors are bad. If we were to look a little deeper into this, we would understand this statement not to be true. The important question to ask here is who picks his advisors? It's always the leader. The advisors we get in life are not the kinds of people we want, but the kinds of people we are.

A crooked entrepreneur will have a crooked attorney and a crooked accountant as advisors. An honest entrepreneur will have an honest attorney and an honest accountant as an advisor. One may temporarily get wrong advisors, but in the long run it will not last because the comfort levels are missing. The same is true with friends. The friends we get friends are the kinds of people we are, not the kinds of people we want.

Psychologist

A leader has to be an expert in dealing with all kinds of emotions. Humans are creatures of emotions, not logic. And we all go through emotions of love, happiness, anger, fear and so on. A leader keeps his team motivated and their morale high.

Administrator

A good administrator ensures the smooth day-to-day functioning of operations. The mark of a good administrator is ensuring that systems and reporting are maintained, policies and procedures are followed etc. A good administrator must monitor processes at every level. They set quality standards and benchmarks, inspect carefully and then expect positive results.

A Visionary

A visionary is a person who has the ability to see the invisible. It is not problem solving, but pre-empting and preventing, and if we can see the invisible, we can achieve the impossible.

A Great Sales Person

Anyone who sells a product, service or an idea is a sales person. Based on this definition, who doesn’t sell? In fact, a good leader is a great sales person, selling his ideas all the time.

Disciplined

Nothing in this world has ever been achieved without discipline. Can an athlete be an athlete without discipline? It is experienced that if we discipline ourselves, others don't have to and if we don't, others will discipline us. A leader recognizes that discipline is a track to run on, and that discipline provides freedom.

Competence

What is the difference between skill and competence? Leaders not only have the skill which is an ability, but also the competence. That is ability along with the willingness and desire to do the job. There are many skillful people who are totally incompetent, and are therefore not leaders.

Great Communicator

It has increased the speed of communication tremendously. No doubt, but unless we know how to and what to communicate, we will only mis-communicate a lot faster, won't we? Improper communication leads to misunderstanding and losses of millions of dollars per day. A leader is a good communicator who builds bridges and breaks down barriers with his team.

Takes Ownership

Every person has an owner mentality, or an employee mentality. A leader has the mentality of ownership and a feeling of belonging. He takes charge, accepts responsibility, and considers himself self-employed and the truth is they are self-employed because if they don't work for themselves, who are they working for? At the end of the month, don't they take their earnings home? A person with an employee mentality will never accept responsibility and will always blame others, making excuses for their non-performance. A person’s decision making and problem solving ability is much higher , if they accept ownership.

Star performers never say the following:

  1. "I thought everyone knew about it" – This is a typical response of non-performers to ensure that no one is accountable.
  2. "I thought someone else was going to do it" – This is a great justification for inaction. The remedy is, a responsible person should ask questions to keep things moving on track.
  3. "No one ever asked me to do it" or "no one ever told me about it" - People who talk like this, are operating with blinders on, or with tunnel vision, totally oblivious to what's going on around them.
  4. "They were supposed to get back to me" or "they didn’t get back to me" or "they are going to get back to me soon" – All these responses are total demonstration of a lack of responsibility. Why? Because, expecting someone else to get back to you puts you at their mercy and stops the action from your side. This is what people do when they don’t want to take the initiative and want to be in-charge.
  5. "I just didn’t have any time" or "I have been busy, up to my neck in it" – When people keep saying such things too many times, it is time to evaluate if they are worth retaining, as their intent is in question.
  6. "I didn’t think of that" or "I didn’t think that it was important to ask those questions" – Such phrases show the inability or unwillingness to see beyond, and to grasp, what is coming.

The only job security today ought to be 'performance'. Everybody hits road blocks, and removing road blocks is what the person is paid to do.


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