Posted on: October 30, 2012
It is a question that human-kind has been pondering for aeons; a question that we usually hide within ourselves, and yet grapple with everyday. On the 8th of October 2012, when Mr. Prakash Kulkarni, a much respected veteran in the field of management, quite unexpectedly put this question to the students of Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS), not many knew how to answer it.
Mr. Prakash Kulkarni would certainly know a lot about success and happiness. Having joined Harihar Polyfibres – a unit of Grasim Industries, engaged in manufacturing ‘dissolving grade’ pulp – way back in 1972 as a BSc student, he retired in 2007 as an AGM, from the same organisation. Given the current times, a tenure of 35 years is unimaginable; unless, of course, you have found both success and happiness in the job.
But rather than break into a long sermon on his understanding of success and happiness, Mr. Kulkarni, in the true exploratory spirit of Management, nudged the young audience of KIAMS to probe and discover their own meaning of the two words. The students of KIAMS who offered an opinion on the question were asked to walk up to the stage and speak. In so doing, Mr. Kulkarni established a level playing field; he established that in discussions on happiness and success, there were no teachers and students, no rights and no wrongs.
With the charm and ready wit of a seasoned orator, Mr. Kulkarni then guided the session into a study of human nature. This was a subject on which almost all the young student managers of KIAMS had something to say. From individual body language, to gestures, to gait, the guest lecturer punctuated the entire session with interesting interpretations and anecdotes. To his credit, Mr. Kulkarni was, simply by observing their body language, able to correctly discern the specialities of most of his subjects chosen from amongst the KIAMS students.
During the two-hour long interaction, Mr Kulkarni was able to drive home the merits of setting high targets and widening one’s spectrum of thinking.
“These are going to be the cornerstones for a prosperous corporate career. How an employee should manage one’s body language in order to maintain the correct impression at the workplace, etiquette that is expected from an interviewee and an employee alike – such lessons are not delivered from textbooks, but are essential to survive in the cut-throat environment of the corporate world.”
Mr. Kulkarni then deftly steered the entire interaction with the KIAMS students towards a much-debated topic – Leadership. By infusing numerous cases and bringing in anecdotes, he was able to establish the nature, behaviour, temperament and extent of flexibility that are cultivated by leaders.
The interaction ended on a high note for the students of KIAMS, with Mr. Kulkarni letting a 20-minutes motivational video do the talking. More than anything, the lecture was coloured by Mr. Kulkarni’s personality – that of a man who did not see success as counter-productive to happiness, and vice-versa. It was this message that the young future managers from KIAMS took back that evening.
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