In a league of their own
CEO & MD, LARSEN & TOUBRO
Commitment: Hard work combined with passion, energy and strong commitment is necessary for a leader to instil confidence in his team to see results. A leader must have a 24×7 attitude towards commitment and be highly energetic so that the vision of the organisation and the commitment towards the goal is visible internally and externally. Another attribute that needs to be integrated with commitment is perseverance.
Creativity: In a competitive globalised world that we operate in especially in the engineering & construction industry where risks are high and margins moderate, being creative and encouraging creativity in others in the team is very critical. When thinking out-of-the-box or taking decisions that appear non-conformist to the team, it is necessary that one maintains an open communication so that they continue to have trust and respect for you.
Responsibility: As a public face of the company to external stakeholders, it is important that the leader reflect the company’s brand, values and responsibilities towards value creation. The leader also needs to know that the buck stops with him both with respect to success and failure on any account.
Integrity: Trust begets trust. It is important to trust the team and be fair in your appraisals and promotions of your team members. The company’s credo on ethical behaviour and values (even it means losing an order) needs to be emphasised on and drilled down to the junior most level. Integrity should remain a core value.
CHAIRMAN, SOBHA LIMITED
Commitment: Sobha Limited is a highly process-driven organisation and we ensure that all our projects consistently meet the highest quality. We strive to achieve customer delight by delivering projects on time. Our backward integration model has not only helped us deliver international quality products but has also changed the quality practices adopted by the realty sector as a whole.
Responsibilities: Sobha Limited is renowned not just for its international quality projects but also its social initiatives. Our unique social initiative called the Graamasobha has adopted two village panchayats in Kerala, directly impacting 2,500 families. It also works towards the upliftment of the society at large.
Creativity: Innovation is primary to the company. We continuously try to better our processes and improve our products. We encourage our employees to foster creativity and take their inputs seriously. Genesis is an ideation event at Sobha that allows employees to exhibit their ideas and the best, feasible ideas are implemented across our facilities.
Integrity: Over the years, Sobha Limited has become one of the most trusted real estate brands in the country. This can be attributed to our full-disclosure policies and good governance practices. All our practices and processes have helped strengthen our bonding with our stakeholders and build immense trust.
MD, ALUMAYER INDIA
Commitment: Commitment involves various levels and degrees of devotion, attitude and action. For us, commitment conforms to continuous, sustained and honest dedication to excellence towards the establishment of predetermined and identified goals of success and satisfaction; satisfaction for our clients, employees and the stakeholders. Desperation for success cannot be termed as commitment. The ATC project was a challenging affair but our commitment and smooth endeavor ensured our success.
Responsibilities: Heading an organisation with resources that has capabilities requires directing, guiding, illustrating and sharing. As a responsible company, what we appreciate is the respect and encouragement of the team that ultimately is the engine of our success. A challenging responsibility to us is the blend and confluence of art and technology in order to deliver the output that satisfies all involved, without compromising on the targeted goals.
Ability to delegate: We instil a sense of welcome in our new employees as a part of our culture; discuss our objectives, principles and goals; identify their interest, strength and weakness as professionals and individuals; delegate responsibilities accordingly; gradually increase the challenges and encourage their contributions.
Nevertheless, we understand that each individual is different and while we delegate responsibilities and challenges, we do not burden them with tasks that may jeopardise their willingness, enthusiasm and the expected goals.
Communication: The core concept is co-operation, co-ordination, team-work and a sense of belonging. This requires communication. Creating an atmosphere of ‘caring of work’ and ‘sharing of information’ greatly helps in appropriate and timely flow of data.
MD, ASHOKA BUILDCON
Responsibilities: My biggest strength is my work force. In the corporate world, each day is a war that has to be fought by the team together. Entrusting the right job to the right persons and designating them with the correct portfolio is a responsibility that should be handled deftly. Personally, I believe that the function of human resources should be handled directly by someone leading the company. A company may appoint an efficient HR head, but employees continue to be the responsibility of the leader.
Communication: Even with a highly motivated team, clearly defined goals and objectives are essential. We have a well organised performance management system that communicates the direction the company is headed in and the contribution it expects from individuals and the resources that will be availed to them. It’s a two-way process where members work along with the management. This creates a mutually agreed action plan and eliminates differences of opinion.
Creativity: The charm of entrepreneurship lies in creativity and innovation. Every time a decision needs to be taken, the team gets to work and it’s again discussed for want of a better option. While there will be a certain group eager to participate in the idea, there will be others who would find it not worth the effort. I look forward to creative solutions and prefer bouncing off the idea to analytical minds. Every innovation carries a risk factor. It is prudent to anticipate the effects that such ideas can create and prepare for them.
