I visited Bangalore recently for the MSys quarterly meeting. I was amazed by the number of interesting people I met there. Bangalore is known for its lovely weather as well as its cultural diversity and if you have anything to do with technology then it is probably the best place to build up your career true to its reputation as the Silicon Valley of India. Despite so many wonderful things about this city, I just found one major drawback and most of you, would agree, Bangalore has a chronic traffic problem!
We regretfully learnt early on that the employees were unable to reach work place on time or had to leave early to avoid getting caught in the nasty traffic.
Since I started this company, I have always been insisting on creating an employee convenience culture in MSys. I believe, in order to adopt this kind of culture, it would mainly comprise of giving freedoms and setting fewer boundaries. This especially applies to work timings; as long as employees complete their working hours or amount of assigned work.
Boundaries and fences as you know, have a definite place and purpose but, if you build a fence all over the property, then where will you build your house? Yet a well-placed fence protects the property! Similarly, we intend to create fewer limitations for the ease of our employees. During my visit, unfortunately I observed some people taking advantage of this. I was able to churn a thought and something that I have practiced in my own life and which has been a key element of my growth. How to utilize the freedom along with discipline?
Freedom and discipline are theoretically polar opposites, yet they can co-exist harmoniously. Even in warfare, where the soldier only job is to defend freedom, there is no personal freedom of action for a soldier. Soldiers are duty bound and their steps are calculated; they are even commanded to walk! Freedom without discipline is almost like a country without a defense force and at its core it is discipline that helps protect freedom. Freedom and Discipline go hand in hand.
It is my belief that when freedom is restricted it creates a lot of instability, a person may find it difficult to use his intelligence. It is like when a tap is completely closed for not letting the water to flow, it creates a lot of pressure as it cannot use its freedom. If your freedom has to give a meaningful result of your choice, you should have a terminating point to hold or restrict and this phenomenon is nothing but following a discipline.
You may come to the realization that absolute freedom serves no purpose, when it is let off, just like water is let off freely gets wasted, if not collected. In the organizational context, it does not mean strict observance of rigid rules and regulations, it simply means working and behaving in an orderly way. As any reasonable organization expects an employee to do, it is as much a basic necessity for the people working in a company as in other segments of society.
We can also say that the only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline! If you want financial freedom, you must have financial discipline. If you want more free time, you have to follow a more disciplined time management system.
My dream of building companies and huge team was not based on some intrinsic gift, but rather on the willingness to do what needed to be done, and to do that day in and day out. I believe that being disciplined has truly helped me to get through the some of the hardest times in my life and it also enriches my life every day. It has freed me from the fear that threatened to hold me hostage to a life I did not want or believe in.
The real message is if you want to transform your life in a positive way, that transformation will not happen by itself. YOU need to make it happen! YOU need to do the work! YOU need to put in the hours, the days, the weeks, the months, and the years. YOU need to get on the path and stay on the path—the path that leads to the positive transformations, the path that leads to a better you, the path that leads to freedom and that path is the hard path. The tough path, the relentless path, it is the path of Discipline and the path of Discipline is the ONLY way. Discipline creates Freedom.