Student: When we look at Instinct and analysis, don't you think the best way, it seems to me, to approach it through a perfect balance of both instinct and analysis?
Farmer: This is a perfect example of an analytical answer. Add these two dichotomies and it will make you look smarter. What does balance mean?
Smart answer often comes from Analysis. It analyzes within the situation, “what is the best way that I can answer and not look stupid, gain few miles” and actually say nothing. It’s like when somebody asks you a suggestion, you advise saying, “Do the appropriate thing”. I don’t know what apprpriate means. That’s why I am asking for advice.
We are so used to analyzing. It is very difficult for us to come up with the real answer. If I ask you who wants to become the CEO of a company in five years of joining? You would raise your hands up. You give a reasonable answer as to how this would happen.
See the funny dichotomy in this. The goal is unreasonable. How many people would become CEO of a company in five years of joining? One in five hundred chance. You want a reasonable route to an unreasonable end. This is the whole mindset. You are even convinced that it makes sense. It makes sense for you to spend five years in sales and five years in operations and other departments before you become CEO. As if CEO is somebody who knows where every file is kept. We try and give reasonable answers to unreasonable questions. You wanting to do something unreasonable is itself a question. Its not an answer.
When Dhirubhai Ambani, in his teens, said that he would make a bigger petrol refinery than the one he was working for, what he was saying was completely unreasonable. If you had asked him how he is going to do, he would say no clue. That’s the meaning of vision in some way.
You see clearly something that nobody else can see. You can’t force yourself to see something spectacular. Because there is a difference between vision and fantasy. Same is the case when he said that “Can we make sure that anybody can call anybody at the price of a postcard”. In someways, he created a context for that company to be formed.
Only with an amazingly evolved understanding, can someone come up with a statement like this, which is the crux of all telephone business. People would say that Dhirubhai would go to every plant and would know every nut and bolt and oftentimes question Ph.D scholars with his understanding. Although we may find technocrats with that evolved understanding, the special thing that he brought in, which made him the CEO that he was, which I am sorry to say, most of today’s CEOs don’t have, is his ability to see really what this is all about. It’s not about education. It’s not about being articulate.
In some ways you have to discover in which part of your life, are you willing and able to be unreasonable? That’s where spectacular, unreasonable results will come.
In which part of business of your company is your company willing to be unreasonable? Really unreasonable not fantasizing. It comes from an understanding. It doesn’t come from an outpouring. It is possible for you to develop instinct to succeed in this new era.
The reason why nature is instinctive by nature is because its about survival. Animals' survival depends on holding on to its instinct. That’s why they are highly irrational. A cat knows if it doesn’t behave like a cat, it will die. Its motivation and work would be to become the best cat it can. It can. Not best in a human way. Cat’s own way. One of the problems with our education is, all of us want to get into B-School, thinking we want to make money. How many of you guys want to make money? Several hands rise up.
What kind of money are we talking about? How much money?
Student: One lakh per month
Student: 10 crores per month
Farmer: Really? That's it? Will you agree if I say it is an unreasonable expectation. Do you think those who want to earn big money would really sit in class and listen to an idiot like me? Those who want to earn money are earning there. Do you think I am going to give you anything that would get you into that league? Can you see it is sheer fantasy? If you really wanted to earn money, you would be earning by now.
To be continued...