Bhaskar Das has spent 32 years at TOI, but the 'young at heart' media veteran remarks that he still feels like a 16-year-old. Several stimulating opportunities for growth have kept him going at his first job, and in an interview with afaqs! Reporter, Das shares some of the most memorable milestones of his career.
My first defining moment happened when I decided to alter the course of my education. I had completed my post graduation in International Relations in 1977 from Jadavpur University and was all set to pursue a career in teaching for which I joined Kalyani University not only to teach, but also to do my PhD.
But with both my brothers completing their management degrees from IIM Ahmedabad, there was filial pressure on me to pursue a business management degree which I completed in 1979. That was a significant shift as it moved me from the world of academics to the corporate world.
Joining The TOI
The next big moment of my life happened when I joined The Times of India Group in 1980. One of the first watersheds was when I was made the head of our Response department in Ahmedabad in 1981 even before I could complete my probation period as a management trainee. Maybe I was a super performer! (chuckles)
The responsibility was huge and allowed me to run a department as the sole in-charge. This also meant that the company trusted me. And while it was a huge honour, I was accountable for the complete business of the region. I had to put in extra effort to understand people and also gain insights into the business. This forced me to perform, to experiment and to take risks.
Brush with East India
The learning only continued to be greater than before when I became the regional head of the Kolkata business in 1986. The exposure was huge in terms of managing a business, but the risks, too, just multiplied. Eventually in 2005, I was made the national head for Response (Times Group ad sales department) that accounted for 90 per cent of the company's top-line business. All of this gave me a multi-functional and a multi-market exposure. This made me very holistically trained.
Inspired by Jim Collins
Today I am a 'Level 5' leader. According to the book titled Good to Great, by Jim Collins, at Level 5, a leader does not have any isolated personal ambition. His personal and corporate ambition converge and that has happened in my case, too. I have realised that at a leadership level, one can achieve complete fulfillment only on aligning personal ambition with the vision of the corporation.
At the Times Group, I have learnt that all of us are successful because of others. Therefore, I don't believe in independent growth but in collective one which results in cross-fertilisation of ideas.
I have also realised that if you remain lovingly detached from your goal, achievement is not only certain but gives genuine satisfaction because there is no morbid motivation to destroy anyone on the way.