The Professional by Subroto Bagchi


A two-word review of the book The Professional by Subroto Bagchi would be – too preachy, too Mindtree. Everything that the author tells you is what you probably know since your school days. Stealing is bad, lying or hiding the truth is bad, etc etc. You also know that you should be disciplined, knowledgeable and credible. There is nothing wrong with re-iterating these well-known adages too. A lot of professionals in the corporate world need this re-iteration regularly. The book comprises of short incidents and anecdotes, all from the life of the author and his organization of which he is a co-founder that highlight the display or lack of professionalism. He has collected all these incidents and divided them into categories and presented them as characteristics of a professional. Since they all come from one source, you can say this is what Mindtree expects from a professional.

Author makes an assumption that he is the epitome of being professional and so is his organization Mindtree. While he has gone condemning many others for their unprofessional behavior, he has not pointed out a single weakness in himself or his organization. Now, that I think is dangerous. I have a question for the author: While you indulge yourself in criticizing Ramalinga Raju of Satyam and each member of the board of Satyam after they have themselves admitted to the fraud. You question members for their presence on the Satyam board. Now before they admitted the fraud, you were well aware of the board composition and you had enough print media real estate available to you to question them, why did you not do that? Second, when you mention Satyam, you mention each and every name and give your strong opinion.

But when you have to mention the incident of Phaneesh Murthy of Infosys, you camouflage the same by saying a sales guy in a leading organization. Why, because you have a running relationship with Infosys and its founders or you would not dare mention their name in a negative way? Now, is this selective way of positioning the incidents professional?

He gives generic observations about Indians being not ethical, hygienic. In another section he wants his professionals to be culturally sensitive. What about sensitivity to your own culture, or that is not relevant because that does not lead to any business. He sums up the whole purpose of being professional in the last chapter where he wants people to be professional otherwise customers will go elsewhere. This is a perfect expectation as a business, but not as professional or as a human being. For me, professional behavior leads to a good quality of life for the society as a whole.

The Professional book is already a best seller. I see most people raving about it. Well, some examples in the book are good. And they would remind you of the people who have been professional in your life. And how you have appreciated them and their behavior. But then I think anyone with a bit of experience would have such stories to share. Is there anything new that the author brings to light, I doubt.

Read the book The Professional if you have plans to join Mindtree or do business with them. You would know what is expected of you.

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The Professional by Subroto Bagchi

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