PASSION TO MONEY – 2 (BEGIN)

You have only one life , don’t wait for tomorrow , don’t live a life you don’t love . Begin Now !

Girish Kulkarni started his journey in the social sector accidentally , during his college days he had a friend who never spoke about his family , one day they happened to find out why , his mother was in flesh trade. This shook Girish , he saw the poverty , the utter helplessness of the family . He could not sleep , he decided to do something about this and fight to get women and children out from flesh trade. He gathered a few friends and then began a journey for a cause of freedom and life of dignity for commercial sex workers . Today Snehalaya an NGO run by Girish is a home to over 800 children of commercial sex workers over 400 of them are impacted with AIDS , another NGO Snehankur takes care of infants who are abandoned on the roads by mothers.

How could one man achieve so much , he yet teaches in college . He shared with me the secret one day , he said “I just began and people joined me on the way” .

Get into the water, get wet

Every success story starts with a fire within to change something and the first step is to begin , take that first step . Most people in the place of Girish would look away , leaders in the social sector I have met don’t look away , they get involved . They don’t even care about resources and challenges they may face . Girish had to face the mafia , he was not afraid . So may times you have an idea but you hold back because of fear and the fear is of the unknown .

We all get used to our comfort zones we are told , stay safe , don’t rock the boat , survive . You cannot learn swimming without getting into the water , you cannot ride a cycle by reading books and watch videos on YouTube . You cannot build your passion into business by just thinking . You have to take the step , you need to begin.

They will warn you , its tough , but do it anyway

You will not have all the answers , last year when I began my entrepreneurial journey at the age of 54 after over 30 years in the corporate world I had no idea of what to expect , there was no comfort of monthly paycheque , I was also warned this is not the age (I don’t know what age has got to do with anything). I had to stay flexible , I had something in mind but there is so much I have learned by being open to opportunities .

The places I expected would open doors did not , those I expected support from did not and for this I have nothing against anyone , I had to learn this is the way of the world for an entrepreneur , you are on your own ! this is a solo journey and some times it does get lonely .

There were so many friends who warned me in good faith , “the market is bad , things are tough , it is not easy” , then there was “you are cut out for the corporate world” and it is true I also had all these fears when I began.

But I was passionate about helping those with passion with my 30 plus years of marketing experience , in the past one year I helped a healthcare brand scale 3x , I trained with over 500 NGOs on fundraising with storytelling , I built so many more networks, I have added many more clients . Every day is a new possibility , I have read so much more , I have travelled so much more , I have grown so much more. I have been doing what I call is “blessed work” with some amazing people. I also found a business partner on the way.

I have worked with some highly successful entrepreneurs they all began from zero , Madan Bahal to founder of Adfactors PR which is the largest agency in Asia began with a table space in a shop, when I joined him he had a very small rundown office at fort, Ashank Desai and the Co-Founders of global IT company Mastek began their journey at one of the Co-Founder Ketan’s home , they had no money and were first generation entrepreneurs, I have visited that place with Ashank. Dr Pramod Tripathi who I work with now in healthcare began with supporting just a few people with diabetes reversal with diet , today the team has touched over 50,000 diabetics with a team of over 100.

The reason to begin now is simple

  1. You are given your gift to share with the world
  2. Your heart beats when you sing your song , share your gift
  3. Don’t die with your song in your heart

You have only one life , don’t wait for tomorrow , don’t live a life you don’t love . Begin Now !

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

It is my passion to help those with passion scale , find their tribe , live their purpose . I am open to keynote sessions, motivational talks on living your purpose , call me on 9821876559 . Visit my website http://www.digitaltribes101.com

CONVERT YOUR PASSION TO MONEY – 1

There is a term TGIF (Thank God It is Friday) which is very popular , many employees wait for the weekend to live their lives !What is it that has been missed ? Why would so many people trade their lives to do what they are not passionate about ?

The singers , the artists , the teachers , the coaches , the wellness experts , the happiness coaches , the bakers , the chefs , the fitness experts , the doctors , the designers , the hackers , the coders , the mind readers , the motivational speakers , the storytellers , the stand up comedians , the photographers , the models , the entrepreneurs , the affiliate marketeers , everyone who is part of the passion economy. this is your time to live your passion . My favourite line has been “Don’t die with your song in your heart.” .

In my corporate career spanning over three decades I have spoken to many employees who were doing what they didn’t love just for the paycheque. Every year Gallup employee engagement studies that shows roughly 50 % of the employees are not engaged with their work and around 20% are actively disengaged . There is a term TGIF (Thank God It is Friday) which was very popular , many would wait for the weekend to live their lives !

