Article: Some doors on your way will open, and you will follow to find your purpose: Ravi Venkatesan

Leadership Development

Some doors on your way will open, and you will follow to find your purpose: Ravi Venkatesan

“Productivity is a fantastic measure of the efficiency of machines or an industrial system. But I don't think it's a great way to today to measure the outcomes created by knowledge workers, information workers,” said Ravi Venkatesan, Technology & Business Visionary, Former Chairman, Microsoft India, Social Entrepreneur at People Matters Workforce Productivity Conference.
Some doors on your way will open, and you will follow to find your purpose: Ravi Venkatesan

The main challenge confronting leaders in the new reality has been the productivity and performance of their employees – a key parameter that distinguishes thrivers from survivors.

With the ongoing uncertainties, how do you keep yourself and your team motivated? How can leaders deliver on productivity while they also take care of employees' interests?

In the closing session titled Closing Keynote: Moving The Productivity Pedal Amid Uncertainty, Ravi urged leaders to step back and relook at productivity with a different lens.

He noted that with the increasing automation of most of those functions which were traditionally human domains, people are forced into doing the things that only humans can do well, such as problem-solving, creativity, and so forth. 

Ravi said, it is incredibly “non-trivial to measure the productivity of creative effort.”

Integrating productivity with purpose 

As the capacity varies highly from person to person and also with job role, the definition of the term productivity is highly relative. Thus, elaborating on how to measure productivity, Ravi pointed out that the best way to measure productivity is to analyse whether an individual has achieved the result which contributes to his/her purpose. “That's the only definition of productivity,” Ravi added. 

“So if you're going to live a productive life, you can know how much progress you're making, unless you know your purpose,” Ravi said.

According to Ravi, people should look at productivity as not just a professional term but also what gives meaning to one’s existence and purpose in life. He stressed that one does not regret the undone functions at the end of his/her life. “I don't want to go to my end whenever that may be with all these regrets. So I want to try and make my life as full and productive as possible.”

During the session, he quoted American writer Mark Twain, who said that there are only two days that matter in a person’s life, which are the day one is born and the day one realises why he was born. Thus, Ravi added, it is very important for every individual to find the true purpose of existence and be as much productive as possible throughout life. He added that this may take many years and in some cases the whole lifetime. But, according to him, that is allowed. Ravi added, “Even Mahatma Gandhi had to spend a couple of decades doing lots of different things to figure out his principles, his convictions, to answer the question of what is his life all about?”

Ravi noted that society teaches people that it is normal to live life according to the standards set by society itself. This, with passing time, has become a norm. In the majority of the cases, people tend to measure the rate of success as per society’s definition of it, which mainly covers spaces like earning a handsome salary from a good company, having the right family and so on. Consequently, this overshadows “ what we really want”. 

Elaborating on his own journey of life Ravi explained, “I was at Microsoft. I'd spent 25 years on a treadmill of achievement, seeking success, finding success, but it no longer gave me joy. And so by 2010, I knew I had to find a new and authentic purpose for which I had to go within me, but I had no idea how… So over the last decade, I've found that the only reliable way to find your purpose is this it is to do a lot of experiments. And I call them micro experiments, where you try different things, and then you see what fits what things give you joy.”

“You knock on many doors for opportunities. And sometimes, some doors remain shut. But sometimes the doors open and so as you follow it, you find your purpose,” said Ravi.

Concluding the session, Ravi said that what might make a difference is that if in our tiny little roles in our brief time on Earth, we inhabit life gently and add more beauty than ugliness. 

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Topics: Leadership Development, #PMWPC, #PerformanceBeyondProductivity

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