Friday, June 25, 2010

'CK: The inveterate optimist.'

I've had the opportunity to listen to CK Prahalad a couple of times, once at IIM where we were involved with the event - he was addressing the Alumni.

On a personal level, he was very easily approachable, friendly and there were no airs about him. No one interacting with hi
m on a casual level, without knowing who he was, would have been able to guess that this was one of the most respected management thinkers of our time.

On the professional front, the key thing that always struck me about him was that he was an inveterate optimist. This was even while all around us, and particularly those in India, were always negative about what we perceived about the business environment. He was optimistic bout the India story, and stories of few companies that he had watched grow made for inspiring and motivating talks across the world. Whether it was the case of Aravind Eye Hospital or the sachet revolution of CavinKare, they opened up the world to the Indian opportunity and innovation.

Even if you look at the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid approach, while many of us were stuck in theories of how the burgeoning Indian population meant impending doom, he forced MNCs to look at the emerging Indian middle class from the other perspective of untapped opportunity. While he was contributed in many ways to many organisations, and inspired very many individuals and corporate leaders, he will be remembered most for awakening us to 'core competencies' and 'bottom of the pyramid'. Those shall remain etched for long.

To me, someone of his capacity and competence, and someone who commanded so much respect, speaking the India story, at forums of repute around the worlds, was his greatest contribution to our country.

(Ramanujam Sridhar is CEO, brand-comm, and the author of Googly: Branding on Indian Turf.)


Kasthuri Ramanujam said...

A very good one I like people than Products, I suppose I should have been in Personnel like SKP rather than Engg: too late now, one more thing about BP the accident lost 12 lives, what did the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal cost 25000 or more lives but still compensation not yet paid, the then CEO is living in Florida in a mansion and we have put US 25 Billion for this crap propaganda by US and get hauled over the coals!!! This could ruin a huge British flagship company!!!

Ram said...

Hi Sridhar,
Well written,thought provoking--- perhaps a little too long!
On a related note, it has been observed again and again that employee loyalty in an organisation invariably leads to customer loyalty.

Meenakshi said...

Very true, after reading Fortune at the bottom of Pyramid, every Indian who is skeptical about the nation's potential will have to revise his thought process