What was being missed ? Why would so many employees trade their lives to do what they were not passionate about ?

Till COVID 19 happened , suddenly many individuals lost their safe jobs , there are pay cuts and there is uncertainty . The future of jobs could be contracts , where you get paid for what you deliver, this gives organisations flexibility to get the best talent for job at hand.

For passionprenuers the post COVID world is a golden opportunity to shine in a globally connected world . The world needs a lot more passion , people who bring passion to their work , those who are artists , who go beyond to make a difference , those who are out there to change the world with their contribution.

Don’t follow the Crowd , make your path !

It all begins as school , we are told what the crowd does must be right . In school I loved getting up on stage and speaking to an audience , I won numerous public speaking competitions . I loved to share ideas and stories that would grab the attention of audiences. I was a avid reader and a dreamer , My favourite subject was history , I would not just read history , I would get inside history , visit the times in my imagination , feel the emotions of characters in the history books . I top scored in History in the state examinations.

Yet when it was time for choosing my stream for my career after school I chose what the crowd did , I picked up the science stream as it was most sought after and then I failed . I switched into commerce which again I did because that was the next obvious choice and after graduating my first job was in accounts and I hated it , I quit within a month . At heart I was a storyteller who could get into a story and wow my audiences to become a part of the story . I found my calling in sales and marketing , since then I have been storytelling for over 30 years.

Follow the crowd has been built into our subconscious mind both by the society and parents also our education system believes in grading children . Disengagement begins when we follow what the crowd does and not our heart.

If you are not passionate , don’t begin

Each one of us is born with a unique gift, yet we forget our gift . My son Mayank made a short film in school using his mobile phone , I could see he too was a storyteller . He would click pictures that would tell a story. He chose what he wanted to do in life very early , he chose his college education in mass media , on his own he learnt the tricks of photography and he is a artist who specialises in fashion photography .

All I did was not get in the way and support his decisions . He would do collaboration shoots free , he worked with the best photographers in the business for free . I once asked him why he does that , his answer was “I am getting to learn from the best free of cost”. He had more short term lucrative choices even in photography but he stuck to fashion , like wedding shoots were easy money , yet he was focused on his passion . He stayed focused , his work has been featured in leading fashion magazines and just few months back he did a shoot with an Indian film actress, model and the winner of Miss India international title , Esha Gupta . (You can follow Mayank’s work on http://www.mayankmudnaney.com).

Myank is happy because he is following his passion for fashion photography , he can be at shoots from early morning to late nights , he is never feels exhausted or stressed . He loves to do a shoot on any day including a Sunday , there is no TGIF and he is not chasing money , he is chasing good work , money comes . I didn’t teach Mayank marketing , his passion reflected in his work and his work got him word of mouth business.

In any field those that succeed are highly passionate about what they do and I have worked many passionate individuals and entrepreneurs so I know . And it is not just about making more money , I have seen passion in founders of all non profits I have worked with for their cause . You cannot lead for a cause if you are not passionate , Dr Ashish Satav serves the poorest of poor in Melghat , he was so passionate about serving the poor tribals that during college in minus temperatures he would bathe in cold water to get himself acclimatised to working in tough conditions.

The biggest risk is playing safe

“The monthly paycheque is comforting , besides I have responsibilities , so why take risk ?” is the answer I get from some I speak to. The is another answer “I will begin later after I have saved enough .” Nothing wrong with these answers and one has a choice to live the way one wishes to.

What one needs to get is that paycheque comes only when you add value to business and to that extent you are in business even if you consider yourself to be in the safety of a job. And you will find you are a safe player you cannot go far , being one of the crowd , not standing out , playing safe , is risky , in business also in a job . If you are a commodity you could be replaced sooner than later.

You need to rock the boat , stand out , make a difference , be counted . Also remember you have only one life and as I said my favourite line is “don’t die with your song in your heart.” . The biggest regret people have in their old age is regret of not living their passion , It is risky to play safe.

My school friend Huzefa who is a serial startup founder tells me that in silicon valley “failure is considered as a batch of honour”. He says that his failures were his biggest teachers. Every startup is a risk , its a bet on the future many of them fail yet even in failure there is learning . I was part of startup ideas that were ahead of times , yet from each I learnt something that helped me become better at my game. So take risks , rock the boat , you have but one life.