Ability to delegate: Delegation is a difficult skill to acquire. Every perfectionist would be dragged to the thought ‘if you want to do something right, do it yourself’. In today’s world this will take you nowhere. It’s the through the thoughtfulness of delegation that Ashoka has built its management.
Jawahar Hemrajani & Kamlesh Chaudhary
DIRECTORS, GLASS WALL SYSTEMS
Commitment: Our productivity is the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort to achieve our goals with skill, scale and speed during production and execution.
Responsibilities: We believe in team work where we started with four and today are 400-plus.
Communication: We are strongly united with our team slogan “Facades are us”. Facades are not a much sought after subject taught in colleges. Hence, it’s difficult to get skilled manpower. Hence we have made resource planning with training & development our forte.
Creativity: Project planning has a key role in this regard where with risk assessment we freeze the team before we take the job in hand.
Ability to delegate: Both of us are a call away for employees. Our employees see delegation as an effective management skill which allows them to use and develop their skills and knowledge to their full potential.
SENIOR GM, MEP PROJECTS, GODREJ & BOYCE
Commitment: Winning the MEP Contractor of the Year is reflection of our commitment towards incident-free, quality services and timely delivery to our customers.
Responsibilities: As Godrej, we have greater responsibilities to achieve sustainability growth with customers delight and build good and green environmental into each business function and its process.
Communication: It is said great communication depends on two simple skills — context, which attunes a leader to the same frequency as his or her audience, and delivery, which allows a leader to phrase messages in a language the audience can understand. Here we have transparency between the people not only in horizontal but also in vertical levels which helps to drive towards common goal.
Creativity: Is a key towards future success. There isn’t an area in business where expansive innovative thinking isn’t required. Here, we encourage and reward creativity in our employees. In our field, there is an important aspect of project time-line and we have to be creative in our products, project management and execution to achieve the project time-line. As it is said, “No idea, no innovation, no more customers.”
Dr GVK Reddy
FOUNDER CMD, GVK POWER & INFRASTRUCTURE LIMITED
Commitment: GVK is committed towards developing world-class infrastructure projects that would contribute towards economic development of the country and a sustainable quality of life for all stakeholders.
We would continue to raise our benchmarks with every successive endeavour.
Responsibilities: As responsible business leaders, our leadership stature goes beyond business success in terms of numbers and figures. It is more about fulfilling its social responsibility in the larger sense of the word. Social responsibility is not about supporting a few visible causes but having an overall sustained growth and a holistic development of the society.
Communication: I have been personally associated with various teams involved and guided them to facilitate the completion of the project. I also make sure that I’m able to visit the sites as often as required.
I believe empowering people who work with me and I encourage every employee to be actively involved in every task that they undertake.
Integrity: I strongly believe that discipline is the most essential aspect of achieving one’s goals. As much as in business as in life, I live by the values I set for myself. For me, the most important thing is my word. I have to live to fulfil my word which is more than a legally binding agreement.
PRESIDENT & CEO, HCC
Commitment: A CEO needs to be passionately committed to steer the team towards organisational goals. A steely resolve and clarity of objectives are a must. In my opinion, an objective is a direction and this commitment compels one to mobilise the resources and energies of the business for making of the future.
Responsibilities: A CEO needs to shoulder varied responsibilities and lead from the front by earning their trust. While a CEO should focus and prioritise, his responsibilities keep changing as per the prevailing environment. For a couple of years when the infrastructure sector saw a slowdown, the priorities for HCC have been cost optimisation, operational efficiency, customer relationships, etc. So the challenge is in identifying the areas where a CEO needs to put more efforts on and delegate other responsibilities as time changes.
Creativity: One needs to be more creative and think “out-of-the-box” in unusual situations and circumstances. Ultimately all these actions are aimed towards organisational goals. So if a CEO is true to his ethical standards then he earns the trust of his team. Sometimes one has to utilise a challenging situation to one’s benefit to make a solution out of it. For example, when we were faced with challenges arising out of slowdown in economy, continual cost cutting, improvement in productivity and efficiency, has sailed us through this challenge.
Ability to delegate: HCC has a huge portfolio of more than 50 to 60 active projects to handle, which is technically challenging. Each segment of hydropower, transportation, water, nuclear and special projects have separate sets of challenges. Today’s projects are complex, higher in value and pose far higher risk profile. You need empowered teams on the ground. Effective delegation is a must.
