Courage - The Unstoppable Value

Srimathi Shivashankar

Corporate Vice President and Program Director, New Vistas

The unpredictable turns in 2020 brings to mind one of my favorite shows—Formula 1 Drive to Survive—a Netflix documentary on the high-octane 2018 and 2019 Formula One World Championships. Throughout this series, I was immersed with the lives of the key players, both on and off the track. The one common thread that tied all their aspirations and actions together, just like our HCL leaders, was courage.

While the turns in the racing track are dangerous, luring drivers to brake too early and risk their race, it is these very turns where they can outpace their competitors. This is the inflection point. The decision taken by race drivers at these turns is what determines the course of the race. In the same vein, the strategy that leaders adapt to handle these turns is what differentiates the winners from the rest.

HCL’s Journey– Steered by Courage and Inspired by Nature

As a four-decade-old IT organization, the decisions taken at every turn, and our ability to balance between driving consistently and accelerating where needed for technological innovation, are what have helped us thrive as a socially responsible business, surviving as one of the largest IT organizations in the world today.

Thomas L. Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, in his interview with Mother Nature, explains that companies that mirror Mother Nature’s strategies for building resilience and propulsion are the ones that will thrive in this age of acceleration. He brings home the message that “in Her world, it’s not the strongest or smartest that survive but the most adaptive.”

Daily Inspiration from Nature’s Five Elements

I derive great inspiration from Mother Nature who, I believe, is our first and best teacher.

Cultures across the globe have some reference of drawing strength from the five elements—Air, Fire, Earth, Wind, and Water. Back in 2012 itself, HCL’s Sustainability Report drew inspiration from these five elements. Fast-forward eight years and we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic! Like much of her bounty, Nature’s wisdom is timeless.

Like the air that encompasses all, an organization’s basic structure is all-pervading and inclusive. At HCL, the ambience of ideapreneurship, technological innovation, and focus on being a socially responsible business is the ‘air’ that holds us all together.

Fire dispels ignorance and gives light. Our ambience kindles and nurtures the ‘inner fire’ of our ideapreneurs who make HCL such a warm and great place to work in.

Earth, characterized by patience and forbearance, resonates with our organization’s resilient attitude toward changes in the evolving landscape around us.

Wind, inspiring and unfettered, characterizes change. Our employees who collaborate, not only on technological innovation, but also on high-impact transformational initiatives, are the
‘winds beneath our wings,’ indispensable to our identity as a socially responsible business.

Finally, water, ever-flowing, is unstoppable even when confronted with barriers. Our transformational journey for the last four decades synchronizes keenly with the dynamic nature of this element.

Water: Shaping our Transformational Journey

To me, water remains the element that inspires me the most. Have you seen how rivers flow facing so many rocks and obstructions in the way? Like race car drivers and HCL Leaders, water intrinsically knows when to flow gently, when to power through, what turn to take when facing a rock, and many a time, when to ‘let go’—as it cascades powerfully down as a waterfall. All of this while sustaining and nurturing life! How beautiful is the journey of water—the powerful element that is inspiring, therapeutic, and cleansing all at once. Water is our journey. Water shapes us, our thoughts, and our actions. It has the capability to even cut through stones and create new paths when its flow is stopped. Water perseveres.

Just like the five elements work in tandem irrespective of what evolves around them, our organization has the requisite presets in place to stay adaptive and resilient. At HCL, we will continue to sustain our rock-solid atmosphere, be inspired by the winds of change, nurture the burning ideas that drive our business, and continue to surge ahead in full flow with the spirit of innovation. Just like the five elements continue to sustain and give us life, we will continue to give life to every single idea that will make tomorrow a better place.

This blog was first published on hcl tech blogs at

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