The world is waiting for you , begin with passion

The biggest advantage for passionprenuers is that the world is ready for the passion economy , the internet , the smart phone and low data cost now make it possible for you to reach your tribes anywhere in the world. Anyone today who has passion and an idea he or she believes in you can find your tribe on the internet . It needs persistence but the time is right . Post COVID there would be an acceleration of businesses going online as customers are going to spend more time on the net .

You need to have the passion for what you are doing , if you believe in going vegan helps individuals to heal diabetes , you need to be vegan , if you believe that stress can be healed through meditation , you need to practice meditation, if you believe yoga can make an individual fit you need to be a Yoga practitioner yourself. If you are in a job , find passion in what you do , go beyond , take risks.

You need a back story , why are you doing what you are doing and you need to be passionate about whatever you do.

Your journey as a passionprenuer begins with YOU !

#passionproject

Sanjay mudnaney

#passionproject is my way of helping passionprenuers make impact . I have helped passionprenuers in healthcare , wellness, causes scale , If you are part of passion economy and want to scale your impact get in touch with me on 9821876559 .

TRIBE OF RAVING FANS

The Tribe already exists out there , they just need a leader who connects them.

The earliest that I remember I heard of a spiritual Tribe was of the controversial mystic Osho . This was the period of hippie culture , the rebels , those that did not fit in with the crowd . I was in college at that time , I heard a few of his talks , he challenged organised religion and politics .

Osho Challenges the Status Quo

I have had a fascination for spiritual tribes and I have observed them closely , I am not talking about religion but spirituality . Osho challenged the status quo and he was the most controversial of them , Rajneesh or Osho as he was later called even criticised Mahatma Gandhi who was highly respected and the orthodoxy of mainstream religions. In advocating a more open attitude he caused controversy wherever he went. His teachings were interspersed with jokes , he delighted in engaging in behaviour that seemed entirely at odds with traditional images of enlightened individuals . He shocked and challenged the norm with his way of spiritual nirvana.

Tribes challenge the status Quo.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spreads the Art of living

Sri Sri founded the Art of Living ,initiated a series of practical and experiential courses in spirituality around the globe . He says that rhythmic breathing practice, Sudarshan Kriya , came to him during a silent 10 days meditation. The thing to note about Sri Sri is the committed Tribe of Art of Living . The entire organisation of Art of Living and its courses are run by volunteers , they are firm believers in the teachings of Gurudev as he is fondly called by the tribe. I have witnessed professionals giving up their careers to join AOL . The AOL tribe feels it is their responsibility to spread the message and get other members to join in .

Tribes spread the word and get other tribe members to join in.The tribe grows.

Ramana Maharishi asks “who am I”

At the age of 16 , he had a “death-experience” where he became aware of a “current” or “force” which he recognised as his true “I” . He attracted devotees who came to him for darshan(visit) at his ashram . His main teaching was ‘atma-vichar’ (self inquiry ) on “I-thought” . Advita is a doctrine of Non-duality , Ramana Maharishi “secularised” and “modernised” Advita . The tribe of Advita followers already existed , those that were attracted to deeper teachings of the eastern spiritual practices . Against a global outwards focused world there was a tribe that wanted to explore deeper purpose existence.

Tribe leaders are believers in a idea they want to spread

Yoga rules the world

Yoga is a group of physical , mental , and spiritual practices that originated and spread across the world , it is the Sanskrit word for union. Patanjali is often considered the father of yoga. Most people credit Swami Vivekanda with being America’s introduction to yoga with his address at the world Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 . He travelled across the states lecturing and teaching yoga to eager students . Then it was in 1920 the Paramhansa Yogananda who spread the message of kriya yoga to the West. There have been other Yoga gurus who spread their idea of Yoga to the west and made it popular globally .

A leader is needed to connect the Tribe to the idea

Jay Shetty makes spirituality Digital

Jay Shetty is a British Indian Internet personality , former monk and motivational speaker . He spent his time as a monk studying behavioural science and learning more about the human mind. Shetty turned to videos on the internet and found a ray of hope . He hit two billion views in 18 months !

Jay challenges the idea of a traditional spiritual Monk , there is a audience that seeks connection with a spiritual teacher , who is not like a ‘Guru’ but like one of them a guy next door , they relate with him .

You don’t build Tribes they already exists out there , they just need a leader who connects them.

What is Common

Spirituality gives a good glimpse of what it takes to connect a Tribe of raving fans . What applies to spirituality can be applied to Brand Tribes .

  1. Leaders build Tribes
  2. Tribes challenge status Quo
  3. Tribe leaders believe in an idea they want to spread
  4. Tribes are connected by leaders to an idea
  5. Tribes already exists out there , find them
  6. Tribe leaders are authentic , build trust by adding value
  7. Once trust is built not just the leader but Tribe members who are now raving fans enrol new tribe members

You too can build your Tribe ? Do you have an idea to spread ?

