I have four words for you: I love this company
As the year comes to a close, we dig out a piece from firstname.lastname@example.org that is an expression of gratitude. This is a blog post written by our very own Abhishek Chandak in July 2015. We decided to capture it on MST for posterity.
A framed poster on one of our walls captures Khalil Gibran’s thought on gratitude. Many have walked past it unknowingly.
“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.” – Khalil Gibran
Over to Abhishek …
“I have four words for you: I love this company”
Those are the words of the renowned Steve Ballmer. For the uninitiated, he was the CEO of Microsoft Corporation between January 2000 and February 2014 and is known for his energetic and exuberant persona. These are the words he famously used in one of his flamboyant stage appearances and which continue to be associated with him ever since. Those are also the exact same words that I say to myself everyday about Mu Sigma. Yes! I love this company. I really absolutely love it.
My spontaneous response to anyone who asks “How are you?” is “Awesome”, which is almost always followed by “How is your job?” but, my answer remains the same. Many people have told me that I’m some kind of an exception who loves his job! Apparently that is an outlier in the norms of today. Even more so as I come from Mu Sigma – A company that not many people seem to be really happy about. But, let me tell you – and no matter how flattering it may sound, I mean it – I owe a lot to Mu Sigma.
Dhiraj Rajaram – the founder – will make you his fan in just one interaction. I believe his thinking is way ahead of his time and if you think this is just me, you should know that it is a perception shared by many of Mu Sigma’s clients. He has many admirers in many Fortune 500 organizations. And this is not just happenstance. It takes courage to have a year old son and no job, waiting in your garage for a client to show up for your start-up, that you left a well-paying consulting job for. The way he takes care of the company, we at Mu Sigma always feel like the company is his second child and he does everything a father would do for his child. Be it tough decisions or doing the unconventional, Dhiraj has never shied away from any of it.
At the same time, we have an erudite and diverse leadership team. We have the youngsters and the grey-haired. We have people who agree and people who disagree. And what is great is that everybody is allowed to disagree. The openness we have in the company is quite uncommon. You could literally go to anybody in the hierarchy – right up to the CEO – to voice your concerns and nobody will ever shut you down. The leadership team inspires the floor by leading with example. We don’t follow them because we HAVE to. We follow them because we WANT to. It’s because of the respect we have for them, which they have rightly earned.
And not just the leadership team, the entire floor is filled with people who will amaze you with their ingenuity. And the liveliness of the floor is contagious: you can stand up on your desk and shout out to people and start a discussion. Actually standing up on the desk is a norm for all good things and announcements. The floor is as eclectic as the work Decision Scientists do on it: data crunching, modelling, analysis, coding, designing, presenting, visualizing and sales all under one roof with the same qualification and no specialization. That’s the beauty of valuing learning over knowing and being open to extreme experimentation. And not just that, we have debates, gigs, music, sports and trainings. You really get a lot from this company. Not just in terms of the work or money, but a lot many things personally, emotionally and philosophically.
I for one have got the audacity to do whatever is asked of me and confidence in my ability. And I will always be indebted, because Mu Sigma picked up a fledgling from a not-so-well-known engineering college, who had no knowledge whatsoever of analytics and gave him an opportunity to prove his worth and create a space for himself in this great company. It has been responsible for making me whatever I am today. And that is why I started with saying that I really owe a lot to this company.
Granted, we have our flaws and our fights. It’s a growing company and we are creating something larger than ourselves. And we don’t hide our shortcomings. We talk about them openly and contribute towards solving them. I myself was involved in getting the quality of food fixed in one of the offices. I feel what’s remarkable is you can try to fix what’s broken and you are supported. And the major reason for that is the flat hierarchy and the fact that everybody right up to the CEO is completely accessible to everybody. I would like to quote from the movie Rang De Basanti here – “Zindagi jeene ke do hi tareeke hote hai; ek to jo ho raha hai use hone do. Bardaasht karte jao. Ya fir jimmedaari uthao use badalne ki. Yeh desh badlega … Hum badlenge isse …”
We always say in Mu Sigma, a mechanic whose job is to tighten screws on space crafts in NASA, can either think of himself as a nut-tightener or a rocket ship-builder. Your perception is what is going to decide the course of your life. As for me, I have four words for you “I love this company”.
Indeed, Abhishek’s perception of Mu Sigma inspired and reminded many of us why we do what we do in Mu Sigma. The second leg of his journey has just begun (he left Mu Sigma in 2015 and rejoined us in 2016) and it will be quite interesting to see where it leads. Follow him on medium at https://medium.com/@abhishek7100