Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Ashish Katyayan
Title: Founder & Managing Partner
Organisation: KATBOTZ LLC
I am an entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about developing relationships to solve complex cross functional business problems by connecting the dots between ideas, people and solutions. I am a team builder, coach and mentor who helps people tap into their potential. During 18 years of my management consulting experience in business transformation I have built new market offerings with high performing teams and enabled my clients in bringing a positive change through next-gen technology solutions.
I am also currently leading new business development including business planning and financial analysis for my consulting/technology business. I have led multiple initiatives in Life Sciences, Hi-Tech, Consumer Goods, Energy & Utilities, and Financial Services industries.
Led global teams and market offerings in sales pipeline management, program management, S/4HANA Deployment, Finance Transformation, Integration, Tech Strategy, S/4HANA COE, Application Assessment, BRIM COE, component level depreciation, deployment strategy, and S/4HANA Customer Validation. My subject matter expertise is in Finance Transformation, designing integrated solutions across processes and systems.
I have spoken at SAPinsider, S/4HANA forums, authored strategies on S/4HANA deployment, S/4HANA business case development, business process innovation, maximizing value from S/4HANA, financial reporting, affiliate gross profit, profit in inventory, mid-month profit forecasting, real-time analytics for variance analysis, inter-company capabilities in S/4HANA, data conversion for product costing, and inventory accounting in S/4HANA. Over 14 SAP ECC/S4HANA business transformation experience with leading consulting firms & served multiple fortune 100 clients. I have an MBA in Finance from Pune University, PMP certification, and an SAP certification in FI/CO solution consulting. I live in Bridgewater, NJ where I am actively involved in community initiatives.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Nurturing people to help tap into their potential at the same time help them navigate the contradictions and realities of our world.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I became a leader through a combination of experiences and personal growth. My journey began during my time at Bishop Cotton School Shimla, where I spent 12 years as a boarding student. In my final year of school, I was entrusted with the responsibility of leading my house, which consisted of approximately 150 students. This role required me to provide both tactical and strategic direction while fostering collaboration among my peers. It was during this period that I believe I took my first steps towards becoming a successful leader in my life.
As I progressed through the years, I had the privilege of being introduced to my spiritual mentor, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, and the Soka Gakkai (SGI). This encounter played a significant role in my personal development, teaching me essential qualities such as compassion, care, and courage. These values became integral to my approach in various aspects of my life, whether it was at work, with my family, or engaging in community initiatives. SGI emphasized the importance of continuously striving for personal growth and living a value-creating life.
Over the course of my career, I had the opportunity to work with renowned organizations such as IBM, Deloitte, and KPMG, assuming different roles and responsibilities. Throughout my 18 years in these companies and our customers, I discovered that connecting with my teams on a one-on-one basis yielded greater enthusiasm and motivation. Whether it meant coaching, mentoring, or simply being a supportive friend, I recognized that my attitude and spirit played a crucial role in determining the overall outcome.
In summary, my journey as a leader has been shaped by my formative years at Bishop Cotton School, where I first assumed a leadership role, and my subsequent experiences with SGI, which nurtured my personal growth and character. The diverse roles I undertook in prestigious organizations allowed me to understand the significance of individual connections and the impact of my attitude and spirit in leading teams to success.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My typical workday follows a structured routine that helps me maintain a sense of balance and focus. Here is an overview of how I structure my day from waking up to going to sleep: Morning Rituals: After waking up, one of the first things I do is make tea. It's a calming and enjoyable start to my day. While making tea, I take the opportunity to call my parents and catch up with them. This helps me stay connected. Additionally, I am always ready to assist my wife if she needs any help with house work.
Supporting each other is important to us. Chanting - Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo: To center myself and clear my thoughts, I engage in chanting for about an hour. This practice helps me focus on my goals, gain clarity, and cultivate a positive mindset (among many other benefits). Chanting has numerous benefits for me, including increased self-awareness and inner peace. Exercise: Physical fitness is essential to me, so I prioritize it by going for a 40-minute run.