Sanjay Mudnaney

DON’T SURVIVE , ROCK THE BOAT !

Anyone can build a Tribe , you need to have an attitude of rocking the boat , challenging the status quo , connecting the tribe with your idea. Remember you have only one life , make it meaningful.

My very first job out of campus was in a leading computer education company , I was promoted as a branch manager at the prime location, Nariman Point centre which had been a laggard and loss making business, we had experienced stalwarts who had managed the branch but it continued to be loss making . Though I was a fresher , had no managerial experience , as a product executive I had launched a highly successful course for chartered accountants as my first assignment for the company. I was given the charge.

I gathered the team , freshers and a few experienced hands and I enrolled them on an idea ,’we are in the business of making a difference’ , I made them see that every student who did our course was either getting placed or was getting promoted. I asked the team to forget all about ‘target’s and just connect with customers as people and bring one quality to the table ‘Empathy’ and I said “Make friends , make a difference ,have fun , enjoy the journey” . Some thought I was crazy, this was a loss making centre , perhaps they thought I would fail . I took a risk , this had never been done before , I was rocking the boat .

Tribes connect with an Idea

The idea rocks the boat , I was also busting the myth that 9 to 5 = Job , Job = Targets , Targets = Stress , that employees need to be micromanaged . The definition of job was shifted from ‘work’ to ‘contribution’ .This was an idea that the tribe enrolled to.Techies were used to being told what to to do , that was their experience , this was getting challenged with ‘taking ownership’.

The idea challenges the status Quo

A tribe challenges the status quo . If what is going on is normal there is no reason for a tribe , a tribe comes alive when the existing norm is challenged , there is an alternative story . I attracted team members who believed in the idea of making a difference . I remember the shift in sales team , they even refused registrations of students where they felt the course would not help them and this even when the students were ready to pay. This was different and the team genuinely felt good about contribution as an idea.

Yes we were young maybe naive but this centre turned around , it became a profit centre , we grew year on year and recorded a 300% growth. I had rocked the boat and challenged the status quo.

Tribes need a Leader

Every Tribe needed a leader , the leader is the connector of the idea and the tribe. This was a young team of techies and teachers , all I did was connect them with an idea of authentic ‘contribution’ and ‘we are in the job of making a difference’ and that we must have ‘fun’ on the way . I was not managing the team but leading the team with an idea.

I have seen similarly a strong tribe at Mastek , this flowed from the founders , the very nature of business focus on building products and solutions in software industry when no one was doing that was different , every other IT company was running a body shopping and later offshoring business . First generation entrepreneurs , living by values all this was different , not many know Mastek was the first IT company to list on stock exchanges in india and also the first to give ESSOPs . Mastek was rocking the boat ,Ashank Desai amongst the founders was leading the tribe with the idea of Mastek.

You can build a Tribe within your Organisation

As head of Marketing and Communications at Mastek I experienced building a tribes within an organisation with a unique project .The challenge was to build Mastek employer brand presence in campuses , we had no visibility on the ground . Going by the traditional route of sponsorships would not help , it was too crowded a space . I came up with an idea of a campus IT solutions contest (As that was the core strength of Mastek) with a social connect that evolved as one of the most successful employer brand initiatives ‘Project Deep Blue’ . PDB is run in campuses with over 800 teams participating every year in a four month long project and contest to build real life IT solution for the social sector . When I got this idea six years back we only had a core team of three , I first enrolled Sundar , Co-Founder of Mastek who has been a mentor to the project and then we got volunteers to join as mentors from the wider organisation.

The mentors joined because of the sense of ‘contribution’ to the student community , first a few joined , then a few more , now the word has spread , everyone wants to be part of this annual initiative . The mentors do this beyond their day jobs in the evening and on weekends, there is no direct benefit for those that join other than being part of the Tribe of ‘Project Deep Blue’ that makes a difference to the lives of students.

There is another attribute of a tribe , it is not just the leader but the tribe members enrol other tribe members.

Leaders who rock the boat build tribes

When I worked with Madan Bahal of Adfactors to build Mnet , the first pan India integrated marketing company , we were rocking the boat , no one had done this before. Madan has constantly rocked the boat to build the largest PR agency in India . I have seen Madan at work ,from day one he has taken risks to bet on contrarian ideas, rocked the boat doing the unconventional.

