The story of Srikanth Bolla is an inspirational story going viral across social networks, inspiring readers to go beyond possibilities and attempt the impossible. He will be the leader of 2016 for me because he is doing so much for the specially-abled community. He has not only enabled them to take up corporate jobs, but also inspired countless such people to make a living successfully.
Problem Versus Opportunity:
Born in a small town in Andhra Pradesh, India, Srikanth had to face his destiny when doctors pronounced that he would be born blind. Being blind is a disadvantage in a country that is yet to develop facilities for specially-abled. But his parents showed the tenacity to go through the tough times with confidence. There is a saying – “you can see a problem as an opportunity or vice versa.” His parents saw this unfolding as an opportunity and got their blind son admitted to a school with a hope of a miracle. Not a surprise to his parents, Srikanth performed with flying colors even after his disadvantage. For leaders there is a lot to learn; one can take a business challenge as an opportunity or see it as a problem. Organizations like Flipkart, Shop Clues, Snap Deal, Amazon, and more, saw an opportunity to engage people through the Internet to shop online, while there were other companies that saw the Internet as a problem. How you see the world around you makes a difference in the quality of results you get. Now back to the story.
Keep on Going on and on and on:
After the 10th standard (intermediate education level), he wanted to take up science as a subject but somehow, the government refused. The reason cited by the education board was that he was unfit to have science as his core subject. Srikanth Bolla had something inside him that wanted him to challenge the system, and he did. After six months fighting the system, he won and he chose science as his core subject. When you persist, you begin to turn the tables. Leaders are those who persist where an average person would give up. Just one more try can make a difference. Whether you are starting a business or on the verge of bankruptcy, don’t give up, just take one more shot. You never know when the gates of abundance will open for you. This is what happened with Srikanth.
Power of Flexibility:
He topped with 98% in Class 12 and henceforth applied to India’s top educational institution – IIT. He was refused the admit card to the IIT entrance because of his disability. When you have mindset of growth you become flexible and find solutions. That’s what Srikanth believed in – having a flexible approach to achieve his outcomes. He applied to schools in the United States for an undergraduate program and secured admission in four of the top schools – MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon. Finally, he chose MIT and completed his education. Leaders must know that there is no one way to success; you might have to test new roads to know what’s possible and how to get the end outcome. Srikanth tried and succeeded in getting the education he wanted.
The story doesn’t end here; Srikanth went ahead and started his own organization called Bollant Industries Pvt. Ltd. in Hyderabad. His sole purpose was to help the specially-abled make a living. To live his purpose, he hires a workforce that is specially-abled and trains them for regular jobs in his company. Angel investors are investing in his company for the sheer hard work and passion he brings into growing this company. Having a mission bigger than just earning profit creates a meaning for everyone who is a part of the organization. In the book The Big Why by Simon Sinek, the author shares how companies can create a bigger purpose and generate tremendous energy in the organization with the power of the “Big Why.”
Today Srikanth Bolla is a CEO of this 50 crore-rupee company and his life has become a message. Such leaders are transforming the lives of people with the sheer power of their grit. I would like to invite you to share a story of a leader that has inspired you the most. For me, Srikanth tops the leadership chart.