014: Ramesh Subramanian: Be ready to hit it
Ramesh Subramanian Show Notes
Ramesh lived a nomadic type of life in his early years. He found himself with an entirely new set of friends every few years. This had a profound impact on Ramesh as he wanted to grow and learn but was delayed by not having strong friendships. Being able to learn how to connect better and prepare better has helped him to have a better career and life. Listen to Ramesh tell his story about what he learned and what has helped him to be successful in a career with global responsibilities so you can move onward and upward faster.
Ramesh calls himself a nomad as he was born in the East of India, moved to the south of India, and then to the west of India for his education.
His father worked for an oil company and the family moved every 3-4 years. At a young age, Ramesh was fascinated with computers even though it was not prevalent during the day. Eventually he received a bachelors in computer science from Pune University. And then followed his father’s footsteps and received a Master’s in Marketing.
Ramesh started his career in consulting and worked in Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Denmark, UK, Sweden, Brazil, and Thailand before coming to the US.
Now Ramesh considers himself a global citizen and loves to meet people from various cultures and experiences and creating his family’s social network. But to no surprise he does not want to uproot his family.
In Ramesh’s current role he creates strategies for consumer care and identifies and cross-pollinates best practices across various global markets for Electrolux.
Ramesh and his lovely wife Megana are the proud parents of two young children, Ishita and Ishan.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
Check out @rameshdon getting over the hump on @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet
“If you don’t learn you are obsolete.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“Life experiences teach you more than any book can.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“You need to give people time to ensure that they understand you are worthy of their trust.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“Trust is foundational to any relationship.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“Always know there will be curve-balls and be ready to hit it.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“There has to be a level of thrill in whatever you do.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“When you are doing something you feel is adventurous you give more than 100%.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“First and foremost I would have more emphasis on people.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“People together contribute significantly.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
“As I grew up I realized the importance of people.” -Ramesh Subramanian Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Ramesh moved are a lot as young boy and as a young adult. Building a new set of friends every few years that could help him adapt and thrive was a difficult hump. It’s one that Ramesh got over after a lot of lessons were learned. Listen to Ramesh share many stories about his life that have allowed him to be successful with his responsibilities for a global consumer brand. Through his life experiences we can all learn some valuable lessons about how to adjust, connect and get ahead. Ramesh shares an amazing story about his arranged marriage and the roller coaster ride his wife had after they were married.
Always prepare for the curveballs because they will always come.
Advice for others
- Have a plan to take care of your family first.
- How adventurous can you make your life?
- Try to be patient.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Being more patient
Best Leadership Advice Received
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.
Secret to Success
Insatiable desire to learn
Best Resources in Business or Life
My crooked mind…always figuring a way out.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t
First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding under Any Conditions
Email: rameshdon [at] yahoo.com
54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.Click to access edited transcript
Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay Fast Leader legion, I have the nomad today, he’s a good friend of mine, and his name is Ramesh Subramanian. He calls himself a nomad because he was born in East India, moved to the South of India and then moved to the west of India for his education. His father worked for an oil company and the family moved every 3 to 4 years. At a young age Ramesh was fascinated with computers, even though it wasn’t necessarily prevalent during the day, but he eventually received the Bachelors in Computer Science from Pune University and then followed his father’s footsteps and received the Masters in Marketing.
Ramesh started his career in consulting and worked in Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Denmark UK, Sweden, Brazil and Thailand before coming to the US. Now, Ramesh considers himself a global citizen and loves to meet people from various cultures and experiences. But to no surprise he does not want to uproot his family. Ramesh is an avid cricket fan and played against WB Raman who was a player on the India National Team, but Ramesh considers himself to be a better fan than he is a player.
In his current role he creates strategies for consumer care and identifies and cross pollinate best practices across various global markets for Electrolux. Ramesh was a fortunate benefactor of an arranged marriage. He and his lovely wife Megana are the proud parents of two young children Ishita and Ishan. Ramesh Subramanian, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Ramesh Subramanian: Absolutely. I’ve never been on a camel but I’ll try.
Jim Rembach: That sounds good. I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction but can you please tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better.
