Transformational Leadership Stories

We all have turning points in our lives. When we face a conflict, a voice brings us back to the safety of our comfort zone, but another attracts us with such force that we let ourselves be dragged by it until it becomes a strong cry of action. Only a few have the courage to be authentic and to say with confidence that they have always responded to this great cry with enthusiasm and perseverance. Ravi Venkatesan is a rebel who has been transformed to succeed several times.

In 2003, , the president of Cummins in India faced a dilemma: should he hold his 8-year position where he had? Did you successfully develop your group engine and generator, or did you accept the best position in Microsoft, India, while you did not know anything about the information technology sector? Even though his colleagues and mentors told him that this would be the biggest risk of his life, he accepted the job at Microsoft. He ended up leaving seven years later, having achieved his goal of converting the company from $ 150 million to a $ 1 billion company.

It was not the first bold decision that Ravi would take, and it certainly was not the last. In a career spanning almost three decades, it has evolved into industries, geographies, organizations, roles and cultures. A mechanical engineer by training, Ravi obtained an MBA from Harvard in his first job at Cummins in the United States. In 1996, at a time when there was a mass exodus of brains and talents from India to the west, he chose to return to lead the expansion of the Cummins business. The presidency of Microsoft followed, and in 2012, Ravi renounced the comfort of security again to explore his other talents. For four years, he has been a writer, thinker, mentor, impact investor and social entrepreneur. Today, he is Chairman of the Board of Bank of Baroda and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Rockefeller Foundation, Infosys Ltd. and many others

Ravi Venkatesanare’s career is a perfect example of repeated self-destruction, especially at a time when it was not necessary to do so. Today, technology is the only one responsible for the interruption of business “the new normality” Staying relevant means seizing new opportunities to transform us, so we wanted Ravi to take out his rich career to share with us what prompted him to constantly reinvent himself and how he persevered through the inevitable challenges to make his transformation journey a success.

Go high, do the right thing

Ravi began his career in 1986 in the automotive industry as a young engineer at Cummins in the United States. United, he was given responsibilities beyond his years and prospered, he quickly ascended and was accustomed to the conservative culture. An organization that values ​​loyalty and effort, where employees feel part of a family, is expected to withdraw from it, he said, reflecting on the early years, but when the opportunity to move to India to lead the history of The company’s growth came in 1996, seized the opportunity. It was an unconventional decision, without a doubt, and not without its share of risks.

The Cummins chapter in India has proven to be extremely successful, as it has led its transformation into a leading supplier of engines and energy solutions in India. He also helped found Cummins College of Engineering, the first female engineering university in India.

No risk, no reward

Leaving success in unexplored waters is never easy, but the monotony slows down. I was trying to plunge into another challenge. It was at this point that Microsoft used the offer to develop its business in India. The paper could not have been different from what he was used to. At that time, technology was an emerging industry in India. It was a unique opportunity, but I really did not know anything about computers, and it was a very difficult culture to succeed. he said, to ponder the very risky decision that was before him Almost everyone asked me: “Do not do it, it’s a crazy idea!” Ravi was at a crossroad again.

I asked myself “When will I turn 50, what will I regret more?” What did I try and fail or did I have the opportunity and that I was too scared and that I had let it go? I decided that I would do everything possible.

And so, with this act of faith, there were curtains in his 16-year career in the automotive sector and the Dawn of a new chapter in Microsoft.

No matter where you go, you must gain credibility

Success at Microsoft meant that Ravi not only had to transform the business, but also had significant changes in my way of working First he had to establish himself in the corporate culture, and it was not a small adjustment. When I started, I was very nervous because very few people joined Microsoft at a higher level and survived, in particular, at that time “2003”. I explained that Cummins was more agile and more centralized, probably because it was smaller, but Microsoft was a typical American technology company, transactional, mercenary and, surprisingly, more bureaucratic, I joined Cummins and informed the CEO, but at Microsoft I had I start from scratch to restore my credibility, but no matter how big the differences, a new place requires adaptability.

You need to adapt to the new culture, and the company will not change for you, but over time we can soften the culture in some way, but in the short term we have to adapt, that’s how it is.

You’re what you measure e

< strong> Clarify what will be measured from the beginning so there are no surprises Put it in writing In a competitive environment, when it comes to responsibility, it is both the strength and the weakness of a company. ”

As Raviare was a completely new position and position, it took a lot of effort to define and reach a mutual agreement on expectations, but It was worth the time invested. What really matters in the new place and make sure to shine in those dimensions After that, once you gain your credibility and your network, your source of power and your influence, you can continue and do what you really want to do. , it is revealed.

Big teams Big companies

What I really wanted to do was a great company When Ravi joined Microsoft, it was a young organization in India “less than 1000” people on their RD campus in Hyderabad I quickly understood the importance of hiring smart people to build a strong team, while the team at that time was brilliant and talented, so young and inexperienced, I had to systematically hire more experienced and mature managers to take the business to a whole new level.

