Please share a bit about your career journey with IL&FS and as the MD & CEO of ISSL.

Prior to joining IL&FS in the year 1995, I worked with a bank and then with a private organization. In the 20 years with IL&FS, I have had four different assignments and each one has been extremely exciting.

Competing with players like HDFC and Sundaram, and having to stay clear from any sort of media coverage or advertising gimmick, I commenced the Fixed Deposits in IL&FS. Post this, I moved in as CEO into Investsmart IPO, the broking entity for four years. Under the leadership of Mr Parthasarthy, we got into the retail domain with 26 branches.

I then moved to ORIX for five years and was luckily able to turn it around by the time I moved out.

Upon moving to IL&FS, there were a few setbacks with the deposit accounts, however we came out clean. As of today, everything is autopilot and immensely regulated.

In IL&FS, you are given the freedom to operate. It has an extremely informal environment, of course with its exception to compliance where it is highly corporate. All this however percolates down the hierarchy. With the admiration and multiple opportunities that I have always been provided, I never had the need to step away from this place. I have and still enjoy what I do, supported by amazing team members who have been constantly contributing towards the revenue growth of the organization, along with strong market reinforcement as well.

What has been your individual leadership style?

I was a public sector banker with Corporation Bank. The approachability factor down the hierarchy was high there, where people had the freedom to approach and speak openly. After moving to IL&FS in 2008, I observed a similar culture here. I believe in, “Management by exception”, wherein you need to give space to people to operate and not micromanage.

Prior to joining this place, I was asked to move to ORIX, a joint venture with IL&FS and ORIX Japan. I wish to share two experiences that are etched in my mind till date. One, where a suggestion was made to transfer one of the old idle cars into night time business rides for the BPO sector, thereby generating revenue. The other, where the suggestion to revoke the termination of a few chauffeurs, instead by presenting them with a margin of buying cars, rolled back to IL&FS accounts.

What was interesting in my tenure there and of course over the years is that, some of the most remarkable and useful ideas came from individuals at very junior posts. They were not very communicative, neither were they conversational. But if given a chance to voice their thoughts, you would be surprised by the brilliance of their suggestions and ideas.

I also encourage monthly meetings; these meetings are not about your achievements or tasks. Teams are encouraged to share ideas regardless of its insignificance.

Leadership to me is keeping the trust in people and allowing them space to provide you with valuable inputs.

As an avid golfer, do you draw similarities from the game into your leadership? Yes I do and it has taught me three important aspects-humility, knowing my strengths and weaknesses, and etiquette.

While playing golf, you could have exceedingly good days or not. Depending on that particular day’s performance, the game could change any moment bringing with it a lot of doubts. So you need to tread with patience, which brings out the humility in a person.

You are competing with yourself and not anybody else. It’s unlike other games, wherein there are other sports persons and the game depends on the outcome of each ones performance. You need to be absolutely aware of your strengths and weaknesses. One should be able to push themselves only to their own acceptable limit, instead of trying multiple things. The key is in how well you manoeuvre the game.

It is not a game of skill, but etiquette. Respect other people’s time as much as you would your own and this is a very critical factor. Also it shows you to honour the discipline and rules of the game across hierarchy.

This is one sport where even with the rules; you enjoy the game with all its disciplinary actions.

In this era of instant gratification, what does ISSL do to keep employees motivated and committed over a long period of time?

Along with monetary benefits, employees feel immensely motivated when organisations listen to what they have to say to improve processes or simply impart suggestions. We have a forum called BlueSky, where we invite employees along with their supervisors to share ideas and steps to implement them.

We like recognizing outstanding individuals by way of Reward and Recognition activities once a month. Plus the Human Resource department is constantly active with Employee Engagement activities that help employees bond together.

In any eventuality of crises, we support employees monetarily if required, in short the employees are aware that the organisation will support them in times of need.

A huge motivation and comforting factor for all our employees, if ever the market drops or they experience individual performance failure, they need not be worried about involuntary attrition/termination. They are aware that the organisation will support in their development in some way or the other.

What is your next pursuit in the near future?

I have had a very satisfying career in IL&FS and till I continue I will try to add value to the Group in whatever means I can. As regards to my future plans, based on my areas of expertise, I would like to dedicate myself towards CSR activities and share and nurture the youth from small towns or villages, imparting knowledge about the Banking, Capital Market or other areas of interest and use to them. During one of my visits to a BMS college in Shiposhi a village in Ratnagiri, I found that the students had excellent skills but were feeling insecure due to their English speaking skills and their ability to compete with the urban youth. I would like to interact with Companies around those areas leverage their CSR spend, to train these youngsters and also provide employment to them nearer their homes, instead of them having to relocate to cities.

 


As shared with IFIN Panorama Editorial Team


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