Learnings & Challenges from 42+ Years Of Professional Life – A. K. Roy
We at Emoha were blessed to have Mr Arun Kumar Roy in our Gurgaon office a few days ago. Mr Arun Kumar Roy aka A.K. Roy has been a very successful engineer (for 42+ yrs), an author (CEO’s Dilemma – To Change the Rules of the Game), and also teaches underprivileged children with his better half. Sh. A.K. Roy is a recipient of the prestigious VASVIK Industrial Research Award (1991) in Mechanical Sciences and Technology from the Lok Sabha Speaker, Sh. Shiv Raj Patil (for promoting industrial research, Science, and Technology in India). This entails a memento and a citation given to an eminent person from an industry who has made use of indigenous R&D work for industrial growth and contributed to the economic prosperity of India.
Mr Roy has also been selected as an Honorary Member of the 13-member “Engineering Sciences Research Committee” of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Govt. of India. We had the pleasure to experience a precious and winsome talk about “Learning from Difficult Bosses and the Challenges & Experiences in Professional Life” presented by Mr Roy. He shared his professional life experiences in the form of modules and stories to complement each module, however, we are not including the stories here, to keep the blog short, simple and non-technical.
Module 1: The Boss may shout at you, don’t be afraid and get disheartened. Instead, stand up and prove your mettle. Critically analyse your problems if you feel you are technically right and stick to your point. Do not always get influenced by your boss’s thinking. You are a qualified person. Have confidence in your knowledge. So think on your own, bosses are not always right.
Module 2: Give due importance to your boss’s instructions. You may not know about the far-reaching impact of these instructions.
Module 3: Respect your boss, but at the same time don’t be afraid to contradict him if required, but do so without humiliating him.
Module 4: Have the humility to accept a mistake; your subordinates will respect you.
Module 5: Give credit to your subordinates for their good work. Your appreciation of them will be valuable in building their confidence.
Module 6: Respect from fellow workers comes from your ‘Deeds’ and not from your ‘Dandas’ or ‘Sticks’. Sticks bring ‘fear’, not ‘respect’. Respect comes directly from your heart.
Respect is to be earned and NOT demanded. The respect a leader commands is inversely proportional to the respect he demands.
Module 7: Learn from your mistakes – Remember, “failures are the pillars of success”.
A failure is not always a mistake; it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying. Examples:
- P.V Sindhu won Badminton World Cup in 2019 after losing three times in the past. In Tokyo Olympics, 2020 she won the bronze medal.
- India’s Chandrayan 2, India’s first attempt is 95% successful.
Module8: Be a real Team Leader. Always be with your team in extended work periods. You should be like their elder sibling.
Module 9: Accept engineering challenges and, for that matter, any challenge life throws at you.
How to solve problems unknown to you?
- Apply common sense as available to you
- Go to the library (or the internet) and research more about the subject
- Ask for help from friends and colleagues
- Make use of the Cause and Effect diagram, also known as the Fish Bone (Ishikawa) diagram
Module 10: Do not be afraid of the problem or the subject not being in your field of work. Progress lies beyond your comfort zone.
Module 11: Don’t accept what is being told blindly. See if you can improve it.
Never become a ‘Yes Man’, learn to say no when you must. Prepare your case with proper step-by-step arguments so that you present your reasoning well.
Module 12: Finish your work till the last day of your tenure in any company with the same zeal and interest.
Mr Roy worked and submitted the final report for the development of Magnetorque, during Durga Puja even though the last day of work was finished 10 days back.
Module 13: Dogged determination is required to solve a problem.
Module 14: Never underestimate your own knowledge and potential.
Module 15: Never become a “Yes Sir” person, only wanting to please superiors.
Module 16: Never reprimand your subordinates in front of their juniors.
Module 17: Be good to your subordinates, but your goodness should not look like your weakness. On the other hand, my advice to juniors is that “Do not take your boss’s goodness as his/her weakness”.
Module 18: Experimenting and Developing new things – Dream big and follow it up with dogged determination.
“If you can dream it, you can do it, but dreams don’t work unless you do.” Dreams are something that does not help you to sleep. It does not let you sleep. Promise yourself that “I am going to live my dream” and keep trying with your full determination. You will succeed. “A dream does not become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” – Colin Powel
Module 19: One person can stretch himself to do a very large number of jobs. Ask for help only when needed. Mr Roy shared his experiences and the challenges he faced in Sri Lanka. Like:
- Site Selection
- Facing a hostile crowd
- Convincing the directors for prefabricated building for the factory
- Convincing the consultants – for having a ‘U-loop’ layout
- Making Sri Lankan Electricity board agree to bring 3 phase, 11 KV, 15 MVA power lines to Makandura project site by diverting 10 KM from the original plan.
- Establishing the company
Module 20: Keep and maintain your contacts. I was fortunate to have come in contact with so many well-known people both in India and abroad. But unfortunately, never kept in touch with them in the long run. This is not good. Always keep in touch. You never know when you need their assistance. Luckily for me, there was no need. Wish your contacts on their personal important days like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. if you know. Or else on occasions like New Year, Christmas, etc.
Module 21: Never lower the quality of your product. It will affect you in the long run.
Sh Arun Roy shared his TECPRO Story. As a consultant, he guided the Tecpro management with plant layout and factory building for their new set-up at Bawal Haryana. After completion, management requested him to take charge as president (works). However, Mr Roy resigned from his job as President due to differences in opinion with top management over product quality. Such a good company is closed now simply because they compromised on the quality of their product.
Module 22: Find out the stumbling blocks and remove the bottlenecks for efficiency.
Module 23: As a director, sometimes hard, unpleasant decisions need to be taken for the organisation’s benefit.
Module 24: Remain dedicated to your company as if it is your own. People will remember you even after several years of your leaving the organisation. Staff & students of Mrs Roy’s school still respect & honour her long after her retirement.
Module 25: Respect and value your spouse for her/his contribution to your life’s success. Most of you respect your parents for their contribution to shaping your life. Why do many of us fail to recognise the contribution of our spouses?
Module 26: Be humane and touch the lives of the underprivileged. Mr & Mrs Roy teach underprivileged kids, and they have been featured in National dailies for their dedication and contribution. One of their students, Sameer, got admission to Alpine Convent School as a scholarship student in class III and came first in the class while getting promoted to class IV. He again stood first in the final exams of classes IV, V, and VI. Got double promotion to class VIII.
To sum up Mr A.K. Roy’s entire talk in his one sentence, “Coming from a middle-class family, I could achieve whatever I could due to my hard work and focus.”