Mr.Rajiv Memani took over as the Country Managing Partner of Ernst & Young in 2004 and is currently the Chairman of the Global Emerging Markets committee. The firm is currently India's largest professional services organization with leadership across tax, transactions, risk, assurance and advisory. Rajiv has been associated with Ernst & Young for almost 20 years now. During these years he has successfully advised several leading multinational corporations on their entry in India and has also worked with some of India's largest conglomerates/ companies, both in the private and public sector. His areas of expertise include M&A advisory, private equity, valuations and restructuring. A qualified Chartered Accountant, Rajiv started his career as an Auditor and moved on to Tax Advisory. Rajiv successfully established the Indian Firm's Corporate Finance Practice in the late nineties. Rajiv has been selected on the World Economic Forum's New Asian Leaders, a network of 100 young leaders in business and politics to develop programmes for the development of Asia.
Good leaders must lead by
example. They must be conscious of earning respect, as opposed to
commanding the respect which comes with position and stature. They must
uphold organizational values and communicate these clearly to their
teams. as values form the bedrock of any decision-making. Further, they
should conceptualize and articulate a clear vision and purpose for the
future, which motivates team-members to perform to the best of their
abilities in achieving these goals.
2. How do you think organizations should evaluate/measure "quality of leadership"?
The real purpose of leadership is to facilitate growth and drive positive change. A good measure of the quality of leadership is obviously the success of the organization in achieving this purpose, but more specifically the leader's ability to catalyze that success and the ability to develop high-performance teams.
Organizations today increasingly understand the importance of evaluating the quality of leadership talent at their disposal and work towards improving their development areas. Metrics such as success of the individual's business portfolio (profitability, revenues, growth, etc.),engagement levels of the team, number of future leaders developed are commonly used by organizations to assess the quality of leadership. Increasingly, the social impact and sensitivity to environmental concerns that have a bearing on communities is also being considered when gauging quality of leadership.
3. How can one improve one's leadership skills?
The first step towards improving one's leadership skills lies in having a clear understanding of one's leadership style, strengths and one's development areas as a leader. Once identified, one needs to consciously undergo constant learning and experimenting, having role models, seeking coaching and mentoring, take on challenging roles, asking for continuous feedback from others to improve leadership skills.
Experiential learning is often considered the most effective form of learning. One can work on diverse projects, job functions and with different people to develop and strengthen one's leadership style.
Listening to diverse opinions, an inclusive attitude, sound decision-making and ability to inspire high performances from the team are some qualities one must hone to be qualified as an effective team leader.
4. What are the three most important challenges in front of leaders in today's times?
We have entered an era of increased complexity in the business environment. Leaders today not only have to defy volatility brought about by the accompanying forces of globalization, increased regulatory oversight and the war for talent, but also manage the rising expectations from communities.
5. What in your views are most effective ways/ techniques for grooming future leaders?
An important prerequisite for sustainable growth of any organization is to build a steady pipeline of next generation leaders. In order to groom leaders, organizations need to identify potential leaders early on, provide them with exposure to challenging opportunities and empower them through proper delegation of authority while providing support, coaching and mentoring along the way. Continuous tracking and assessment of the performance of identified leaders is also essential to uncover possible development and improvement areas. That said, it is also important to strike a balance between having home-grown talent and inducting fresh talent from the market to bring in new perspectives and energy within the organisation.
6. When should a leader call it quits?
While the notion of quitting goes against the popular mantra of success, most experienced leaders recognize the importance of identifying when and how to quit. It is time to make way for a new leader when one finds oneself in a position where one perceives that the value that they are adding to the organization is inadequate, there is incongruence between one's beliefs with that of the organization, or the role is not in line with one's personal aspirations. In these situations, moving on can give you time and space and help you focus your energy on areas where you can make a more significant impact.