“Building enterprises on right principles is important while CEOs have to constantly look outwards to catch up with the fast-changing world,” this was the opinion of the panelists at the NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2010, who addressed the session on ‘The stimulus of change – Why looking outward is leaders job” here today.
Opening the discussion, N Chandrasekhar, CEO and MD, Tata Consultancy Services, observed that leaders need to take decisions with an eye on future. Sometimes, people may find some decision unwarranted under the present circumstances but a leader always looks at the future.
“‘When TCS set out to start operations in Latin America a few years ago many saw it as an unwise move given the returns it would provide at that point of time and suggested to expand our US operations instead.
But we went on with our decision. Today, IT companies in Latin America have graduated to a new level and they have become valued customers to TCS.’’ Chandrasekhar added.
Making his point Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto, observed that weather it is business of manufacturing motor cycles or software, there is going to be front end and back end for every business. It is the CEOs’ job to ensure that both the ends are properly aligned.”Such a strategy can make an enterprise not only profitable but also help the company find a central position in the market,” Bajaj remarked.
Paul Hermelin, Group CE, Capgemini stressed that IT business was very much a people’s business. A leader needs to have proper understanding of his customer needs and encourage constant innovation.
Paul also pointed out that the situation today is different from what had happened after the 2000 recession when enterprises were spending heavily on all kinds of infrastructure. Today, we have a situation where enterprises are cautious and spending more on innovative technologies like Cloud Computing, Unified Communication technologies and other disruptive technologies. A leader has to constantly look at these kinds of new opportunities.
Agreeing with Paul, Bajaj pointed out that it was the products that make difference that would make an impact rather than adding just one more to the products line up.
“This has been true in our own case when Bajaj Autos decided to position itself from common man’s affordable scooters to bring powerful bikes. Our competitors in the bike segment were much ahead of us in technology, yet we were able to make a difference in the market and today Bajaj Autos is the leading producer of motorcycles in India,” he underscored.
Chandrasekhar also noted that the situation was little different for IT services companies as the blues come out in time as a large number of employees constantly work with customers. However, when something negative happens, it is blown out of proportion resulting in a lot of bad publicity.
Rajeev Bajaj stressed that nothing was important than the wellness of an enterprise.
“In this allopathic world we tend to treat only the symptoms and not the disease itself. It is important to look outside, at the same time it is necessary to have a clear understanding of oneself and the objectives we have’,” he added.