About Deploy Yourself
“The first step toward change is to refuse to be deployed by others and to choose to deploy yourself.” – Warren Bennis
“Deploy Yourself” is a message which you can see in my thoughts and articles on leadership, and life in general. Over the last 10 years I have led many teams – mostly at work but also some outside of it. During this time I have realised that leading and developing people while working towards meaningful goals is one of my deepest passions in life – one that will live with me for the rest of my life.
I have spent a lot of time reading, researching and introspecting about leadership and leading a life that is an authentic expression of who I am. “Deploy Yourself” is a continuously evolving set of concepts held together by a common desire of living a life that I can be proud of. In simpler words, it is a formula which I use as a guiding light to drive through life.
I took the phrase “Deploy Yourself” from the above quote by Warren Bennis from “On Becoming A Leader”, which is one of my favourite leadership books. When I started introspecting about leadership, my aim was to create a series of guidelines which I can then use in my own life. But over time the material has grown large enough to fill a few hundred pages, and I have decided to share some of it publicly.
The premise of “Deploy Yourself” is that we all have the answers we seek within ourselves, and if we introspect we can find authentic ways to handle whatever life throws at us. We can always live in a way that we are proud of ourselves, irrespective of how we fare at the various challenges we take on in life.
“Deploy Yourself” is about understanding ourselves, nurturing and developing our strengths and act in a way that allows our own unique light to shine upon the world, instead of following the path others have decided for us.
I do not want you to believe or follow anything I have to say. Instead I want you to take it as tool, introspect and play around with it. And then believe it only if it resonates with you. I believe all of us are unique and meant to stand out in our own unique ways, while the world always try to fit us into pre-defined labels.
My only intention is to help you find what works for you. Not to follow what works for me.
Furthermore, I believe the best investment we can make is in people. My most satisfying moments of leading teams over the last decade has been those when I know I have made an impact in someone’s life. I believe leadership is helping people to be their own best selves, and Deploy Yourself is an attempt to do that.
About Sumit Gupta
Hi, I am Sumit.
I started as a techie in 2005 and fit the typical geek profile – good at computers and programming but introverted and quiet when it comes to soft skills.
I have worked in companies like InfoEdge (Naukri.com) (2005-2008), Yahoo (2010-2011), 91Mobiles (2013), and Booking (2014-present). In addition, I also incorporated two startups – SaleRaja (from 2007-2010) and CricketRadius (in 2012).
As it happens with most people who are good at their job, I was soon leading a team of 14 people. I was 24 years at that time, and I had no idea what leadership was all about. To make it worse, I wasn’t even aware that people management and other so-called soft skills can be learned.
Needless to say, I made a lot of mistakes managing that team. Yet I did a few things which came naturally to me and which worked well, though I had no idea why. Fortunately, in 2010, someone pushed me to do a few leadership programs and it was then that I was exposed to the world of coaching.
I had a dedicated coach from 2010-2012 and those were my most productive years – both at work and outside. After moving to Amsterdam in 2014, I started exploring the concept further. Since then, I have read more than 250 books on neuroscience, psychology, leadership, and philosophy to understand how human beings operate and what good leadership looks like.
These years of research led me to Deploy Yourself, which started just as a series of articles and is now a philosophy that I use as a life guide. I believe Deploy Yourself is an idea that will keep me busy for the rest of my years.
For more details, download my updated profile.
Computers & Technology
I have been programming since 1999, and computers and software have fascinated me since then. I started programming in high school, where I ignored all other subjects to program day and night. Luckily, I made it to college where I spent 4 years learning the foundations of computation and software engineering.
Leading teams of highly skilled engineers building large distributed software systems have not come without its share of failures and learnings. Here is what I have learned about mentoring others, programming productivity, the importance of communication, code reviews, web security, and work-life balance.
I have photographed almost daily since 2013. Even as a child, I have always loved photography but my camera always used to sit idle at home. But after my mother lost her long struggle with cancer in 2012, I picked up my camera again.
Very soon it became a tool for me to hide behind and connect with the world around me. I find the experience of walking around and photographing a city almost therapeutic and meditative.
It is something very different, and that is why I find it very refreshing. You can view my best photographs from Amsterdam, Paris, Italy, and India. If you are into photo essays, you can see my photo essay from Kumbh Mela, or from Streets of Kolkata, or these two from Naples, or about Art In Our Cities.