When it comes to business you can never stop learning.
Alignment and leadership are equally important
Good business is about alignment and leadership. Both are equally important. Neither can happen without the other.
Alignment and leadership-put them together and it's game on.
Mission + behaviours + consequences = success
Every business needs a mission, the right behaviours and consequences to succeed.
If a mission is a company's destination, then behaviours are its transport, the vehicle to get there.
The consequence part is about having a good performance appraisal and reward system in place.
Growth starts with the leader
If the leader is growth-focused, the organization finally gets there.
You must always have the right team; having poor team players doesn't help a good leader.
Great leadership, great teams lead to growth. Any company that doesn't grow dies.
You may need fresh leadership
But, you need fresh leadership when the organization has stalled on mission, values and consequences.
If you want growth, bring in a fresh pair of eyes.
The best leaders build trust
The best leaders care about their people more than they care about themselves. They are selfless.
Great leaders build trust and credibility with their words and deeds, over and over again.
Work is life
Work is not something you do while you are waiting to live. Work is life. Maybe not all of it, but most of it.
Don't hire if there is no growth
When you don't grow, you should never hire; if you don't grow, reduce people immediately.
Innovation is everybody's job
Each department must look to reduce days to close things and improve responsiveness - that's innovation.
Finance should aid business
Finance is not about variance analysis or control. Finance is a lot more and should aid business.
Employee engagement is key...
No company can win in the long run without good employee engagement. Leaders need to lead this.
...As is cash flow
Cash flow is key, and the company must strive to maximize it.
Marketing needs to change
With rapid changes in technology and consumer behaviour, marketing needs to change.
The consumer is more sophisticated, has shorter attention span, is more immune to marketing messages.
Every department must talk to the other. If you have silos, you will not grow.
Silos kill speed, they kill ideas, they kill impact.
Marketing cannot operate as an island
Marketing cannot be an island unto itself; an insulated marketing department is the death of the organization.
Good CEOs build B2B relationships
B2B relationships are about CEOs taking the first step. A good CEO will own the B2B relationships with the ecosystem partners.
All B2B relationships are built on trust.
Leadership is about truth and trust
Leadership very simply is about ceaselessly seeking truth and relentlessly building trust.
Truth is telling people where they stand and being specific about how they can improve.
Truth is about telling the truth about the business and how it is doing, and painting the challenges ahead.
Truth is a competitive weapon
In business, truth is a competitive weapon, it keeps a company focused on the right things.
Good leadership shows up in meetings
Most of leadership occurs in meetings and that's where poor leaders exhibit derailers.
Meetings are huge opportunities to build trust if the leader behaves well in the interests of the company.
Share information uniformly
Good leaders share information without bias.
Leaders who build trust tell the same story to everyone all the time, they don't select pieces for different sections.
Building trust also means letting go of underperformers
Leaders also build trust by letting go of underperformers and people who exhibit wrong behaviour.
If a leader is conducting honest appraisals, then the underperformers will not be surprised when they don't get their next roles.
Simplicity is a hallmark of good leaders
Good leaders are very simple people, and they bring simplicity to their job and analysis of problems.
Poor leaders pack a lot and achieve nothing, however they will seem busy.
Trust inculcates ownership
In a good culture, people feel like owners, not slaves. They will definitely not feel so in a culture of finger-pointing where poor leaders blame others for their shortcomings.
Controls never create the right culture; they undermine it because they take away trust.
Meritocracies attract good people
Good people are attracted to meritocracies because they want to do well, they want to be appreciated and be talked about. Poor leaders build superficial stories of performance around themselves and their teams.
Performance differentiation is never perfect but that should not stop a leader from differentiating between good and poor performance.
Focus on people not procedures
HR departments are seen as the enemies of speed and efficiency. HR departments have themselves to blame for that because they should focus more on people and capabilities and less on approvals and procedures.
Get rid of those who create conflict
Employees who steal other people's time and energy, typically high-maintenance colleagues, are of little use to a good company. Get rid of them.
People who unnecessarily create conflict in an organization also should be shown the door.
Your area of destiny
What's your area of destiny - AOD? Work to get there.
Career boosters and derailers
Careers derail for a number of reasons. A big reason that is never noticed is disdain for the company and its bosses. Such an individual trips himself.
Don't deliver; over deliver the right way.
Volunteer for tough roles and projects.
Popularity vs. doing the right thing
Acquire followers the hard way - by doing things right, and not by trying to be popular.
President (Corporate Strategy and Business Development)
Aditya Birla Group
Before his current assignment at Aditya Birla Group, Shivakumar was Chairman & CEO at Pepsico India. Prior to that he was Managing Director at Nokia India. Before joining Nokia, he worked with consumer electronics maker Philips and top consumer goods firm Hindustan Unilever. He is an engineer from IIT Chennai and an MBA from IIM Calcutta.