Ramalinga Raju is a very creative (and probably good) man. Such a shame that this talent, instead of blossoming to something good, had to lose so badly to obvious character flaws.
The Satyam fraud -in just 5 lines:
- Create fictitious revenue and expenses and show non-existent profits
- Offload own shares that soar as a consequence and gain real profits
- Invest gains in low priced land that are earmarked for city’s master plan
- Sell land make more profits
- Put back gains in company to cover fictitious profits
- A brilliant plan aided and abetted by internationally reputed auditors, willing top management and conniving officials. Thank God that the plan didn’t work due to misinformed shareholder activism that led to the unravelling of the sordid tale.
The Character Flaws
Leaving the scam aside and also leaving aside the corporate lessons to be learnt , that there are greater personal lessons to be learnt , especially by the young and talented entrepreneurs waiting to become the next Narayana Murthy. Raju came crashing down due to the following belief system:
- The end (Success) justifies the means (whatever they may be)
- Lying and manipulating the system are OK if I can gain from it
- I am too smart to get caught
- Money and contacts will always protect me
- Doing some good with ill-gotten gains washes off the original sin
Character is the outer manifestation of an inner belief system. These beliefs are a result of even deeper value system. Apparently simple homilies learnt during childhood – “be honest”, “be kind”, “don’t hurt another”, “God is watching”- are the bedrock values on which character is built.
In a blind pursuit of “success”, allured by the success of others , potential Rajus, substitute these simple values with the list of 5 above. The final result is JAIL.