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For decades now, by and large India has been stuck with the “Can’t Deliver On Time” syndrome. And no, I am not talking of babies because with a population of more than 1.1 billion people perhaps that’s one thing we are delivering on time. I am delighted that recent projects have shown that all this can change and we are capable of delivering complex projects on time. A case in point is the Delhi Metro. It reached its targets thanks to a sprightly 76 year old man called Dr. E Sreedharan, Managing Director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

Phase I of the project was completed an astonishing 2 years and 9 months ahead of schedule. Sreedharan and his team are working hard to complete the second phase before the Commonwealth Games of 2010 being hosted by New Delhi.

In the Economic Times, Mr. Sreedharan speaks of his success mantra. Actually, there is nothing earth shaking about them. They are are the good old values of punctuality, integrity and professional competence. Those interested in reading more about his way of dealing with issues, may also like to see this.

Mr. Sreedharan is no stranger to success. The credit for the setting up of the ambitious Konkan Railway, which he led when he was cajoled to come out of retirement, goes largely to him.

He has been able to develop a work culture which deserves to be emulated. No wonder he is much in demand to advise on many projects in India and abroad. He shows us that work ethic can overcome the traditional barriers of sloth and lethargy, that leadership based on principles can get things moving- even in an environment which has become infamous for corruption and delays.

Thank you, Mr. Sreedharan for showing us the way. For showing us that once you set your mind to work with a great work ethic, no obstacle becomes too big to conquer.

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This is Post No: 298 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.