Subhakar (Stanley) Rao Surapaneni

Investor *Sales and Marketing Pioneer * Author* Technology Champion *Philanthropist * Leadership Mentor

Reunions are times to Recharge and Positively Energize

It was around 7.30 pm last saturday evening and we just got done with this year’s strategy sessions. My brain was loaded with Action Plans, Ideas and Strategies for the year ahead. I was feeling pretty good having wrapped up the week long strategy sessions successfully and was ready for some relaxation. As I was thinking of getting started with the weekend, I got a reminder call from an old friend from my school, enquiring about our Silver Jubilee School Reunion after 25 years.

It had been over couple of decades since I started my career right after graduating. So, I had been in the rat race since and I couldn’t recall having taken a day off for myself. Vacations as far as I remember have always been with family or staff in the last couple of decades. Out of town trips have been primarily for business. But, I decided to take that leap and took off for a day right after our strategy sessions just to get back to my school after a full 25 years.

Landed at the Airport and I directly headed to our Reunion at St Johns School which was barely 10 minutes from the airport. But, this was one of the longest 10 minutes of my life. Loads of fond memories from the school flashed back as I drove towards my school after a long 25 years. At the School Entrance on the Honor Board was the name of each years Top champion and it was a proud moment as I had a tough time walking past it with my name still there from 25 years after topping the school.

As I entered our School auditorium, there was an aura of enthusiasm and I almost ran directly to the stage. It was a bit odd trying to recognize many of my old buddies from my class on the stage as it had been over 25 years since we met. It was time for loads of hugs and I had a great time meeting childhood pals. The time spent on stage felicitating our teachers was a moment to cherish. Glad we had a razor sharp HR team who arranged personalized Champion Teacher Awards for all my teachers with just couple of hours notice delivering them in-time before I could fly. I realized my joy giving them was far higher as I could see the joy in the eyes of our teachers.. I guess this basic leadership skill that you experience more joy creating it for others than for yourself took 25 years to dawn on me.

One of the best moments was when we were felicitating our Physics teacher I talked about how I got inspired because of his motivation and praising me in public in the class. This moment happened when I answered the definition of Parallax from a college library book instead of our school physics book. I got praised for being the only innovative one in the class to do that and that was a defining moment that I could recall even after 25 years. I went on to top the class and college eventually but some of these inspiring moments happened because of the Praise in public I received.

I came back with loads of Positive Energy and lessons to implement back at work. My Management Leadership session involved sharing this story and resolving to bring up a bunch of energizing ideas like the Honor Board with names of the top champions that energizes them as they walk by it. Praising in Public and Grading a 11/10 was a lesson to take from my teachers and implement it back at work. I told my management team to give some of our top innovative rookie champions a 11/10 and charge them up. Praise delivered  in public goes a long way and can literally motivate your champions to outperform.

I was reenergized and completely charged up ready to implement our strategy session decisions of our group with the positive energy techniques learnt way back from school. This story shared with my management team was one of the best personal stories that motivated them.

Don’t miss that next school or college Reunion. Yes, your family and work won’t miss you for a day and you deserve that break. Indeed it is time to recharge and positively energize. Go to the next Reunion and come back with loads of old friends and tons of positive energy.

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