Ravi Kathuria of Cohegic: “Understand the power of giving”

Understand the power of giving. As an author and an expert, you have the knowledge, you have wisdom. Share that wisdom and knowledge. Get involved with organizations and associations, where you help people. As a part of our series about “How You Can Grow Your Business or Brand By Writing A Book”, I had the pleasure […]

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Understand the power of giving. As an author and an expert, you have the knowledge, you have wisdom. Share that wisdom and knowledge. Get involved with organizations and associations, where you help people.

As a part of our series about “How You Can Grow Your Business or Brand By Writing A Book”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ravi Kathuria.

Quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, WorldNews, NPR, and featured on PBS Nightly Business Report, CBS Radio, TEDx, and the BusinessMakers show, management consultant and executive coach Ravi Kathuria is a recognized business thought leader.

Kathuria is the author of the management and leadership book, “How Cohesive is your Company?” (www.Cohegic.com) It is an intense story of a CEO’s business and personal transformation.

Kathuria is also the author of the non-religious, spirituality book, “Happy Soul. Hungry Mind.” (www.HappySoulHungryMind.com) It is an emotional and humorous story of an entrepreneur’s struggles with life and his search for inner-peace.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what motivated you to become an expert in the particular area that you are writing about?

I worked as a change agent for corporate America and then founded my management consulting and executive coaching firm.

I was stunned by the level of internal dysfunction and internal politics that exist in companies. I watched CEOs struggle to change their organizations even though they had the ultimate authority. I realized CEOs themselves had to go through personal transformations to lead successful business transformations.

These observations led me to create my business management method that would help companies drive clarity and cohesion thereby improving their performance and growth rate. To share the method, I wrote my management and leadership book, “how Cohesive is Your Company?” which is the story of a CEO and the challenges he faces to transform the business and transform himself.

Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?

Early in my career, I had noticed the company I worked for had a lack of alignment among the more than 100 departments and divisions. Every team acted independently, at times, negating the work other teams were doing.

I wanted to make a presentation to a C-level executive and asked my boss for advice. My boss said, “Ravi, if the C-level executive decides to fire you, I will not be able to do anything to save you. So, I suggest you do not go see him.”

Well, I did, go see the executive. In the first two minutes, the executive looked at me and said, “You’re going to come here and tell me what my strategy should be?” I froze.

I had to convince him what I was saying was worth his while. He proceeded to spend over two hours with me and put me in charge of the biggest change management initiative the company had seen to align the organization.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?

I am the founder and president of the Houston Strategy Forum. It is a discussion forum, not a presentation forum. No speeches, no PowerPoints. We host the who’s who of CEOs and top executives and discuss how they think, and how they solve problems. We are working on putting together some big, meaningful conferences in the second half, now that COVID is behind us.

The project that I am most excited about is my non-religious, spirituality book, “Happy Soul. Hungry Mind.” This book has the power to change the world, change the course of human history. The main thrust of the book is to remind everyone, religion may discriminate, spirituality does not. It cannot!

Everyone on Earth, regardless of race, creed, beliefs, status, wealth, intelligence, age, gender, and even sexual identity, has equal access to spirituality. No one can be denied. Every one of us has this amazing gift that God, the Universe, nature, has bestowed upon us — the gift of infinite inner-peace.

Thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you please tell us a bit about your book? Can you please share a specific passage or story that illustrates the main theme of your book?

My management and leadership book, “How Cohesive is Your Company?” is the story of a CEO, Trent Wertheimer. He wants to take his company to the next level, however, the harder he tries, the deeper he digs himself into a hole. It is a fast-moving story of his company’s business transformation. But Trent has to realize unless he goes through a personal transformation he cannot succeed.

Trent faces challenging questions. How do I improve my relationships and mitigate politics? How do I drive clear thinking and cohesive actions? How do I tie everything together from mission, vision, strategy to execution, and drive growth? And the important personal questions, how must I change to earn the credibility, trust, and confidence of the board and the team.

The book presents the Cohegic Management Method and demonstrates its implementation through Trent’s action. The management method helps Trent unite his team, drive clarity, and ensure cohesion in the company. The method forces him and his team to crystallize their organizational spirit/DNA, recast their core philosophies and business model, reassess their strategies and develop new action plans to achieve a successful and complete transformation.

Trent becomes a better manager and leader as he leads the implementation of the Cohegic method. His relationships with his board and his team come back from the edge of the precipice.

You are a successful author and thought leader. Which three character traits do you feel were most instrumental to your success when launching your book? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance.

Writing and publishing a book is excruciating work. At least it was for me. I wanted my book to be a serious examination of the culture, politics, and challenges in corporate America. My book had to present real and meaningful solutions. It could not be a theoretical book, it had to be practical. Plus, it could not be a boring book, it had to be quick and fun to read and yet deliver the most important messages, so CEOs and their teams could transform their companies and themselves.

Writing a book as an engaging story while sharing a robust management method is not an easy feat, I realized the hard way. Overcoming that challenge became the winning proposition for this book.

