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Article by Gunit Chadha, Member, Governing Board.

 

(Gunit Chadha is an alumnus of St. Stephen’s College and IIM, Ahmedabad (Batch of 1984). He has over 20 years of experience in the corporate world having held several senior positions in domestic and international assignments. He worked with Citibank India and then with Citicorp Securities Inc, New York.  Currently, he is the CEO of Deutsche Bank, India.)

  

The liberalization of the Indian economy in the early 90s was a path breaking event in more ways than one. Not only did it transform the Indian industry but it also changed the mindset in the Indian work place. In initial euphoria it was assumed that western companies would swamp the market place at the expense of domestic industry. But as it turned out MNCs did come in but the Indian industry rapidly scaled up and matched them. And so did the Indian manager. 

 
A high degree of innovation and entrepreneurship enabled them to overcome the challenges posed by liberalization of the economy. From the early jitters of facing the world to an economy growing at rate that is the envy of the world, we are now a confident nation. Entrepreneurship is a critical element of a growth economy and success stories in sectors like telecoms and technology have helped in unleashing the creative energies of entrepreneurship across the  country. 

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Article by Rajiv Inamdar, Member, Governing Board.

 

(Rajiv Inamdar is the Managing Director of Heidrick & Struggles'  Global Knowledge Management Center (KMC) based in Delhi, India. Rajiv has over 30 years of international experience in advertising, brand management, market research, consumer banking , private banking , asset management , credit cards and knowledge management with some of the best known companies in the world. These include Glaxo Smith Kline, JWT, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, AC Nielsen ORG Marg , IMRB and Egon Zehnder. During his career he has established and run two companies – Sri Lanka’s first market research company (LMRB) a part of the WPP Group and Egon Zehnder’s global knowledge centre in India ( EZIRS). He has worked in five countries : UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Sri Lanka and India.   He is an accomplished tennis player and keen golfer.)

 

When I graduated from business school in the seventies, my class fellows and contemporaries, were among the best and brightest of our generation. Approximately thirty two years on, as I sit down to write this article and reflect on the reasons why some of them have been outstandingly successful and others less so and keeping in mind my personal experiences over my career, some defining characteristics of successful people become apparent. I thought the best way to express these is to write the ‘obituary’ of the quintessential ‘successful executive ‘.  This is how it would read:

 

‘He was capable of immense amounts of hard work and able to put in long hours into his job year after year sometimes at the cost of his personal family life. But his work was always driven by a definite vision and goals for himself and an almost child like enthusiasm and passion for his job. He always regarded failure as a stepping stone to eventual success and learnt from each setback. I have never known him to feel sorry for himself.

 

He was able to see the big picture but was a master of detail so it was hard to get anything past him. He was highly disciplined and his tolerance for indiscipline and shoddy work was low.

 

He was an extraordinary manager of people, always showing a genuine respect for not just his bosses but also for his peers and subordinates who always trusted him to do the right thing by them. He listened hard to his customers and colleagues and acted upon what he heard. With his unbounded optimism for life and his job, he was a joy to be around. He had an incredible sense of humor and sense of repartee and knew when to lighten the mood of a difficult meeting with a quip or a joke. His optimism was infectious.

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Article by Deepak Gupta, Member, Governing Board

 

(Deepak Gupta is the country head of Korn/Ferry International having worked with Citibank in the US and India, KPMG and Price Waterhouse. He graduated with honours from St Xavier’s College, Calcutta University in 1979 and completed a postgraduate degree in Business Administration. He has also obtained a Post Graduate Certificate in Management Information Systems from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio in 1982. Mr Gupta is a member of the Accountancy Board of Ohio, as well as a Chartered Accountant and fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.)

 

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This phrase summarizes what those who study organizational behavior have realized for some time: that emotional intelligence, or “EQ,” is just as important - if not more so - than intellectual intelligence, or “IQ,” when it comes to leadership success.

 

Numerous studies have shown that the most revered CEOs and public figures in the world are highly intuitive and possess great “people skills,” such as “empathy,” or the ability to sense what others are feeling. Translating this understanding of “what makes people tick” into an inspirational vision that they will embrace and happily follow, however, takes advanced and sophisticated communication and interpersonal skills as well as the confidence and conviction that what you are proposing is the right thing to do.

