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7 Questions with Bhaskar Puri
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7 Questions with Bhaskar Puri
Name: Bhaskar Puri
Current title: Director-Client Success
Current organisation: Visionet Systems
Automotive industry product strategy, planning and development, to business strategy, to now taking care of strategy and sales in the IT sector.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Keeping my ears to the ground while formulating any business and sales strategy for my enterprise. It becomes extremely easy for the planner to become isolated from the doer, and take decisions which are cut off from reality. You have to constantly watch out for all your cognitive biases that may come in the way of sound decision making grounded in reality.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I started with product strategy, planning and development in the automotive industry, at Honda Cars India. I was taking care of Honda's products for the Indian market as well as a few of their global products meant for emerging as well as developed markets. After a successful stint there and another one at Honda's global R&D in Japan, I decided to do my MBA from Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and then decided to join the IT industry as the next step in my career growth. After MBA, I was offered a business leadership position at Visionet Systems, where I have been ever since.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I like to keep some personal time to channel my thoughts and energize before going to work. Hence I wake up much earlier than the start of the work day. This also allows me to have a decent breakfast and include a session of heavy resistance training 3 times a week to make sure I stay healthy and strong.
Once work starts, it's a stream of studying industry reports and trends, looking at partnerships, looking at what our clients are working on and going through, as well as interacting with new and existing clients. Sometimes, there are times when I have to take a look at the solution delivery process as well to ensure that that is going on as per the strategy envisioned.
I also keep a little personal time at the end of the day to detune my mind from work and have a fresh perspective the next day. I ensure that these nuggets of personal time at the start and end of the day are not about work and I get to spend as much of it with my family as possible.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
On-ground real-world experience is vital and people with such experience are golden assets for a leader, if properly managed. These are the people who keep your ears to the ground, which is important for someone in my position. Thus, having a great working relationship with your experienced experts is essential.
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 epic Mahabharata has numerous examples to press home the point that the common objective of the group has paramount importance and thus the leader of the group has to selflessly follow the path necessary to achieve it, and any personal or selfish considerations which sway you away from what needs to be done, should be discarded. This book has had a profound impact on my leadership and I try and incorporate its ideas in my decision-making whenever possible.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Delegation is the only way to do so. Without taking the risk of handing over your responsibilities to someone else, you never prepare them for the challenges of leadership as well as never find out who are the capable ones to take up the mantle later on. However, delegation is inherently risky and requires trust among members of the enterprise, and hence, is very difficult to pull off in places which do not have a good work culture.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Partnerships are extremely important for an enterprise, both internal and external. I am reminded of the times when our market-oriented strategies have worked out purely because of the industry partnerships we cultivated with our vendors, our clients, and industry bodies. The degree of benefit often depends on the business, but there will always be a positive benefit over and above what your individual efforts can achieve.