Shantharaju B S

You Are The Creator Of Your Destiny

You Are The Creator Of Your Destiny

Shantharaju B S

Board Member & Leadershp Advisor, ex-CEO Indus Towers

Shantharaju B S

Shantharaju B S is a respected business leader and expert advisor on leadership and strategy. Born and raised in India, Shantharaju’s journey to success was marked by a series of challenges and setbacks that tested his resolve and resilience.

At a young age, Shantharaju lost his father’s fortune and was forced to start his life anew. But he refused to be defined by his circumstances, and instead focused on his education, earning a degree in engineering before going on to pursue an MBA from the Indian Management Institute, Delhi.

With his education complete, Shantharaju began his career in the telecommunications industry, where he quickly distinguished himself as a dynamic and visionary leader. Over the course of his career, he held several leadership positions, including CEO of Indus Towers, one of the largest telecom infrastructure companies in India. Under his leadership, Indus Towers grew to become a major player in the industry, earning widespread recognition for its innovative and sustainable business practices.

Today, Shantharaju is recognized as a leading expert on leadership and strategy, sought out by organizations and business leaders for his insights on driving growth, building high-performing teams, and navigating complex business environments. He is also a passionate advocate for social and environmental causes, using his platform and resources to support initiatives that create positive change in his community and beyond.

Take home these learnings:

1. Your circumstances are not your destiny.
2. Failure is not the end, but the beginning of a new learning journey.
3. Authenticity is the key to effective leadership.
4. Vulnerability is not a weakness, but a strength.
5.Trust and respect are earned by being genuine and supportive.

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Episode Transcript:

00:02 Such a pleasure having you sir. I know that you have given me permission to call you by your first name. But at times, you might find I find it extremely difficult to call somebody of your stature by the first name. But thank you so much for being a guest on our show next month strike. It's such a pleasure having you here. 00:20 My pleasure is equally mine. Yeah. 00:24 Thank you. Let me make an attempt to call you by your first name, Shonda. Yeah, 00:30 that's good. That's what my mother calls me. 00:34 Thank you, somebody. Shut up. You know, I'm a firm believer that who you become today is got to do with the way you are nurtured the way you are fostered by your environment in the initial space of in the initial phase of your life. In all my interactions with you have found you extremely humble. extremely kind, extremely sharp, very well measured words you have used. You can talk about economics, you can talk about the political arena, you can talk about business, you can talk about spirituality, you can talk about kindness, you can talk about humanity environment. Really curious. What are those lessons that you have picked up from your childhood, that continue to serve you and helped you become who you are today? 01:35 Yeah, I think a couple of them probably, I may say three of them. The first is that I was born to a very rich father. He was a businessman. I think some of the, the word leveraged and they did something which I personally believe he should not have done it. Now, I understand. As a result, he went bankrupt. I still remember that moment. I was just a seven year old boy. And some five or six people came in the evening to my home around, maybe six or maybe around four o'clock. And some papers were signed. And my mother was weeping. My mother weeping distinctly is there in my mind. And something happened. I know something happened at that time. Something that happened, I did not know what is it? What is it a lot later, I learned that my father who became bankrupt, he handed over his entire business everything. Yeah, as a settlement. And my father was crying like anything. As a seven year old boy, that's what I remembered. But later, it taught me many things in the lesson that I started understanding what happened to my family. At that moment, a rich man has gone bankrupt. And my mother who had her own socio stature, everything collapsed. Then second event with distinctly remember after this event happened, then they started struggling and my father could never recover out of it. He practically become a mentor. That sometime if you are if you're abroad with all coziness in life, if something really drastically happens, you don't know how to recover. So was brought with a silver spoon in his mouth so I did not know how to recover. It was a very bad event which happened. My mother was struggling. Of course, you had a very difficult moment. Once the family some some event happened in Bangalore, those days around 830 or so it could be deserted roads. And in fitness of our hangers they left home in the night, around eight o'clock. It should have been probably between eight and nine year old boy. I was and I started seeing my mother leaving home. And by that time, we had to rent the house from that rented house. And I started going back afar and that you were you were eight or nine between eight or nine something like that. Okay. And she will walk. Say 100 steps, I'd walk behind 100 steps. See once 50 steps I'll walk stands I also stand between both of us probably there would have been 20 steps or that is steps 04:59 difference. 05:01 which went on, after about a kilometer of walking, maybe one of kilometer walking. My mother sat down on a roadside pedestal. And I was standing. She called me. I went to her. She hugged me, I started crying sick, right, like anything. And she came back. Probably on that day, if I did not follow my mother, in that, on that day, night, probably I would have lost forever in my life forever for like, yeah, yeah, probably I would have lost her forever in my life. And today, she's 84 year olds, he is with us. We are on very lucky to have with us. I think that is one memory, which is always there in front of me, which is very, 06:00 very curious when you were following your mother. And there was a distance of around 20 feet what was going on your head? 06:06 I don't know I was blank. But my emotion was saying that I should simply my emotion was taking 06:15 around. Just follow on just follow. Just follow. 06:18 Yeah. And even today, if you ask any logic, more logic, but something, maybe a, maybe a sheer emotion between mother and child, whatever it is, it doesn't matter. 