Ramesh Subramanian: Sure. I have multiple passions that kind of ebbs and flows, so to speak. Currently, my passion is essentially on my kids football games and how they are trying learn the game and I’m trying to be a good father figure, role model, to encourage them to learn the game but I don’t have a clue how to play that game. It’s a very interesting process that we’re going through wherein I encourage them to play and give them a lot of instructions without knowing anything about how to play the game. I feel that I am perfectly fit for leadership and management roles now.
Jim Rembach: It’s a good training ground, isn’t it?
Ramesh Subramanian: No doubt.
Jim Rembach: There’s a lot of inspiration on what you just shared right there. Getting to learn something together that’s new creates a much more powerful bond in a lot of ways. I would think that that particular opportunity that you have with them will be something that will resonate and carry forward for everybody’s lifetime and generations, so I commend you on that.
Ramesh Subramanian: Thank you.
Jim Rembach: Oftentimes at the Fast Leader show we look for inspiration in a lot of different ways through the stories that are told and were looking forward to you sharing some of your life journey. But quotes, passages and those things can really be powerful things for us, is there one that you could share with us that guide you and helps you be the person that you want to be?
Ramesh Subramanian: There have been many, actually, but there’s one that I think has had a big impact in my life and when I heard of it first I never really understood the gravity or the depth of this saying. The father of the nation of India, Mahatma Gandhi had said this: “Live as if you will die tomorrow and learn as if you will live forever.” And I think that’s extremely powerful and deep statement that he admit. In the context of 1940’s, 1930’s, I’m talking about which is still absolutely relevant even today, it has impact not only on the individual but also society at large. So, essentially, if you look at it—live as if you will die tomorrow, essentially tells you that drive everything with the sense of urgency, that’s what I’m talking about. My interpretation of that is, how you can drive sense of urgency in everything that you do so that you can drive results quickly be it personal life, be it professional life. I’m sure you’ve experienced that when we used to work together, a little bit of my sense of urgency and madness, so to speak.
The other aspect is about learning continuously. How do you continuously learn because in today’s day and age if you don’t learn you’re not only obsolete but you’re pretty much dumb in the sense that you’re extinct? That’s very important to understand especially given the 21st century economy and also the competition that our kids are going to face which are very global in nature. So, it has a lot of relevance from a personal standpoint, from a community standpoint as was professional standpoint.
Jim Rembach: It sounds like it definitely has even when you started talking about learning new sport with your kids that you have no basis in [inaudible 6:04]The constant reinvention and I would dare to say that it has also made an impact to you as you’ve gone through the chapters in your life. One of our previous guest talks about—you can almost look at it on and retain your marker where you have to reevaluate, reassess, look and see where you’re going, have a better sense of urgency maybe for the next couple of months—that’s ten years, and really chart a path and reinvent yourself on a continuous basis and you just reinforced it, that quote has a very powerful meaning for you. Thank you for sharing.
Now, I know that with all of the different things that you been through and even when we were working together side-by-side for a while. The challenges that we often face are so varied in nature and sometimes come very rapidly, however, there’s some that really shape and define us more than others. We talk about humps on the Fast Leader show, and we need to get over those humps. Can you remember a time where you’ve had to get over the hump and it was really one of those major defining moments for you, can you share that story with us please arrive?
Ramesh Subramanian: Absolutely. Funny that you ask that question because there had been several humps, so to speak. I’ll go back to when you were talking about me being a nomad, and why I call myself a nomad. Just to give you a context of that the hump I use to face is we use to have a new set of friends every few years. And as you can imagine, when you’re growing up friends are a very important context of who you are. And what really helped me understand is the importance of friendship, that got instilled in me but I learned about it really, really young, in terms of how important friendship is.
And it also helped me understand that I need to—the small amount of time that I’m going to spend with whoever that person is, to enjoy the time because those are things that we take for granted but typically they are not. So from young age I would say that was one of the humps that it took me awhile to really understand and adjust because we were moving quite frequently. Again to extend that nomad story, when I move to college, when I went to move to the West of India to do my Bachelors—I don’t know how much you know about India but when you go from the south of India to the rest of India it’s a whole different country, different culture, completely different we don’t even speak the same language there, it’s like you’re learning everything from scratch—the dynamics between people, how to feel part of the society or part of the school, that was a huge learning process, I think.
