About The Author

Dr. Sumit D. Chowdhury is a multifaceted business and technical leader, having worked in leadership roles in Reliance Industries, IBM, Reliance ADAG, BearingPoint and KPMG in US, Australia and India. An M.S. and Ph.D. in Management from Carnegie Mellon and B.Tech from IIT Kanpur, he brings a wealth of practical experience from his personal life and career. Sumit was on the Board of Directors of TeleManagement Forum (TMF) and also the founder of Digital Bridge Foundation — a non-profit organization helping bridge the Digital Divide in India thru promotion of computer-assisted constructivist education. Apart from his professional career, he is also a marathon runner, cyclist, musician and an exhibited abstract artist. He is an angel investor and mentor for several technology and services startup companies in India. He also supports various philanthropic causes involving education and children. He lives in Mumbai with his wife Amrita Chowdhury – CEO and Publishing Head of Harlequin India, who is herself a published author, and his children Shoumik and Aishani.

About The Book

The fact that you got a degree does not guarantee you a job, and a job will not guarantee you success and a coherent career and success. You will struggle to unlearn everything you learnt in school and college and wander through the formative years trying to learn new things and get smart. However, everyone else is also doing the same and you are stuck in the rat race. Here, the author Sumit D. Chowdhury, shows how to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world.

The key is to manage your career as if it were a game. You start with some rules of this game and as you learn and excel, you will discover new rules and invent other rules to differentiate yourself. Fast trackers present themselves well. They build their professional networks. They lead whenever an opportunity presents itself. They invest in themselves. Like any professional sports person, they incorporate uncertainty and volatility into their work and continuously plan and re-plan to their advantage.

This book is not a success mantra. It is aimed to get you to contemplate. It is meant to create an awareness about yourself that will help you discover those particular nuances that could help shape your life. It is designed to give you a head start in your professional life by helping you understand how to orchestrate your own path. The interviews of CEOs alongside, are portals through which you could perceive how the masters of the game learnt the rules and diligently practiced them as early as they could, to make their careers a resonating success.

The Rules of the Game empowers you to have an enjoyable career journey without trudging through life fearing change, failures, politics and uncertainty.

What do you get:

  • Transform your thinking to become personally responsible for your career
  • Take control over your actions, reactions and thinking processes in each and every interaction in life
  • Craft a deliberately impactful career instead of wandering and being accidentally impactful
  • Develop teamwork, network and leadership skills effortlessly
  • Improve your empathy, etiquette and communication skills
  • Develop a way to achieve long term goals through short term milestones
  • Learn to learn, unlearn, fail, acknowledge, invest, and transform yourself continuously
  • Read how ordinary beginnings can also lead to extraordinarily successful careers

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Realizing your Impact on the World
Becoming Self-Aware

All of us want to make a significant impact on the world. However, many a times we feel incapacitated to do the same. How then, can you believe in yourself and imagine the great impact you can have on the world. Realizing your impact on the job and on the world and incorporating this concept into your personality and subconsciously making it a part of your everyday actions in the workplace will accelerate your career. Creating your personality consciously and then having complete control of it, and finally finding a purpose in life will set you apart from the crowd and give you the acceleration that you will need everyday to change the pace of your career.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • What constitutes your personality, and how can you shape it by controlling your actions, reactions and thoughts, i.e. by practising the ART cycle?
  • Learning how to learn and developing yourself continuously in order to be deterministically impactfulinstead of being accidentally impactful?
  • How finding your core essence and having a purpose and goal leads you to the secret sauce to success?
  • How to architect and build your future to scale heights rather than playing a mediocrity-driven role?
Chapter 2: Winner's Attitude
Be an Enthusiastic Possibilitarian