06:31 You know, I wonder, since you used the word logic, I really wonder in all the important decisions of our life, all the decision that we take, is there any logic at all? Is there any logic at all right when we connect with other people 06:45 we can discuss a little bit later because everybody's background has got its own meaning in life. So to different people background is different development different meaning to the same episode. That's why it is understandable. Then the third incident, which we basically created fundamentally, in me my value system. That was at the age of 12 years, I became your poster boy in the vegetable market in Bangalore, because livelihood was very difficult. There are countless nights I slept without dinner. Me and my family, we slept without dinner, countless, literally without literally literally without dinner. I mean, without eating anything. There are days with just drank water and slept, there are days a little bit some something was boiled, some salt was put into it, some Bucha was put into it, and we drank and slept. That is me my father, my mother, my father anyway, by that time was a metro track. And my two sisters are my grandfather and my grandmother. So at the age of 12, I become a poster boy in a vegetable market. What is to do is that everyday morning as to wake up at 430 And even today, wake up at 430 it is around 430 Every day morning 430 Wake up by latest by five o'clock, I'll be in a vegetable market. Those days, the auction is to start by 530 to six o'clock auction, we'll start jaitapur auctions. My job is to lift the vegetable cards from the trap to the auction block. I used to do it as a boy between the ages of 12 and 14 I did that song and I used to do that. And those are the days depending on the amount of the luggage you lifted, and I was paid and I'm supposed to keep calm. And there are days I could not keep content for that is to be a gentleman called Musab we used to call it Mu sub I don't know what his original name and normally whenever I counted the max I got used to be about one rupee something if I press it although the days of the one rupee to Allah kind of a thing, but the day there are days I used to forget I said no stop I forgot how much I saved it used to take two rupees and and as a young boy just went on some time. The day I forget you will give me two rupees but the day I conflict I never until one day I forgot to get me to peace. I was just waiting till he finished is counting everything you finish the job then asking I was still standing. Those have called me asked me like, Is there any problem? Do you want more money? I said no, no, sir. Every time I count and saved. I never went to peace. But the day I say I forgot he gave me a total peace. I'm curious to know, why are you giving me more money? They told me something, which is stuck in my mind. They told me see, even if you told me a lie, how much you sifted, I can't count. Okay, hold on still trusted. The fact that you said you forgot. It means it tests is a very honest statement from you. And now there's a good English I'm putting it you said something in a very, very different language. And he said for that to give you more then he said one more very important thing is what he said. When you're not counting and sifting, you're working more you're working more and I know that the day have stopped counting your work more. And as I should give you more that is an amazing powerful statement a merit to me. And that incident stuck with me all my life all my life. You may be surprised not even one job six jobs I work. My Tech's it is the job apart from the first job, which I got later. 510 searches a job. Not even one job, I negotiated my salary. Whatever they offered, I took it. Yeah, not even my entire 37 years of professional life. Not even once I went to my boss or my HR guy, and told them that I want a lesser salary. Never ever right. Okay, 11:42 so two questions here. You don't know what I'm 11:46 getting is that these childhood memories create something in our life. Precisely. Those incidences stay with you eternally and sometimes our life gets crafted as a result of those things. Yeah, yeah. 11:59 Yeah. Yeah, thank you Shawn. Thank you for sharing that you know reminds me of this statement I read some time back when you treat human beings like human beings they will prove you right. And when you don't treat human beings like human beings, they will still prove your right to questions or wonders when you have to go through or you went through at an age of seven age of eight to nine at the age of 12. And you have to go through these such difficult moments. How could you revisit your relationship with failures so called failures or struggles or challenges or I mean, I always find you so germane. How could you How could you How How should I put it? How could you impose your trust on humanity I 12:53 think some things which happen in life that also as I mentioned, there are two more events which happened in my life. And so that taught me how to deal with this kind of issues. In Perl standard, I was a My mother wanted me to be a b c did not know this anything could have become b or c VLC into all the things he did not know. It was very easy for her to tell me I should be a VA that's all that's it. I have this grand vision that my everybody used to tell my mother make your son to want work. He will keep your life better. Why are you struggling? Why are you struggling like this? And those days my mother asked me what I thought I like living my school colleges everything but my mother had his grand vision that was so close ended i i was a good student. Last day I had to pay a fee. Previous day my mother went around 60 rupees exam fee see went around she could not get No buddy gave her the law. Now that temporary variables we could get it sorta got it, you know kind of a thing. So it came back and she told me she was crying. So that's right. And she said that I don't know what to do tomorrow again, I will go on I will try to find out where I can get some money. Now know that night at inasmuch as remember or college is the morning eight o'clock college because Friday morning, I went to college. I met my Canada lecturer. I told him I don't think I'll be able to take an exam. This is my situation. No, that person did not know what to do. They thought about it. Something up into his mind, still remember, we took a choppies box and put all the chalk pieces on the table that box if you are sitting next to the person was collecting the fee for the example, he kept on asking the person that here is one bright boy is there is unable to