Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Title: Chief Information Officer
Organisation: Essar Oil UK Ltd
Accomplished and results-driven expert with 33+ years of expertise in driving strategic initiatives and delivering sustainable economic value. Trusted advisor at CXO levels for renowned organisations including Enron, BG, Tata, and Essar Group. Adept in board advisory, governance, and management roles across diverse sectors such as Energy (Oil & Gas), Utilities (Gas & Power), EPC, Manufacturing, Telecom, and Consultancy.
Excels in executive management, corporate governance, M&A transition/integration implementation, and business strategy. Recognised for expertise in enterprise performance management, business process transformation, and leading change programs. Exceptional consulting skills enabling the delivery of best-in-class client services. Proven ability to lead and thrive in dynamic international environments, with hands-on experience in the UK, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader, I have found building trust across peers and teams have been very challenging, it takes painstaking time, effort and quality communications to ensure trust is built, and nurtured. Trust is a currency; you can't afford not to invest in.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I coached myself as well as took help from some of my mentors to evolve as a good leader. One of the key principles I worked on all through my leading journey was to respect and trust the people I came across in my personal and professional life. I strongly believe trust and respect is mutual and helps build some of the strongest relationships. I have endeavoured mostly to be a great team player and exhibit high standards of performance and integrity, that helped me with people accepting me and willing to work with me as leader.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My life is built on five areas of well-being viz Spirtiual, Personal, Professional, Family and Financial. I mostly allocate my time within a day to at least 4 out of 5 well-being areas. I start my day with some spiritual and personal time with exercises, pranayams and some yoga . Then comes the professional time which is a balance between short term and long term goals in addition to the core delivery responsibilities in current professional engagements. Then evening time is for family, relatives, friends and social. Lastly again before bed some spiritual time with reading and or meditation. With this balance each day evolves into wholesome purposeful weeks, months and years.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Listen more than speak, this is one lesson which I keep getting reminded of by people around me. I am happy to seek that feedback and ensure I stay focussed on my listening.
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 book My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi had proound influence on my ability to test my thoughts and beliefs and continuously challenging the status quo. The sheer lessons of honesty, truth and humility embodied in the book has stayed with me forever.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
My advice to young leaders would be to define their core personal values and walk the talk. Success will follow and they will be accepted as leaders by virtue of the values they will live and demonstrate by their actions. These values dont have to be the same all through the life, they can change based on their individual journey and purpose.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Nurturing and building high performance teams sometimes involves taking difficult decisions around restructuring. I have had a few such instances in my professional career where I had to downsize or repurpose teams. I am very happy to say that most of these events were managed by me in a firm and friendly manner by connecting to individuals at a very personal level and making sure they understand the business objective of such change. Emotional intelligence needs to be practiced at such events and I have kept in touch with the affected individuals untill they were resettled in their new world.