I have worked with social sector leaders Dr Abhay Bang , Dr Prakash Ambedkar, Dr Ashish Satav, Girish Kulkarni, Vinayak Lohani , Adhik Kadam , Mamoon Akhtar each one has rocked the boat and built solid volunteer driven non-profits. Money and resources did not stop them , they just believed in an idea led from the front and connected believers. If they could do it without any resources no one can have an excuse. As Girish Kulkarni of Snehalaya says “You just begin the work , people will join you on the way” , this is the secret of tribes ,a leader leads the way and other believers join in . Tribe is a movement that is waiting to happen.

Dr Pramaod Tripathi the founder of Freedom From Diabetes who I help with strategic marketing and sales is rocking the boat with diabetics . In a world where diabetics have been told ‘once a diabetic , always a diabetic” he is getting them free from medicines and insulin with diet , exercise , inner transformation and 24x 7 telemedicine medical through app.

Sudhakar Ram , Co-Founder at Mastek , who I consider as a friend , philosopher and guide would tell me that I had the knack of enrolling people to ideas . My experience across organisations, non profits and leaders tells me they are all enrollers of ideas and that anyone can be an enroller of ideas, anyone can build a Tribe , in the digital world it is even more possible , you need to have an attitude of rocking the boat , challenging the status quo , connecting the tribe with your idea. Remember you have only one life , make it meaningful. Don’t survive , Thrive ! If you play to survive you will become a commodity and commodities are replaceable !

Start a movement , build your Tribe.

Sanjay Mudnaney

DON’T WAIT TILL YOU GET FIRED !

I do keep getting requests from friends I know who have lost their jobs to help connect them with someone I know. These are difficult times , many people have lost their jobs , many have received pay cuts in their salaries . Yet EMIs need to be paid , children’s school fees need to be taken care of there are essential home expenses and bills that have to be paid. There is a uncertainty of the future as economic impacts of the pandemic are being felt across industries . A new world is emerging , in this world you are in business within and outside a Job.

9 to 5

My father joined the MCGM and he retired from MCGM , one job for a lifetime . There was a concept called job security and you worked on a given time schedule 9 to 5 with 20 minutes of lunch break. There are some places like this even now mostly in the government services , not much has changed.

The myth of job security was busted in the capitalist world gradually the western concept of hire and fire found its way to Indian organisations, there is no 9 to 5 any longer .

Living for the Paycheque

There was another popular term ‘TGF’ , Thank God it is Friday . What this stands for is , get through the week to live life on the weekends. Most employee satisfaction studies year after year show that over 80% of employees are not satisfied with their jobs and yet the continue because bills have to be paid.

HR teams continue with engagement activities to build bonding with the organisations and improve job satisfaction scores. If this would have helped the scores would have improved , what we know is they have not. This has got nothing to do with HR.

Survivors don’t Survive

The new world that has unfolded long before the pandemic , in this world if you play for survival , you will not survive . Those that play safe , fit in the boxes , do what is told are commodities and commodities can be replaced with something or someone that is cheaper somewhere . If your job can be described you will be fired the day something or someone cheaper can take up the job.

Like when WFH becomes the norm it would become ok to hire people from tier two and tier three towns at much cheaper rates , because now location does not matter. This will hit sooner than later , so be prepared.

Don’t wait till to get Fired

Seriously those that have not yet been fired don’t wait till you get fired . Get into business , your business now . And by this I don’t mean quit your job , I mean build the attitude of an entrepreneur . You are on Your Own ! get this no one will save you .

Do what you Love

Each one of us is born with a gift , this gift makes us unique . Find your Gift and share it with the world . Don’t play safe , rock the boat , do stuff that excites you every day . Don’t chase paycheque , chase your dreams . And you turn around and tell me “there are bills to pay” , you keep surviving and yet will get fired anyway anytime . What you do is miss life . If you are a dancer , go and teach people to dance , if you are a singer go out and sing your song , if you love to write code, make poetry of code writing ( I learnt this from a brilliant code writer and they have a group for beautiful code !) . Don’t do mediocre stuff , that you don’t love .

Become the Best

Best not by comparison with others but by your own standards , keep learning , get better and better and better at doing what you love to do . How many hours of practice do you think a Virat Kohli puts in to get good at his game ? Can you set aside a few hours daily to learn something new ? I do that by following the best in the field on YouTube , reading from Blink , subscribing to The Ken .

Re-Invent

A tree that bends in a storm survives the one that stands against the storm falls . The new world emerging is online , re-invent yourself . If you hold the position “this is the way I have done things” and stick to it you will fall , if you are a journalist who has lost his job re-invent yourself as a content writer or a story writer for the digital world . Remember whether you are in a job or outside you are in Business. lot of education is now possible thanks to free channels like YouTube ,Linkedin Learning , Udemy .

