Attitude is more important than intelligence, says author Gurcharan Das in Mohali - Hindustan Times
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Attitude is more important than intelligence, says author Gurcharan Das in Mohali

By, Mohali
Jun 08, 2024 08:46 AM IST

While speaking about the issues that startups face, Das said India got real Independence during the economic liberalisation of 1991

Acclaimed author Gurcharan Das who was the first CEO of Procter and Gamble, India, spoke to budding entrepreneurs of the region at an event--Startup Bookshop--organised by Innovation Mission Punjab and Punjab Lit Foundation on Friday at Kalkat Bhawan in Aerocity, Mohali. He emphasised on importance of attitude and that how attitude is more important than intelligence and even the skill-sets.

Author Gurcharan Das interacting with delegates during The Startup Bookshelf event at Kalkat Bhawan in Aerocity, Mohali, on Friday. (Keshav Singh/HT)
Author Gurcharan Das interacting with delegates during The Startup Bookshelf event at Kalkat Bhawan in Aerocity, Mohali, on Friday. (Keshav Singh/HT)

While speaking about his learnings in business, after he had joined Vicks Vaporub as a trainee and had gone on to become the first Indian CEO of P&G, Das narrated the story of one of the night shift security guards from Kolar District in Maharashtra. Das said the guard, Kamble hadn’t studied much but was so eager to learn. He learned English just to send fax messages and filled in as a switchboard operator making a name for himself and eventually retired as a director of the company.

“It is not education or credentials. It is not even skills that make a difference. It is attitude. For interviews also we should look at attitude. Leadership is about attitude,” Das said and added that we are not even training our MBAs properly. “Nobody hires for attitude anymore except for Goldman Sachs. The interview process is gruelling and the company spends a lot of money to hire the right candidates,” he said and advised the entrepreneurs not to look for skilled employees to fill their companies but to look for ‘Kambles’.

While speaking about the issues that startups face, he said that India got real Independence during the economic liberalisation of 1991. Earlier, during the License Raj startups would have never prospered, he said and narrated some of his problems that he faced during that time. “India’s GDP has grown by 6% a year annually since then but we haven’t been able to create jobs in proportion. We have to bring an industrial revolution,” he added.

Advising the budding writers, he emphasised on the requirement of discipline needed in the creative process and shared that he spend the time from 6.00 am to 12 noon, writing.

He spoke about his new book and memoir ‘Another Sort of Freedom’ in which he discussed the concept of ‘moksha’. He also narrated the tale of the ‘Mouse and the Merchant’, which he said was his favourite startup story. He described his own life experiences and how he first wanted to major in engineering in Harvard but ended up studying philosophy and eventually joined Vicks Vaporub.

The organiser of the show and co-founder of Punjab Lit Foundation Khushwant Singh spoke about how he came across so much literature about the startup ecosystem of Punjab during his previous stint as information commissioner. He also spoke about how they are planning to launch an initiative, ‘mothers against drugs’ and how they intend to host the Punjab Lit Fest later this year.

CEO of Punjab Innovation Mission Somveer Anand expressed how founders of startups like Flipkart and Zomato are from this region and yet have to settle somewhere else. “Like Silicon Valley, we will make this region the Shivalik Valley, the biggest tech centre North of Delhi,” he added.

Director General of Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration Anirudh Tewari inaugurated the event. “When you are born in Punjab you have entrepreneurship in your DNA. Punjabis have always succeeded wherever they go,” he said to inspire all those present.

Other speakers included Sanna Kaushal, Maj Gen (retd) Neeraj Bali, Dhruv Nath and Pushpinder Puniha among others. Poetess Amy Singh also paid tribute to recently deceased Punjabi poet Surjit Patar.

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