CEO & MD, KIRBY BUILDING SYSTEMS INDIA
Commitment: is a major contributing factor to achieve success. It requires the ability to see the big picture and be clear about the desired outcome and to focus on the key drivers/action. Unlike other fields, running a successful business is an art. You have to constantly innovate and stay ahead of competition to ensure that all the components are in place to cater efficiently to customers. This is possible only when one has the commitment and perseverance.
Responsibilities: As a leader, I pay equal attention to both customer satisfaction and internal supply chain efficiency. Customer focus is important for a company’s growth. Happy customers are paying customers who contribute to the revenue and profits. Employees are core assets of our organisation and I ensure that all of them are motivated and working in a comfortable environment.
Communication: The best form of communication happens face-to-face. It helps you to understand the employee’s motivations and you can tailor your communication accordingly to change employee behaviour. However, given my time constraints, I lay a common vision in all our monthly review meetings and write emails on a weekly basis and ensure that every member of my team receives some communication from me. I encourage my department heads to cascade these expectations so that every employee is aligned towards a common goal.
Integrity: In modern day organisations, the integrity of the leader is a must to gain and maintain trust of stakeholders. Most of our customers are multinationals who follow ethical business practices and ensure that they deal only with such organisations. We have a clear corporate policy on integrity and ensure that we do not violate that both in letter and spirit. We have a zero tolerance policy on violation of this policy.
CMD, OBEROI REALTY
Commitment: Oberoi Realty is committed to excel and create new paradigms in what we deliver and the way we deliver, creating not just a better equity for Oberoi Realty but a better life through spaces we create. I believe in creating an institution that lives its life and not my life. The rapid growth in this city is a great opportunity to contribute not only to the skyline of this magnificent city but also to creating shareholder wealth over long term.
Responsibilities: We strive to get the best of the world in the terms of design, quality and innovation. Today, we can take pride in being rated as the second largest listed real estate company in India.
Ability to delegate: Every individual working in our organisation brings in different strengths, skills and aptitudes and is given a responsibility based on that. We are a process-driven organisation and have introduced interventions at various levels to identify the strengths and weaknesses of individuals. Post evaluation we create specific training and development programs and workshops to upgrade their skills to aid them to take on future challenges.
Integrity: Samuel Johnson had once commented, ‘Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful’. The world needs people who have knowledge with integrity. In the context of organisations too, the prudent blend of knowledge and integrity is the key for any business to grow in a sustainable way.
JOINT MD, PURAVANKARA GROUP
Commitment: We are committed to crafting and delivering homes to people, and this purpose drives me to do my best. Being passionate about work always ensures success. Showing commitment sets an example for others, and leads to greater loyalty and respect for you as a leader. As a company, focus and innovation offer value proposition and quality. Try to paint a vision of the future that inspires people to do whatever it takes to get there.
Communication: Everything is about communication. Clarity of thought and communication to employees is essential to align the organisation and connect with the same vision. In any organisation, knowledge is power, and it is important to ensure that every employee, from the very top to the very bottom of the chart, is provided with complete and up-to-date information about the organisation’s goals.
Responsibility: I have come to realise that providing a forum for talent to flourish along with the strength to steer that talent is the path to effective leadership. Our organisation is only as good as its people. As such, my foremost role is to enable talent to realise its potential. The weight of this formidable responsibility keeps me grounded. One of the other key responsibilities of a leader is to make decisions.
Creativity: The most efficient framework for learning is to create a culture that rewards creative thinking, with the ability and guidance to incorporate. Leaders need to build a creative platform that engages and ignites new ideas.
Abhay Kumar Mishra
CEO, MUMBAI METRO ONE
Commitment: Without commitment to a cause or a goal, one cannot achieve something substantial in life. To an individual or for the company, commitment is one of the fundamental values which leads to success.
Responsibilities: I personally believe that a leader must lead the team from the front. Therefore, he should always be open to shoulder the responsibilities specially for challenging tasks or at the time of crisis.
Communication: The success of the company also depends on effective communication between employees and employer. I have observed that most of the problems in an organisation are caused by improper/inadequate communication between people. An effective communication needs to be in-built in day-to-day processes and adhered to for the success of an organisation.
Creativity: In current challenging times, timely and smart solutions cannot emerge by taking recourse to age old practices or text books practices. Until and unless people become innovative and think out-of-the-box, there will always be a dearth to good solutions to problems. I have observed that each individual is creative within and if the proper environment is provided, they are able to provide creative solutions. As a leader, my prime responsibility is to provide an enabling environment for creativity to emerge.