And these learnings are never thought in books, these are experiences and I think life experiences teach you more than any book can. While the biggest things I learned through that whole process was—you need to give people time to ensure that they understand your worthy of their trust. Because trust is foundation to any relationship. To some people it is faster than others but time is definitely a factor when you’re essentially trying to get into a new climate or new environment and trying to be part of it. Be it social, be it professional even for that matter be the new school you’re kid go to, there has to be a level of ‘toying’, so to speak, that means to hop.
So, I think that maturity came during my college years. And I think one which is more relevantly new I would say is when I came to the US first time to live. I travel to the US multiple times for consulting on various for assignments and engagements but about a decade ago, I moved here with my family and my daughter, Ishita is was six months old. When you come here to live the challenges are completely different because you don’t have a Social Security number, you don’t have any credit history and the challenges that a first generation migrant goes through is not easily explained or understood when you are—again you take things for granted. What’s a big deal in getting credit card for example, when you don’t have credit history you will understand how important a credit card is. And to rent a place, because they won’t rent a place to you because you don’t have a credit history. They don’t know that you are not a criminal, for example, because there is no history.
The initial couple of months, the challenge we went through, especially with my daughter being six months old, we pretty much lived in a hotel suite for about three weeks to a month and that was a very interesting time of our life because it thought me a lot but I think a few things that it did teach me was the importance of being prepared. I think that we we’re not prepared enough, we could have done much better research or much better understanding of what the environment will be where we’re going to.
And the second I would say is, always know that there will be issues and there will be troubles and be ready to hit it. Don’t just get dejected or down because there are trouble coming at you because they will always come, it’s about the attitude in which you face those troubles.
Jim Rembach: There’s so many things, as you were talking that started running through my mind because I know your wife wasn’t the nomad and a traveler that you were, how were you to manage that relationship?
Ramesh Subramanian: That’s a phenomenal question, Jim because my wife cannot be more opposite in our life experiences. When we got married she was about 24 years, and for 24 years she had been in the same house and it was a giant family that they had. In India there is a joint family wherein all the brothers live together with their parents. Her father’s elder brother and younger brother and their kids and wife use to live in the same place—the same house. So for 24 years all she knew was this place, which was in a thousand square feet apartment. Then all of a sudden she gets married to me, and within the first month we were in UK and she didn’t know what hit her. And then we came back to India to have our daughter and six months later we are in the US, so for her, it was a roller coaster ride she didn’t know what was happening to her.
So, I think she brought a level of –I don’t know what the right word is—she kind of settled me down in a sense that the way I approach towards life was not always about what’s the next, what’s the next, what’s the next, in terms of where am I going to go. That’s also one of the reason why I move from consulting to industry because in consulting you always tend to travel, part of it. You just brought me back to some of the nostalgic things.
Jim Rembach: If you start thinking about a piece of advice that you would give our listeners what would it be?
Ramesh Subramanian: I’m not sure I have enough experiences to give advice but I can definitely share a few things that I think are important. Let me start personal first. First and foremost I think you need to have a plan to make sure to think out the family first, what I mean by that is not only financial but even otherwise. At least that’s the way I was built or that’s what the value system in which I’ve been brought up. So, first and foremost it’s what do you need to do to take care of the family? How adventurous can you make in life? What I mean by that is that the adventure, not in the traditional sense of going bungee jumping, for example—you should do that if you can but there has to be a level of thrill in which we are doing, whatever you do, in my belief. Because when you’re doing something with a lot of zeal and passion and you feel it is adventurous, you give more than 100%. It doesn’t matter what, it really doesn’t matter what it is.
The third one is, and this is something that I continue to struggle with honestly, is try to be patient. Try to be persistent, persevere and don’t ‘jump the gun quick’. What I mean by that is to be [inaudible 16:09] in any given situation, we are very quick to come to a judgement, very quick to come into conclusion. Certain things take time and the understanding and the maturity and the patience is required but I can just freeze that I don’t practice it as much as I know I should. But I think those three things that I at least, I want to live at.
Jim Rembach: So, talking about excitement and zeal and all of that, what is one thing that really excites you about the work that you’re doing today?
Ramesh Subramanian: Wow! Couple of things, actually. The basic is, thinker of consumer. If you look at any industry that reason you survive is because of having a good customer base or consumer base. The reason for existence of the company as for that matter is because of their consumers. They are the key part of your business. So, being part of the Consumer Care Organization globally that by itself was a big thrill for me. And I’ve been doing last couple of months, starting Q4 of last year, is I been part of a transformational journey that we have initiated within Electrolux and that’s called the digital transformation.
