It is always difficult for versatile, passionate, ambitious and charged leaders to define their style of functioning. As I reflect on mine, it would seem to me that my leadership style is based on the principles of transparency, open communication, ambition & goal orientation, fairness & empathy, resilience and adaptability; and above all gratitude & investments in relationships.
My team is my biggest asset and and I see merit in seeking to help each member of my team in identifying areas where their talent and potential can be put to their most effective and productive use, while also guiding, encouraging and working with them to realize their ambitions.
I can write an entire book on my journey; however, for the sake of brevity, I would classify the same as eventful, stressful, full of the multiplicity of complexities at each step and yet so rewarding. My traverse has been both in the profession i.e. with Arthur Andersen, KPMG, Grant Thornton and Mazars; and also the industry – with Schlumberger, Barista Coffee, Exl Services. I have faced and continue to face unprecedented challenges and what has kept me going has been my ability to identify an opportunity in each situation of adversity.
The Change Agent
For an individual who constantly, diligently and consciously challenges status quo in his strive for excellence and to raise the bar in terms of delivery, change is ironically the most predictable part of my DNA. However, change can be disruptive as equally as it can be progressive and consequently it is important to prepare and align all stakeholders to minimize the negative impact of any disruption as a consequence of transformation. It is in this context, where the nature, timing, extent and mode with clarity of communication is extremely important in order to work cohesively and successfully while combating challenges of unfamiliar territory and using each element of change as an opportunity to transform and propel our organisation to attain its growth objectives.
What are you really into outside of work?
At this stage, it is difficult to divest my thought process from the growth opportunities before MGC & KNAV. I also have other responsibilities in developing and monitoring the growth strategy for KNAV Group’s members firms in North India, which take up a fair share of my time. All of these roles are extremely exciting as they provide me an opportunity to apply my experiences in spearheading initiatives relating to change management and business transformation. Outside work, I try and create some time to engage in activities, which give me time to spend with my family.
5 key roles of a successful leader?
1) Being a change catalyst and this means leading change from the front and by personal example.
2) Being a clear communicator and translating communication into action
3) Demonstrating the courage of conviction and taking ownership
4) Showing humility and empathy
5) Demonstrating calmness, specially in challenging times
How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
To cement and retain our leadership positioning and to attain our vision, MGC & KNAV will need to become a different organisation every three months. We will be expanding our presence in Europe, Middle East, Singapore and USA. At the same time, we will continue to actively seek new and requisite intelligence and use the same to expand the length and breadth of our service offerings, stay well ahead of our competition in terms of the best in class tools and methodologies and continue to upgrade and enhance our infrastructure to facilitate efficiencies in our operations, which comprise of our delivery and enabling teams. My main role will be that of a change catalyst – in terms of identifying change, communicating change and navigating through the uncertainties to implement change.
What are your goals?
We have a clear vision for ourselves, which is for MGC & KNAV to be the undisputed best providers of risk advisory services wherever we work.
3 Biggest Accomplishments?
a) A successful transition to a Chartered Accountant where I was one of the first few from the New Delhi office of Arthur Andersen to have cleared my final examinations in my first attempt. While preparing for these examinations, I was in a complex situation at a very early stage of my career. On part, I was carrying the responsibilities of closing several assignments while keeping long hours at work and on the other I needed to create requisite bandwidth to work towards the accomplishment of a personal goal for myself – which was to qualify as a chartered accountant and to have this qualification convey a mark of my personal gratitude to my parents ahead of their 25 th wedding anniversary.
b) Transforming Barista Coffee from a loss-making entity, that was struggling for cash and sustenance, when I took over as its first CFO, into a profitable process driven and fast-growing organization with surplus cash and one that was able to command a market premium for its financial transformation and good governance practices, all of which led to a historic valuation and consequent infusion of equity from the Tata Group in 2002.
c) To start from scratch in September of 2015 and demonstrate the ability to compete with the largest risk global risk advisory services firms while edging them out on specific risk advisory mandates in terms of our technical expertise, build a highly motivated team of over a hundred risk advisory services professionals and develop a fast-growing base of happy clients, is an accomplishment that I cherish. MGC & KNAV is today able to attract and retain the best talent across levels in the area of risk advisory services and this is one aspect that shows that our differentiation in terms of the unique culture we have built.
One word that describes you the best
What’s your biggest Dream in life?
What I see in the visual depiction of my dream is an award. In this dream, I see a stage where this award is being given and I also see stairs leading to the stage. I do not know where the stairs are, or where this stage is or what this award looks like. But I clearly see myself walking up those stairs, getting on that stage and receiving that award on behalf of MGC & KNAV for the value it has delivered to its clients, community and society.
Would you rather be respected or feared and why?
Without doubt this is respect and respect out of choice for the substance over form. A fear psychosis will never instill the depth of enthusiasm that is required for any team to give its best.