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BW Businessworld

What Makes A Valuable CEO

A CEO must provide to the organisation is the need to transform with the times – especially in this day and age, where business paradigms are shifting at a faster pace than ever before.

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Every success story begins with two things – a dream, and the resolute determination and focus to achieve that dream. I believe this is true whether you’re in college, just beginning your career, a gritty entrepreneur or even the CEO of a large bank. Thirty-seven years ago, I left America after my MBA to come back and take up a job at Bank of America in Mumbai. It all begins with strong grasping skills, problem solving and decision making abilities, accompanied by contagious positive energy, pursuing opportunities in adversity, and to consistently deliver to shareholders, stakeholders, employees and board of directors. I believe that if you can really dream it, you can do it, and the secret lies in the mantra ‘visualise, strategise and actualise’.

As the leader of an organisation, I believe one should never lose sight of the ultimate objective – which is to create value for all stakeholders – including customers, shareholders and employees. This has been embodied at the core of YES Banks’s vision, wherein lies our steadfast commitment to provide uncompromising quality service and a superior banking experience to our valuable clients.

Another important impetus that a CEO must provide to the organisation is the need to transform with the times – especially in this day and age, where business paradigms are shifting at a faster pace than ever before.

A leader must articulate the organisation’s Vision and work closely with the core management team to evolve an optimal strategy to finally actualise these ambitions with a focus on rigorous execution every single day. To ensure that this happens, one must constantly RE-IMAGINE, RE-INNOVATE, RE-ENGINEER AND RENEW the team’s focus.

I’d like to pick an example from our journey which demonstrates the importance of being nimble: during the global crisis in 2008, while organisations were cutting down costs and investments, basis conventional wisdom, for dealing with a crisis of the given nature, YES Bank increased investments across-the-board.

We realised that it was an inflection point in our lifecycle and we had to take a contrarian approach. India is a fantastic linear growth story and you simply can’t go wrong with this destiny. There are bad patches and speed breakers, and we must use every slowdown to create more acceleration and business momentum. We strengthened our client relationships through continued 360 degree support, building our branch networks, hiring skilled personnel and eventually, building value for the customer, and our ‘YES’ brand. This was a moment of finding ‘Opportunity in Adversity’ and we capitalised on it.

Entrepreneurs who dare to dream, while remaining steadfast in their unwavering pursuit of excellence have had far-reaching repercussions in the birth of a noteworthy legacy. I urge all the entrepreneurs of tomorrow to work on their dream, and shape a legacy on the cornerstones of passion, innovation and determination.

A very important, and often overlooked trait of an entrepreneurial CEO is communication. A CEO needs to ensure consistent communication to his organisation and management, and even over-communication at times.

It is vital that the communication needs to be sincere and honest, helping translate the management’s vision into achievable goals and objectives for every team. This fosters Business excellence and often differentiates good organisations from great ones!

Lastly, it is imperative for a CEO to build a strong institutional HR culture and empower the leaders as professional entrepreneurs. At YES Bank, we have a strong identity and institutional character as the Professionals’ Bank of India and this is the DNA which has helped us scale the ladder of success year after year, with uncompromising dedication of 20,000+ YES BANKers.

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.


Rana Kapoor

The author is MD & CEO of YES Bank & Chairman and YES Institute

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