This energizes me and prepares me for the day ahead. Regular exercise not only keeps me physically healthy but also enhances my mental well-being, improving my productivity and focus. Getting Ready for Work: After my run, I allocate time to get ready for work. Workday: Once I'm ready, I dedicate my time to work, usually until around 8 pm. Throughout the day, I take micro breaks to rest and recharge, ensuring I maintain productivity and avoid burnout. Lunch and tea breaks are essential parts of my day. They provide me with nourishment and an opportunity to relax and refresh my mind, ensuring I remain focused and motivated. Flexibility and Adaptability: While I adhere to this general structure, I remain flexible and adaptable based on the requirements of each day. Sometimes unexpected tasks or priorities arise, and I adjust my schedule accordingly, ensuring that I maintain a productive and balanced approach. In summary, my workdays are structured with a focus on self-care, maintaining relationships, setting goals through chanting, prioritizing exercise, and committing dedicated time to work. This routine allows me to find a sense of balance, stay motivated, and perform at my best throughout the day.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Leadership is fundamentally about responsibility rather than authority. As leaders, we are entrusted with the task of working with individuals who are unique and diverse. It is our responsibility to adapt to their needs and provide the support they require to thrive and excel.
What I have recently learned, or perhaps been reminded of, is that the true essence of leadership lies in enabling our team members to surpass their current capabilities. My most significant lesson in leadership is understanding that motivation stems from creating a cohesive structure that combines accountability and genuine care for our teams. By fostering an environment where individuals feel both supported and responsible for their actions, we can inspire them to perform at their best.
It is essential to establish clear expectations, provide the necessary resources, and offer guidance and mentorship as needed. However, what truly differentiates exceptional leadership is the ability to go beyond traditional managerial roles and genuinely invest in the growth and development of each team member. By recognizing their unique strengths and challenges, we can tailor our approach to maximize their potential. This may involve providing targeted training, offering opportunities for growth, or even lending a listening ear when they face personal or professional hurdles. In summary, my recent leadership lesson or reminder is that true leadership is not merely about wielding authority but about embracing responsibility.
It is about adapting to the individual needs of our team members and empowering them to surpass their own expectations. By fostering a supportive and accountable environment, we can motivate our teams to achieve exceptional results.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The New Human Revolution series, consisting of 30 volumes, has had a profound impact on my leadership style. Authored by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, this remarkable collection chronicles his transformative journey as a pioneer dedicated to fostering world peace and restoring human dignity. The insights and lessons shared within these books have provided me with a blueprint for driving positive change in our world.
What truly resonates with me is Dr. Ikeda's unwavering compassion and wisdom in assisting individuals in overcoming immense hardships. Through the multitude of stories contained within these 30 volumes, he beautifully illustrates how we can create value even in the face of the most adverse circumstances. It is through his guidance that I find encouragement and inspiration to navigate challenging situations with empathy and determination.
Dr. Ikeda's teachings go beyond theoretical concepts; they are rooted in practical wisdom and real-life examples. By delving into the stories and experiences shared in this series, I have gained a deeper understanding of the immense potential we possess as individuals to effect positive change in our own lives and the lives of others. The New Human Revolution serves as a constant reminder of the transformative power of perseverance, resilience, and the pursuit of noble goals. In summary, the New Human Revolution series by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda has significantly influenced my leadership style.
It has provided me with a profound sense of compassion, wisdom, and the belief that we can create value in even the most challenging circumstances. Through his inspiring journey and the stories shared in these 30 volumes, Dr. Ikeda has guided me towards a leadership approach that embraces empathy, resilience, and the unwavering pursuit of a better world.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I were to offer just one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be this: "Never give up. No matter what challenges you face, keep striving forward with unwavering passion, grit, and determination. The journey of leadership is filled with obstacles and setbacks, but it is through perseverance that you will ultimately achieve great things. Alongside your tenacity, it is crucial to embrace a mindset of continuous growth. Seek opportunities for self-improvement, learning, and personal development.
Expand your knowledge, hone your skills, and be open to new perspectives. By consistently evolving and adapting, you will position yourself for long-term success as a leader. Equally important is the notion of giving selflessly. As a leader, your impact extends beyond your own achievements. Embrace a mindset of service and contribution to others. Support and uplift those around you, fostering a culture of collaboration and empowerment.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
We were in a tight timeline to deliver a project. In a fast paced environment it was difficult to bring someone up-to speed. However I did put my trust in one of my team members and helped them grow while rolling up my sleeves to fill the gaps. At the end of it turned out to be a win win for everyone. As this person became a trusted client partner and also got to grow as a professional while helping me focus on other critical activities.