So, we are going through and looking at the digital experience that are consumers are having through the Consumer Care journey, or actually the whole journey [inaudible 17:45] to journey that consumers have with us. From pre-purchase to at purchase and post purchase and how can we make sure that they are providing world class experiences to our consumers so that we are top of mind when it comes to brand selection and also they can love our brands and recommend our brands to their friends and family.
So, we are looking at very specific high intensity touch points where we can leverage that. I think that’s something that’s going to differentiate us in the industry. And I believe that it is going to be not only transformational within our company but also more importantly the people who will touch in this process are going to be enormous, I mean, internal as well as our consumers.
Jim Rembach: I know the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Alright, now here we go Fast Leader legion. It’s time for the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Ramesh, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’ve going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Ramesh are you ready to hoedown?
Ramesh Subramanian: Absolutely.
Jim Rembach:: What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Ramesh Subramanian: I think I just shared with you Jim, being patient. That’s something that I need to learn and learn fast.
Jim Rembach: I’m right there with you brother. What is the best leadership advice you have received?
Ramesh Subramanian: I think the biggest start of a man is by the product of his own parts, what did things he becomes. I don’t know if you heard of that it’s a very powerful advice that I had receive from a couple of people and it helped me to be positive and be optimistic in scenarios and situations because if you think positive you become a positive man.
Jim Rembach: What is one of you secrets that you believe contributes to you success at work or at life?
Ramesh Subramanian: I think both. Work and life is about learning, insatiable desire to learn. If you don’t learn you become obsolete.
Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?
Ramesh Subramanian: Well, best resource I would say is my crooked mind. It’s not my crooked mind, I don’t know if you have known in a certain interviews you go they draw a triangle, a circle, a squiggly line and they say in a circle, and they say which one do you relate to the most? And I always go for the squiggly line, and apparently, what that means is you always figure a way out.
Jim Rembach: Definitely fits with a nomad status. What would be one book that you would recommend to our listeners?
Ramesh Subramanian: Oh, wow! There are so many, Jim, I don’t think it’s fair to just give you one book but I’ll give you a few that maybe worthwhile for the readers to consider. One of my favorite is “Good to Great”, First, Break All Rules is a good one, and Execution by Ram Charan is a good one too, if you’re focus on execution and stuff like that. And one of my favorite is “Iceberg is melting” It’s a very famous book, quick read, actually I’m asking my daughter to read it now.
Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader listeners, you’ll be able to find links to that and another bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Ramesh Subramanian. Okay, Ramesh, here’s the last question on the Hump Day Hoedown: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again and you’re supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team that is underperforming and disengaged but you’ve been able to take everything you know and all the skills that you have back with you. Now your task is to turn the team around, you get up, you get ready, you head out to work, what do you do now?
Ramesh Subramanian: Number one, I will be a much more wiser man when I get up, so to speak, when I’m 25 years old. It’s about life’s experiences, like if you learn a lot, and if I get an opportunity to go back and with all this wisdom, I think first and foremost, I’ll have more emphasis on people. I think people together contribute significantly especially in our turn around scenario. The importance from a leadership standpoint is clearly defining the strategic priorities, once the team understand what the strategic priorities are they needed to communicate and get the team together as a unit.
Defining the strategic priorities is, number one, giving the clear direction and getting them to work as a team is number two. And making sure that they come back and tell us what the socks’ look like for that particular [inaudible 23:11] so how do they contribute to the strategic objective? How do they consider that when they do XYZ they feel that they have contributed to that cause and they will look successful? And that’s something that they have to find for themselves rather than dictating. And some of us has to be objective, [inaudible 15:01]. When it comes to individuals to make them feel a sense of pride in what they do goes a long way to achieve the overall objective. My emphasis is more on people because I did not have the people aspect when I was 25 years old and I think as I grew up I realized the importance of the people aspect of that.
Jim Rembach: Ramesh it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?
Ramesh Subramanian: Sure. You can reach me in LinkedIn, Ramesh Subramanian. And you can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Rembach: Ramesh Subramanian, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!
Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader Show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over to the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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