Tune inwards, define your ‘why’

This Week: Higher purpose and transformative leadership, Chinese brands’ global strategy, Amazon’s Whole Foods deal and creating a fair workplace

Founding Fuel

Dear friend,

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Why is it that transformative leaders are able to devote huge amounts of energy, focus and even their lives to a mission? And so many others—young high achievers who have seen success by the standards society chooses to measure—want to drop out of the ‘rat race’ to do something more ‘meaningful’?

What do these two broad sets of people pursue? Glory? Wealth? Self-perfection? Or is it a goal beyond their individual selves?  And how do they know if they’ve achieved it?

In a thoughtful essay, Arun Maira introspects on these questions.

“There is too much focus on achievement of ends (wealth, size, fame) that society measures and applauds. And too little attention to the means. Companies burn up the environment to create more profits and shareholder value. And people burn out, to stay ahead of others in the rat race,” he writes.

It’s a must-read and a timely comment given that the past few weeks have been dominated by controversies around executive compensation at Infosys and the aggressive culture at Uber

Also, don’t miss the interview with Doreen Wang, global head of BrandZ Millward Brown, on how ‘made in China’ does not always spell ‘cheap’, the lessons in marketing and strategy from Chinese brands that have gone global, and what they can in turn learn from India.

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Do write in with your comments and feedback. You can reach us on Twitter, Facebook or the comments section on www.foundingfuel.com. We’d love to hear from you.

I wish you a great week ahead.

Sveta Basraon

On behalf of Team Founding Fuel

Featured Stories

How do we know that our life’s work is really done?

[From Pexels.com]

If the only reason to do the work is to enjoy its fruits, there would be no motivation for leaders to undertake missions that cannot be completed in their own lifetimes, says Arun Maira. (Read Time: 10 mins)

The march of China’s ‘glocalised’ brands

From CKGSB Knowledge: Doreen Wang, global head of BrandZ Millward Brown, on whether China can move beyond its cheap reputation. (Read Time: 7 minutes)

What We Are Reading

Amazon’s new customer

[Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Photograph by James Duncan Davidson under Creative Commons]

By Ben Thompson, Stratechery: “Amazon and Jeff Bezos have their sights on being the most dominant company of all time. Start there, and this purchase [the Whole Foods deal] makes all kinds of sense.”

The 4 types of innovation and the problems they solve

By Greg Satell, Harvard Business Review: “Every innovation strategy fails eventually, because innovation is, at its core, about solving problems — and there are as many ways to innovate as there are types of problems to solve. There is no one “true” path to innovation.”

From Our Archives

Creating a fair workplace

[Image by Gerd Altmann under Creative Commons]

And what about the business of tolerance?

A fair workplace and good corporate governance depend on how tolerant business leaders are to criticism and dissent, says K Ramkumar.

Sex, work and harassment

India Inc needs to do more to make the workplace fair, equitable and safe for women, says Indrajit Gupta.

How to build a strong board

Bring in the right mix of competencies, facilitate constant involvement, encourage critique and your board can be a source of competitive advantage, says Harsh Mariwala.

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About the author

Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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