pay for his example, if you can contribute five rupees, please do so, it went on around 10 o'clock or so, the last thing is always at rest of students to pay exam fee, they collected 60 rupees and my six rupee was paid as an example. If you did not do that, on that particular day, I would not have been sitting around talking to you probably I would have been some ordinary man doing some fancy jobs that are kind of a thing in my life. Yeah, that that thing, then the second event could happen is that my second use of mocks was extremely good. My first standard mocks was I worked on admission to one of the best colleges. In fact, I still remember the fee was turned on for two apiece was the admission fee for the college. And, again, my mother struggled. She came back and she brought 100 troops. Still there's a shortage of bankruptcies. very next day, early morning, I went to my landlord used to go to begin with factory six foot 614 was is standing in front of his book, he opened the door for me, he asked me what happened while waiting. I told my situation. He immediately went inside got 102 P gave it to me. They said Bob Taylor field by that time probably for one year, we will not pay the rent for that house probably one year we are not paid yet right? Those days rent to so with that rupees a month. Still, that individual gave me 100 rupee, and made me to go and prepare me for this. If we did not do that, my entire life would have been done differently. So those two incidences always remember and say that if you have a desire and a willingness, if you don't lose our heart, this world will come together to help you. This world will always come to that to help do it in one or other form. In what form? Yeah, so I think that these are all the incidences later it created in my life, what time and how I behave. And if I face a difficult situation of a face, right? So every individual will have these things somewhere in the back end of their mind. It works. Yeah. You ask them some questions. 17:48 No, this is so fascinating. Chatterjee. Because now I can connect with because I remember during our initial conversation, you mentioned that how you are taking care of the studies for over 5050 Children, right, who are doing their MBBS and then engineering. And I could connect that 18:04 there are 55 of them. They've already become doctors and engineers, and you have sponsored. One of the doctor is now a research scholar in John Hopkins University. And as we speak there, another 89 of them are at the various stages of the study. So yes, we sponsor my family and sponsor all their applications. 18:28 And that's your way of giving back you are that new sub for somebody you are that landlord for somebody, you are that teacher for somebody who's sponsoring education at that point in time it was 50 rupees but I'm sure now it's Few lakhs few crews that you have been able to put it together. Now help me 18:48 I'm repaying the debt. Yeah, yeah, I'm not doing anything. I'm repaying the debt. Okay, thanks for them. I'm what happened in my life. And there are many people thanks to them or time in my life is not that with any great sunset can say I'm doing this or that they're all doing it's like me, and they will also prosper one day, and their entire generations will get changed to something happens times to those two incidences? Yeah, that's how 19:17 that's how we create the ripple effect. That's how we create that. You also mentioned that you changed six jobs, six organizations and it was not called money. What has influenced your decision to move from one organization to another, if you may share that please. 19:36 See, my first job I got a purely for the sake of livelihood, honest Touchwood. I got a very good job. My very first job as a management trainee. He said, well, but I want to see I just quit it because I did not have the money and good my work and later on it my MBA. And then my second job, I got it as a result of my India was a great company called Asia and added a couple of jobs, which I rejected. But I joined, I started because the chief content officer was extremely good. What they gave me was a great job content, I valued the job content better than anything else, though they paid me the lowest salary, have the four jobs. But at that time, is a pure job content, salary. And other things, what are they gave for the lowest. So I don't but one of the finest finance company I've worked for me, personally. And then there is an event which happened in my personal life, my mother was having very severe medical issues, then I quit my job without having another job in my life. Then I joined a company called a switch and become pharmaceutical, typically as a medical assistant to the managing director. And even at a lower salary than whatever else what I was earning, till then, it was just a pure salary, livelihood. Plus a desire that I should do something big in life. That's all. Like some important events happen in my life. Yeah, at some point, a job came up in London. My then boss in London, it called me and said that look, if you're interested, this job will be worse. And there's a lot more to HR, HR, anything my boss does click on that. This is what security infrastructure. And I, myself and my wife, we were discussing about, in fact, we were there in London for some other event. But my my wife's heart and soul was not there. But I was working kind of a thing. Okay. Then, I came back and at that time, I had a great mentor. And he was one of the finest individual in my life. My fatherly figure, or Mr. Ramon prannoy was the head of marketing and sales. And in you all my entire life and tobacco, me and his wife. So I went and talked to him. And I told him, I'm just thinking about it. I don't know what to do about it. He just, you know, closely asked me one question, where to sit or in the weekend, and right, write and think about what is the purpose of our life? I mean, it looks one of the questions or whatever you used to tell me as to take, take it very seriously. And I was very young at that time, still very young. Okay, at the age of 35, the chemistry of okay for for the well known multinational company in India. So then I was thinking over it in the weekend, I still remember there's a question he put me on a test. In a weekend, Saturday, at a couple of drinks, I was just thinking about all my childhood memories came back, or the chapter in my life game. Somewhere, early morning, Sunday, I wrote my purpose statement. The other purpose statement, I wrote, I used to carry it later, if there's no need to carry it, I wrote that I will make a positive difference to the lives of the people in the society and our own. I'll make a positive difference to the lives of the people in this society. And then the question came, is that what the hell I will do going to other moms was obviously maybe to answer for myself. That's all. And afterwards, I called up of course, the man 23:40 and you said you were 35? 