I do not remember one successful person who got to where they are, by first thinking of all the reasons why something should not be done, or cannot be done. Too many times, we back-off looking at the apparent enormity of a task or idea, the enormity of the opponents, or the impossibility of the situation. It takes a mental switch to become a possibilitarian, to start becoming the go-to person for getting things done. However, it is one of the most potent accelerators for career growth.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • How to deal with impossible and improbable situations in order to consistently win the game?
  • What are the necessary ingredients in creating a possibilitarian mindsetand self-belief and which all faculties to seek help from?
  • How can you apply the ART Cycle to first consciously find the rules and then subconsciously apply the rules in everyday scenarios?
  • When and how saying ‘no’ helps you to remain focused on the path and get to your milestones?
  • How to see pursuing career success as a journey, and demonstrate a series of successes?
Chapter 3: Appearance, Etiquette and Personality
Shine Through Everything

People know, understand, and respect us for what we present to them as a reflection of our internal self, our beliefs, and our knowledge. No one really knows what we think or what we believe in even after spending a whole lifetime –leave alone for the few minutes that we spend with them. Our actions, words, and behaviour create an impression on our family, colleagues, and seniors.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • How to shine through all your interactions and create a good first impression by your appearance and the appearance of your deliverables?
  • How to get noticed by improving the various aspects of personality – appearance, manners, etiquette and body language?
  • How to develop ‘people skills’, manage conflict and build relationships for extraordinary acceleration of career?
  • How to be serially focused on improving yourself all the time by learning new skills and build all these skills into the subconscious by using the ART Cycle one at a time?
Chapter 4: Communicating and Selling
Make it a habit

There is significant core relation between fast-tracked careers and ability to sell idea after idea and enthuse people to execute them. Eighty percent of all my respondents and interviewees pointed out the importance this has had in fast tracking or slowing down their careers. All organizations always rely on hardworking technical folk or a hardworking production team. However, it is rare to find someone with a combination of good technical skills and really good verbal communication skills. You can be head and shoulders ahead of your colleagues if you can combine the two early on your career.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • How do communication skills help you differentiate from others?
  • How to learn and internalize these skills to make them a part of your personality by using ART cycle?
  • How to use the element of humor and wit to have effective interactions and achieve multiple objectives at the same time?
  • How finer aspects like understanding your audience and controlling your emotions helps to make conversations better?
Chapter 5: The Power of Teamwork & Networking
Learn to work in harmony

Right from our childhood, we are in a competitive world where individual performance is evaluated in context of a very theoretical academic or non-consequentialsporting or co-curricular activity. As you enter the work-force, the reality dawns upon that you are playing a very consequential team sport. Yes, individual performance is still judged and life is a comparative sport, but against a backdrop of collective success.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • How to approach your participation in teams and making the team(s) an important ally and tool in your personal path to success?
  • How to master the rules of working in a team, while individually striving for your own goals, and how to manoeuvre through situations of conflicting personal and team goals?
  • How to build meaningful relationships throughout life across all age groups and different domains in life giving you the 360-degree vision in enriching yourself?
  • How to use both teaming and networking in a competitive environment to fast-track your career over your peers ―peers who belong to your generation, a generation ahead and a generation behind you?
Chapter 6: Seeking Feedback and Self Correcting
Welcome Change and Learn from Failure

There is no faster way to learn than by doing things and making mistakes. Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment in most cases. The ability of the person to make a good judgment or bad judgment comes from his own experiences and mistakes or those of others. This ability is to be developed right from childhood by fostering an active feedback loop from one’s own experiences or by creating a mechanism to get new input from others experiences. It is surprising how many people do not realize or understand this all through their life.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • How to be receptive and keep your antennas tuned in to continuously receive feedback from everywhere, and have the poise to take negative feedback gracefully?
  • How having a mentor to rely on for advice, and still not irresponsibly depending on the mentor is beneficial for success?
  • How to learn from failures and be quick to recover, try again, move on and continuously improve yourself in the process by creating a ‘learning backlog’?
  • What is an ‘Ideas factory’, and how generating and sharing ideas goes a long way in fast tracking your career?
Chapter 7: Knowing Yourself and Self-Discipline
Creating a Brand ‘You’