If you have lost your job take the next six months to connect with your calling and re-invent yourself , learn , educate , get better , work for free , volunteer, network , build your tribe be ready for the new world . This break could be the best thing that has happened in your life .

Tribe

The good old adage of sales build your Network , in the new world I would redefine this as build your Tribe . Either lead a tribe or become a part of a tribe . Either create a movement or become a part of a movement . Give your best to your Tribe , build your credibility make it the meaning of being alive. Tribes create belonging , they hold ideas connect people.

You are on YOUR OWN

Get this in your head the future of jobs maybe your own business, contracts , freelancing or even when you are in a job , you would yet be in business . All the rules of business apply , take risks , stand out , rock the boat , make a difference , build your authentic Brand . Remember if you are commodity you will get replaced /fired some day ! if you are not adding value and are replaceable with something cheaper , you would be replaced some time sooner than later. IF YOUR JOB CAN BE DEFINED YOU WILL BE REPLACED WITH SOMETHING OR SOMEONE CHEAPER ! DON’T GET DEFINED , GO BEYOND THE BOX !

These are tough times but remember ‘This too shall Pass’ and this will pass . The worst of times do pass at the end of a dark tunnel there would be light , yet before the light is seen you would pass through the darkest part of the tunnel but finally there would be light. Let this pandemic be an opportunity to re-invent yourself , to come out stronger , to be ready for the new world, to live life on your own terms , not survive but THRIVE !

If you want to I am available to help and guide you.

Sanjay Mudnaney

BUCKET LIST

When I turned 50 I recorded my first song in a. studio professionally , made a small video clip and put it up on YouTube . I used to love singing while in school but somewhere in the rush had forgotten about it.

I wanted to cycle so I picked up cycling and now cycle every weekend . I wanted to see the stars and so I picked up my first telescope last year. I had always wanted to publish a book , my book ‘Storytellers Secret’ is now available on Amazon. These might seem like small things but then I had pushed all these away to the future.

When we are children fairy tails seem real and we can dream. Then life happens we postpone our dreams to the future, we get real. Buying a home raising a family getting up the ladder is important.

One fine day we would come to know life has passed and we have not lived. Don’t die with your song in your heart. Do the crazy stuff, explore the world , spend time with those you love , give back , spend time with self . Before you know the journey may be over make it fun !

Ashank Desai

Ashank Desai interviewed me at Mastek and I was very fortunate to work under his leadership as head of Corporate Communications and CSR . ‘Humble’ is the first thing that strikes you about Ashank , he is extremely down to earth.

One of the images of Ashank that is etched in my memory is his travelling with Mastekeers in a second class train coach during annual events and singing Antakshari, it made him one of us. There is absolutely no airs that he is a Co Founder of a global IT company Mastek and one of the founding fathers of Indian IT and NASSCOM.

Few know of Ashank’s difficult childhood ,he had shared this with me when we travelled together, he was born in a village near Goa , he lost his father at the age of two his mother who was in a Government job took care of him , they had no support, his early life was in poverty. He loved listening to songs on the radio but did not have one at home so he would stand next to a grocery shop next door to listen to songs on the radio . His early education was with tribals many of who were adults . Many times he would study under street lights . From his mother he picked up the quality of hard work and honesty and this would take him from a small village near Goa to IIT Mumbai , IIM Ahmedabad to building a globally respected IT company and contribute to India’s dominance as global IT leader by co founding NASSCOM !

I would travel with Ashank in one of the journeys we traced back the roots of Mastek, Ketan’s one bedroom apartment in Ghatkopar where the journey of Mastek began to Nariman Point office which could only seat four people to Prabhadevi office which had the famous mazanine floor. At every place he greeted people with genuine warmth and respect. This is Ashank’s enduring quality that makes him a leader who is respected , he treats everyone with respect and this was one of the values of Mastek “Respect for individuals” . The people friendly culture at Mastek has roots in this quality of Ashank , people are respected whatever be their designation or role and not treated as Human ‘Resource’s’ but ‘Human Assets’ at Mastek.

We had done a third party research with investors on Mastek and the results threw up that Mastek was the most admired IT company for its values , honesty and integrity of leadership , this made Ashank happy. Mastek was the very first IT company in India to issue a profit warning, and this was being done well before the quarterly results. As head of Corporate Communications it was a tough time and the stock price would take a beating, but I remember Ashank telling me “This needs to be done” . In a world driven by quarterly result pressures it was the rare breed of leadership that valued transparency above all.