The management method received great praise from senior executives and management professors. The message of clarity and cohesion was very well received. However, the story in the parable was well received as well. CEOs called me and shared confidentially. They said, “I am making the same mistakes, Trent is making.” Their teams asked me, “Do you have cameras in our company? You have captured exactly what is going on in our company?”

The validity of the management method and the feedback on the practicality of the story gave me great satisfaction. I had to work very hard to manage both aspects, but the perseverance paid off in the end.

In my work, I have found that writing a book can be a great way to grow a brand. Can you share some stories or examples from your own experience about how you helped your own business or brand grow by writing a book? What was the “before and after picture?” What were things like before, and how did things change after the book?

My work as a management consultant and executive coach is often behind the scenes. Companies and executives go through the transformation and can see the final results, but it is not easy for them to recollect or appreciate all the steps, all the pieces that had to fall in place. I needed a way to communicate to clients and prospects the process, the intent, and the mechanics of the process, so they could understand its importance and appreciate its impact. The book helped me communicate what the process was, how it would unfold, how to work the process, and why the process was important.

The book helped me win new business. After reading the book, one CEO called me. He said, “In my company, I have been trying to do for twenty years what you talk about in the book. Your book has made it all crystal-clear for me.” At the end of the conversation, the CEO hired me to transform his company. That was the fastest I had ever closed a deal.

If a friend came to you and said “I’m considering writing a book but I’m on the fence if it is worth the effort and expense” what would you answer? Can you explain how writing a book in particular, and thought leadership in general, can create lucrative opportunities and help a business or brand grow?

I would tell that friend, to be prepared for a lot of hard work. Writing a book will put tremendous strain on your work and your family. Be prepared for it.

Writing a book is always worthwhile. It forces you to flush out the concepts. When I wrote the first version of the manuscript, I thought it was great. I could it understand it perfectly. When I gave it to my editor, she was all confused. It made me realize, how much clearer the concepts needed to be. A sincere effort to write a meaningful book will crystallize your thinking and understanding as nothing else will.

A book adds to your credibility. A good and well-written book with meaningful content will strongly enhance your credibility and establish you as an expert. Being recognized as an expert will open doors to work engagements, but also to speaking engagements, it allows you to be quoted by media outlets. It makes your presence known to the world.

What are the things that you wish you knew about promoting a book before you started? What did you learn the hard way? Can you share some stories about that which other aspiring writers can learn from?

I am a creator not a marketer. Creating excites me, marketing does not. That is my biggest mistake as an author. Marketing is crucial to get your ideas out. I find it very satisfying to write, but it is only the marketing that ensures the world benefits from my writing and thoughts. My advice, focus on marketing.

Based on your experience, which promotional elements would you recommend to an author to cover on their own and when would you recommend engaging an expert?

Social media is something every author must do and can do a lot on their own. They must start speaking at several local organizations. Then bring in a professional to help them land speaking engagements at large conferences. A publicist could be helpful in landing interviews with major media outlets.

Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experience and success, what are the “five things an author needs to know to successfully promote and market a book?” If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  1. Understand the book is only one piece of the puzzle. An author must realize, the most important aspect is getting the message out and the book is only one piece in the pursuit of spreading their message. The author must focus on creating additional content and share it on social media. Posts and quotes, videos, and short articles are all fabulous ways to create a buzz and interest. They lead people to want to read the book. I have found YouTube is an excellent vehicle to share content. These days consuming video content is high on people’s list.
  2. Understand the power of speaking. Going out and speaking is an excellent way to generate interest. If someone listens to an author speak in person for 30 minutes and likes the message, they become highly inclined to purchase the book. Whenever I go out and speak, people always connect and I find they end up buying both my books, even if I have focused on only one of them.
  3. Understand the power of giving. As an author and an expert, you have the knowledge, you have wisdom. Share that wisdom and knowledge. Get involved with organizations and associations, where you help people. This can create a groundswell for positive change, good karma, and a powerful way to generate strong word-of-mouth marketing.
  4. Understand the power of association. Approach someone who is in a powerful role, such as a top executive. Suggest co-authoring articles with them on topics that are of interest to them and also fit within the theme of your book. Top executives have a lot of insights but do not have the time to write. Partnering with someone, especially an author, could provide them an easy way to get their ideas out. The articles should be short, so it does not demand too much time from either party.
  5. Understand the power of reach. Advertising on Amazon, Google, Facebook, all are good ways to market the book. However, the most powerful way is to have an interview with a national media outlet or a famous podcast, or an article published in a national publication. The reach and credibility of these venues are still unmatched and can do wonders for a book.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

The US government is one of the largest, most powerful organizations in the world. If we can make it run more clearly and cohesively, it will do the country and the world a lot of good. There is so much potential that can benefit mankind.

I would love to have a meeting with any and all of the following: The President, Speaker, Majority Leaders, Secretary of various government functions. Now, that is what I call a power wish.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can follow my websites www.cohegic.com and www.HappySoulHungryMind.com.

Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success with your book promotion and growing your brand.

Thank you for interviewing me. I appreciate it.

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