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In The Corner With KAN & SU: Blueberry Yogurt, Hypnotist And A VUCA World!

A true leader is not daunted when faced with an eccentric opponent or the world at large!

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In 1978, chess world championship challenger Viktor Korchnoi's entourage accused champion Anatoly Karpov's team of cheating by sending their player a blueberry yoghurt. Team Korchnoi argued it could have been a signal to make a particular move.

The match was notable for the hostility and paranoia between both sides. Karpov's team included a hypnotist seated in the front rows staring at Korchnoi, who in turn wore mirrored sunglasses, apparently to protect himself. 

It was in this month of October 1978 that Anatoly Karpov retained his crown! 

Korchnoi did everything to unsettle Karpov! 

A true leader is not daunted when faced with an eccentric opponent or the world at large! Grandmasters in Chess like Karpov, Kasparov, Fisher, Anand and Carlson have inspired a whole generation to take to chess and fight it out like a great champions! 

We find Great Leaders are differentiated by their “courage of conviction”! 

In order to understand this quality in leaders, we thought it best to quiz two industry stalwarts who have worked in global organisations and seen leaders across the world.

Who transformed Mahindra & Mahindra from a Tractor & Jeep company into a leading EV player in India? Today, after some moderate success with conventional SUVs, M&M decided to leap frog into EV. The man behind this transformation is Pawan Goenka, former MD. Mahindra XUV400 comes as the highest range SUV made in India.

We asked him to tell us what according to him is courage of conviction.  His way of looking at transformational leaders is someone who believes in himself and takes actions that reflect not only courage but also conviction. When we tread on an unknown path, there is no road map. It is then that our own internal voice pops up by connecting the dots from various data points.  Most leaders know what to do but lack the courage to do it for fear of failure.  Mr. Goenka says we need to work on a superordinate goal which inspires the entire team to put their best foot forward.

We then asked an accomplished management leader and a professional from the technology industry, who has held many national and global leadership positions in some of the largest companies in the world! Here is how Bhaskar Pramanik, Former Chairman Microsoft  India and former Managing Director of Oracle and Sun Microsystems, defines leadership and how leaders handle the tough, unexpected world of today! 

According to Bhaskar Pramanik,
we now need to adapt to an era of constant turbulence. 

So what defines successful leaders in these times? 

EQ becomes more important. EQ includes attributes like Self awareness, Self discipline, Empathy, Motivation, Social skills. 

Courage of Conviction is driven by EQ.

In turbulent times purpose, Values and Culture help leaders successfully navigate through crisis situations. 

Leaders have to high situational awareness and be adaptable to constant change. 

And great leaders will be good at choosing the right balance between contradictory goals for example between managing quarterly profits vs creating long term shareholder value. Customer satisfaction vs gross margins.

 Leaders have to therefore act with courage and not be afraid of making mistakes. 

Hence the role of authenticity becomes most critical. Authentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their dreams and purpose, and practice their values consistently.

 Finally, “COC – Courage of Conviction ” is the inner voice of leaders who have learnt to act without fear of failure in uncertain and unpredictable times! 

That brings us to our next issue, where we will demolish some of the popular myths about leadership! 

In the meanwhile do write to us at [email protected] and we would love to hear your point of view. 

Until then ……

K. A. Narayan, President -HR, Raymond Ltd, is fondly known as KAN in industry for his well-known ‘Can Do’ attitude.  Sunandan Bhanja Chaudhury, Client Partner, Pedersen & Partners, is known as SU by friends and family, both off and on the golf course! 

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.

Sunandan Bhanja Chaudhury

The author is Client Partner, Pedersen & Partners, is known as SU by friends and family, both off and on the golf course!

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K. A. Narayan

The author is President -HR, Raymond, email ID

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