23:44 No, when I wrote this purpose statement, probably I was about 40 to 41, something like that. Wow. Yeah. So then I caught up with my boss, and I told him, Look, I don't want to do injustice to the trust you're good to impose on me. I don't think that I'll be able to do justice to the job. And it was extremely what he said, I honestly trust you for what you say. I think that but the word is so big and large for him. And there are a lot of other jobs. And that's it afterwards, never looked back. Then every time a job came up. Only question I will ask is that? Will I make a positive difference to the lives of the people in your sector? And the answer is, I will take that job, if the answer is no. 24:34 So that became a lighthouse for you that continue to guide you. And I'm wondering how many people have I come across who are taking decisions from a shear intention statement from the purpose statement? And interestingly, you mentioned that for the initial three jobs, it was driven by livelihood and after that, it was driven by a purpose statement and thing no to an opportunity. He bragged then for not for career growth opportunity in London was a big thing. You're not championing my personal take, and I could be 200% wrong as well. I don't think that even today, the CEOs are taking decisions from this kind of a lighthouse. So what do you think are the biggest challenges at a C suite role? Because you do a lot of work, you you are a mentor, you're on the board of several organization, you are a mentor to a few of the best CEOs in the country. What's your What are your views on this? 25:33 I think the most important thing is that fear of failure, most of the seals, they get their norm by the fear of failure. If I fail, how do I look like because life at the CEO level is extremely lonely. Until 17 years I was the CEO life is extremely lonely. Okay. So the fear of failure basically becomes a big issue to handle. It has happened to me also. But I used on a very funny way I used to deal with you, what is the worst it can happen to me as a portrait by the vegetable market, nothing was gonna happen. Okay, that's, that's why, but it's a fear of failure that basically brings them down. And second thing is that, I think someday they create a feeling CEO means that they are super ordinary human beings, rubbish, absolute rubbish. And some of the CEO position gives a lot of talks and they start living their life in someone else's eyes. I find this to means I should be like this, I should behave like this, I should have this kind of, you know, state car kind of stuff. And the third thing is that someone other thing is that they forget, there is some inherent strength in them, that has taken taken them to the position is the word. Rather than sticking to their strength, they have a tendency of safeguarding their weaknesses. Why will that don't try to save whatever weakness. In fact, a good CEO, you must always be vulnerable. You must make it known pivot to what you're not good at it. And you should also make it known to the team that these are the things I don't think they can handle. And get the other team members who are capable of handling it. Be human, I mean, be a human being with all weaknesses, show it to them, and then protecting. They protect you against your weakness, if you make it known to them. So I think that this, somehow the wrong belief that you're a super human being is one Kabbage don't forget your strength. One thing you can never really ever convert your weakness into a strength can diminish the impact of your weakness, because that's what will take you where you are. Focus on. So this what I personally feel the challenges that this equals face, in my view. Also, when I'm talking there's a one issue is the cover up all these things, some of the facade. They're not authentically truthful, to the other, to the other team members, they put a facade or they showcase this know all kind of thing that tells us stories. Those are all the great stories, but they never tell their stories where they are followed many times they never tell. I think my view is that just be a human being. 29:13 A human being 29:13 particular weakness through your team members. Yeah, yeah. So that's I stopped living in someone else's life. Yeah, that was very important. 29:24 I just love it when you said just be a human being. I mean, we are not expecting demigods in front of us when we are talking to our leaders. And similarly, the teams are not expecting their boss to be demigods. Right. As you use the word super human beings, we are not dealing with robots, we are dealing with human beings. And I also loved it when you spoke about that. We live from a concept of a vice president, I am a CEO, and that is how I should be behaving without realizing that I'm a human first. You know, it reminds me of my conversation with one of the CEOs based out of Mumbai. And this person said that God I must see you and I cannot, I cannot make a mistake. I'm a problem solver for the organization. I'm a problem solver for everyone. I said, Okay, if you cannot make a mistake, then how would you handle the tremendous pressure that you live with on a day to day basis and I just loved it when you said that it's okay to share authentically, be vulnerable of the areas that where you need support in and just share Hey, this is not my strength this is what I'm really good at. And at least I'm not going to forget Shankar Ji that we cannot make our weaknesses our strength we can only diminish them diminish the impact it can create on myself and on the team and on the organization. What a beautiful thought, you know, in everything, sometimes you have traveled the world you have traveled with the few of the best leaders in the country having on the board of several organizations having worked with so many CEOs How did you pick up that to ensure that you don't lose your basics you don't lose your roots right? And continued to be a human first and then a CEO will do because 31:17 there is something which was an incident it's happened to me that basically taught me that if you're a good human being you know you're respected you may not be anything else. This happened in 2010 I still remember vividly you know, as a CEO of course I was eligible to travel business class and I was traveling from Business Pro from 1992 onwards