Gamest of Leaders

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on April 15, 2014

From 20th century of Taylor’s scientific management, the world has moved to 21st century Six-Sigma team management of Wipro, and Mumbai’s famous “Dabbewallas!!” . In carving out the future, leaders are now moving from the conventional judgmental ‘Rock Logic’ to the ‘Water Logic’ of designing systems where “movement” is the essence to adapt the dynamic environment. The global concerns are involving issues like identity crisis, ecological insecurity, fear of losing values, and meanings. Instincts can go hopelessly wrong if not checked and rechecked against the ground realities. Managers need to constantly check the assumptions that they have regarding us and our organizations to keep their ships on course.



“Edison went hungry before he became famous” – BC Forbes in How to get the most out of business. I will take you through some exemplary leadership stories to understand how they designed their thought process and actions to win over the multifaceted predicaments posed by rapid technological changes and demands of globalisation.


Image Courtesy:, digitalart


Beginning with a well know change agent in Tata steel, formerly TISCO, who led his teams and his organization to achieve a unique status in the industry with his thoughts, actions and persistent efforts. Yes, I am talking about “Jamshed Irani”. A person brought up in an ordinary family where basics were ethics, honesty, and integrity. Jamshed holds a brilliant academic record, awarded a gold medal for his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in geology at Nagpur University. He also got gold medal for his Ph. D. in professional career guidance which was not very known at that time. His solid foundation helped him immensely in TISCO’s major renewal. His belief in solving you own problem by your own lead to the introduction of new coke-making technology which could make good quality coke from prevailing poor quality coal that India has. It gave them an edge to become a low-cost producer. He emphasises most on the rigorous system of follow up that helped in the execution and implementation of decisions, plans, policies, recommendations and commitments that he makes. The hallmark for this leader is “FOLLOW UP”. He not only does the SWOT of organization but also a SWOT of his people which resulted in teams responding to the expectations of organization. Under his revered leadership success was awarded, failures were counselled up and lack of attention was reprimanded. He conceptualises things largely from experience and discussions rather than management books. His commitment to credibility made him an honest change agent. Jamshed Irani was a lot more than a leader who changed the non-performing assets into the performing assets.


Heading towards a glimpse of one of the most dynamic leaders, Mr Vaman Kamath, CMD (ICICI), an early call to technology was the backbone of the transformational change at ICICI. He worked his way out from chaos to turbulence and from turbulence to understanding. A system of meritocracy lends a differentiating factor to the organization. He is strong believer of 80/20 principle which means that 80 per cent of the work can be done in 20 per cent of the time. In 80 per cent one is still achieving quality. The hallmark for this leader is “OBSERVATION”. For him observing is much more than seeing. It is paying attention to the details which are unrelated, unconnected and reflecting deeply. Under his leadership, one of the major capitals was “speed capital” which made ICICI gain advantage in the digital competitive space through speed. Mumbai saw India’s first ATM on wheels as an attempt to move closer to their customers. His constant outlook to grow and a fire in the belly make all the difference.


The group, one of India's leading two wheeler manufacturers, known as TVS motors has also a story of a great leader attached to it. He is none other than Mr Venu Srinivasan. He was a very intuitive person for whom self-introspecting was a key to overcome obstacles. He acts as a trustee of the organization which in turn inspires people around him. He once quoted in a book that one golden rule he has learnt is “Sharing space, whether emotional, psychological, or intellectual, has a value in time”. He is a leader who defines quality as a love for your work. The hallmark for this leader is “SELF-INTROSPECTION”. He is an exemplary leader who showcased how self-transformation and dedication can bring about a company with 100 per cent customer satisfaction. According to him loyalty is a two way journey and when the company gives that feeling of loyalty to its employee then it echoes obligation beyond the call of duty.


There is no end to this writing; it only unfolds some dimensions of leadership. Globalisation is a universe of adversity-opportunity which has only one aim – “CHANGE”. In today’s world gender is no bar to becoming an effective CEO. This is a welcome change. It emphasises that the creation of values and wealth is no longer a male monopoly. Success is gender neutral and so do the leadership roles. Great leaders have come and great leaders will come. There is a leader in everyone; some are the leaders of self while some are the leaders of others. This word is ever evolving adding up new dimensions and facets to it.


“Leaders are those ordinary men and women who have made a difference to self and others in past, present or future”


This article has been authored by Nikita Rawat from International Management Institute (New Delhi)




• Insights on Organizational transformation by Shrinivas Pandit





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