Saturday, August 1, 2015

Days, Quarters, Years. The Moments in Our Momentous Lives...


Today marks an year since I started my journey as the CEO of Infosys.  One Year.  One spin of the earth around the sun, with my life's work centered around the Infosys planet.  There has been a ton of interest about my first year.  This, of course, is a good thing.  I feel privileged to be in this position, and feel ever more aware of the weight of the responsibility.  But I don't understand the significance of the one year mark.  I never did.  Anniversaries and artificial ritualized celebrations of the sort, beyond the uniquely personal aspects of these, somehow always seemed to me to be pointless constructions.

We posted a good quarter recently.  Our Q1 results saw the best revenue growth in 15 quarters.  Most of this was due to great execution by our sharply focused leadership teams, and some of it due to the innovation seeds that we've sown over various points last year, that are starting to bear fruit.  But again, the 90-day cycle, an imposition largely constructed by public markets around the world, seems to defy any meaningful purpose.  Indeed, arguably, focus on 90-day performance, can often distract us from longer-term progress.  When we look at many emerging and flaring crises in the broader economy around us, we can see the results of some of the short-term gain oriented decisions and mindsets.  Whether in the debt matter between the Eurozone and Greece, or Italy, or the stock market situation in China or even many industries' responses to the disruptions they face, etc...  We all see large-scale phenomena over the centuries that are collaborative in nature, whether agriculture or science or long-term research or some forms of democracies, and the fruits they continually yield, and yet we, by and large, make like hunters and gatherers and force ourselves into local minimas, knowing that the right things to do have far longer cycles than 90 days.  There are far too few examples of long-term innovation, and waiting for fruits to be borne over longer lifecycles than our attentions and our senses can stay tuned for.

And yet we too are governed by our cycles.  Our life cycles.  Earlier this week Prof. Kalam passed away. An extraordinary, and extraordinarily humble and grounded human being, one that set an almost incomparable example of what a human can do, and at the same time showed us that a human can do so if we get ourselves to.  While doing something he loved, his amazing life came to an abrupt end.  Once again, a reminder of the fragility, and yet the finality of our lives.  We shine, sometimes brightly, for a while, usually an all too brief a while, and then we fade away, into the same grand void the same grand dance that creates us.

So all this got me thinking this weekend, on our moments, our anniversaries and our lives.

I was in Munich yesterday and the day before, visiting some clients and meeting our team.  Had some amazing sessions and discussions.  But the visit with our onsite team was what stayed with me.  Young kids and experienced Infoscions.  Full of passion and energy.  Inspired.  Of course there were the selfies.  But it was the glint, the gleam, in their eyes that I found inspiring, and awesome.  They were all bringing innovations to their day-to-day work, and were excited about sharing these.  I asked them about their lives in Munich, the long summers, the harsh winters, the language, the food.  Most of the colleagues were young, a lot of them singles, yet to marry.  Living away from families and loved ones.  One young male infoscion said he's had to learn to cook.  That there is a local grocery store (called Bollywood!).  But their energy, the human energy, was palpable.  And on my way back to the hotel, I thought this was what it was all about; this urge to innovate, to do more, to be more, to do something beyond us, to improve the lot around us, every day, every single day.  To wake up every day and to work to improve things.  To deal with the struggles and stresses of our lives, and yet to work to endure and to improve.  To renew all we are and all we do, and yet bring some new in addition.  To marry our natural daily cycles, with longer-term improvements and patience.  Living in the moment and yet not being blinded by instant gratification.  So the most heartening bit of all was to see this basic duality at work in our teams, and that lifted me up.  I found that to be the most fitting realization for today.  And if today is anything like yesterday was, anniversary or not, it will have been a worthwhile day, a day to remember for all the right reasons, a great piece of our extraordinarily fragile, immortal, lives.

31 comments:

Pankaj Bharti said...

Congratulations Vishal.
Thanks for "re-sowing" the seeds of innovation in Infosys. I think over the years we became complacent by virtue of being the flagbearer of the great IT story in india. A lot more needs to be achieved on ground and redefine the Global Delivery Model. We are all with you in this exciting voyage.

ViKu said...

Congrats Sir,
I think you are doing great work. Just read your interview in Forbes. This change of mindset(project and headcount centric approach)in IT industry was long due. Best of luck. thanks, vivek

ViKu said...

Congrats Sir,
I think you are doing great work. Just read your interview in Forbes. This change of mindset(project and headcount centric approach)in IT industry was long due. Best of luck. thanks, vivek

ViKu said...

Congrats Sir,
I think you are doing great work. Just read your interview in Forbes. This change of mindset(project and headcount centric approach)in IT industry was long due. Best of luck. thanks, vivek

Siddarth Shah said...

Awesome post Vishal. It's all about living our fragile lives with a purpose, passion and an urge to make a better world every single day. All the very best in your journey in transforming Infosys and in turn the clients that you work for.

