'Lead a life where people look forward to being around you': Narendra Menon

The managing director of Nikon on his mantra for success



How do you typically start your workday?
"Early to bed, early to rise" is a proverb I live by. I love starting my day by dropping my kids off at the bus stop. I then proceed for my morning walk - I don't usually exceed 4,000 steps - and practise the violin for about 30 minutes. After enjoying this food for the soul, it's time for a substantial, but usually quick, breakfast after which I head to the office. I like reaching at least 10 minutes before the office starts; it's my second home after all.
In your workday, what is the one thing you cannot do without?
We are a small team, so we are quite involved in each other's work. The one thing my day at the office would definitely feel incomplete without are the individual stand-up meetings I have with everyone during the course of the day. This helps bring everyone closer as a team.
What advice would you give your younger self, if you could?
It would probably be to get into a better technical or business school and enjoy being an alumnus there, so I could add value to my life through continuous learning from my peers and ideally get the opportunity to inspire and support the future generations that come through.
Who is your role model as the perfect professional?
I don't have a particular person or character I can single out as my role model because I believe in continuous learning, and try to learn from everyone around me. Since I feel that my listening and observation skills are way better than my reading skills, I love hearing people out. As I take in the good things, I try to add more value to them and then start making efforts to implement them. This helps me greatly appreciate every individual I've met, as I try to bring out their best virtues and turn them into real-time, real-life role models for myself.
One skill every professional should have?
The key to excel professionally actually requires the opposite of excelling at any singular skill - a great professional is one who understands that professionalism is a cumulation of several essential skills that one needs to build over time. However, if I had to pick out a fundamental requirement, I wouldn't pick out a skill because skills can still be learnt. I'd pick the virtue of empathy. In this fast and continually changing world, empathy can sometimes become the hardest thing to master.
Your favourite indulgence when you need a break from work?
Indian Carnatic classical vocals are my go-to stress-buster. There's just something about this music that instantly heals and energises me.
Any tips on how to make the most of the workday?
Be where you are - this doesn't just apply to the workplace, but to one's life as well. To make the most of one's life, professionally or personally, it's essential for the mind and body to be in sync. When your mind and body are in sync, you give your wholesome best to whatever you're doing and make the most of it.
Any advice for youngsters just getting into the professional arena?
Make a conscious effort to make your mind and body work together and train yourself to be happy - it isn't easy and has to be done intentionally, but it's an excellent mantra for maintaining good mental health as you brace yourself to face challenging situations in life. Seize the day and try to be a source of joy and positivity. Try to lead a life where people look forward to being around you.
- Staff Reporter


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