Success is defined by our ability to connect with people, says Hinduja Global Solutions CEO Partha Desarkar

My first 100 days at work 
Soon after college, I joined Bank of America, and my first assignment was in the cash department. The currency vault of the bank was awe-inspiring. Two people had to punch in their codes into the lock and the big, heavy steel door would swing open, just like in the movies. I had never seen so much cash before. A hundred notes of Rs 100 would be bundled together into a ten-thousand-rupee bundle and ten such bundles would be packed into a brick worth a lakh of rupees. Every alternate day, my job was to go to the RBI to pick up Rs 40-50 lakh worth of cash bundles in a trunk and carry it back to the bank vault. I remember the fear of being waylaid in the cash van on the street.

The best leadership lesson I learnt 
I had done my engineering and MBA from IIT Chennai and IIM Bangalore, but realised over time that my academics did not prepare me for the skills I would need on the job. The toughest part is dealing with people.Success in our career is a function of our ability to connect with others, and that learning is intuitive and experiential. 

My worst mistake 
I had to help the bank teller, which was part of my training in the cash department. There were no cash counting machines then and the tellers had to count the cash by hand. I would never get my count right. The first count would be 101 and second count would be 99, I rarely got to 100 in one go. And even when I did, I would always doubt my count, try to recount, and then arrive at a different number. All the while, the customer was waiting at the counter watching me.

My biggest innovation 
I had learnt computer programming in college and that was probably the only skill that I used extensively in my early career. Banking automation was in its infancy in the early 90s. I wrote numerous programs to automate manual workflows in the bank, and like to believe that my efforts went a long way in bringing in efficiencies in the way we used to work. It also led to reduced turnaround times, less error and higher customer satisfaction.

How I managed my work-life balance 
Initially, I worked very long hours 60-70 hours every week. Work wouldn't finish till 9.30-10 pm. That was my initiation to the rat race of life, and there wasn't any work-life balance at all. My parents were understanding about my schedule and never cribbed about their son not spending enough time with them, they were happy that I was enjoying my job and was available to them even if only on Sundays.

Source : The Economic Times