whether commerce prickly or international now there was something else there in my room with my team members discussing something outside I can hear some noise going on. My my secretary was trying to get your business plus ticket next day was supposed to travel to Bombay some noise so after the meeting is over, I called him and I said what's going on? He said, Sir, I'm trying to get a business class both Kingfisher and this or whatever that is, there's another well known company I'm just forgetting Okay, the business class ticket sales skyrocketed. They're talking Excuse me. I said why don't you put it on me class then you know traveling economy class, so many people will be there they'll be looking at you. That's read here. I am living in someone else's eye. That vision of someone else's I guess Philostrate it to insult objectivism doesn't forget about a burn burning in the Indigo Indigo is the most democratic like everybody's and economic class book me an indigo that said I'm going to Indigo full stop. So said nothing going Indigo and then I told him today I was booked by only by economic class and no other class what a long long interest on travel business classes acceptable otherwise economic class depend on all my some of the fellows who used to work for me. They're all my business class. They started thinking what is this joker doing is going back to class, business class I got out of them. Your class, don't worry. You're all eligible to try. One incident happened must have been within about four or five months of me making the decision. I was finally to again from Delhi to Mumbai. By this, I remember it and I was sitting I think in HC at 10. C is a first day economy grow. Then the flight is about to take off time was boring, but still the door was not shot. Then later. One gentleman comes inside, along with him or shoulder comes inside. Then when he's walking into business class product and its mindset, everybody peacefully comes and sits next to me as an eight year attendee economic class seat on the interior of a strength. That was a great president. Abdul Kalam. Wow. And Mr. Abdul Kalam by that time he was he was no more a president. He was not traveling by any kind of his own chapter in a team. They came. That's his class did not matter. It is his personality. It is his humility. I'm a little clumsy for what he is. That's what people all of them stood up and gave a respect. And that day I got more convinced that the class what would travel does not matter. The class is in you in your personality that creates there. I think that our custom even till today, I mean various boards like what all the boats, I will travel only by economic class, please go and book me discuss customer local travel. I think that incidents taught me every losting lesson in me be a good woman 35:40 and was respected for one is respected for the goodness and the humility one brings in and not for the designations. You know, in fact, it reminds me of my first time in the lab by meeting with Abdul Kalam Jae in his office in Delhi. And we went to him. We were doing a project for Bhaktivedanta hospital that comes under his column. And I had the privilege honor of meeting him for that project. I was in awe of him while I was sitting in one of the coordinators, and just watching him and then I got an opportunity to meet him. I could not believe my eyes. I mean, at no amount of imagination can do justice to what I saw that the humility, the goodness, the fairness, the transparency, the kindness. I mean, he's an epitome of all the traits of a human that one can imagine. And I remember I said how do you manage to stay so grounded that you said exactly that one is respected for the goodness and the humility one brings him not for the designations that you carry? That's exactly what you said. And what you're sharing is exactly, it's a demonstration of what he has always believed in. Now, you know, when we bring in goodness and humility, Shanta Ji develops a very different sense of connection with the person that we are talking to you What do you think is the biggest impediment that comes to the way of a CEO in connecting with his team members and building trust 37:28 into things, authenticity. If you're not authentic to yourself, and you create a facade about yourself, that mentioned which problem that's the biggest issue, why people can't get sued correctly, you know, you are having like a, you know, somebody who is different from what you are. What you are inherently it comes out at some point, people are not fools, they can see you nakedly what you are what a period of time. So, authenticity is very important in that matters a lot. The foundation of trust, or basically basically authenticity, and truthfulness. thoughtfulness is also equally important, what is truthfulness? If you have something never mind, say truthfully what we're thinking about. Don't create a gap between the mind and the mind and the time you said, don't get a gap between the mind and the turn. If you're not sure, don't speak. No problem at all. Don't speak, but don't speak what you don't believe in it. Then when you speak, what you believe in it, be fully speak whatever you have, in your mind, there are some people I found, I call it as economical in truth that tell you 50% of the truth, what they know another 50% They don't tell. Then you're you're you're allowed to guess yourself many things. And that is wrong. But it tells truly what to believe in. It is not necessarily your right. Not necessarily your right. is also not necessarily other should believe your right. Others may have an absolute difference of opinion, be it be it so you're you think very different from others. So be it. But tell your mind truthfully, what do you think? Yeah, if later it worked out that you are wrong, accept it, you're wrong. You're not a super human being that you will be always right. Accept it, you're wrong, but he will ask you for what you are. I think that is very important. What is that many senior executives. This is an issue. They are not authentic. And most of the time they don't say what they honestly believe in it. They pray to the gallery And then they say they put so much a sophisticated word to the raw emotion, that emotion never came out. And others basically keep on wondering what you're trying to tell. I think my view is that we were very, very gave ourselves just a result. And truthfully Be yourself. Yeah, 40:20 loved it loved it, if you are not sure don't speak, and don't speak what you don't believe. I think that could be a quote in itself. That could be a quote, and, you know, as a board of director as an advisor to several