 

A blend of all these competencies is essential for today’s business leader, whose role is becoming focused around “being the brand ambassador” and dealing with HR issues – across the miles and often times remotely. My colleagues at Korn/Ferry International and I not only help executives evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in terms of their written and verbal communication skills but we also examine whether how they communicate helps (or hinders) their ability to relate to, manage, and inspire others.

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Our second article of the Governing Board series by Neeraj Batra.

 

(Neeraj Batra is the founder and chairman of Infinity Business School. He is an alumnus of IIM, Ahmedabad (Batch of ‘84). He has over 18 years experience in the field of investment banking, having worked with leading names such as Bank of America, and The Hinduja and Amas Group headquartered in London.)

 

Adversity is the best breeding ground of Excellence. Although this may sound a trifle clichéd, there is enough empirical evidence to back this historically. This tenet is fortified further by the achievements of the People we researched for this year’s Prospectus.
   
Oprah Winfrey made a fortune by getting people to bare their souls on a talk show that has retained its spontaneity and warmth for more than 22 years. This by itself is exceptional given her background of a black woman struggling in a white dominated society. This was despite her childhood trauma of being born out of wedlock. She survived an abused childhood, indifferent parental support and a difficult time at school. Many believe that Oprah Winfrey arguably has more influence on American culture than any President, political or religious leader, except perhaps the Pope.

 

J.K. Rowlings was born to parents who were college dropouts. She had an unremarkable academic life and was constantly badgered for wasting her time in daydreaming. She went through trauma in her personal life and her marriage. Rowling was undergoing depression at this stage and was on the verge of destitution. It was an inspiring moment that gave birth to the concept of Harry Potter. She recollected later that ideas would come fast and furious so that she would scribble them at all hours and places on scraps of paper. For capturing the imagination of millions and recreating a magical world in which adults can relive their childhood with ease, JK Rowlings represents excellence in creativity and imagination.

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In a first of a series of articles, Vishal Pandit shares his thoughts on Leveraging Consumerism.

 

(Vishal Pandit graduated from St. Stephen’s College and did his MBA from FMS, New Delhi (Batch of ’85). He has over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector, having been involved with a number of new initiatives including GE Capital Services India and Maruti Countrywide. He has also been the Managing Director of Associates India Financial Services Limited and President, GE Money. He is currently Market Manager - India & Middle East, Hewitt Associates.)

 

There is a confidence, an air of self assured belief that we have arrived. The metros and now the small towns of India are celebrating the choices they have when they step in to a mall, a market, click online or choose to use their mobile phones for purchases – we have a desirable problem of plenty. India is clearly a rising giant and a star of most Marketing triumphs in the region.

 

The surge has worked because as a nation, we are many of us, so a ready market is available. Also, we have invested in education and are a hard-working set of individuals. So the stock markets have risen, though erratically, people-intensive industries like IT, outsourcing and retail have boomed and the entrepreneurs have created global empires. All this has led to two spirals of growth for us – growing incomes and booming markets. And the fact that we have the world’s youngest work force is an added bonus.

 

However, to leverage this growth in spending power and market revenues over a sustained period of time, we have to think differently. We have to future-proof our growth.

 

In this globalised world, tremors in one market can engulf a continent’s economy. We have to plan for a downswing. The buyers will have to think long term and judiciously invest for a potentially sluggish period, while the marketers will have to recession-proof their products and services.

 

As a society we have to identify and build the ‘Next’ engines of growth. Which industries/technologies/movements will we bet on and build capabilities for, will help us sustain, and hopefully exceed out current growth numbers.

 

Our model of markets is an American concept. While it has served us well, it has its flaws. The US mortgage crisis and the looming recession are pointers for us that we should adapt but not photocopy. We have to build on our strengths and identify best practices.

 

My parting thought is for India’s move towards a consumer society in a larger framework, is to think of the many who struggle to provide for themselves and their families the basic essentials in the 21st century. There is a lot going for us, to continue and build on our economic success. However, let’s balance it - try and give back to society and collectively leap ahead as a nation of winners.

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