India’s Most Trusted CEO 2018: Bhaskar Patel, Managing Director, TechnipFMC India
As they say “Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing”. Mr. Bhaskar Patel, Managing Director, TechnipFMC India selected as the Most Trusted CEO 2018, has been instrumental in the rise of the company which has become one of the most well known and value driven leading companies today. He best knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.
Your Leadership Style.
At a basic level I like to be able to deliver what I commit, open communications with all employees and have clear direction or strategy known by all and an emphasis on working as a team.
However, leadership styles evolve as individuals and organizations grow and change. I believe in providing a platform for my reports to develop and providing guidance at the right time. I am also an inclusive leader, taking opinions from others during my direct report meetings, or through town halls, inviting people to provide contrarian views. I expect people to be accountable and responsible for their decisions, but without repercussions. Often failure leads to success.
I am also very keen on providing junior employees opportunities to develop ideas and exercise the authority that they will need to be able to lead in the future. As a leader, I always keep a check to ensure that team delivery, strategy and ambition are aligned to the ultimate growth of the company.
The twists and turns of your career and the lessons learned along the way.
It has been an exciting journey for the past 33 years in the Hydrocarbons Contracting Industry. Being of Indian origin, I was born in Tanzania, East Africa and raised in England. I completed my Chemical Engineering in London in 1985 and started my career with Worley Engineering. I later moved to KTI, BV Netherlands in 1986, where I worked within the ethylene group. Thereafter, I spent 7 years in the ethylene group of M.W. Kellogg Company, now KBR in Houston, where I had the opportunity to be involved with the startup of 5 grassroots ethylene cracker units. Subsequently, I spent time in proposals, sales/business development and progressed to being the head of global sales at KBR. After a short period with Essar in Dubai, I joined Shaw Energy and Chemicals in 2008 where I was the Executive VP global business development, proposals and corporate strategy.
My journey with TechnipFMC Group started in 2012 after Technip’s* acquisition of Stone & Webster Process Technologies and associated Oil and Gas engineering capabilities from the Shaw Group. Based in Paris, I was responsible for Group’s Key Accounts, Tendering and Proposals for 3 years. In June 2015, I was appointed as Country Head and Managing Director of Technip India*.
Your formal approach for managing change — beginning with the leadership.
The Oil and Gas industry is constantly evolving. In 2015, when I became Managing Director of Technip India*, the oil prices had hit rock bottom and the industry was going through a severe downturn. The impact of the crude price crash on operations of hydrocarbon companies might not have been permanent, but it has certainly altered the way we operate. Globally, when the prices went down, it pushed vendors, sub-contractors and companies like us to look more deeply into our cost basis and find new solutions to ensure projects are affordable and provide a good ROI for clients. The challenge for me and my leadership team was to retain, engage, motivate and maintain enthusiasm going for the 2500+ people in TFMC’s India Operating Center at that point of time. We organized and conducted a strategy session in October 2015 – ‘Tech4ward: Win. Execute. Deliver Success’. Along with my management team and hi-potential young employees, we defined steps that we needed to take together for the next 2 years to survive the industry slowdown and emerge stronger. At that time our belief was that we needed to get through the ongoing change in the industry and define shorter term goals that we could achieve, rather than long term goals that maybe required a longer period of implementation. I have seen that a flexible approach, adaptive mindset and breaking strategy into short term goals aligned to a vision and industry trends worked well for us. Today, the view is to continue with short term goals, but with longer range strategies such as Digitazition.
Would you rather be Respected or Feared?
I would like to be remembered as a peoples’ leader. Currently, at the twilight stage of my career, when I reflect on my journey of the past three decades, I realize it’s not my professional achievement that gives me a high. Instead, what I cherish is having had the opportunity to have mentored quite a few young, accomplished leaders in the industry. Legacy of leadership in its true sense is in inspiring and empowering people to lead. I conclude with a quote on leadership: ‘True leaders don’t create followers. They create more leaders.’
(*) – a subsidiary of TechnipFMC Group