Even today when I call Ashank he responds with fondness and genuine love , this then is Ashank for me a people’s leader a person who leads from the heart. Generations of Mastekeers are fortunate to have experienced what true leadership is , genuine respect for people , values of honesty, integrity and simplicity. His journey from a small village to becoming a admired global leader is an inspiration to those who dream to fly high despite of difficult circumstances.

BRAND AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The outcomes of Project Deep blue indicate that is possible to align Brand purpose with CSR .

Mastek an IT solutions company wanted to build its employer brand in the campus , it suffered a low brand recall. Mastek is a global IT solutions company with a unique people culture and high social conscience. We needed to communicate this brand message at the campus. The traditional route would be sponsorships of campus events but there fear was getting lost in the noise.  

Project Deep Blue was designed as a campus contest which would connect social sector , students , employees and the brand Mastek. Students had to solve real problems of the social sector through IT solutions. The students would be mentored by Mastek employees. The project was not superficial and needed 4 months of intense interaction and working as a team.

Through the process of participating in Project deep Blue students experienced 1. The unique people culture of Mastek as they interacted with Mastek mentors 2. They gained real life experience of solving social sector problems 3. They were exposed to subjects like design thinking and building IT solutions from experts at Mastek.

The result was that in the 4th edition of Project Deep Blue over 800 student teams participated in the contest ,a strong brand recall as a socially conscious organisation and a IT solutions company has been built at the campus and most important the unique people culture was experienced by the students in interaction with mentors. Mastek mentors too gained by engaging and learning from fresh out of the box thinking of students. The social sector gained with out of the box IT solutions developed by the young students. Mastek gained by instantly recruiting the best talent.

The outcomes of Project Deep blue indicate that is possible to align Brand purpose with CSR . I am of the opinion that in the digital world telling Brand stories around CSR would help build Brand Trust and align CSR with business. What are your thoughts ?

Check out the video of contestant feedback on Project Deep Blue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyulIb_3ID0&list=PLWpXLvyorqav3B0O21rHTHUDj0YNmrVmm

VISUAL BRAND STORY

Visual Brand Storytelling Tips to Power your content Marketing

Interruption advertising as we know it is dead, consumers are in charge of content they now consume through their mobile phones. In India the fall of prices of smart phones and cost of data is driving up usage. As consumers now turn to consume entertainment and information on their mobile devices, advertising will become the entertainment.

Across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube consumers now consume visual content that tells a story and engages them. The new marketing is visual brand storytelling.

With that in mind you need to come up with content that’s well worth engaging with for an extended amount of time.

The question then is how can your content break through the noise?

Visual Storytelling is a powerful answer that results in greater engagement, traffic and sales.

  1. Photos and images are most important element in optimising social media posts.
  2. 93 percent of most engaging Facebook posts include images.
  3. Videos on Facebook are shared 12 times more than text posts
  4. One-third of online activity is spent watching video
  5. 51% of marketing professionalsworldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
  6. According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate.

Visual storytelling technique to gain social media traction

  1. Tell your Story with video : Stories are remembered 22 times more than data. Translating stories into videos is like making mini blockbuster movies that people love to share and comment on . Every story has a hero and it is not the brand .

In a classical emotional story telling of how Hyundai cars are long lasting and carry happy memories this video has gathered millions of views . check this out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=277&v=qSZ4h7YSGnQ

  1. Authentic Story Telling : A brand visual story cannot claim something that it is not .  Visual story telling needs to be authentic and connect with the world view of the target audience.

BlendTech is a good example of simple video story telling that went viral and sold the blenders. ‘Will it Blend’ is a classical success story , the blender is powerful what better way to tell the story then demonstrate it can blend anything from marbles to ipad , capture it on video and just put it out there.

Check this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAl28d6tbko

3.Add Value : Content that adds value to your target audience will be  consumed and will keep them engaged . The length of the content is not as important as it’s ability to add value . It is now seen that people watch long form videos on social media as long as it keeps them engaged.

With no fancy videos and marketing Dr Pramod Tripathi has been sharing videos that help diabetes patients to reverse their disease and he gathers a good amount of viewership https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bhe32yWgZ_A&t=336s

4.Protagonist :  Do you have a protagonist , case studies of real people who have experienced your brand and are now your brand ambassadors ?

Land Rover found that there is a city ‘the place where all roads meet’ deep in the Himalayas, and discover why this remote village in the sky is known as the Land of Land Rovers.

