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The 3 ingredients of success

January 15, 2008 10:32 IST

Everybody wants to be successful and those who go to B-schools have even greater expectations of success.

While that is reasonable, it is perhaps worthwhile to look at a few ingredients that make for phenomenal success. Sadly enough, those skills are not imparted -- at least, not in an organised manner --  at most B-schools in the country.

The power of communication: If one were to take a look at some outstanding business leaders, they have an important quality in common. They are all exceedingly good communicators. People like Jack Welch and Tom Peters, to name just two, were great communicators. Their vision and passion would come through clearly, both orally and in their writing.

Every budding manager needs to ask  himself, "How good is my communication ability?" Today's youngsters crack the CAT, are amazing in numerical ability and data interpretation.

They do work on their verbal ability as well, but in practice, I suspect that they have miles to go in communication and this is one area where business schools, despite having courses in the area, do little work on.

Management is all about people: If I were to ask God for one skill, it would be the skill to communicate with people. Successful people manage their relationships at work and outside with great skill and most of them have acquired theirs outside of business school as it is rarely, if ever, taught there.

Observe successful people in action and learn from them. Yet it is important to be your own natural self: successful managers of people are their own genuine selves, not phoney, not superficial. So, how good are your people skills? Can you disagree without being disagreeable? Think about it.

Selling is key: Successful people are wonderful salesmen. They are passionate about their products, services and organisations. They have insatiable energy and do not take "no" for an answer.

Business schools teach sales management, but hardly ever teach their students how to sell. It is a skill that anyone who desires success must acquire and, as with mathematics, the only way to excel at it is to practice.

The three key attributes of success to my mind are the ability to communicate, skills with people and a strong desire to sell. Most importantly, it is critical to enjoy what you are doing.

As the famous singer Bob Dylan said: If you get up in the morning and go to sleep at night and in between do what you like, consider yourself a successful man.

Ramanujam Sridhar graduated from IIM, Bangalore in 1982.

Ramanujam Sridhar