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The Corporate Eklavya

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He was a ranker.He came from a humble background, studied in average schools, attended an average college and went to an average Management college and on the IQ scale his intelligence also could be rated as average, but one thing set him apart – his approach towards life. He learned very early in life that nothing can compensate for Hard work and that gave him the edge.Despite everything being average, he managed to stand apart from his mates. In his early days of life, he read a famous quote by Calvin Coolidge “ Nothing in this world can take place of persistence. Talent will not, nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with Talent. Genius will not, unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not, the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent” This quote set the foundation of Vikas’ life and he very early in his life he decided that “There is no shortcut to success and there are no elevators to reach the top ” This became the guiding principle of his life.

Armed with a management degree with respectable scores, Vikas landed up in his first job. True to his nature, he always tried to go an extra mile to his work and went out of the way to help his colleagues. He did this because of his own selfish reasons to learn faster but this attitude quickly won him many friends in the organization who became ready to share knowledge in exchange of extra responsibility being taken up by Vikas. Time flew and Vikas started growing in the organization. From a Sales officer to Territory Sales Manager to Area Sales Manager and in a span of fourteen years he became the Regional Sales Manager in the same organization. The person who inducted him in the organisation was very happy with Vikas’ progress and he motivated him to do even better . Mr Rao , his Boss used to say “ Only a perfect jeweller can spot a diamond and Vikas is a real asset to the organisation “ Vikas felt very happy & proud but at the same also felt uncomfortable when Mr. Rao said all these things in public –jealousy is a basic human nature and people generally don’t feel happy when others are praised in front of them .

“ Yaar, Vikas gets all these accolades because he is a favourite of Mr. Rao ; despite how much effort we put in our work, Rao Sahab never takes notice of us and every year we are handed over the same 5% increment ” cribbed Mohan, though heart in heart he knew that Vikas always put in more efforts and had a strong engagement with his customers . People want everything in life, but they don’t want to put everything on a stake to get it and hence they need someone to blame for their failures. Vikas knew that his colleagues used to talk behind his back but he was least interested in office politics and water cooler discussions and was more interested in learning newer ways to increase the productivity of his team and himself. Between all these day-to-day challenges, life was moving on at a very fast pace and Vikas was working hard and honing his skills to qualify for a position in Head office – this was an Operations role and he felt that he could do a very good job in that role.He had expressed his desire during his appraisals with Rao & Rao also felt that Vikas was the right fit for the role and that the organization would benefit from his experience.

Rao was also approaching his retirement and had only six months left. He thought that he would recommend Vikas for that position to the CEO on strict merit basis.He hardly was aware of the events that were to unfold in the next few weeks.

In the monthly townhall, the CEO sprung a surprise and introduced a suave young Man, Ashish Malhotra as successor to Mr. Rao . Ashish belonged to an army family, was a pass out of a top-notch school and then did his Management from a top-ranked institute. Though his work experience was only 12 years his degrees and background impressed the CEO and he hired him at a much higher salary .“ I welcome Ashish to the family and hope that you all will extend him complete support to settle in his new assignment. I would request Mr. Rao to share his invaluable experience with Ashish so that he can steer the ship in the right direction .welcome Ashish ” The CEO introduced Ashish and the townhall got over. Vikas came out of the meeting with mixed feelings – Mr. Rao did not have the impressive degrees but he had years of experience under his belt. He was not suave but he understood man management very well. The new gentleman looked a bit cold and insensitive. He could feel this when he shook hands with him and welcomed him. The handshake was very indifferent .“ Anyways, let’s face it when the time comes. Let me focus on this quarter’s results” said Vikas to himself.

Six months are passed in a blink and Mr. Rao’s farewell day came. It was a small party in the office and everyone spoke something about Mr. Rao . Everyone speaks good things at farewells, thought Vikas. Many of his colleagues used to hate Mr. Rao and bitched behind his back but here they were all praise for him. When Mr. Rao spoke, he thanked everyone in the organization and wished Ashish all the very best but before closing his speech he said “ I have worked with many people in my life but no one like Vikas. He is the most dedicated and committed Team member that I have ever worked with in my life.Throughout his tenure under me, there has been not one quarter when he has not over achieved his targets. He will continue to occupy a special place in my life and I wish him all the success in life” That was it !! Vikas felt happy and very uncomfortable. He could see people clapping for him but he could clearly see jealousy in many eyes. He went ahead and touched the feet of his Guru – his heart was very heavy and for the first time in life he felt uneasy & nervous. Ashish looked at him with appreciation but Vikas could sense some indifference in his appreciation.

Vikas applied for the Operations role and he went through the regular process of interview and presentation with Ashish and the CEO.However, he was surprised at the result – he was not selected and they were getting someone from the outside – the guy had a similar background as that of Ashish and belonged to the same college. Vikas was heartbroken and very disappointed. He sought a meeting with Ashish .“ I believe that given your experience and educational background, you would add more value in the existing role. The Channel Marketing role is a specialized role and somebody with better credentials will be able to do more justice. In fact, I have already proposed that you move to East of India and develop the market. East is very weak for us and a strong person like you will be able to turnaround things in our favor “ Ashish replied in a very professional manner. “But sir, I have been preparing myself for this role for the last one year and I have full confidence that I can do a very good job ” Vikas tried to reason with Ashish but Ashish had made up his mind and was in no mood to discuss. He had already decided that only someone with a solid background and upbringing could handle this position. Again a Dronacharya was readying to go to any extent to favor Arjuna & sideline an Eklavya.


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