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Monday, July 01, 2013
By Robin Shukla

A large section of the reading audience purchases books that are inspirational and motivating. Zense by Ugesh Joseph takes the route of Zen mediation to the top, Lonely at the Top by V.K. Madhav Mohan is about leaders and the challenges they face as they walk alone, while A Salesman’s Lessons by C.R. Jena looks at the selling as a part of life.

Towards a positive transformation that liberates the self
Zense For An Evolved Leadership by Ugesh Joseph is a wonderful book about getting ahead in life and the workplace without the push and the shove, free of the ego clash and the need to rise by putting others down. We are reproducing this from the inner jacket because it beautifully sums up why readers should acquire their own copies: This book offers Leaders and Managers a holistic and clear-sighted perspective on Zen and matters that concern them the most – of managing themselves and the people they work with – so as to arrive at their true potential; work without stress; and live in harmony with nature, the environment and each other. People increasingly need the help that Zen offers in these turbulent times. This is a fresh, new perspective to Zen and Meditation, and how Leaders and Managers can keep their inner calm while managing nations, companies and organisations.

Zen is an effort to pass from states of delusion, cravings, ignorance and excesses, to a balanced, stable and composed state of being or what is called enlightenment. Very often we are mired in our own mess, and cling to false notions and concepts, which colour our own perceptions about life and its events.  Zen is that technique that enables us to see the world or our objective reality as it is – free from illusions and misconceptions. A manager who keeps himself free from the clutter of illusions, delusions and cravings of the mind, will be better equipped and well disposed enough to read, perceive and understand a situation without the inherent subjectivity of personal opinion interfering with the reality of the situation.

Though it may sound as too far fetched to practice and achieve, meditation helps us to be in the here and now when we learn to control our attention and awareness. As the Buddhists contend, ‘Remain in the present, open, quiet and alert to the present with a detached awareness.’ Being in the present will ensure is one is in that frame of mind where one can pay attention – performing tasks with the  required level of awareness and focus, without getting distracted by thoughts or pre-conceived opinions of the past or the future, or other thoughts. Since this is an ideal quality if one wishes to be more efficient and effective in life and in the workplace, it is something every individual, whether leader, manager or employee should want to possess.

by Ugesh Joseph
Platinum Press (Leadstart)

A continuous journey of personal kaizen
Lonely at the Top (Reflections of a mentor) by V.K. Madhav Mohan is a collection of thoughtful pieces from a many-faceted mind. The author started off in life as a tennis player, and ended up with three master’s degrees in economics, management and international business. Tapping into India’s spiritual heritage and merging it with state-of-the-art management and leadership, the author is able to provide a winning combination of solutions that can help people and organisations to realise their utmost and optimum potentials.

Like in the case of Zense by Ugesh Joseph, the purpose of this interesting book is best explained by the author himself: Leadership, I believe, is fundamental to all human progress; indeed, I am convinced it is the ultimate driver of competitive advantage. It is leadership that creates the context, structure and milieu for interaction between people, which in turn results in innovation, profitability and growth. It is inevitable that the leader walks alone.
Always treading the subtle boundaries between what is right, expedient, necessary and sustainable, the leader faces enormous stress. While mentoring super-achievers, I realised that loneliness is the one constant companion of leaders and change, unlike planning, cascades downwards from the top. But who is to bell the cat and impress upon the crème de la crème that they are the ones who must set personal examples? And how can leaders obtain inputs without seeming to be weak and unsure of themselves?  Perhaps, sharing my experiences and observations will help. These case-stories and chapters can be read as stand-alone pieces or as part of broader themes. I hope they will encourage introspection, which I believe is a precondition for personal change. Leadership is exciting but painful and yet, help is always available for those who reach out.

While most of the factors that contribute to success are well documented, the pain of loneliness is often ignored. You are not only alone up there on the totem pole, all have their eyes fixed on you and whatever you say or do percolates down across the organisation, to the point that your image becomes a brand. Being in the cross-hairs entails that one must therefore operate in a state of heightened awareness, with absolute clarity of purpose and rock-solid commitment to ethics and fair play. It is therefore important to have rich relationships with the team, a loving environment at home.

Lonely at the Top
by V.K. Madhav Mohan
Platinum Press (Leadstart)

Making certain that you get what you play for
A Salesman’s Lessons (What I studied is what I failed to see) by C.R. Jena is not intended to be a reference manual for those intending to become super salesmen. It sees the vocation as an extension of life and lessons are to be learned more from without than from within. However, any inspiration gleaned from the several experiences recounted in refreshing anecdotal style, could serve to enhance one’s performance in many aspects of life, including of course, a career in sales. 

Furthermore, we need to understand that a salesman is not the person we typically envisage, walking into buildings or into shops with a bulging bag or briefcase stuffed with goods to sell, or a person who accosts you to make a sales pitch about something you intend to buy and wishes to have you know that his product is the best or is most ideally suited for you. In actuality, we are all as human beings trying to sell something, even if it is our own persona, our image to the world. And those feeling put-off or harassed by salesmen would do well to remember that in life, we too are seeking customers.

As Jena writes, ‘To echo my grandmother, I believe that good things in society would not exist if Salesmen were not there. All that you see today – cars, phones, iPads, houses, cities, casinos, jets, computers, fast food, jeans, snickers, Internet et al, would not have existed without the Salesman. Even though others invent the products and services, the Salesman makes them popular by selling and selling…all over the world.’

There are 27 chapters, each with two messages, and one-liners which the author suggests can be used in sales conversations. He points out that ‘a Salesman has to sell both within the organisation, as well as to customers.’ And though this book aims to cover both scenarios, it is intended for those in sales and also for those not in sales. The book is actually a compilation of ideas from the author’s diaries written over a period of 15 years.

Apart from various anecdotes that render this book immensely readable, there are theories explained, and also some arithmetic calculations to emphasize the certainty of action bringing reward.   

The author has been involved in selling of products and services in the IT industry, and has been a panellist and speaker of repute in the IT domain.
A Salesman’s Lessons
by C.R. Jena
Platinum Press (Leadstart)

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