Foreword by Russ Fradin


Many companies today are worried about how to survive, when their focus should be on how to thrive. I’m a strong believer that the one thing all successful companies have in common is that they know how to execute on their core business.

After all, it is easy to become distracted. Some companies focus too much energy on internal issues— such as developing the perfect vision, dreaming up the most-brilliant brand campaign, or fine-tuning the organization structure. They forget to keep their customers’ needs and priorities first.

Other companies, in today’s turbulent times, find themselves increasingly distracted by external factors. Let’s face it – we’re all tempted to search the daily headlines for the signs of further decline or the glimmer of hope for an economic recovery. It is difficult to contemplate growth—let alone plan for it—when basic survival seems in question.

Rajesh Setty’s latest book, Upbeat, sends a clear and compelling message to stay focused on what we can control and execute on a plan that is in tune with the changing marketplace. We must act to thrive, rather than just survive.

Upbeat brings together time-tested principles from the fields of biology, sociology, and psychology into a pragmatic guidebook for how to thrive at all times, but especially during this unprecedented economic downturn. Drawing on his own experiences as a entrepreneur and a successful business leader and thinker, Rajesh begins by reminding us that our attitudes are a powerful tool for success. We can control our own negative talk and block out external sources that stop us from taking action.

I believe if we make it acceptable for our organizations to fail, they will. We need to expect our companies to outperform the competition in tough times and provide the tools—and the attitude—to make these results happen.

Even if we avoid the traps that can immobilize or derail us, we need the discipline, both mental and physical, to set and reach higher standards that will win over clients.  Rajesh also reminds us that most humans function best as interconnected communities. We get help from our network by offering our own help. A solid network is about “give and take.” Now is the time to take stock of your network.

Finally, Rajesh focuses on the challenge of developing a plan for achieving solid business results that is relevant to the changing marketplace (what worked before doesn’t necessarily work anymore). We must ruthlessly prioritize and take decisive action.

There will be winners and losers in the recession. Upbeat provides hope for leaders who don’t want to watch from the sidelines. We must all be prepared to block out distractions, sharpen our focus, solidify our networks, and take advantage of the new opportunities. I recommend you spend a few hours experiencing the unique way Rajesh Setty weaves together pragmatic and even familiar insights into a new playbook for what is turning out to be a game that none of us have ever played in our careers!

Chairman and CEO, Hewitt Associates