Leaders are the pillars of the society, and what attributes their personality is their Leadership skills. Every organisation needs leaders to progress and excel in their domain. So leaders are sought after by the companies from B Schools. The students of VGSOM had the privilege of interacting with Mr. Ravi Santhanam, Founder & CEO of MetaDrsti Advisory.
Mr. Santhanam, a product of Harvard Business School, IIM Calcutta and IIT Madras, is a practicing Leadership Coach and Founder & CEO of MetaDrsti Advisory, Chennai. An engineer and manager by training, he has a track record of turning around businesses by building teams, stakeholder relationships and brands. Experiences as a front line manager, both in running plants and marketing operations, before being elevated to general management & strategic roles, have given him a realistic appreciation of business contexts and the opportunities and challenges inherent to each context.
Mr. Santhanam has a wide corporate experience in various positions and industries. His most recent corporate assignments were as:
The Managing Director & CEO – Hindustan Motors ltd
The Managing Director & CEO - Mahindra Holidays& Resorts India Ltd.
The Executive Vice President - Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd
He is widely involved in higher education. Chairman, Board of Governors, National Institute of Technology, New Delhi and A Mentor in the IVY Exec Mentoring Network are some of his capacities.
Mr. Ravi Santhanam brings proven expertise and hands-on experience in leading large teams, developing strategy, building brands, and forming & nurturing strategic alliances. In his capacity as a leadership coach he has been working closely with CEOs & CXOs across industries & cultures, helping them and their organizations grow.
He began his lecture on the topic - "Building Leadership Skills while still at Business School" with a quote from John Kotter and enlightened the students on what is leadership in the present world. With a structured lecture divided in to 3 parts, he paved a path for the students to follow.
The first part of his lecture focused on why there is a need for leadership skills in people working in organisations. The organisations need leaders who can ‘align’ the people in the organisations, ‘build’ synergies and ‘create’ faith to move towards worthy goals even in adverse and uncertain conditions. With a brilliant example of John F Kennedy’s speech at the Rice University, he demonstrated how a leader can align, build and create faith to move towards a common goal.
Then he moved on to what leadership is andthe difference between leadership and management by quoting people like John Kotter and Randy Komissar.This was beautifully orated to us with an analogy of trains and tracks wherein running the trains represented ‘Management’ and laying the tracks represented ‘Leadership’.
Later on he explained how one should develop leadership skills. Mr.Santhanam provided the students with directions to follow in order to develop the required skills. The first pointer involved training the mind. A clear and focused mind would receive and process the information better, enabling the leader to respond with the flow.The second directiveinvolved focusing on the strengths. By focusing on the individual’s strengths and those of others, we can challenge the situations and encourage the teamto liveby their strengths. The last pointer signified the importance of collaboration. By collaborating with people, an individual goal becomes a group goal and there would be more supportingof the goal. The level of creativity would increase and there would be people with diverse strengths. As they say strength of the system is as strong as the strongest link in the system, collaboration would increase the strength of that link.
“Sow a thought, Reap an Action
Sow an Action, Reap a Habit
Sow a Habit, Reap a Character
Sow a Character, Reap a Destiny”
With this famous quote of Samuel Smiles, Mr.Santhanam concluded the lecture and encouraged the students to follow the path and improvise along the way to develop the skill most sought by the organisations.