7 Leadership Lessons From Business Heads For Entrepreneurs Of Tomorrow

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When industry leaders come together on the same platform, there’s room for a lot of insights and a lot of lessons to be learned. At a recent event, Samvaad 2016, organized by the executive students of Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon, leaders from different industries came together for a dialogue with the students. And what came out was entrepreneurship gyaan, leadership lessons, experiences and much more.

We bring you 7 such leadership lessons for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, shared by the bigwigs of the industry at Samvaad:

Leadership: Much beyond just leading

Talking about leadership at the event, Sanjiv Navangul, MD, Janssen India (Johnsons & Johnsons) explained how it’s much more than just leading. “Translate as leaders into something as worthwhile. When our fathers left their grip for us to ride the bicycle on our own for the very first time, it’s a leadership that they displayed. An important aspect of leadership is to give one’s followers a cause that drives them to perform,” he said. He left the management students with an important lesson that, “Kingdom is more important than the king.”

Always have Plan B

In a quick chat with us at the event, PV Vaidyalingam, Advisor (Fin), Ministry of Railways and Director, Bullet Trains Project, told us about the importance of having a backup plan. When we asked him as to what it takes for an entrepreneur to battle hardships, he said, “Expect the unexpected. There can be three kinds of blockade – technical, legal and resource hitch. If you have a Plan B in hand for all these, you’ll emerge as a winner.” He also explained how a mix of both quality and quantity makes for perfect business. “When it comes to quality and quantity, it’s not about this OR that, but about this AND that,” he stated.

Respect Dissent

As the head of your business, do you respect dissent coming from a junior in your organization? If not, you must! The experienced ones from the industry say so. Bharat Salhotra, MD, Alstom India Transport spoke about how it was important to have multiple opinions in an organization. “It’s high time organizations move away from being mono-minded to being multi-minded. There has to be dissent. In a meeting room, if there are two people who agree with the leader, there must be one who disagrees as that person would be able to bring out a different perspective to the whole issue in the picture. Organizations require periods of dissent before reaching alignment and depend on interactions than individual brillioance,” he said.

The power of passion

Passion is what drives entrepreneurs to achieve what they want to and to keep growing – a lesson that Amit Agnihotri, a serial entrepreneur swears by. Agnihotri, founder of MBAUniverse.com and Indian Management Conclave (IMC), while speaking at the event, recounted his days at MDI and how he still holds the same passion that he did when he was a student at MDI. “If you pursue your passion, success is a byproduct. I’m very proud that I have never let go of my passion,” he said.

It’s all about having technology & multiple skills

Manoj Chugh, President (Enterprise Business), Tech Mahindra, who was also awarded the ‘Best IT Man of 2001’ by the National Foundation of Indian Engineers, gave some unique and interesting examples of how technology was changing the world and how the future is all about multiple skills. “At an event, I saw a beautiful female surrounded by a lot of men. When I went closer and spoke to her, she spoke like a normal human being, only to realize later that she was a humanoid. The person who made her was a mix of sculptor, psychologist and a robotics engineer. What I mean to say is that it’s no more about having degrees, the future is about having multiple skills,” he said.

Employee is your first customer

Customer is the king – a saying entrepreneurs swear by. Sanjay Mehta, MD & CEO, Teleperformance India reiterated the saying but added that the employee should be an entrepreneur’s first customer. “It’s your employee who’s working for your customer. If you can’t keep your employee happy, your customer can never be happy,” he said laying stress on the importance of listening to employees. “Businesses don’t die by itself, they die because people stop listening,” he added.

No giving up

Startups coming up and shutting down has become a common phenomenon in the country. Gagan Arora, co-founder of PrintVenue and now the CMO of Foodpanda, feels that for a business to survive, it has to be viable. At the same time, he also believes that if an entrepreneur believes in their idea, they must not give up. “If you believe in your business and you know it’s going to work and make money, there’s no backing down. If you know what you’re doing and you really care about it, give it your 100 per cent don’t back down. Shutting down is not the right way. If you know it in your head that it is going to work, never get away from your target,” he said.

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