I met Mr. E. Chandrasekharan (ECS) almost 15 years ago. I was working in IDBI then and there was a bit of a crises with our bond issues. We were looking to make amends for an issue that went badly, the institution was looking to raise funds and we were short of resources, morale and direction. While trying to mobilise the large agent base we had (700 or so) I happened to get in touch with Mr. ECS. He was exactly as he is now - attentive, dedicated, committed and fully focussed on his business and customer. That he had a pleasant smile on his face all the time helped and that he always reported back with the information impressed. I gave him one lead and then another and when others would not close deals, I started giving him a bigger and bigger area to cover. He never said no and fully utilised every opportunity. What I remember most was the dedication, the work ethic and integrity of his team to work. ECS was one of the best performing agents - both corporate and retail in those bond issues.
Surprisingly, I kept in touch with him even after I left the job. Whenever someone asked me for some help with financial advise I could only think of ECS and I referred them to him. I even wrote content for one brochure for his firm after I quit IDBI. Then once in a while I would either give him a contact for content or design or refer him to some business. Small, but he would show the same respect. So when he contacted me a couple of weeks ago to speak at the 22nd Annual Meet of ECS - GEM (Growth Enabling Managers Meet) I was more than happy to oblige. He suggested we name it 50 Not Out - and I suggested that he could very well gift a copy of 50 Not Out to his team which he did.
On the 7th of April I went to Taj Vivanta to speak about "Navigating Through the New Challenges" and spur them along in their aspiration to carry on till 50 - the company is 22 year old now. I spoke of how 50 is a cause for celebration because 50 runs in a cricket match is a result of some planned and sustained effort. Which is why players are applauded for their 50s. Not 25, not 30, not 49, but 50.
We examined the factors that go into designing a 50 - it is designed and not a fluke. I gave them examples of how I designed one such 50. How by organising our existing efforts, by deciding firmly, by removing obstacles one by one, we can slowly but surely reach our goal. I shared my story with ECS and his team of 28 young managers. I always felt the team would do well because it had a clear culture of placing the customer first. We looked at their 50 year vision and how ECS would be when it turned 50 - buildings in the Financial District, turnover of 25000 crore. It was fun and energetic.
I quickly ran the audience through the principles of Jim Collins book 'Good to Great' which I felt could help the team on its way to the 50 No mark. I briefly discussed the concepts of Level 5 leadership, First who then what, Confront brutal facts (Stockdale Principle), Hedgehog concept, A culture of discipline, Technology accelerators and the Flywheel. I dwelt a little on the importance of culture particularly in view of the recent happenings in the Australian team.
ECS today has over 30000 investors and is clocking a turnover of Rs. 232 crore. Believes in empowering and enabling growth for its investors. There is a strong focus on the word Integrity. The country, India - and a deep feeling of doing it for the country comes across every where. Since I knew of him ECS has now expanded offices to Vizag, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore, Vijayawada, Rajamundry.
Apart from his focus on his work, ECS is a humble and charitable human. He came to meet me - in an auto! All his employees use the bus. He has adopted a village or a school in Chennai and in Telangana and asks me to go there to speak and I said I would .He does all this quietly and without fanfare, has tremendous energy and drives his business with his trusted team. I could see that of his 28 managers he has employed exceptional talent from the differently abled. He also picks people who have the need - not necessarily qualifications and trains and motivates them. Every communication has some quote - JRD Tata, Thirukural etc. Narayana and Lakshmi are two of the stalwarts I have seen for a long time.
The day's program began at 930 am with the lighting of a lamp, a prayer, pledge, the day's program and concludes after the awards with a national anthem. There is a Q and A session separately fitted in after presentations by the speakers. It is well thought out and they were on time each break, as planned.
They all share the same enthusiasm and promptness as ECS when we deal with them. Full of eagerness to help and always backing it up with right action. I am sure ECS will do well, will serve its customers well, and keep helping society and the nation to the best of its ability. Here's wishing ECS a long and joyful and profitable run as it knocks off singles on its way to turn 50 Not Out!
|Me, 50 no and ECS|
|THE ECS Consultants team|
|ECS introducing me in his inimitable manner|
|Presenting an award to Lakshmi|
|Handing over an award|
|Narayana, ECS and I|