Two August Heroes

Many a time you meet people who leave a significant impression with you. Some by their ‘change the world’ attitude, some by their courage and gutsy approach, some by their humility – irrespective of how successful they are – and some by their ability to simply ask the right questions. Interacting with them, listening to them and more importantly, learning from them is a sheer joy. Among several people whom I met this month at the business, social and personal levels, two of them stood out because of their ability to be different and create significant impact.

One who prepares well for a meeting, clearly shows a grasp of the subject in understanding and in articulation. In addition, anyone who wants to go the extra mile, prepares even more with a broader context and more research on all of the associated subjects and areas. Normally in team meetings, the experienced ones speak the most – some because of rituals and some because of their own belief that they need to! From experience, their command on the issues at hand is mature though not always the best solution. If these meetings are large in size, the newer team members must come well prepared to quickly join the momentum of the discussions and contribute with astuteness and new thinking. That is the sure way to stand out with relevancy and new ideas. A youngster in a recent meeting picked up all of the nuances among the intense discussions and asked some of the most relevant and thought-provoking questions. She had obviously researched well for the meeting. However, rather than trying to contribute with solutions and answers, she stood out because she firmly took the position of asking the right questions, which the rest of the team had missed in the entire discussion! Many a time we go with the flow, intending to find solutions; whereas simply asking the right question can steer the conventional approach towards a new direction. Give it a try!

Looking at the social sector with a view of responsibility, one notices the humongous task at hand to drive fundamental change at the grassroots level. This is even more amplified in Asia, Africa, LATAM and other emerging economies. In India, I recently met a real transformer. I was amazed at his sheer intensity to own and drive fundamental change in the lives of children from the lowest strata of society. He works with the ragpicker children, assuming responsibility to educate them through proper primary schools, and furthermore, working with their family support system to ensure the changes are everlasting. While this young man could have taken any corporate job in India, his intense commitment towards changing lives at the grassroots level is truly awe-inspiring. I asked what drives him, and his response was, “It’s not only about changing one child or one life, it’s about impacting generations.” I salute him! They need our total support.

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