It was a ‘Thank God It’s Friday‘ afternoon and we managed a quick lunch in order to make time to meet up with the man. We wondered if SAP’s library had been shifted to his room because that’s the number of books the room had. This bibliophile later tells us that it’s just 10% of his book collection. So, you know where to drop by if you have an unplanned travel and don’t have a book in hand, right? He calls himself an introvert by nature and yet, keeps us spellbound with his answers for the next forty-five minutes. Here we are, generously sharing with you this fascination and inspiration, interview of Mr. V. R Ferose.
“With passion and compassion, you can change the world” reads your twitter bio. Why?
I am a passionate guy. Passionate people are also very unreasonable. I keep unreasonable goals for myself and expect the same from people around me. I think that gives me an edge when it comes to creating an impact. However, passionate people are not going to change the world. They are going to change a few things for themselves. Passion single-handedly can be a derailer. On the other hand, compassionate people are givers. If you combine both, it’s a rare and a terrific combination. Outstanding achievers often have this great combination.
You are currently penning down a book: Defining moments. What do you think is your defining moment?
Everybody will have a few defining moments in their life. It’s not the defining moment, but your response to the defining moment that makes you what you are. One of my defining moments was my first manager calling me a misfit for this industry. It spurred me on to prove to myself that I was way better than what I was tagged to be.
Jugaad(Translated: An innovative fix or a simple work-around) mindset. Tell us about it.
Oh, I am a very strong believer in the power of intent. If you have the right intent, doors will open up for you to achieve what you want.
Having built teams and organizations, I have noticed that people perform fundamentally different under different leaders. An employee’s performance might vary depending on various factors like personal circumstances, colleagues and the company itself. Those leaders who are capable of maximizing the potential of their employees build winning teams. A leader with the right intent will be a source of inspiration and not a source of disruption.
Dos and don’ts in your field of work.
Your strength is your content and understanding of what you do. Of course, this comes from a sense of passion, as I mentioned earlier. Every place has a lot of good and not so good things about it. The best path to take is to be massively competent. Focus on your competency; be good at what you do. Surround yourself with people who are positive. Be brutally honest. It can land you in trouble a lot of times but it is totally worth it.
Music school in Gurgaon…
I wanted to give back to the society to celebrate the birth of my son. I was then working closely with Kiran Bedi. Since my wife and I are both passionate about books and music, Kiran Bedi encouraged us to pursue this passion of ours. Thus, we started a music school for underprivileged kids in a village in Nayagaon where Kiran Bedi runs her own NGOs. We hired a music teacher and about 40 to 50 kids from the village learn music there every day. These children are given a platform to build their confidence and every year, the best performers are granted scholarship. I have been funding this mission since my son was born.
My belief is that you have to look at education holistically. The arts and creativity part of education is what differentiates you from the rest. I want to build this culture at SAP as well where people are beyond engineers. I am what I am today because of my exposure to sports, literature, music and theatre.
If not in this profession, where would we see you?
I would be writing. I am passionate about sports as well. In my mind I am a problem solver. I would like to take up teaching. I believe no subject is difficult and the job of a teacher is to simplify it for the students. I like to articulate and that ability can make both the subject and the person interesting.
Your definition of success:
It’s a difficult term to define. I don’t consider myself successful but you may think I am simply because of what you think I have achieved. But for me, that’s done and I am looking at my next big challenge. The security guy outside might consider himself successful because getting a job might have been his ultimate goal and why wouldn’t he have the right to consider himself successful.
“Success is a relative thing and is always an external manifestation.” We shouldn’t emphasize so much on it.
All of us have one common denominator, that is, we all have 24 hours in a day. Some people do a lot more in those 24 hours and some people don’t.
We all need eight hours of rest and we all earn our living in the next eight hours. The most successful people use the remaining eight hours in the smartest way possible. My first rule is that my travel time between the workplace and home should not be more than ten minutes. That’s been my philosophy for the last fifteen years. I may have to pay a huge amount of rent but that’s worth it because I can spend those two hours of traffic time at home, with my family or pursuing my hobbies. Figure out how to use your “other eight hours” optimally and the rest is taken care of.
Too much inspiration for the day that we actually forgot to put forth our KYS “Ideas: Ideals: India” question to him. Now that you have invested ten minutes into receiving some corporate gyan, we encourage you to go and invest the remaining seven hours and fifty minutes into becoming the successful person that you desire to become. Cheers!
Ferose is currently heading the globalization services organisation of SAP AG and is credited for transforming SAP Labs India into a high energy location with many innovative initiatives and practices. [Read Mr. V R Ferose Biography]