This chapter is about knowing yourself, liking yourself and continuously changing yourself till you accept yourself. What is your Raison d'être? What defines your core essence? This is your ‘inner brand’. After you have discovered or invented this, the consistent public presentation of the product is creation of ‘outer brand’ ‘you’. A strong brand ‘you’ requires weaving a strong personal narrative about yourself. This is a rule of the game that few have mastered since it has to be real, relevant and repeatable.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • How to recognize that you are unique and distinguished from all others, and discover your authentic core essence?
  • How to internalize personal branding into your personality? How to build the product ‘you’, keep it relevant all the time, and present it well to make it build-to-last?
  • How important is personal credibility for your brand? How to build and maintain your credibility and character?
  • What is the importance of networking in finding, creating, maintaining, and propagating your brand? How contributing to the network finds you returns in the long run?
  • How can you fast track your career by practising self-discipline and having control of your impulses in order to turn down short term gains to achieve long terms meaningful goals?
Chapter 8: Management and Leadership
Take the Initiative to Lead

A frequently asked question is whether ‘leaders are made or born’. The focus here is to help you nurture whatever you are born with to whatever you want to become. The definite answer here is that regardless of whether you are born with leadership skills or not, there are some basic traits, which if practiced repeatedly by using ART cycle, can bring out the best in you to lead yourself and then lead others.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • How to break out from the habit of following and instead consciously taking a leadership stance even when you do not have the title of a leader?
  • How to lead through influence and inspiration and go the extra mile to add value beyond what each member of your team brings to the table?
  • How do you make yourself dispensable and create other leaders and companies that can work without you and are self-sustainable?
  • What is the importance of smartly organized hard work, sacrifices and commitment to excellence in fast tracking your career?
Chapter 9: Career Planning and Shifting Goal posts
Take a General Aim

How much of time do we invest in planning the details of our career? Some experts, however, say ‘Don’t plan your career — because career planning is career limiting’. The logic for this advice is that the world is an incredibly complex place and everything is changing all the time. You can't plan your career because you have no idea what's going to happen in the future. You'll change, industries will change, the world will change, and you can't possibly predict any of it. Having said that, in this chapter, we discuss that having a general aim is good and knowing yourself is essential.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • What is the distinction between a career and a job? How can you have a spectacular career spanning multiple jobs, roles, and even companies, instead of landing up having a series of jobs that do not make a career?
  • How important it is to have a personal narrative that explains the deliberate choices you have made to weave the career graph?
  • How to take control over your career by having a dynamic goal list independent of your job, and a bucket list of things you want to do?
  • How striving towards a T-shaped skill profile over time is important for fast-track career growth?
  • How to maintain a balance between planning and execution? How to cut the planning cycle and focus on starting the work and get moving?
Chapter 10: Invest in yourself and Keep Improving
Keep learning all through life

You always get advice about financial savings from lots of people, especially people who will benefit from you trying to save (financial advisors). However, no one will ever tell you to, or expect you to, or benefit from your continuous learning. So it is left to you. This chapter deals with the rules on continuous learning and investing in oneself throughout life. If you are to design yourself to be a fast-tracker, then you have to primarily follow the ART cycle to learn and develop your personality in every interaction throughout life.

In this chapter, you will learn:
  • How to spend the 35 years you have in the work environment to prepare for the next 35 years when you will not be working?
  • How striving to continuously improve and evaluate yourself in a time-bound manner is the secret sauce to fast track success?
  • How having temporary states of disbalance is not bad, if you are able to shift energies between career and personal goals and balance out over a long average?
  • How striving towards a T-shaped skill profile over time is important for fast-track career growth?
  • How to get ahead of your peers by making the most of your time, and having a sense of responsibility, grit and determination to achieve career success?

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