Check out the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNXU1IR2LR8

  1. Connect Brand Storytelling with Good :

People like to see stories of hope and these stories are shared with friends and family. Stories that touch the heart can get people to open up their purses.

Here is an example of video story telling , Dick’s sporting goods did short movies around coaches that were making a difference , the result has been spectacular . You can check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuHK-pd_8AE

Visual Brand Storytelling is the future of marketing and is happening now !

Building Compassionate Leaders My Lessons at Mastek

In a world that is driven by ‘Greed’ and focus on ‘Self’, I was fortunate to work in an  organization and under leaders who are driven by values and ‘respect for individual’. I got an opportunity to co-found Mastek Foundation along with Ashank Desai a stalwart of the IT industry in my very early days in the organisation. One of the objectives of creating Mastek Foundation was to sensitise and engage Mastekeers with the community. Over the past 18 years I have learnt a few lessons on Compassionate Leadership at Mastek which I would like to share.

  1. It All Begins at the Top.

I have had the fortune of working closely with Ashank and Sudhakar and also interact with Sundar and Ketan. All four founders are first generation entrepreneurs and IIM graduates. The values Mastek holds flows directly from all four of them, the simplicity, the humbleness, the respect for people and values of honesty and ethics flows from them. Mastek has a deep and unique culture which is people friendly and there is a term referred by Ex-Mastekeers ‘Once a Mastekeer , Always a Mastekeer.’

One cannot impose culture and it does not begin at the bottom , culture flows when leaders walk the talk ! 

  1. Support for the Community is not a Tick Mark 

Long before the CSR act came into place we had Mastek Foundation and we were engaging with the community. Recently when based on the CSR act we could have reduced the annual budgets of Mastek Foundation I got a message that the board took a call to continue supporting the community at similar levels irrespective of the funds mandated by the act.

We continue to invest is supporting initiatives like ‘IT for NGOs’ supporting capability building at NGOs though not part of CSR act. We continue with initiatives in the campuses to mentor youth to build IT solutions for non profits through ‘Project Deep Blue’ again not part of the CSR act.

Community engagement at Mastek is not a tick mark activity it is part of the culture of who we are.

  1. Engage , Engage, Engage

Over the past 18 years we constantly worked at engaging Mastekeers with the community , we call community leaders to talk to Mastekeers , we organise fundraisers , we mentor students at campuses , we help Non Profits build IT solutions , we have an active payroll giving . There is no short cut to engaging employees with the community.

The result is over 80 % of our employees are part of the payroll giving program compared to the industry standard of 15% to 20%. This has taken time and effort, but it produces results.

  1. Put your money first

When we ask Mastekeers to give we at many times run a 100% matching contribution from Mastek . This motivates employees to give when they know that their contribution would have a multiplier impact.

Adding a matching grant from the organisation always works.

  1. Contribute skills

For a software engineer, it is best that he contributes his IT skills. We have a unique mentoring program for college students this is called ‘Project Deep Blue’. Every year students are mentored over a period of 4 months by Mastekeers to build real life working solutions for Non-Profits. This is a win-win solution on all sides , last year we had over 800 students from 18 colleges participate in ‘Project Deep Blue’.

Rather than volunteer for feel good it would make sense to volunteer for real impact. Contributing skills leads to real impact. 

  1. Build solutions for a busy executive 

We work in an industry where there are tough project timelines, we explored the possibility for busy executives to contribute from wherever they at the time of their convinience . The idea of ‘Social Champions’ was born. In todays connected world every Millennial has a Facebook and Instagram page, it is time they have a ‘Krama’ page.

On this ‘Karma’ page an individual can choose the cause/ NGO they wish to support and declare a goal for fundraising. They can then use their special days like birth days , anniversaries or any special occasion to fundraise for their chosen cause. They can customise the page , their message , share on social media even invite their friends to volunteer for projects they are supporting.

GivNow a division of Benow a digital payment start-up incubated by Mastek launched a low cost fundraiser and donor engagement platform for NGOs during Daan Utsav in Oct 2017.  In a short span of time over 300 NGOs are already on the platform.  Now leveraging our employee engagement experience at Mastek and digital payments experience at Benow we are providing the platform free of cost to all Corporates.

Our vision is that even if 1% of the employees at corporates takes up to becoming Social Champions we would help create more compassionate leaders in the corporate world. This in turn will help to grow retail giving in India which is the need of the hour.

Compassionate leaders make business sense as they have a quality ‘empathy’ and they go beyond ‘self’ they are able to inspire teams around them this has a positive impact on the organisation culture and performance.