The Dream - High up on the Himalayas
I was all of 22 years of age in the year 1983, a graduate of the National Defense Academy and Indian Military Academy, with 1.5 years of service in the Army, a Second Lieutenant, in the First Battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry, standing on the Command Post of my piquet in East Sikkim, more than 16,000 feet above sea level, on a sunny winter day, looking at a view that very few can hope to see. A view that showed me four countries - Bhutan, China, India and Nepal draped in pure white snow - but I was looking somewhere else.
My mind's eye conjured up an organization that had been drawn out of the best of life's experiences - a center of excellence built on a foundation of strong military integrity, a learning center with the potential to nurture every member's aspiration and with the rigors that brought out the best in every individual that walked through its doors. A production center of excellence, a production center so good that everyone would love to be associated with it.
The vision I saw was overpowering, inspiring, challenging…. my entrepreneur spirit had slowly, but surely, been kindled. I had to build that Organization and nourish it.
The years went by amidst postings and piquet; with each passing day my vision became clearer.
The time came for me to break away and pursue my dream in 1992 - I left the Army with a heavy heart but with the knowledge that I would do everything to share my experiences with all those I work with in the future. Experiences that would add tremendous value to those who do not have the good fortune of serving with the Defense Forces.
Questions – Questions – Questions
Some thoughts were very clear in my mind:
- I believed in the mission.
- I believed success would follow if the mission were worthwhile, if my intentions were good and had the right effort to back it up. Hence success was guaranteed though the journey would be tough.
- It had to be long term with years of effort and lots of sacrifice.
- Why was I doing it? Because the mission was worth the effort and the experience in getting there would be priceless.
The next question that needed to be answered was “Who will accompany me?” I did not have the names when I started but I do now. I have the privilege of working with some of the most wonderful people – people who believe in the mission and people willing to undertake this long, eventful, tough but enjoyable journey for the sheer joy of it.
Business Goals – The Vision
The business goals - the purpose of business is to make money – that is basic. But would we stop just at that? Well of course, we must make money, but money itself was too small a target when compared to the risks and complexities involved in the journey. Money for money’s sake alone has very limited value. The value of money is realized to its full potential only when it is put to bigger use.
Now we had our larger goal, a goal that was different from the mundane ones that most people seek to meet. We wanted to do something that would help add value to the lives of as many people as possible.
Were we beginning to sound like some altruistic, charitable organization? No, we weren't really looking to head on the one-way street to charity. I call charity a one-way street because it is all about one party giving and another receiving. Instead we wanted to create a system that would add value to as many people as possible, us included. Value in terms of growth, professional, financial, educational, personal - multidimensional.
We worked a little harder and came up with the idea of 'Creating Wealth - of Mind and Matter'. Let us establish a system that creates wealth of mind and matter for all those who come in contact with us, we said to each other. The concept was taking shape. The vision was beginning to unfold.
UXL - The Name and the Vision merge
It was important to trap our vision in our brand name so that every time we mentioned it, we actually stated our vision. More mental marathons led to our vision: 'Let us dedicate ourselves to the Excellence of all those we work with. ' We had just found our slogan - You Excel. We then zeroed in on UXL, where 'U' is a reference to our customers and goes on to envelope our team, shareholders and society at large.
The vision was clear now - we would create a company, rather, a platform or a system that would ensure that its customers, team members and shareholders excelled and thus contributed to society directly and indirectly. This basically implied that we had to be excellent professionals who would:
- Add value to our customers.
- Add value to our team (and ourselves).
- Add value to our shareholders.
- Add value to our fellow citizens.
- And value implied of mind and matter, rather than just matter.
What became clear as we went along was that this journey had no destination, known or unknown; it had become the very purpose of our existence. And that suited us just fine, for, we had embarked on an interminable journey, during the course of which value addition happened to everyone all the time and more importantly, forever!
Yet another realization dawned on us. How could a journey of such significance that we had just set out on be the culmination of a dream? When something culminates, it does so with great finality. UXL wasn't the culmination of a dream; it was the beginning of one…