CMD, ISHWAR PARMAR GROUP
Commitment: The commitment can be defined in just one word… TOTAL. One needs a clear vision and a well defined road map. To deliver this vision, the organisation needs to have a winning mindset, a nimble culture and an easy-to-change with times attitude. The route could be apparently easy to navigate, but as you go along, you are bound to encounter bumps, curves or even blind corners. These are challenges every winner takes in his stride.
Communication: It is important to analyse and define the role, qualifications and capabilities of each individual. Just like the captain of a cricket team, you need to know which bowlers to assign the task of using the new ball, and which to bring on when it’s time for the spinners to come into play. Often, a boss makes a mistake of expecting too much from a relatively less qualified individual, merely because he has been on the job for a long period of time.
Creativity: There is always a buy-in for ideas that I believe in strongly. Either they convince me or I convince them.
Ability to delegate: A cardinal rule of delegating responsibility is to delegate corresponding authority. Delegation of authority comes with responsibility. A leader needs to identify his core team and place his trust well. A very important part of delegation is communication within the management and the organisation.
Integrity: Integrity is a culture. It’s a team of like-minded people who work together towards a goal. The secret of maintaining integrity is choosing the right people who believe in the organisation as a whole.
FOUNDER & MD, ALUPLEX
Commitment: It’s important to have 100% dedication and commitment. Whether you are a speedracer in the Grand Prix or a doctor performing a surgery, one can reach the pinnacles of success with commitment and absolute focus to become a winner.
Responsibilities: As the head of an organisation, one has to shoulder complete responsibility for everything.The smallest person at the lowest level is as important as the top most man in the organisation, and together they create a cohesive team wherein the overall responsibilities lies within the organisation and not with any individual. More specifically it also lies with the way the organisation is structured vis-à-vis the MIS controls or the finance function.
Communication: Anyone and everyone must communicate with each one otherwise it is a ’Each one, blame one’ game that will continue forever. When one communicates, then one expresses, and one questions, and then another clarifies – and then there is a debate resulting in a conclusive answer and the mantra changes to each one, support all. Subsequently, each one realises that they have individual levels of thinking and understanding..
Creativity: Is not a science where a person can study and become a doctor or a lawyer. It is similar to oratory, and both have to come from within. More often than not, the creative team sits together and takes decisions that are dimensional and far- reaching.
DIRECTOR, AL FARA’A GROUP (BELGIUM ALUMINIUM & GLASS)
Commitment: A façade contractor plays a critical role to a building. So commitment is vital as a failed commitment will delay the job. It is important that our projects are delivered on time and to the satisfaction of our clients. The employees closest to the clients drive this process and have ample resources and authority to be the best at serving clients. The devil is in the details. Our greatest pride is our employees who contribute tremendously in terms of talent.
Responsibilities: As a director, I would like to emphasize on the safety factors carried out at sites which is our group’s significant guideline. It is important to visit sites regularly and see that inspections are carried out accordingly thus ensuring safety and timely delivery of project. We take calculated risks, knowing that some will fail.
Communication: Plays an important role because actions are taken at the site when directions are given. Regular meetings at site level also matter as it ensures smooth flow of work. Good internal governance is essential for effective management. It ties together all our businesses worldwide with a common set of rules, expectations and oversight activities. These help safeguard our reputation, which we believe is aour asset.
Integrity: Maintaining the highest standards of integrity involves being honest and doing the right thing for our clients, employees and shareholders. While rules are critical, unnecessary rules neutralises passion, stifles creativity and eliminates accountability.
MD & CEO, GODREJ PROPERTIES
Commitment: To be a winner requires a high level of commitment. There are always going to be a large number of challenging circumstances that one encounters and how an individual and an organisation responds to and learns from such situations is the real determinant of how successful they can be. Personal commitment by the leadership of an organisation is also vital to create similar levels of passion and commitment within the broader management of the company.
Responsibilities: I don’t believe there is any one set of responsibilities that a leader has to shoulder personally. The overall direction and inspiration for the organisation must be set by the leader but the specific operational areas which she or he handles could vary based on the specific strengths of the individual as well as the current requirements of the organization, which are likely to change on a continuing basis.
Communication: Good communication involves being direct and frank. Whether through verbal forums or written communications, I think the secret to getting through to a large audience with varying backgrounds is by ensuring you are clear on the points you want to get across and why you believe these are important for the organisation and the individuals you are addressing. People respond well to honest and open feedback.
