Evolving as a Leader:
a mentor, investor and leader, I have always believed that primarily, one
should be passionate about their work to cultivate ownership &
accountability – the hallmarks of leadership. Secondly, one should be flexible,
open-minded to contrarian views and remain humble. These traits, when combined
with perseverance, resilience & honesty are the foundations of building a
successful career as an entrepreneur or corporate leader. Walking the talk is
the best way to influence others and I have always tried to inspire my teams to
dream & achieve the impossible on these tenets.
Turning Setbacks into Learning Experiences:
A business tycoon once said that if people got to know how many companies he had to shut down because they failed, they wouldn’t call him ‘successful’. It is unfortunate that in India our society does not value failure. When things don’t go as planned, there are often stressful circumstances made, but the key is to keep a cool & positive mindset, identify & learn from the mistakes, and quickly recover from the loss. Bouncing back fast is the best way to stay in the game! One should look at such situations as learning experiences and try to improve in the next attempt and the one after that – because only a series of better attempts usually leads to eventual success.
The Evolution of the Startup Culture:
has always had its share of innovators, but they were few and far between
because they succeeded despite all odds (red-tape, lack of opportunities &
support from society, industry, government, etc.) However, the situation has
changed drastically over the last decade due to a combination of political, social
& economic factors (both macro & micro). All this has contributed to
India becoming one of the leading startup ecosystems in the world today. Our
youth today isn’t afraid of taking risks to pursue their dreams. Growth capital
is not a challenge anymore and global markets are more accessible. So, while
the startup ecosystems of Delhi/NCR, Bengaluru & Mumbai are adding to our
fast-expanding list of unicorns, it is the ‘Bharat’ (i.e. mostly Tier 2 & 3
cities) that will keep fuelling this unprecedented surge of innovators who will
take India to greater heights by finding solutions to its multitude problems,
that are also applicable in similar under-served markets globally.
Sources of Powerful Lessons:
It would be unfair of me to mention only a couple of such ‘mentors’ and not the others, because honestly, every such interaction – with current or former colleagues, teachers, family, friends or strangers, has taught me that life lessons can come from anyone, and in any shape or form. One just needs to be receptive enough to be able to learn from each of them.
Advice to the Upcoming Leaders:
I staunchly believe that ownership and accountability are the ingredients to become a good leader. Remember, every opportunity is your golden chance to learn, unlearn and relearn. Young leaders must make an attempt to be the change they wish to see in others. An authentic and honest leader is the one that people would want to believe and follow.