Aravind: Management can change the world

If Mcdonalds can sell billions of burgers and Pepsi can sell billions of cola, then why can’t Aravind sell millions of sight restoration operations? That’s the Dr. Venkataswamy speaking when he opened up the hospital at the age of 58.

And no wonder Aravind, a change of eye hospital in India has performed more than 30 million operations.

There was a challenge because many people were losing the eyesight in India, which could be avoided. So Dr. Venkataswamy decided to do something about it. And built management around his vision and practically changed the world.

Similarly like Ray decided to franchise the McDonald’s, but the managers made McDonald’s the way it is now. Having good management and choices shapes the way.

The Impossible

Aravind performs millions of operations based on their hospital and eye care clinics and camps for different areas.

How is this even possible, and the bigger question is why they do it?

The secret is they do so many eye surgeries that every training doctor in eye works in here so they can excel faster.

Another thing Dr. Venkataswamy decided was to reduce the cost so that the operation can be faster. He did this by making sure the patient was ready once the current operation was done by a doctor. And he achieved this with only 4 in 1000 infection which is less than the accepted standard.

The Management Role

Dr. Venkataswamy is no more. But the management persists. You can either focus on getting more dollars for the CEO or do the work because it matters for your goal of making change happen.At Aravind, their goal is to make eye care accessible to everyone.

Hence when you go for cataract surgery, you can either pay a nominal fee or get it for free. And still, they make a profit.

Principles and Management

Aravind focuses on continued improvement. For example, they recently announced that the screening number of people went down. But it was because their screening methods improved.

Another thing is they do everything centric in the patient. Also, they came up with better drug and machines so they can be cheap and then shared with others.

Also, they focused on the staff because most of the work is voluntary. The major focus is to be frugal – spending money wisely to achieve the larger goal.

This was they were focusing on better. Hence in recent 50 years, they have gone from 1 man to performing millions of surgeries, thus making life better.

In contrast, Pepsi focused on increasing appetite of yours to drink more colas.

It boils down to management – what are you focusing on. And once you do it for a long time, then it becomes more efficient, cheaper and better.

Having great management focusing on things they care about and measuring the right things accelerates their growth.

The Cycle

In social media, the game is to get your attention, make you stick longer on the site. So for that, they introduced followers metric and how many people clicked. Thus you end up spending more time because of that metric.

Another example is people keeping track of quarterly reports of public CEO. And if people are reacting, then the companies would focus on somehow increasing the numbers.

But Aravind never focused on quarterly profit reports because if he did, then he couldn’t have changed the world in such a positive manner.


When you go to work, you are measuring something. You have been trained always to ask what will be on the test or how to do the job. You rely on the rules set by management.

But if you see yourself not finding value in your work, then you need to decide. You can either take a shortcut and get a quick job or dig deep and find the place where you can see and be seen.

Money is easy to measure. As such, you should focus on making change happen. Because Pepsi, who is focusing on money, is leaving behind a legacy of obesity.

So you need to decide the direction where you want to go.

Being managed by good management is great, but it depends on the leadership by making quality principle.

So the opportunity you have is to become a leader by taking in focus on things you measure for yourself.

Short term or long term – you decide. What is a good day for you? So put the right things you want to measure. You have a choice to make about which story you will tell yourself to your coworkers and for what impact.


  • What is the difference between being supple and chasing the next shiny object?

When you commit to the people who seek to change –  so you might change the tactic, but the goal is the same. Supple means being open to different ways to reach the goal, which was the change you want to make happen.

It means sticking when something because it matters even when the paths change by adopting them.

  • I am a freelancer, and my living depends on it. But my passion is on being an entrepreneur. What to do?

One of the reasons for your dilemma might be because you enjoy the quest more than the destination.

Another reason is that you aren’t fulfilling your job. So you are hesitating because your success isn’t making you happy, but you have worked hard for it.

It is up to you to accept the gift from your past self who worked hard.

But you can use your reputation and leverage then work on the next project, which matters to you.

One way to do your project is to focus on clients that are related to your passion. And ignore the clients who aren’t on your journey.

It’s scary to walk away from success. But if next thing matters, you have to get going.

But if you aren’t going to leap then stop that narrative and enjoy the moment you have. Make the contribution and enjoy the status you have worked hard for.