CEOs. What do you think are the three questions each CEO should be asking themselves? To do justice to their role, while they are connecting while they're being authentic while they're taking care of the business matrices? Are those three basic questions the CEO needs to ask? 40:55 See, first thing is that he or she was should always think, what is the legacy he or she is going to leave behind. If you're a senior through, don't be under legacy. I mean, you're not worthy to be called as a CEO. So be clear, in your mind, this is a legacy I want to leave behind. You should be clear, then work for it relentlessly and make it known to the people that what will you visualize this company should be in three years or five years time, we will explain it tell as many stories as you want to tell, and we will explain it to the people. Initially, people may have a disbelief. But there's a continuum from a disbelief to the belief, it takes a time unless you are to articulate it, and you're too limited. And many decision you have to make a to to relate it to the legacy what to leave behind, ideally, to create that legacy along with the team members make it as our legacy rather than my legs. Okay, and that takes time. That takes time. That is not easy. That takes time. Right. But some time, my legacy versus our legacy may be a little bit different from what I think my legacy should be no problem, no problem at all. Go create it, and work towards this. This I think is very, very important. If your second thing is that you should really think about your what is the social impact you want to leave behind CEOs job is probably the best job you can have to create a social impact. Not many people are trusted with so much of wealth into our hands to make a social impact. You should think through that what is the social impact you can make? I still remember I met because rod gas was a managing director. We were thinking that we are selling a commodity. I said no, we are not selling a commodity. He said it took six months, we said that we would make a natural gas, the preferred energy solution, energy solution business, how can you reduce the impact on the environment is our business? How do we reduce the impact on our business on the environment? And he started saying is that we have a national asset with us. How do you ensure this this national asset will reduce the impact on the environment. I still remember I went to industry for the CFO. I fought that, to my utter dismay, that we were India's third largest guzzler of desert after Indian Army and the Indian railway is not acceptable to me. If my grandchildren come and tell me that you're really windy environment of this country, what the Hell answer I'm going to give it so we had a roseus Both of us put together we said that when we reduce our diesel consumption by two tag in five years time, everybody logs every button off, but we added the roseus code. In fact, our business has become one of times but reduce the diesel by more than two thirds for the period of five years. 44:15 Because social impact, it is very important. 44:19 The next thing is that you should always do as a CEO is that the culture culture is fundamental. You define along with a team member what culture your company has thanks for. The culture basically has got three elements, the purpose statements, which will then call it a vision statement or a purpose statement, that the values we support this purpose statement, but the most important behaviors, which is a reflection of your values, focus on the behaviors and the values and the purpose statement continuously and continuously support everybody who reflects that behavior that value system not merely performance, but the culture matters much more than performance. Normally, very well culture company performance or less comes Take it from me, long term performance of the well culture companies are far more sustainable than companies that come so as a CEO, you should clearly you know, what culture you want to leave. 45:22 You know, interestingly all the three points that you're speaking about champers, whether you're talking about the legacy that we are going to leave behind as a as a team right. The second one is the social impact we are creating in the organization in the in the country on the industry that we are a part of the third thing is spoke about culture, what company culture do we stand for? Well, you spoke about the purpose where you spoke about the values and the behavior which are in alignment to the value system right, the behavior which is in alignment with the value system, you know, it requires huge amount of foresightedness What do you think? What are the basic push backs that you that you as a CEO experienced from the team, when you are thinking when you have this kind of thinking, so what kind of pushback that you get and how do you deal with that pushback? 46:15 See, generally initially, people always think that oh is all us all talking Nice to talk to there's always no this kind of cynicism it happens okay, because more It depends if you're going to a company which is which is existing for decades then already some culture is existing then you have to maneuver around your to build it if you're going to a company very overt a freak you know, Canvas to write a paper, what are we going to do it is a little bit more easier. But it doesn't matter wherever you go, you can create it. And there's always a disbelief. There's always a belief that a one on one learning there's always a backup and clear take this all happens. But from disbelief to the belief is a continuum it takes time and so do that okay. And there are so many rituals through which you can you can reinforce those behaviors, there are so many processes through which you can reinforce those behaviors. Are you an example. We are very clearly in the my previous company that unless you are employees are happy people, no way you can get to a promotion, no way you can get promoted that happiness to be measured by the employee engagement score. That means, if a team's score is lower than a particular level, we're all your team members are rated in our team, no way you can get promoted no way you can get a superlative performance knowing because you can't run out the blood of the people to create a performance that's not acceptable. Second thing is that if your customers are rated badly, no way you can get promoted, not possible. Sorry. Third thing is that we have a 360 degree in which all people will tell you what law, all three are to be a threshold, you want to cross the threshold. Right? Sometimes we are willing to accept a little bit lesser performance of