“Try not to become a person of success but a person of value.” — Albert Einstein
Today, I want to share an interesting story! It is about a young entrepreneur named Shubhankar Parthasarthy. Twelve years ago, he had started his professional journey with meagre resources. However, today he successfully manages a business empire of over INR 1000 million. Shubhankar has never been my student but I have known him for several years in the role of a mentor. Whenever he has faced any problem in his business, he approaches me to discuss possible solutions.
I have always found Shubhankar hardworking, dedicated, focussed, and sincere in whatever he does! He is astute in planning, executing, negotiating, mobilizing resources and leading his team effectively. I am impressed by his ability to manage the total value chain as well as his resolve to take care of the interests of all his stakeholders.
I take pride in mentioning that Shubhankar always remembered and acted upon all my business and entrepreneurial advice. He always remembered my words that business is all about creating, communicating, and delivering value to all stakeholders, particularly to customers, employees, and shareholders. But then, Shubhankar always held the words of his grandfather close to his heart, which I did not know about. I often heard him credit his success in business to the million-dollar advice he got from his grandpa.
Fondly called “nana” by him, Shubhankar’s grandfather was neither highly qualified nor had any worthwhile exposure or experience in business or industry but had seen life! He had been, one could say, “part of life’s rich tapestry.” He was nourished by different perspectives as he weathered the different phases of life.
I was always curious to know about it and one day while I and Shubhankar were enjoying our coffee together at a popular coffee shop. I instigated Shubhankar to tell me in detail the business/life advice he got from his grandpa. And, to my utter delight, Shubhankar agreed.
Here’s how the conversation unfolded:
KT – Shubhankar, you always speak highly of your grandpa. I am curious to know what he has said to you that has stayed with you till now.
SP– Sir, My nana gave me a piece of great life advice which is also great business advice, if you think about it. He told me that, “If you aim to offer value instead of taking value, people will be naturally drawn to you. You will attract more people if you provide them with an immense amount of value.”
KT – That is 100% true, Shubhankar! We should create value in our offerings (products and/or services) and deliver a compelling value proposition to our customers. We should also strive to create more value and deliver the same to various stakeholders like our employees, shareholders, suppliers, society, and the Government. That is an important philosophy in all businesses.
SP– You are right, Sir but then my nana’s perspective is somewhat different.
KT – OK Shubhankar…. Please elaborate on that…
SP – In my nana’s words, “your long-term goal should be to create relationships and provide a sense of fulfilment. More success is attributed to those who contribute value to others than those merely seeking glory.”
KT – Interesting! I agree! How do you interpret his words?
SP – I think, if you want to be a great leader and influencer, you must start adding value to others through insights, ideas, and inspiration. Everyone wants to be treated well by clients, peers, friends, and family members. This powerful mindset will change how you work and pursue success in all areas of your life. It can not only change your career, but it can also change your relationships with many people who surround you.
KT – Shubhankar, I think you have made a good point. Rather than engaging in self-glorifying behaviour or displaying an attitude of self-aggrandizement, we should think about others. We should position ourselves as givers rather than as takers and try to be a person of value. Something amazing happens when givers succeed: it spreads and attracts more people.
(I was now enjoying the conversation with Shubhankar and the life philosophy of his grandpa was already taking roots within me. Without waiting for Shubhankar to interject, I continued.)
KT – Shubhankar, if you are not sure where to begin, seek to add value to yourself! Improve your skills! Help yourself first, then figure out how you can create value for others!!
SP (smiling) – Yes Sir, that is perfect! That is one way to go about it. But I also believe that when you are too focused on yourself, people become disinterested in you. They start avoiding you and ignoring you. They feel frustrated when they are with you.
KT – Exactly! Balance is the key. Conversely, when others around you know that you created value for them – they trust you, your brand, your service or your product. They want to engage with and support you in your work, in the same way, that you have supported them in theirs!
I could see that Shubhankar’s words (or should I credit his grandpa for this?) had certainly had a profound impact on me. I have been an advocate of value creation, but this conversation with him had created a new revelation for me! I started expanding the scope of the concept of “value creation and delivery” in my mind. Now, I found myself accepting his contention that it actually was more than just a bit of business advice, it truly was a life lesson!
I decided to learn more. I, therefore, started surfing the internet for more information. I began reading several posts and quotes on this lovely concept of earning and becoming happy by helping and providing value to others. I have included a few of my learnings from the internet here in this article for the benefit of my readers.
“Wherever and whenever required – speak up. Add your voice. Someone can benefit from your opinion. Share what you know. The world needs you to make an impact in your way. There is value in helping others improve or do better.”
Here’s another one I loved,
“When you provide value to others, your success grows organically. People seek more from you, talk about you to others, and share your amazing resources with their connections. By striving for value, you will be successful no matter where your journey takes you.”
This is the essence of the advice I would want to give businessmen:
“If you always think about making more money you get distracted. You think of optimizing profits, rather than adding new value. The only way to create new wealth (for everyone) is to create more value.”
All said and done, I have realised that offering value is an excellent method to be successful and improve your personal or professional relationships. Providing value means becoming a creator instead of a consumer. Creating value is one of the secrets to a happy life (also to a successful business). The only way you can become happier is to create more value for others. There is immense satisfaction in making a difference in someone else’s life!!
I shall like to end the article with a quote by Hal Elrod, an American author and success coach: