A career in IT: Balancing your learning between books and surrounding

Growth in life is not about your stars or your parents who have had a large role to play in your growth. It is about your hunger to learn and excel.

I have seen a lot of people in more than two decades of my career who have excelled and found several common traits, one of them being their hunger for learning and gaining knowledge at every step.

I was also highly intrigued to see that their success is proportional to the size of their library. My definition of success is not merely in terms of money, but respect and influence a person can generate. Once again, instead of taking examples of people around, I feel more comfortable giving my own example.

“If you have to be successful in life, strike a great balance in learning beyond your domain and try to have a holistic personality.“

Having come from a family that could hardly afford a good education. The only way to move up in life for me was through education. My father, who had escaped from his home at an early age of fourteen to avoid getting married in his childhood and braved the unknown world for about a decade before finally landing up in a government job. He always told me his story and kept on telling me to learn new things in life beyond the books. He was a great advocate of learning beyond the classrooms. This made me do many things beyond just my books and I ended up learning public speaking, knowing many languages, playing many games and even trying to run my own venture. Eventually I understood a great lesson of learning.

Knowledge is all around us, we must take time to correlate our books to our surroundings. Without understanding and mastering our own ecosystem, we will be limited to bookish knowledge, which will not be enough to make us successful. Over a period of time, I developed a passion for understanding human behavior. I learned handwriting analysis and read several books on history. I was fascinated to find the similarity of events and outcomes based on human behavior over centuries. This gave me a great insight on how the future will emerge based on my own efforts. I learned from the stories of great people on how they became great and tried to apply them in my own life. While I am a great fan of Mahatma Gandhi, I realized that the theory of non-violence has no meaning with those who have a low ability to understand and reason, therefore proving that even the best theories and practices may not always work well in different circumstances.

The complexity of human behavior and the knowledge around that gave me a very good foundation when I started the company that I am now managing. Having a great team of leaders and a positive ambiance in the company inspite of all odds has been only possible because of such learning.

If you have to be successful in life, strike a great balance in learning beyond your domain and try to have a holistic personality.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by IndiasGreatest.com ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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1 Response

  1. Vivek says:

    Very nicely put 🙂 kudos

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