someone who has crossed all these three threshold because that person's performance is a lot more sustainable for a longer period of time. And there's a human face into it. But the so called performers who is the blood of the people were created all the turmoil in the team, they will say very well. But when they fail, they create a lot more turmoil to the organization. I think you need to believe in it. I need to basically make it known every year I used to write me, after the everything is over. Um, I used to have top 500 people among top 45 People I used to say, without naming them, there are three people who though they were recommended for promotion for for the year performance rating, I did not give it because they did not meet these three threshold criteria. So entire company knows, that means we can happen at such a highest level. It can happen to anybody. Why? Why I'm trying to say is that fairness matters. Okay, if you really see the underlying principle for all these things to really look at it is a fairness, fairness, if you're fair, your team members are really good. If you're fair, generally our customers liking Yeah, suddenly they're like, Okay, if you're fair, your colleagues around you All of the people who are impacted by you, right, will trust you. They will value. Fairness is little bit elastic. Your sense of fairness is not necessarily same as the other person's sense of fairness, which is understandable, which is understandable. But when you stand in front of the mirror, ask me if you're satisfied. 50:24 Yeah, yeah. You know, it's so interesting that few days back, I was with a group of people, a group of and I was with a team. And the CEO was leading this conversation with his seven booties, and the conversation was revolving around fairness and transparency. Right. And interestingly, during our conversation with you, as well, that you mentioned, that you work with CEOs to succeed, collectively. And this last last thing that our example that I'm sharing with you, I was thinking that how can this all these seven people seven plus one CEO, how can these all people come together to march towards the goal that these people are talking about? Now I could see there was a lot of undercurrents, which people were not speaking but so visible in the body language and energy in the room, the way these people were sitting, two people were sitting in one corner, three people were sitting in one corner, two people were sitting in one corner, and the CEO was speaking to all of them. And every time when he was making a sincere attempt to rally these people, these people would come and then again, there was a you know, the fall of energy in that moment? How do you ensure that these, this this CEO that you're working with, he or she succeeds collectively with the team? And what does that mean to you? 51:51 See, first thing is that CEOs failure is extremely costly to the organization is very costly. Okay. And we are happy to make a c one is team to succeed collective, that is the job of the board does a job of the advisory board, that is job of the people like me, okay. And if you find that there are negative forces better to eliminate them, rather than tolerate them, give one or two chance, just please eliminate them. So I think that the most important thing we do is that I make it more to the c one, the team who reports to the CEO, I'm here to make all of you collectively succeed. That's my job. If you all collectively succeed, the company will succeed. That's, that's given. So I think that we do quite a lot of it, we do ask them that, what are your major goals, your personal goals in our life? What is the organizational goal, do that match together? Then what are the key values that you people think that this company should make to make your goal achievable? And then of course, on top of it is that we do put a lot of software site. Okay. So that all the software said computer that the key question is that asked the question as Longtin back in the industry? Or was that guided us to employ somebody to employ an individual? Or do you play a family? 53:21 You have to decide, yeah, 53:23 employer, family, all our HR system processes, everything changes along with that. Along with that comes the ritual, all of them see one that team members along with their family members meet. Or once in a year, some godforsaken place, can I keep meeting once in a quarter, if possible, once a month, how to bring all of them together. So that tomorrow when these people work together, they don't try to make the colleague a failure. They don't run on the blood of someone else. Most of the time is that in the original dynamics, it is the it is basically the colleagues make other failure failure. But if you bring the family together, if their wives are good friends, that's poses are good friends. Don't try to do that kind of a thing. If their children are good friends. You have a very different way in which to deal with all your organizational politics. Yeah. Twins to the doll collectively together succeed. But various ways you can figure it out. How do you make it but somewhere that work together as a family, not as individual. I think there's a big job by itself. It takes a lot of time. And 54:44 a lot of efforts. Yeah, a lot of inner just wondering, you've always been your work with us with so many teams. You have been on several boards. What is the best piece of advice that you have received as an individual as a CEO when you Are when you were the CEO or when you were on your journey to be a CEO or when you were on your journey to be on the board of director, what's the best piece of advice that you've received in your life? 55:12 Oh, most important advice I got was in 94. And I had my coach and my personal coach tell you one company was not involved with it. I had my own personal, personal relationship with him. And I used to meet him. That individual is no more now is very well known professor professor. Yes. Conroy in I am Bangalore. And I used to meeting once a month on Saturday, every, I think fourth Saturday, I used to meet him. Once I told him two years in Ensenada was both days, you know, as I said that if I was the CEO, three or four sorry, this is I would have been around 36 or 37. And I said that the issue I'm facing is that some of the wherever I go, people are not the thing that I'm not a CFO, I'm not the guy. They look for zero, somebody has sent me, the CFO has helped me in front of them. And the optical is becoming a different issue. difficult issue. We don't need some fantastic thing. So don't try to project yourself. Be yourself. You can't change your age. You can't change