Broaden your horizon.

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Hemanth was just about to head into his meeting when he saw Alok sitting inside the conference room. Alok had been on his team since 5 years. “I won’t let him last more than 6 months in this office” thought Hemanth to himself. He needed some fresh blood who was willing to work outside the box.

As Hemanth entered the conference room, his team entered with him and filled out all the chairs. Hemanth began to talk about the latest numbers they had achieved and how it had been a disappointing quarter. “College kids should not be that tough to convince, with our low price range and easy accessibility, our T-shirts should have already been sold!”

Alok felt lost in this meeting, like he had always done through the years. When he had been interviewed a few years ago, he really liked Hemanth’s style and innovative thinking. But after joining, Alok felt that he was lost in the crowd of promotions, politics and raises. He was doing the same old job that he had done for years together. He had become a part of the system.

Hemanth looked Alok straight in the eye and asked him what he thought of the new design thinking method that some of the product analysts were talking about. Alok was startled but he had to react quickly. “I think it’s a great idea.” Not knowing at the very least what design thinking was. He didn’t want to fail in Hemanth’s eyes.

Everyone looked at Alok and Hemanth smirked at him. Hemanth had talked to all of his managers and executives. They thought that design thinking was a waste of time. Hemanth wanted to know what Alok thought of it. Hemanth thought that Alok was a strong brain in the team but he wasn’t sure if he had it in him anymore. If he didn’t then Hemanth had no intentions of keeping him in his team

“Okay, take 2 week’s time and present a plan for the upcoming quarter. If the team agrees with the idea, you will lead this project.” Alok almost balked at what Hemanth told him. Hemanth concluded the meeting and Alok was about to leave the room when Hemanth asked him to wait

“Look Alok, I have no place in my team for anyone who adds no value to my team and here is your chance to prove that I was right about you when I hired you.” Hemanth said. Alok nodded and walked out of the room.

Sitting in his cubicle, Alok had no idea what to do and where to start when he heard some of his team-mates chat close to the water-cooler. “I have no idea why Hemanth gave Alok a chance to lead!” Someone else said, “That’s because Hemanth is sure that design thinking isn’t going to work. It is a waste of our resources and time. He is sure that Alok won’t be able to deliver the challenge thrown at him.”

Now Alok understood why Hemanth had asked him to lead. He was sure that Alok would fail and Hemanth would get a chance to fire him. “I want to prove Hemanth and all of them wrong. I am going to lead this project.” thought Alok.

But he was not really sure from where he would get the time to learn and present it. He had enough pending work at office. But he resolved to win Hemanth over and wanted to do something that could make a difference.

On his way back from work Alok searched for design thinking on the net. He found it very vague but interesting. His interest shot up. He realized that design thinking was a different ball game altogether that focused not on numbers but the problems that customers faced.

He went home, had dinner and was about to watch the news when he realized that there was lots to do for the meeting. He powered his laptop and got on to e-learning websites to actually understand in depth about design thinking. Jash found a course that suited his requirement. It was a 15 hour video course. He thought he could study on his way to commute. It was a one hour cab journey one way. So, even if he watched the videos for 8 days for 2 hours each, he would be able to complete the course and actually get a certificate on the same!

He purchased the course and browsed through the course. He saw that each video had a list of reference material to better understand that section. Jash downloaded these podcasts and e-books and transferred it to his phone.

During his lunch break, instead of sitting with his friends, he sat at his cubicle finished his lunch quickly and read through the e-books and podcasts. This made a whole lot of difference to what the videos were saying. Now he understood the concepts much better.

After this, there was no stopping Alok. He started reading about design thinking wherever he could. He started studying case studies of how design thinking helped companies do better and make a lot of money. Alok was so invested in learning that he used his weekend to study as well!

On the day of the presentation, Alok was very confident. He started his presentation and Hemanth realized that the Alok he had hired was back. His idea to the current problem seemed very viable. He also noticed that his entire team was equally stunned at this new passionate Alok who really did know what he was speaking.

After the presentation, Alok noticed that Hemanth looked pleased. Hemanth came over, patted his back and announced that Alok would lead the team for this quarter.

Alok was glad he not just proved his team wrong but also proved himself right. Alok realized how his thirst to know more helped him succeed. For the next entire quarter Alok made everyone pick a topic of their choice and teach it to the entire team.

Hemanth was surprised with everyone’s interest and the way Alok managed to incorporate all of their learning into the business plan he had decided.

To no-one’s surprise, Alok’s plan was a huge success. It was a huge step forward for the company and Hemanth saw how each of his employees were working towards their full potential.

Alok’s formula of continuous learning and growth which was propelled by technology had put the company into forefront and had made them innovators and leaders in their market!

Written by

PGC is a boutique Management Consulting firm engaged in the business of enabling its clients to transform their Org, Culture & Capabilities.

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