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CEO’s Job: A Calling

Focusing on the changing economic landscape driven by technological advances enabled us to transform a product-centric publishing company into an 'integrated brand-centric media company'.

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To become a proven transformational leader and creating a successful track record of building brands, businesses and value requires much more than just an opportunity.

Life is what happens to you when you are planning other things!

Me becoming a CEO of a MNC and subsequently of new initiatives of a billion-dollar media and entertainment conglomerate in the last decade has been no different.

In my first role as a CEO who saw the two worlds on both side of 2008 recession in the challenged and exciting publishing media industry In India and Asia – the only imperative that I had was to re-imagine my role as a 'Change Leader' and donning the role of a 'Digital Media evangelist'.

Focusing on the changing economic landscape driven by technological advances enabled us to transform a product-centric publishing company into an 'integrated brand-centric media company'. This ensured not only survival but repositioning the company as a robust 'digital and consumer Publishing' opportunity and thereby attracting investment by one of the world’s largest international media majors for the still burgeoning large Indian publishing market.

In the second opportunity as a CEO who joined a legacy broadcast company to spearhead the foray into launching the 'factual entertainment' piece across India and globally, growth came through transforming the business focus to a brand-centric multi-platform media business opportunity (TV, Web, Mobile, On-demand streaming, activation) from a legacy TV channel launch one.

Fortunately, I was better prepared this time and hit the ground running with multiple other initiatives - the chief one being in identifying a billion-dollar opportunity as an e-Commerce evangelist and creating an ecosystem to deliver it from idea to reality stage thereby building and scaling it into a potentially large opportunity canvass.

Working with start-ups exposes one to holding positions of high responsibility and leadership earlier than most of one's fellow colleagues. Shaping and growing new businesses and building a profitable and large opportunity canvass requires thought leadership, entrepreneurial management style, creative strategy and execution. Most important survival and growth strategy is the ability to re-imagine businesses and build innovative business models.

In delineating the four essential faces for a CEO, I am adapting leading mythologist Joseph Campbell's description of each of us as "a hero with a thousand faces," and Erica Fox’s article. A CEO needs to be like a

1. Dreamer – this is the visionary face led by intuition - suggestive of an inner CEO.

2. Thinker - this is the evaluation face led by reason - suggestive of an inner CFO.

3. Warrior – this is the relationship face led by willpower - suggestive of an inner COO.

4. Lover - this is the relationship face led by emotion - suggestive of an inner CHRO.

A CEO’s job consumes you. It should not be looked at as a step-up but as a calling!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Leadership Team Visionary chief executive officer

Piyush Sharma

Piyush Sharma is a modern management practitioner and ancient philosophy enthusiast

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