Puneet Gaur Next Quarter: World’s Leading Leader 2022-2023
Puneet Gaur, COO, Next Quarter has been simplifying business solutions with innovative business techniques and strong understanding of cultures and human management. Puneet Gaur has been selected as World’s Leading Leader 2022-2023 by WCRCINT.
WCRCLEADERS in conversation with Puneet Gaur, Chief Operating Officer, Next Quarter
What makes a strong leader? What are your key leadership strengths are make the strongest attributes of success.
The definition of strong leadership varies across cultures and contexts like political leaders, business leaders in socialism, business leaders in capitalism, leaders in nonprofit sector, etc. Assuming that this question is about a business leader in a capitalistic set-up, commonly identified traits of a strong leader are – emotional empathy, ability to lead by example, humility, constant strive for innovation and ability to motivate the employees towards company’s vision and mission.
An accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career? What challenges did you face to reach to the success.
I built 1000 people offshore centres in Eastern Europe and Asia from scratch. That is my biggest achievement so far. I consider it as a significant event because there was there was a resistance within the company to build those and there were cultural challenges especially in Eastern Europe. I overcame both to achieve annual multi-million dollar savings for the company. The Eastern European country, which was our base, had a strong nationalist culture in HR and back office function. They were totally against diversity hiring. I had to coach them, nudge them to accept diversity. There was corruption, which I had to crush, without making enemies in a foreign land. Diplomacy, collaboration, patience, open-mind were the key attributes that became my friend in this journey.
What is a role of leader in these challenging times.
Motivate people to be productive and ethical (as work from home has increased the culture of moonlighting)
Create a culture of cross-border collaboration (as unspoken waves of nationalism as hitting the workforce)
Build a culture of constant innovation (as new starts ups are constantly challenging the new players)
Great negotiator to convince large shareholders and employees to build environment sustainable business models
Push for equality for all genders, race and tribes.
What is your vision and how do you share that with your shareholders, employees and others?
My motto is Humanity, Integrity and Innovation.
I share this in my presentations, in my all hands talks and by setting up programs that encourage this behaviour.
I ran innovation challenges in the company, reward innovative work and integrity.
Have created social programs that encourage shareholders and employees to contribute money and time to non-profit organisations.
I have pushed Society as a Strategic Stakeholder philosophy as part of DNA of the company. Some scholars call this “Capitalism with purpose” or “Conscious Capitalism”.
How do you drive active business renovations and how does that impact your subordinates?
I encourage my company to think out of the box. Get inspirations from what others are doing but focus on next 10 years, focus on what customers are looking for.
I am certified Edward De Bono trainer in Six Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking. I use constant innovation as a technique and a metric to drive renovations in the company.
This way my employees are constantly learning and our retention rate is higher than the average industry.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
I have been pushing what I call “Society as a Strategic Stakeholder”. And this definition of society includes
Investors (every has them as stakeholder, of course)
Neglected sections of the society, where we operate
And the environment
When we push employees for extra hours of work, we are always cognizant that it does not impact their and their families health and immediate needs. For example, if someone has a sick family member, they are encouraged to focus on the family first.
When we hire and we see some new employees from the weaker sections of the society are struggling to learn or to deliver, we pay for their extra training in terms of money and extra-time off to get the training done.
Giving back to the society in multiple ways is a part of performance review process that earns extra bonus for our employees. Metric is life or plants impacted – whether is human life or animal or bird. I have encouraged employees and management to get actively involved in orphanages, blood donations, tree plantations, old-age homes and animal shelters.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
Create positive impact in as many lives as possible
Overcome mental shortcomings of human mind – anger, ego, jealousy and greed.
Create detachment from the outcomes of my actions so that I can build equanimity.
And share my learnings with as many people as possible, or many willing learners.
How do you plan to drive your business at a global level?
I have worked and/or lived in all seven continents.
I understand the culture aspects of different continents
I use that understanding, my appreciation of different cultures and backgrounds to reach out to customers to gain business and to build teams globally that can deliver to global teams,
Cultural training is a key part of my strategy in my company. This helps me train my teams to connect with customers and colleagues all over the world.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
If I can positive impact a life, my employee, my vendor, my customer in a way that makes her/him happy and peaceful, then I am successful that day.
If I can share my wealth to improve bring education to a poor kid, food to hungry human or animal, medicines for needy patient then I am successful in my earnings.
If I can provide an emotional support to my teams, people around me, then I am successful in using my brain.
If I can resolve a conflict with a peaceful and productive solution, then I am successful
If I can give happiness to my parents, who made me, what I am today, then I am successful
And I feel happy to say that this drives me day and night. So I feel quite close to this success every day.
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
Who can make personal sacrifices for the success of others is a true leader.
If you look at world renowned leaders, like Gandhi and Mandela, who gave up their comforts to bring freedom to millions, will always be recognised as leaders.
Leaders can be successful businessman but successful businessman may or may not be good leaders by this definition.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has/can contribute for the same?
If every section of the society has the freedom to chose like other sections, then it is an empowered society.
If transgenders of Asia, who are forced to beg, have the power to go to college and join jobs with full respect, that is example of empowerment. Something does not exist today.
If orphans have the resources to get themselves educated that is empowerment,
If a woman walking on the street has the power to lawfully punish eve-teaser immediately and effectively within the realms of the law, that is empowerment.
If society has the means and resources to stop insane war by bunch of people, who are trying to control fate of billions of people with grain shortages or nuclear annihilation, then it an empowered society.
If billion people cannot stop few hundred insane people out to destroy the earth, animals, human life, environment, then there is absolutely no empowerment. That is unfortunately the truth of today.
If 6 billion people can stop research on bio warfare, research on creation of artificial deadly virus, then that is empowerment.
If 6 billion people can stop 100 companies from pumping carcinogens in our food chain and environgment, that is empowerment.
If 6 billion people can actually stop terrorism, which they want to, that is empowerment.
Esprit de corps: How do bring fairies and equality to all?
Education to all – positive education that focuses on removing the boundaries of race, ethnicity, nations, superiority that has been created by humans, not god.
Better distribution of wealth so that everyone on the earth has their basic needs fulfilled.
A global memorandum and understanding the earth is one. If one part bleeds, other chip in. Vasudheva Kutumkamb – the spirit of Indian vedas that says that the whole world is my family. You do not let anyone sleep hungry without shelter in your family. We need that as part of the international law, international economics and education.