Leadership Next

By C P Gurnani – MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra

Whenever we talk of transformation, we often reference it back to the ‘forces’ that made the transition possible. While there is always a product or service related innovation backing that transition, the real credit goes to the vision of the person who first saw the opportunity.

I believe that our life is a manifestation of the choices we make. The craft of saying ‘yes’ to some possibilities truly define how impactful we are going to be in our life. I believe that good leadership requires not just the right knowledge and skills, but also critical thinking and foresight, to be a cut above the rest.

Steering the company on a high-growth trajectory and rallying people behind requires an energetic and charismatic leadership. One look around us and we can find plenty of examples of how some of the ordinary people from humble backgrounds, have created a mark for themselves, by not just nurturing their vision and wisdom, but also inspiring and including others towards the greater goal, which is always for a larger good.

Mahatma Gandhi, for instance led India to freedom through a non-violent movement that the world still admires and remembers. His CHOICE to return to India after he was thrown out of a train for being brown, and how he came back to India and led the quit India movement fanning the slogan ‘ Swampurna Swaraj’. His choices made him a ‘Mahatma’ and continue to inspire millions. Everyone from Jeff Bezos to Steve Jobs to M.S. Dhoni have been fortunate and daring enough to make ‘choices’ that completely changed their growth trajectory.

I personally believe that there is no single “best” style of leadership. Effective leaders challenge the status quo, anticipate the future outcomes, decide and often take the road less travelled. As the saying goes – “True leaders don’t create followers…they create more leaders”. To my mind effective leadership is all about how a person responds to a particular situation – an action which is task relevant and independent of hierarchy. A true leader re-imagines the possibilities and works in collaboration, inviting resolutions and ideas from the extended ecosystem. Simply put, a leader is the one who re-invents the roadmap and inspires all the others around.

Today’s disruptive business landscape calls for our talent to be future ready. One just cannot ride the growth path with resources that are out of sync with market dynamics. This is why there is a greater deal of focus on reskilling and upskilling oneself than ever before, to stay relevant. Deep learning, unlearning and adapting to a new normal will hold the key to the success of individuals and nations in the digital age.

I certainly believe that there could be no single source of ‘learning’ and therefore, we will see new winners in the digital revolution – the digital ninjas, start- ups and millennials will be the new gurus, who will show us the path to successful transformation. Reverse mentoring is my mantra, I learn every day and enrich from the youngsters.

 Leadership Next

As the world’s economies continue to evolve in these uncertain times, stellar leadership is pivotal — now more than ever — to navigate the calamitous waters of change. Agility, decision-making and empathy will define the success of our leaders in the future.

 Preparing future leaders

The foundation of a sustainable and responsible organization is built on transparency, commitment to our people, open door policy and encouraging experimentation, innovation and research at work. We cannot deliver if we do not nurture talent and guide them. I also believe that businesses that encourage and reward innovation and reinforce flexibility, enjoy a competitive edge in the quest for a high-potential sustainable growth.

The need of the hour is to develop a distinctive leadership framework that provides direction on what it will take to lead and shape organisations of the future. We need to build organisations that are a mix of agility, talent and sustainability. In order to create a pipeline of future leaders, businesses need to launch serious initiatives such as a start-up incubation programme to support and encourage entrepreneurial spirit among employees.

We at Tech Mahindra encourage intrapreneurship (the entrepreneur mind set within) and the ability to experiment and innovate. We are nurturing and promoting our in-house talent at a very young age. Furthermore, as businesses continue to transform at lightning speed, soft business skills such as creativity, decision-making, customer orientation, strategic thinking, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, cognitive intelligence and time management skills will also be in demand.

Winners are the people who get to the other side first and welcome everybody across…so let us figure out the guiding light and nurture them to ensure resounding success.

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