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A CEO that Believes in Lean But NOT Mean!!

A CEO with a proven Philosophy!

I am not a good writer about anything except technology and now I’m writing a Book Review?! I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I had writing it!

This article is very important to me as it not only points out a super person but the philosophy that is his passion, his management and living philosophy.

This is a lot more than the review of a book. It is about a man that does what he preaches and as he says, “The right things – no need to be mean!”

When I was growing up my father used to say, “It is Nice to be important but it is a lot more Important to be nice.” With a GED, he worked his way up to Vice President of Tenneco Oil and he always said, like Zig Ziglar, “If you help enough people get what they desire, they will help you get everything you desire.”

In about 1988, I met two people that would have a long and deep effect on who I was as a man, a technologist and an employer. The two men were Narendra Popat and Anil Singhal. They were growing a super RMON company. I saw them go through good times and some very bad times but they prevailed. Now Netscout ,their creation, is a dominant Service Assurance and Security company.

I kept in touch with them for a while but as we all go through tough times, we eventually lost touch. In 2007, we reconnected and started talking and enjoying the “Old” times.

In 2018, Anil, now CEO of NetScout wrote a book “Lean But Not Mean (LBNM).” It right away reminded me of what my father used to say about being important!

I was very happy to get a copy. As I read, I really saw this man in the book and in the philosophy of “Lean But Not Mean.” In the opening of his book he thanks his Mother for his values and qualities of Compassion and Quality that are the foundation of “Lean But Not Mean.”

Anil has always been a very caring person. He’s a model citizen, a Technologist and CEO. That is why he has many very smart employees that have been with him for over 25 years and still will not retire or leave. I know of several that left other employment just to come back after they witnessed the “Mean” philosophy so prevalent in our society.

The culture that Anil has created is one of progress but is very human in design as he really cares. This caring is passed on to his employees and in turn they reflect this to other employees and customers. Recently, I talked to a NetScout customer and his comment was, “I had some questions while working on an issue. I reached out to the local NetScout team and almost immediately received calls to help me, even though the issue was not NetScout’s. “They treated me like a friend and stayed with me until I had all the answers I needed to successfully determine and solve the network issue. Later, they called to make sure I had been totally successful in finding, identifying and fixing the issue.”

Later, I will tell you how he responded to the Coronavirus pandemic and you will see more evidence of Anil practicing the LBNM philosophy.

The book talks about how not to overreact to the ups and downs of our technology and economy. Pay a fair wage and keep people employed and focused in a safe environment. Trust your employees as they are the “REAL” intellectual property. In other words, Respect and Value your employees.

I have been lucky to know many of the NetScout employees. Several have been friends for well over 30 years. They all attest to the fact that Anil is NetScout. Smart, driven, caring and innovative just like his philosophy, “Lean But Not Mean!”

I learned from Anil early on that in our technology we solve problems. Never go into an account until you know the issues/problems and how you can solve them for the customer. Respect your Customers!

Anil’s 5% rule of engagement for an executive is, why are we offering this product and will it solve the customer’s problems? If it will not, we are off track and need to regroup!

Acquisitions of companies is another area of his philosophy that is so true. I have seen it deployed many times. He simply tells the new employees that “there are NO stepchildren when we acquire a company!” I actually know of one particular person that when his company was purchased and merged with NetScout said, “I will stay a little while and move on.” He is still there after almost 20 years and has no intention of moving on! The loyalty that is instilled with Anil’s “Lean But Not Mean” philosophy is amazing.

I cannot say enough about Anil’s philosophy and how it has taken NetScout to a level that is seldom reached by technology companies.

Now how does the “LBNM” philosophy play out when the chips are down?

A wonderful example of his philosophy is when the Corona virus hit the world. Anil did what many executives did. He put his employee’s safety first and ordered a stay at home strategy and told them not to worry about their jobs and income. However, he went a step further. “All employees, including those on an hourly basis, will receive their regular paychecks, regardless of where they are working from, or if not able to work, until further notice. As an extension of our “NETSCOUT family,” etc.

These are examples of how the “LBNM” strategy works and will continue to help NetScout stay a major corporation.

During this pandemic crisis, I have heard of many companies that tell their employees that they are temporarily laid off. Others that their salary will be cut by 40% and many other examples of just not caring. I somehow bet their executive salaries, etc., were not cut. LOL

The book “Lean But Not Mean” is not only about management values but a retrospective look at how the strategy works and the traps we all can fall into. Trust begets trust, compassion begets compassion. This is the core of “LBNM.” Like the old saying, “treat people the way you want them to treat you.”

I have had the pleasure of knowing Anil for well over 30 years. He is an innovative, caring and compassionate person. A well-informed Technologist and a man of his word! Anil’s values are his goals and he has taken from his own experiences to create and practice the “LBNM” management philosophy.

Anil’s philosophy has proven that it works. I am a witness to it working. I am very proud to call Anil a friend and hope that all of you get to meet him!

I will finish with one of Anil’s quotes. “NetScout has been successful because of NOT being Mean!” That sums it up – Employees are your strongest “Success Factor,” so treat them as such!

If you wish to be a great manager you should read his book and hold on to it as your success bible! Go here for more info on the book - Lean But Not Mean (LBNM)

God Bless you all and Please Stay Safe and Happy and we will all make it through these times, I guarantee - My Best - Tim



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