Amit Sharma, the former Chief Operating Officer of a Philippine company, Copylandia Office Systems Corporation. He has led operations across the US, Australia and New Zealand for leading MNCs in the BPO world. He now works as an Independent Business Consultant and also teaches people the science of Mind Management. Here is an excerpt from his interview:
What is the most common question that you get as a Business Consultant?
“How do we change and make money?” that’s the first question I get from established organisations and professionals I generally work with. That is basically the reason they hire me. But, as far as young people are concerned, their questions revolve around how can we succeed in a certain number of years? Or how can we grow in our careers and questions like that.
Since, today we are living in an age of such rapid changes, what are the qualities and skills that you think we as students need to possess to survive and succeed?
As students I think what we are lacking is curiosity and perseverance. That’s a pain I see even when I hire people at different positions. Today’s generation needs to understand that ‘Rome was not built in a day’. McKinsey published a report earlier that there is a huge need for talent and then we have a significant amount of unemployment in the country. I think it’s a very silly problem to have.
We have the people and we have the jobs, we just don’t have the people who fit the jobs. This can be solved if they have the curiosity to learn new things and then they have to have the perseverance to put in that effort, get those skills and imbibe and practice to succeed. You will have to come out with a reasonable journey and you would have to learn.
There is so much of competition and stress especially in the corporate world. So, during your years as COO, how did you cope with stress?
Stress is having a lot of work to do in less time and when you are having less energy. First, be passionate about your work. If you love what you do, you won’t feel physically drained. Secondly, it is the mental drain. If you meditate, it increases your energy and capacity. You have the same day but you have more energy and you are more focused and that certainly helps.
You like meditation and teach people Science of Mind Management. ‘From Business to Mind Management’, how did that happen?
I have worked in industries where stress levels are very high. We have very high deadlines, tight schedules and crazy goals. I have worked in the BPO world and also in the retail industry. In both industries, stress was simply a part of the job. I had worked in diverse geographies, I could not sleep enough and I did not know how to manage that. It started off as how to make my energy levels right and then it was the team because we were losing people due to the same problem.
Secondly, I wanted to understand the science behind meditation and chemistry behind the brain. The more I read, the more I practised. As I saw the changes happening inside me, I thought of teaching it to others as well. I began with my colleagues within the organisation and then my clients and others. Everyone was just happy to have something else than alcohol to relieve stress. For me, it just became a nice cycle of learning and teaching.
What was your learning from your experience of working in different countries and diverse cultures?
I think human beings are same everywhere. We all have our own cultural biases, we all look at the world differently but the basic emotions are the same. The basic rule is “treat people the way you would like to be treated”. As an individual, my voice is loud and my body language is aggressive. ‘But even with that you can get away as long as you are showing respect and treating them the way you would like to be treated’ is what I learned.
What would be your message to the students?
It is good to be ambitious. It is very good to be ambitious, there is no denying that. But ambition should be backed with the ability and the willingness to take the pain for it. It is like shopping in a store, if there is something nice you have to pay for it and that payment is going to be painful. In Life, it is hard work, reading, learning and practicing. That is your currency in the store called Life. It’s simple if you want something, work for it.
Lastly, any quick interview tip for all those who are graduating this semester?
Yes. It’s a quick tip but if you really want to crack it, you need to understand it well. We generally pick up the first job that comes our way but that’s not going to work in the long run. If you want to have a successful career, know yourself first and accordingly choose an industry you want to join and the company you want to get into. Getting through it would be the Interview.
Don’t try to sell yourself, understand the interviewer’s world. Every interviewer wants to know what you have done in the past, how you have done it and who you are. They would like to see your energy, your soft skills and know how you react and mange when things might go downhill. Have your REAP (Results Energy Attitude Processes) in line, communicate it well and your chances to get selected are already high.