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7 Questions with Sudhindra
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7 Questions with Sudhindra
Name: Sudhindra V.
Current title: Chief Design Officer, IBM iX India
Current organisation: IBM
Sudhindra is a recognised Thought Leader in Design Thinking, Service Design, Brand Experience Design and Human Centered Design. He is regularly seen sharing his thoughts over articles or as a speaker in conferences and to start ups as an advisor.
He has authored the book “Design Chronicles - Design is an attitude”. His passion for writing has seen his work being published in mainstream media such as Business Standard, Business World, Dataquest and Exchange4Media and an international speaker at various conferences on Experience Design topics regularly. He was recently interviewed by ET CFO on the relevance of design thinking for CFO’s. On the canvas of digital, Sudhindra crafts positive experiences for people armed with insights, empathy and behavioural understanding.
In the field for over 20 years, he has been recognized for his work through more than 14 international awards including ‘Most Innovative Product’ by National Infocomm Awards in Singapore, a ‘Blue Elephant’ at Kyoorius, category best in Interactive Media Awards and Internet Advertising Awards.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
It's all about the people's challenge. In my role, I work with a diverse set of stakeholders. Helping them all align to my vision, thought process while ensuring their inputs are embedded in the larger goal is one of the most challenging aspects of being a leader.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was a practitioner of my craft for over 10 years. All along, I have always tried to see ahead, be on top of trends in my industry and craft, to bring in that futuristic thinking into my work with my clients and go deeper into my craft. And when a leadership position opened in a reputed company, I was fortunate to be appointed to this position from where I then lead a large number of fellow designers.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I try to do creative work early on. I read, study my current course and do the more strategic kind of work early on in the day. During the day I set aside time for my emails and the urgent work that I need to take care of. I schedule my meetings towards the second.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most significant lesson is to know you can make mistakes and be humble about it. When one is in a leadership position, he/she is fully involved in making decisions, taking ownership and leading from the front. One gets adept at it but when one does that for a long time, he starts believing he can never go wrong and that is what can be the downfall. And there's never enough time anyway so one starts to fall back into what he knows best. But I have learnt to look beyond that. I believe in thorough research before making any decision. I also make sure I go through the pros and cons of all actions and put aside time for it.
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?
Good to Great is an amazing book that has had a profound impact on me. It talks about ensuring the right people are on board and occupying the right places. It emphasizes the leadership aspects that made the difference between being just good enough and to be truly great.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
In a large enterprise, one has to ensure the support of all the senior leaders and the major stakeholders to build leadership capacity. It's about ensuring the team is aligned to the organisation's vision at all times, be able to pivot along with the changing nature of the business, be a leader in dealing with that change and to create opportunities.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
There are many but one of the most fulfilling one was how we are supporting diverse set of individuals in my team. We facilitate special needs individuals through their interview, onboarding as well as their everyday work while empowering them with what they need all the time ensuring they are empathized with and ensuring one is not offering false "sympathy".