Siddarth Shah said...

Awesome post Vishal. It's all about living our fragile lives with a purpose, passion and an urge to make a better world every single day. All the very best in your journey in transforming Infosys and in turn the clients that you work for.

ATS said...

Good post. Practical and ground to earth. Surely thought provoking and sometimes makes one wonder what are we striving for.

SivaGowrie said...

Hearty Congratulations Vishal. Wish you to be more instrumental of Infosys growth in coming years.

Lilangel said...

Interesting reflection on the duality of life. Quarterly strides coupled with a long term vision of differentiation and success. Duality of markets is funny - 90 day results expectations and long term stock gains recommendations. More power to you and the teams at Infosys!

M.R. Rajesh said...

The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Happy to have a man with a dream lead Infosys...

Johney Bonzela said...

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Vijay Neti said...

We are lucky to have a leader like you...who can share what he thinks...which is very deep....and can lead from the front on what we have to do to win, within and in the marketplace.Thanks Vishal for everything

Nitin Degaonkar said...

Significance on one year is tradition to reflect that is built over generations- that produces gem of a thought like one above.

Sarah Chacko said...

True every moment is unique, in timelessness.

Sarah Chacko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sivaprasad ML said...

Happy to read this. Its happening. Huge transformation. Wishing every Infoscions the very best!!

Alok U said...

V...you continue to inspire us with your thoughtful and insightful posts. You have this amazing ability to weave philosophy and spirituality into your thoughts, in a subtle way, which amplifies the message.....in the context of what we do as individuals and as an organization. Proud to be part of an organization, with you at the helm!

Suresh S said...

You are doing a great job, sir. Great stuff from a good personality...

http://datageek1.blogspot.com

KH said...

"Every yesterday is but a dream. Every tomorrow but a vision. Every today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope" -- Kalidasa

Glad to read you are living every day well, a Vishal, and making good things happen at Infosys. Good memories, our Timeless Software days. Be well.

Karthik

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solpa adjusht madi said...

Hi Vishal,

Good Post.

If I may ask - were you in Rajkot at any point of time ..staying in Kothi Compound?

Best,

Ganesh

Maverick Realist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maverick Realist said...

Sir, you're only 48 years old. I don't know if you've any health concerns or anxieties. If not, I wonder why you're blogging like a very old man?

Sure, being with an outsourcing company whose core competence is labor cost arbitrage; is bound to take it's toll on anyone.

Still, you probably knew this beforehand and most certainly you should be able to ride the wave better than most.

I don't believe you're a cribber or depressed or you've a sub optimal perspective of life.

Infact, I believe you must be a realist, fairly charged and lively. Hence, you need to be more of yourself. Forget blogging, it is not necessary. You are not a great blogger in any case.

The reason most juniors found Mr N. R. Murthy such a put-off is because is he never spoke his mind, he always stuck to a monotonous script, his notorious monotone, he never inspired innovation and initiative. You cannot and should not focus excessively on being failure proof in your interaction on conversation or be like your team who focus on writing bug free codes. You need to speak your mind. Even Bill Gates went wrong with many of his prophecies. Still, he managed to take his company to great heights.

Unfortunately, while I've tremendous respect for N R Murthy, he is a product of the bygone era and that restricts his mental ability to connect with younger generation. Fortunately, you aren't.

So, please revitalize Infosians. Please encourage them to take initiative. Please make generous provision for failures.

I honestly believe, Infosians badly need to enjoy some beer and take a break from the routine atleast, occasionally. Only way this is possible is by breaking down jobs into fungible units. Now, that is already the case. So, what is stopping Infosians from letting their hair down and enjoying their life? I guess, you need to lead from the front and show them the way.

Karen Totten said...

As a new Infosian, I was pleased to read your reflections on time and the human condition. As a user experience designer (#UX), the human condition is my focus: finding new and better pathways for how we as humans engage with our world, our tools (technology and intelligent systems), our work, and each other. Your thoughts on how we conceptualize time and creativity (innovation) is well put, and I hope to hear more of your thoughts about this. Though a bit late, congratulations on your first year and best wishes for many more to come.

Larry Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Achuthanandan J said...

when vishal sikka joined i was really surprised how this man will manage infosys a giant organization even i am not an infosysian but i am well wisher to see a humble grown organization with Mr Narayana murthy leadership still the team face very difficult to grow the investors started to grumble the employees started to leave the big ship started to loose that time a savior came that is Vishal sikka and AI a great innovation helped him to make again infosys great.The article thrown him how he made the organization great.Every professional can follow his success route and make thier organization great.He dig deep the brains of infosysian and got answer to drive so we should understand the brains of infosysian,here Mr Narayana murthy lack his concentration but vishal sikka become a great listner that help him lot,we can take this as a advise our employees should talk we should listen then we can build great organization.

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