the world look, just be yourself. Um, second thing is that there are some strength which are brought to you here. Just protect us and improve those threats. If you have this seasonal weakness, why don't you recruit somebody who can compensate you for this weakness? I searched after six months, I recruited one individual one of the fantastic individual I recruited in my life. And they were six years ago to me, while recruiting I told him, you know, are you okay to report the guy was much younger when he said absolutely no problem shorter. The fact that you're asking me, I know that. Then everywhere they go, they used to think he is my boss, he will always say I'm his boss, I used to tell her and don't worry about it. Who is whose boss doesn't matter? That's why. Yeah, I think what is important is that there's something you can change that don't try to you know, try to be try to become more smarter not require nothing. I can personally tell you my English is not important. I studied in Kannada medium till first. And I tried my level best to improve my English but even today, grammatically it is wrong. I know that there are many grammatical errors which happen in my case, I'm not gonna care about like, just be yourself. 57:46 Just be yourself. I wish the world works like that. You know, every day in the newspaper, you will get to see that this organization has laid off so many people. This organization has led me so many people, I think this is a season of layoffs going on. What are your views on this? 58:06 See, I I must tell you personally, once I read later, I read that it was Rob gas, because before I go in there, the company's profitability was going down, it was taking a nosedive. And I had to make that tough call. Otherwise, it would have really become a 58:24 difficult situation. But having done that, I told everybody, for whatever I want to do bad thing. Now, one was, trust me, I will never ever do this for this company, again. 58:40 People did not believe me. But as the day progressed, they started believing the fears. But there was another company where the same issue I faced, we had access to people, but we are very profitable company. I told them, I'm not going to sack anybody under any circumstances. Some of the board members were after I said, Listen, I have 20% extra people. All that is required is simple. Our attrition is about 11 to 12% a year, in one or half years, everything gets sorted out. If I do a second now is consequence and the moral impact is extremely high. The social impact on the people is extremely high. We'll say we apply in a family, not an individual. I'm not going to see those families suffer. 59:32 I came under intense pressure. I said come what may I'm not going to do that's it. If you think this has to be done, get someone else who will do it. 59:40 Not me, not me. 59:44 Because we are profitable. We are doing very well. That 20% of extra people in what appears to be stuck, right? causing this will be reset. Does does. So you need to have a conviction. You need to have a context. If the context is that you're really go into my brain don't allow that. That whatever the tough thing you are to do it do it, because but if that is not the case, don't run on the blood of the. Yeah, that is not acceptable. Yeah. 1:00:14 You know, just wondering, having walked this path, having been in a situation where you had to layoff people having walked on this path where you were poor total, and then there came a time when you are instrumental in the education for over 100 students, right, or 55 are already qualified doctors and engineers having gone through so much in your life. When did you realize that hey, you know what, I've earned something in my life. What was that moment in your life? When you said, Hey, how could I be so like? 1:00:48 I think that much later in my life, will be surprises post retirement, I understood that whatever living my life, it was a moment my son's marriage. So my son's marriage was there, I prepared a list of in my case, my family, I've done more than 2000 people came with all the letters, that's fine. But my personal level, I created a list. I know they're all over. I thought that one, maybe a list is bigger for all of them, maybe 20 Metal 25 may come at most. I still remember I went and booked a blog for the rooms in San Rila, Bangalore. And I sent an invitation. I started getting acceptances coming up, coming up coming up coming disposable. My God, you can't believe it went to 118 room nights or to book it. Wow. And then that portal told me they don't have any more rooms than I do. Okay, another 10 rooms in another health. So at that day I can next, hey, there's something I want in my life. There are so many people all over India, they're coming out of that one incident, it really touched my heart. There were three of them, whom at some point of time in my professional career, I separated them from the organization. There were those people who might separate. But still I maintain a good relationship with them. Although those three took me their spouses. See, the may be professional, you may see things a little bit more personally, but the sponsors will not forget these incidences. But that is because we have this family concept in which even my wife knew them very well. They were close friends, whatever happened personally happened. But at the personal level bonding was extremely strong. But I also ensured that there were two out of three, I did place them somewhere else. But so but but impact was mitigated. That is a crime. I honestly found that out really fully on something in my life. Till then I did not realize till then I really did not know what I want in my life. That was a moment I think, is very satisfying moment in my life. 1:03:23 Thank you, thank you so much for sharing. And I think at the end, it's the kindness is the way you treat people that matters. And sometimes your life has been like that. Your life has been an epitome of what it means to be kind hearted and humble individuals few of our common friends. They've always admired you for the leadership that you bring in. Share from a space of sheer service, and care and growth for the other person. So thank you so much for being who you are. I think we need more leaders like you. 1:03:58 Thank you very much. So kind of Thank you very much. Yeah, thank you, God bless all of them. And to end it up is this month. This word has given me much more than what I need much more than what I deserve. This world is extremely generous. And I can't repeat that generosity, whatever. 1:04:22 Thank you so much. Thank you

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