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The Voyager Series

An evening with an unusual traveller

Ramesh Jude Thomas
President & CKO, EQUiTOR Consulting

What is the VOYAGER series really about? Hearing another set of achievements which we all are very familiar with or another public figure who is easy on the ear and sometimes the eye. So why waste a perfectly good Friday evening?
About a year ago, my son and I went to Crossword and picked a children's biography series by Lucent called "Heroes and Villains". In Martin Luther King's biography, the foreword provides a very interesting and inspiring definition of a Hero. He says " a Hero is someone who put his (or her) conviction ahead of his(or her) existence. EVERY TIME.
God knows we are starved of heroes, outside the Bollywood Pantheon. But , I assure you the VOYAGER is neither about heroes nor heroics.
It is about the conviction bit.
Conviction almost always means the road less traveled, which is why its often at loggerheads with comfort and conformity. That is when it all starts to go wrong. And we hate things going wrong.
So we teach our children, our employees and our communities not to take chances and minimize risks. And we end up as a nation of fixed depositors. Then we wonder why we have so little innovation (even compared with our low cost manufacturing obsessed neighbour)
If we really want to break new ground, build enduring institutions and create thought leadership, embrace fragility and failure. JK Rowling in her 2008 Harvard address argues articulately for the virtues of failure:
"Rock bottom was the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my shattered dreams."
So when we first spoke about the VOYAGER series, Ramesh Ramanathan asked "this is a very unusual brief. How do you visualise the talk?"
I responded that the picture was in 3 parts: as a base camp, the journey and the peak of his life with Janaagraha so far. The base camp is known to many. The peak has been written about, spoken about, admired and advocated.
But the climb? Now thats the better guarded secret. Because nobody really wants to hear about the weight of the rucksacks, the temper of the sherpas, the lost climbers, the frostbite, the fatigue and the loneliness.
Ramesh has shared with us his loneliest most fatigued moments. His midnight hours of despair. His trials and tribulations. And what made him stick in spite of it all.
Because this character is what constitutes the better part of any worthwhile journey. This is what determines whether we will complete the climb. This is what we want to take back to those whom we lead and guide at our workplaces, our homes and our communities.

Look out for the video on the session.

5 comments:

Priya Chetty said...

Super idea Ramesh .
I think we need to know what heroes like Ramesh Ramanathan did when they flagged or got weary .
Most importantly stayed with their dream, and didnt give in to cynicism, as some of us would have .

Wish I were there , but will be for the next one.

Ramesh said...

Hi Priya

Thanks for that. We hope you will join the journey this month.

Ramesh

Ramesh Jude Thomas said...

Hi Priya

Thanks for that. We hope you will join the journey this month.

Ramesh

Ramesh Jude Thomas said...

Hi Priya

Thanks for that. We hope you will join the journey this month.

Ramesh

John said...

Responding to "The Voyager Series" - I feel that in any activity, choice of content-substance, agenda or forum relevance is of paramount importance; and according to me Ramesh has nailed it as far as "relevance" is concerned.

We live is a world where children are seldom allowed to play today - and miss out on experiencing enlightening risks and the flexing of imagination that comes with play. Battles are waged comfortably from behind computer screens, never having to make eye contact with the enemy... seldom producing decisive victories. Our penchant for the short-term is leading us down a blind-alley, is terms of progressive change and a sustainable future. And, the horrific realities of our impending extinction are watched with a sense of detachment; as infotainment - with either apathy or disbelief - in the comfort and misleading safety of our living rooms.

As a researcher and advertising professional I have consistently come up against a wall with top leadership - when it comes to the "voyage" aspect of developing their brand & corporate trajectory. Every one of them wants a clinical, short-termed and cushioned solution . "No risks Sir ... give us the soft option" is what they unanimously seem to say. As a war veteran, I am reminded of the cliche that was drilled into us, time and again: "The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war "... and that was probably the reason why the 1971 war is still India's only decisive victory ... to date.

Yes Ramesh, I feel your choice of substance : "The
Voyager Series", is not only relevant but also very appropriate considering the pivotal need for a shift in leadership mind-set today. Looking forward to participating in the next secession.

John D Lazaro