“It’s Important To Hire And Surround Yourself With Highly Motivated, Passionate And Committed People”

Nagesh Rajanna, CEO, Bombay Dyeing says there’s no sustainable success without great team work. It’s an absolute must, unless you intend to run a ‘ready to collapse’ one man organization.

What according to you is the one most important quality of a leader?

(NR): While a leader leverages numerous skill sets in his role, in my mind, the most important quality of a leader is to set an agenda and lead with a very simple collaborated execution road map where every employee can not only see through the significance of his / her contributions but can take pride as well in the collective achievements.

A leader with such quality not only overcomes any situation – good or bad, but also enables sustainable growth for people as well as business.

Can we teach people to become better leaders?

(NR): Leadership techniques and tools are taught or learnt over a period of time. The process of teaching a leader begins even before he’s a leader from the early days of school / college and sustains through his professional life. However, it’s never guaranteed that such teachings always yield the desired results of making everyone a successful Leader.

Besides any form of teaching, the successful leaders, demonstrate an inner urge to learn, a passion to lead and an insatiable need to get the best out of a team / situation. Some of these qualities needn’t be inbuilt by birth but can be developed pro-actively over a period of time.

Thus, in my view, people can be taught leadership skill sets but an urge to lead has to be internally driven.

How important is team work in achieving success ?The secret to building a strong and efficient team?

(NR): Success can’t be one off, but sustainable. There’s no sustainable success without great team work. It’s an absolute must, unless you intend to run a ‘ready to collapse’ one man organization. My secret to build a strong and an efficient team would consist of the following 6 approaches

  1. Hire talent which understands, relates and enjoys your current needs and future opportunities
  2. Establish sharp KRAs
  3. Enable individual as well as collective success with appropriate tools and resources
  4. Challenge intelligence and capabilities regularly to raise the bar
  5. Facilitate new learnings and developments.
  6. Recognize and remain committed to professional growth

The secret to getting more done in a day as compared to others. (What are the most important day to day habits that help you get the maximum out of the day? Your secret of effective time management)

(NR): Over the last 2 decades or so I have been following few simple disciplines to get the most out of any day

  1. Start the day early
  2. Preset timebound agenda / meetings for the day / week / month
  3. Establish the expectations of any meetings in simple words
  4. Listen…listen to all views before offering suggestion or decision to ensure higher success rate
  5. Conclude the meetings decisively with time bound action plans / follow ups
  6. Avoid open ended closures and time over runs
  7. Repeat and remain committed to all the above

The motivation secrets of a leader-how do you inspire and sustain motivation?

(NR): To begin with it’s important to hire and surround yourselfwith highly motivated, passionate and committed people. I have attempted to do that consistently all my life. Having hired talented people, the key lies in constantly challenging them to do better without the undue feel of burden or overload on strategic as well as tactical priorities. Besides challenging, its equally important to offer theman empowered work environment so that each team member feels the ownership of his / her role. I also ensure they are groomed, recognized and rewarded pro actively.

The secret to handling failure effectively ?

(NR): The best secret to handle failure is to accept it pretty much the way one would embrace success!!! Neither failure nor success assures the recurrence of the same!! Besides the simple principle of accepting the failure, I attempt to analyze the reasons objectively and dispassionately. That helps in minimizing recurrence of such failures.

How do you prioritize work and life?

(NR): I treat both with the same level of passion, energy and commitment. To me both go hand in hand and complement each other rather than substituting. Ahead of time planning and remaining committed to the needs of both, helps me derive the best from work and personal life. I ensure atleast an hour with the family after work hours and the weekends are spent together in activities like movies, eating out, plays etc.

Leaders you admire?

(NR): I admire and derive inspiration from leaders like Steve Jobs, Narayan Murthy and Ratan Tata for their Innovation, Perseverence, Long term vision, Commitment to Society and inherent strength to take risks etc.

Your views on the leadership skills of the next generation of leaders? (NR): Next Gen leaders would be driven by skill sets which are uniquely different. In my mind following skill sets take prominence –

  1. Eye for scalable capex lite business ideas
  2. Collaboration beyond boundaries
  3. Seamless integration of technology at all levels
  4. Dispassionate exits from failures to new opportunities

Best advice you can give to the future leaders?

(NR): “Offer Unique proposition to your customers consistently ahead of competition and nurture an organization to do so.”

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