Sense of humour: An industry like real estate can be volatile and challenging and it is critical that senior management effectively absorb the inherent pressure and not pass this on to their team. One of the best ways to do this is to bring some humour into the situation while simultaneously focusing on the most effective way in which the challenge can be resolved.
CEO & FOUNDER DIRECTOR, INTERARCH
Commitment: A sense of commitment is the basis for any CEO to function. At the end of the day, CEO commitment is equal to company commitment. If a person does not have a sense of commitment to his work, his team, his clients, his company and product there is no way he can be CEO.
Responsibilities: The most important responsibilities are a (1) vision for the company and (2) taking care of its people. A CEO must ensure the company has a motivated, functioning and integrated team of people. A CEO or a company is only as good as its team. The leader of the team has to keep thinking of where the company will be in one or three or five years down the line.
Creativity: I rarely take decisions that have long or medium term consequences without consulting people. This makes employees too feel a sense of belonging and helps everyone learn along the way. Short term decisions may be faster. It’s important to give credit where it’s due specially when an employee’s decision has helped the company as a whole.
Ability to delegate: There’s no training or degree that can help you. I ensure that my people are adequately trained and well-equipped so that tasks can be assigned aptly. It’s only if the employee has certain qualities and the ability to perform a task can they get support and encouragement for the work they are doing.
Integrity: Integrity is critical to any person or business and choices are made based on one’s principles and integrity. As a corporate, one often has to deal with unethical people or situations and there are times when we give in assuming it’s for the good of the company. But such decisions can have a lasting effect. On my part, I do not take decisions based purely on monetary gain but also look at values and principles.
Vivek Bhaskar Gadgil
CHIEF EXECUTIVE & MD, L&T METRO RAIL (HYDERABAD) LIMITED
Commitment: To be a leader one must believe in accomplishing the task/responsibility one has taken up and give it 100% commitment. Commitment is the power to change and it transforms promise into reality.
Responsibilities: A leader needs to set clear directions to his colleagues and guide them from time to time. It is extremely important for a leader to be authentic and have the well being of his team in mind. This will build an environment of trust in the team thus creating a healthy atmosphere.
Integrity: It is not necessary to have only a very strong head. A leader must be compassionate as well. Sincerity, integrity to core and natural humility are really the hallmarks of a leader.
Sense of humour: It is imperative to have a good sense of humor – whether leader or no. It reduces stress, helps you cope with uncertainty, creates empathy in various situations and also lightens the mood for effective decision making.
Firdaus H Masani
MD, SEW ENGINEERING
Commitment: Our vision statement says it all: We shall try to be the best in the world…..for the world. SEWEPL is synonymous with integrity, quality, technical excellence and perfectionism. We continuously strive to exceed expectations and set new benchmarks while at the same time trying to do something for the society we live in.
Responsibilities: Finding the right direction and setting goals for the company, building and maintaining relationships with clients, architects and consultants based on respect and trust, and ensuring an equally strong relationship with the employees on an uncompromising foundation of values and ethics while allowing them to pursue their individual goals are some of the most important factors.
Communication: Being always approachable, having regular meetings with employees, giving a proper job description and defining roles clearly and solving problems at the earliest opportune moment.
Integrity: Trust is not built in a day. It takes years of nurturing, setting an example yourself, abiding by the promises made and providing solutions in times of difficulty, helping the employees to achieve their own goals and installing a sense of pride and belonging between management and employees.
MD, SPML INFRA & SPML GROUP COMPANIES
Commitment: At SPML, we have developed a culture of commitment to excellence and integrity. As an engineering and project management company, we have to execute to win projects. Execution involves every employee’s contribution. The sustainable infrastructure we have created has touched the lives of millions of people across the country.
Responsibilities: We are fortunate to have competent and dedicated people with commitments that go well beyond creating value. We have people who walk the talk and deliver on promises. I have delegated most of the responsibilities to the team headed by our dynamic COO and only look into future and strategic plans with goals that will make a difference for the company and to sustain competitive advantage.
Creativity: For a company to be great, the employee must have the ability to consistently deliver good results. At SPML, we believe that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and our team is responsive and complements each other. We not only create limitless growth potential for SPML, we also make significant contributions with sustainable urban infrastructure development for our generation and for the generations to come.
Integrity: SPML has a solid foundation of integrity, values that inspire us to act with honesty. Good governance with a common set of rules is essential to effective management. Our commitment to acting ethically is not just a core part of our custom; we know that it is the right thing to do and good for our business.