Thank you to the 1,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading
7 Questions with Pankaj Agrawal
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Pankaj Agrawal
Name: Pankaj Agrawal
Current title: Vice President
Current organisation: Zensar Technologies
A digital leader with an ideal and optimal blend of Technology and Business. Possess tremendous passion towards excellence and has characteristics to lead large transformation programs and teams. Has shown audacity in handling global roles and managing CXO level relations. My experience spans across:
1. Digital Technology Transformation Program Execution
2. P&L Management
3. Large & Strategic deal Pursuit & Execution
4. Account Planning and Strategy
5. Strategy & Operations – Sales, Marketing and Delivery
6. Business Development
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Most important in today's fast changing digital space is to bring a culture of digital dexterity as that is the only way to innovate new business models and bring competitive advantage. Today each organization is a digital organization and the boundaries between Technology and business are fading rapidly. Hence as a leader bringing a culture of innovation through digital adoption is the foremost challenge and after that the biggest challenge is to change the mindset of the existing workforce and align them to acquire new skills. Whoever can do that efficiently and quickly is emerging as the leader in the respective industry
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was a business and IT consultant before I reached the leadership position but always kept organization interest at the top and customer at the centre. I have handled diversified portfolios over the last 10 years which included both sales and operations responsibility. I have always believed in the philosophy of empowering your workforce and trusting them and allowing them to fail fast and learn from it. I always created a very agile organization where the decision making is pretty fast. In my current role, I am responsible for the complete Europe region and I am very close to CXO's of my customers. This helps me to align our services better to the needs of my clients.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Well I always start my day with a quick glance of world news and then I go for a morning walk and do some exercises. I firmly believe that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. I go through my calendar and prioritize my meetings everyday and if there is any preparation required, I do that very diligently. I always ensure that I go to any meeting with all details. Two things I ensure that I do everyday - Networking with my professional groups and connecting with my team. After work, I prefer to spend time with my family and if I am given an opportunity , I try some new recipes as I am fond of cooking and find that as relaxing too. Before I go to bed, I read books, magazines, and online articles for an hour to keep myself updated with the latest trends.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Leadership is all about building an efficient culture, trusting and empowering people. Believe me , rest everything will fall in place. I did research on all my programs and found that programs with the right team and culture have 75% more probability of success than other programs. Also motivate the team to upgrade, upskill and cross skill themselves, that will help you to gain competitive advantage. Lastly each one is human first before we are professional and hence do take care of your people when they need you.
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 that has had a profound impact on me is 'The Power of HABIT' by Charles Duhig. This books covers the thrilling edges of scientific discoveries that explain why hapits exists and how those can be changed. This presented the whole new understanding of human nature and potential. This book reveals the science behind transforming businesses, communities and lives. This Book has helped in giving me new outlook towards human behaviour and dealing with diversified personalities and emotions to the best of potential. Today it has given me another decision parameter which I deploy before I make any business decision.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I firmly believe that building leadership will be easy if you lead by example and your team looks at you for motivation. However, building capacity requires a structured approach. We need to focus on potential rather than performance, creating a right culture and environment where potential future leaders feel empowered and connected, enabling them to take decisions and fail rather than not taking decisions. This will speed up the process of learning. Always create a culture of learning and innovation. As mentioned, building leadership requires a structured approach, one needs to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the potential leaders and work towards their weaknesses to hone the all-round personality. Designed multiple workshops to help in achieving it. As I mentioned, leadership is all about people's potential and it is our responsibility to surface that potential.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
The most meaningful story that comes to my mind while being the Vice President of Europe is about how we have created a culture of innovation. Being in a knowledge-based industry, it is extremely important for us to increase the innovation quotient of the organization. We formulated an innovation lab and created a platform for sharing all ideas and trying and testing those ideas in our innovation lab. This has helped us filing multiple patents in just a matter of 1 year and has positioned us in a leadership position in digital innovations in our arena of competition.