A Plane Trip Of A Lifetime

Quote – “with passion and compassion, you can change yourself…and also the world”

While I was the managing director at SAP Labs India, all the Operations teams (HR, Admin, Facilities, IT, Finance) reported into me. This team was responsible for ensuring smooth functioning of the entire 4000+ people organization. The team had around 120 people (many of them working as contract employees). Every year, we had the tradition of doing a 2-3 day offsite meeting to drive the mission and objectives for the year. It was also an occasion for the entire team to come together as ONE team. In 2011, the team decided to do the event in Colombo. The default thinking was that only the permanent employees will participate and not the one who were in working as contractors. Most of the contractors were doing the job of janitors (functions like housekeeping, cleaning, packaging, mail delivery etc). Much against the practice, we decided that everyone would travel together. The budget was not enough and most of the contract employees did not even have a passport. The leadership decided that they would put the money from their own pocket to ensure that everyone had a chance to be together. The teams worked together to ensure that passports and VISA were taken for the contract employees. It was an event of a lifetime, many boarding a flight for the first time. The whole team was proud that an entire flight was booked and EVERYONE – from the Managing Director to the Janitor went together. Even after many years, everyone still remembers the spirit in which such an event took place – what really made it special was we treated everyone with compassion and as equals. We broke some rules, but never compromised on our principles!

Compassion Practice: Apart from a To-Do list. I also maintain a To-Give list. Everyday, I make it a practice to give something to everyone who I come across. It could be a simple thank you mail, a phone call on someone’s birthday, gifting a book or just giving my time. Everyone can give and giving is the only path to happiness.


About Ferose: V R Ferose is a Senior Vice President and Head of Globalization Services at SAP SE, based out of Palo Alto. He is responsible for the global reach of SAP Products. He is passionate about making a difference in the world in a meaningful way. He started the industry’s leading Autism initiative, “Autism at Work”. He gives a guest lecture at Columbia University on the topic of “Personal Leadership”. He is the co-author of the bestseller “GIFTED” and “Innovating the World – The Globalization Advantage”. He writes regularly on topics from books, leadership and culture and is a regular contributor to India’s daily http://swarajyamag.com/author/vrferose/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s