I show the light, by keeping it simple
Story of role-model Swati Hede
Swati said, 'I sat at my desk for 2 days - twiddling my thumbs and drinking needless coffee.
I was a newly promoted Project Manager in Wipro. My resume showed that I had done Cost Reduction Projects earlier.
I was sent to General Motors in Detroit.
GM had a company wide financial cost reduction initiative in progress and I was definitely not the domain expert, they would have wanted from Wipro.
Punching well above my weight - I began to call executives across 17 plants. I would ask for meetings. They would say Yes and forget.
Not me. I would leave persistent voice mails. Follow up.
I learnt from my conversations and began to see a pattern. I realised that IT applications could be rationalized across plants.
I made a proposal out of it. They accepted. Wipro gained a new customer.
I had simply shined the light on a possibility.
Back in Bangalore, I moved into another Business Unit.
Telecom this time.
The domain was new. I did not even know the jargon yet.
I had inherited a project where the unhappy customer was shutting down the account.
It took 3 months to learn the ropes.
Meanwhile, I spoke one-on-one to the 6 remaining team members - asking them to give me 6 months - best effort basis.
Suffice it to say, within 9 months, we grew from 6 to 36. Client moved the lab to Wipro from competition.
It is not only intellect that can shine a light. More so, actions too.
A few adventures later, I moved to Wipro Enterprise Risk Function.
The role requires you to look past the corners and convince senior management of what is worthy of their proactive attention.
Support roles are thankless but they help you grow like nothing else.
Here - I learnt to think like a CFO from the grillings that my 32 quarterly reviews, I went through.
By just shining the light into unlikely dark alleys.
To show the torch, I had to make friends with seeing the light myself.
I have had teachers for this, who were simple people. They taught me to simplify.
Bindu Amma. A home cook, rich in spirit, who laboured in her older years.
She was always thanking the Gods for not having to go to bed hungry and for the ability to work with her hands.
Patients at Karunashraya - a terminal care hospice. My son and I volunteered there.
We learnt that we all return back to basics, when counting our remaining breaths.
Daily wage workers returning home after a tiring day of work, in the local bus. I would take the bus to see them.
Almost always, they were happier than those of us who have privilege - and business class travels.
I moved to Capgemini. Into international roles that shine light on situations.
Capgemini taught me to take people along, to collaborate across functions and to pause and celebrate achievements to fuel the journey ahead.
I began to take on mentoring and healing roles in my personal life.
To show some light, to individuals rather than situations - when needed.
My teachers taught me well. They taught me to see things simple.