I realized that it was not enough to have smart interpreters, we needed seniority and maturity to take the company to a different level

Start at the top if you want to make a mentality of Chang e

Another big challenge for Raviare was to change the mindset from Microsoft’s central office to India. It took a lot of investment, effort and foresight. The Indian offices were hidden in the ACPA regional headquarters, as were many multinational corporations at the time. For Ravi, it was a big change. It was not just an ego problem, it was more about access to power, to be part of a team decision, ?? I admit

I realized that the only way to get Bill Gates’s attention and make him feel excited about the potential in India. I organized a weeklong trip to India for the head of Microsoft and 35 top executives to give them an idea of ​​the possibility that India has for Microsoft. Soon, the India team developed a strategic plan that co-opted the entire management team to grow India. The investment began to flow, and in a few years India, like China, began reporting directly to Seattle.

To change the mindset towards India, we had to start by changing the way senior executives viewed India. The rest will follow. ??

Never underestimate the contribution of luck

Thanks in large part to the management of Raviare, Microsoft India has been consistently ranked among the best employers and the most respected companies in India and was chosen as the most influential CEO of MNC in 2011 by the Economic Times. He credits his good fortune with being part of his success. I do not underestimate the contribution of luck, ?? he says with gratitude.

I know many people who were at great risk like me at the same time and it did not work. I do not know if there is a formula, but I think there is such a thing.

I admitted that, if globally, 2000 “2010 was the” lost time “for Microsoft because it systematically failed The main trend of the industry was the opposite in India, so we were lucky to have a strong return from the domestic front, I say also for the company, even if it were facing a headwind in the economy … >

Take risks and Stagnat and

Ravi believes that a vision The director or the plan is a key element of success, I set a goal from the start. “I’ll take Microsoft to India from $ 150 to a billion. True to his purpose, I only stopped him. When I realized that Ravi remembers: When we left India we had reached almost a billion dollars, we kept it in place. My work was done. It was time to do something different again! But I was not sure what it was going to be. However, I moved without thinking about what would come next. It took a certain amount of self-awareness and a lot of courage to make that decision at a later stage of the race.

As a general rule, you wait. You are afraid of the network. It is not easy to leave such a salary and benefits. Even if you do not like it, it’s comfortable. But I say: it’s not the way I want to live, I’m leaving. ??

Often, Introspect to know their true Strengths

for Ravi, it is essential to know their strengths or, at least, experience until you find them, so that you can “trace a course that has as much to do with success in preparation as with fun”. Your addiction requires something that is already there to make it grow. I like to evolve I do not like the trip from 0 to 10 million. It is very small and boring. I like to take large and complex organizations and cultivate them, ?? I say, inclining to think that he took sustained introspection on his part to reach this conclusion.

I am what is called today, intraprenergic “to undertake within the context of an established organization. It is not because he is risk averse. I’m ready to go there with nothing because I’ve moved away from everything.

Raviare’s latest challenge, as president of Banco Baroda, seems to be just what he was looking for. The Bank is big and complex “55,000 people, 5,500 branches, 105 sites around the world, 66 million customers and 108 years!

India will change if brilliant people create opportunities for them-

Since retiring from a business career, Ravi has become an author, social investor and passionate advocate for business in India, so we asked him his opinion on all these areas.

His book “Conquering Chaos: Win in India, Win Everywheren” brings together his knowledge of scaling companies in India for more than two decades, truly global will not only have presence and income in other regions, but will have a global mindset, starting at the top with a world-oriented CEO that promotes a culture of absolute meritocracy.

Your results are the only thing that means you should have a Pretty diverse group at the top.

O In the social sector of India, he believes that although the initiatives of the social sector are not lacking in the country, their impact does not correspond to their number. The problem, says Ravi, is that they lack professional hiring and leadership. The best do not go there. In response, he founded Social Venture Partners India, a community of business leaders, philanthropists and active citizens, whose goal is to identify the right organizations and help them quickly increase their impact.

Finding the right talent, whether in the corporate sector or in the social sector, is really a vital part of winning in India, according to Ravi. India will not change if brilliant people look for a job. There are great opportunities. You must go after them, he says, advocating for entrepreneurship at all levels. He believes that companies do not need more balanced and politically correct leaders than those that already exist. On the contrary, they need people who can transform themselves.

We need non-conformists. They create magic. The big businessmen are all angular. However, in terms of hiring older people, we (in India) end up hiring “round” people

Talking about good work, Ravi told us a little anecdote: he himself had passed the GED test, and to his surprise, his result was: Do not hire! While we all agreed that this could not be more true, it was also, inadvertently, the best compliment, because only nonconformists, revolutionaries, really do great things and change the world!

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