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An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company's distinctive lens. Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways. New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine--even an entirely new economic system. When I was given the opportunity to interview Srikumar S. Rao, Ph. It was legendary.
And I wanted to meet the man behind the legend. A bit of a back story will help you understand the questions I asked Professor Rao Please feel free to skip down to the interview! At the end of my banking career, I was a specialist in lending to closely-held middle market companies and large not-for-profits e. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was one of my accounts. And I managed the day-to-day responsibilities of a team of bankers.
It was the relationship that mattered and needed to be sustained. I wanted to be a part of it, and I knew an MBA from a top school would give me the credibility to make change happen. Using those same external metrics, was I a success or a failure? I persevered by intuitively embracing many of the philosophies Dr. Rao shares in his book. I only wish he and the students who took his class had been at Columbia when I was there.
It would have been nice to have fellow travelers on my unconventional journey. I may actually take his class now that he offers it outside of MBA programs just so I can join the alumni association! Srikumar S. Rao generously spent time with me recently discussing his philosophy. Highlights of our conversation are below. For more information about Happiness at Work and Srikumar S. Rao, visit www.
Happiness at Work guides the way for everyone…Interview with Dr. My question is why do you think the MBA students who took your class, many of whom fall within some range of that standard profile, resonated so intensely to what you were teaching? Many of the students have had the same background. Some have already worked for McKinsey or Goldman Sachs, the brass ring of what many go to business school to achieve, and hated it because they were treated badly.
The class gave students the courage to consider doing something different. To question their basic assumptions—what do I want to pursue beyond a paycheck? The course legitimized those questions and provided the support of a group that was doing the same thing. CY: How did you observe those who participated in your class change their behavior and goals?
SR: Before you can follow your own drummer, you have to hear the drummer. After taking my class, many students pursued entrepreneurial ventures. But others did go into some kind of traditional corporate setting, but they did it with much less stress and attachment than their colleagues. For example, one of my students went into traditional investment banking after graduation. This could be a wonderful opportunity.
SR: Today, our top business schools are not educational institutions as much as they are indoctrination institutions. Does it really? Is advertising good for society? Business schools need to address students on a human being level, not as cogs in the machine to supply fresh talent to big companies. This is one of the reasons I am moving outside of business schools and am now offering my courses independently and inside of companies. If I can impact an executive and his or her team, I can help to change the culture of an organization.
What it should look like is that we derive a deep sense of meaning from the work we do. And we, as individuals, must be responsible for our careers with the goal of reaching our highest potential.
In terms of companies, they must stand for something bigger. They must be dedicated to something larger than financial results. What we have right now is not capitalism. SR: Unfortunately, I think it is going to take a really major crisis.
This time maybe it will finally lead to real change. I prefer to encourage change with a compelling vision of the future like the one you lay out so clearly in Happiness at Work. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today and talk about the Happiness at Work philosophy.
I am living proof that questioning your assumptions and changing your mindset related to work can help you not just survive, but thrive in your career regardless of the economic reality.
I hope your book inspires others to follow their unique path. Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of Dr. Events Innovation Festival The Grill. Follow us:. By Cali Williams Yost 8 minute Read. Focus on the action you can take. Outcome is all that matters—good grade, high profile job, big paycheck. Paradox—by insisting on your way, you decrease the chance of getting what you want.
Risk and aggressiveness are rewarded. You are playing a role, but you are not the role. My job, my prestigious MBA, my wealth define me. The models you operate within are not reality. Prestigious MBA, well-paying job, comfortable life is reality. Impact Impact Can the furniture industry end waste by going circular? Ikea wants to find out Impact Does your local prosecutor hold police accountable?
This site will tell you Impact To remake the world, give girls all the power tools. Design Co. Design The twisted psychology of militarized police uniforms Co. Design Murals for George Floyd around the world memorialize his death and show solidarity against racism. Now, land the job with these tips Work Life Free offers are everywhere these days.
But what are you sacrificing to these quick fixes? Happiness at Work Philosophy.
Happiness at Work
An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company's distinctive lens. Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways. New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine--even an entirely new economic system. When I was given the opportunity to interview Srikumar S. Rao, Ph.
He is also a much in-demand lecturer who has spoken at many Fortune companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs. They also discussed some critiques of efforts to coach ourselves into happiness. You can listen to the interview here , and we encourage you to subscribe to the podcast series through iTunes. Michael Bergeisen : What would you say is the single most important thing we can do to find happiness at work?
We have a human instinct to search for a magic bullet, some instantaneous fix for our problems. How could it be, I Rao, Ph. It was a pleasure to review this inspirational page how-to that showed me how to see my work Happiness At Work. Srikumar S. About the Book : - Learn to create resilience and happiness no matter what's going on in your life In these tough times, there are few people who are completely happy with the current conditions.