Business Today 14th January 2018 - Page 144

The Best Management Lesson I Learnt implement what’s in the best interest of the economy, markets and investors. That is the only way we can be a trusted advisor to government and the regulators. Fundamentally, what is in the long term interests of markets will be in the interests of the market ecosys- tem and all institutions associated with the markets. C lear and balanced risks: Clarity of thought and direction is important for leaders to guide the organisation and encourage risk-taking abil- ity. There is no generic formula to achieve this, but an organisation must take prudent risks with full under- standing of impact. Of course, one should possess the necessary plans and strategies to mitigate risks. A leader should build a culture of prudent risk- taking amongst employees, and nurture it. If one were to be too risk-averse, an organisation would never innovate, and hence under-deliver on poten- tial. If one were to be too aggressive in risk taking, it might cause untoward damage. An organisation’s risk-management framework should have a certain amount of tolerance for failure, though mistakes should not be oft-repeated. People should be al- lowed to take calibrated risks and fail, fast. The organisation I worked for earlier, decided to make an entry into a new business. We acquired an asset management company. At the time of the acquisition, we had paid a price which seemed to be expensive for its size. But, we decided that the business can grow into the valuation over the me- dium term. As expected, in a few years, the business scaled up to deliver value for shareholders, which was much higher than the acquisition price. Not shaken, nor stirred: Leaders, I have learnt, should possess an ability to absorb pressure. This ability is crucial, especially when organisations are undergoing a period of stress and experiencing crisis. I have seen leaders who pass on their pressure to oth- ers by reacting in certain ways that are not productive. This never yields results. Employees who are under pressure either end up making more mistakes or look for short-term fixes to a problem that would possibly lift the burden off their shoulders quickly. This does A leader should build a culture of prudent risk-taking amongst employees, and nurture it. If one were to be too risk- averse, an organisation would never innovate and hence under-deliver not result in solving issues in the long term. Leaders, no doubt, are in the direct line of fire during a crisis. To over- come it in a manner that has positive long-term im- plications can be extremely challenging. In spite of the pressure, the right kinds of leaders do remain calm; they recognise issues with- out a clouded vision and work with employees to come up with solutions. A leader should put his or her employees at ease, and encourage them to be hon- est and communicate bad news quickly without fear. To be able to gain the trust and loyalty of employees, a leader has to build an open channel of communica- tion from the very beginning. Conflict management is yet another challenging area. Conflicts are a part of life and there is no way to avoid them. The last organisation I worked for saw enormous growth during my tenure. When I started, it had less than 100 employees, `200 crore profit, and a net worth of `1,200 crore. Over the next decade, the group employed over 3,000 professionals, with `1,800 crore profits and a net worth of `15,000 crore. From being a single business company, it grew into a financial conglomerate which handled all aspects of financial services. With two acquisitions and two new lines of business, the company grew organically and inorganically. Successful integration of its varied workforce ensured that the mergers yielded results. A s an organisation scales up, spreading a common culture becomes critical. To draw high performance from employees, leaders should focus on collaboration and open communi- cation, creating a sense of ownership by involving employees in decision-making. An open and trans- parent channel of communication should exist be- tween employees and management. Employees find it easier to trust a leader who walks the talk, and holds himself to high standards. Trust comes from years of honouring commitments. A leader’s tenor should boost an organisation’s stature. I hope to influence and inspire everyone I work with, so that we can build an institution that truly endures, and stands the test of time. 144 I BUSINESS TODAY I January 14 I 2018