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7 More Questions on Leadership with Nihar Ranjan Patra


Name: Nihar Ranjan Patra


Title: Delivery Head


Organisation: Globtier Infotech Pvt. Ltd.


With over 27 years of distinguished experience in project management & project delivery and have established myself as a Trusted Digital Advisor. I have a proven track record of successfully delivering multi-million-dollar projects from inception to completion for esteemed global and regional business partners, including esteemed government organizations. My credentials include being a certified Lead Auditor for ISO 27001, an ITIL V4.0 Foundation holder, a proficient Scrum Master, and a certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. With an extensive grasp of industry best practices and methodologies, I infuse every project with a profound understanding of excellence


My expertise lies in process optimization and streamlining, demonstrated by my ability to review and enhance existing business processes, developing new process flow models that lead to continuous process enhancement within the software. I am skilled in business analysis, documenting existing processes, analyzing business requirements, and utilizing requirements traceability matrix for seamless project execution. My customer-centric approach ensures that projects align with clients' objectives, resulting in high levels of customer satisfaction and lasting partnerships built on trust.


As a motivational leader, I foster a collaborative and high-performance work culture within my teams, driving increased productivity, employee satisfaction, and exceptional retention rates. Emphasizing effective communication and recognizing individual contributions, I inspire innovation and continuous improvement. With a passion for excellence, I continuously strive to optimize project performance and drive successful outcomes. Let's connect to discuss project management, process optimization, or explore exciting opportunities in the IT domain. Together, we can achieve remarkable results.


Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!


We’ve gone through the interviews and asked the best of the best to come back and answer 7 MORE Questions on Leadership.

I hope Nihar's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Cheers,


Jonno White


1. As a leader, how do you build trust with employees, customers and other stakeholders?


Building trust with employees, customers, and other stakeholders is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a combination of integrity, transparency, empathy, and consistent actions. Here are some unique and original strategies for cultivating trust in each of these key relationships:


Employees:


Open Communication Culture: Foster a culture where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback without fear of reprisal. Hold regular town hall meetings, open forums, and anonymous suggestion boxes to encourage dialogue.


Invest in Growth: Demonstrate your commitment to employee development by providing opportunities for learning and growth. Encourage them to attend workshops, conferences, and pursue further education, and offer support in these endeavors.


Fair and Inclusive Policies: Ensure that workplace policies are fair, inclusive, and promote diversity. Strive for equal opportunities and pay equity. Communicate these policies clearly and enforce them consistently.


Lead by Example: Show humility by acknowledging your mistakes and learning from them. When you make a commitment, follow through on it. Your actions should mirror the values you preach.


Customers:


Personalized Engagement: Use data-driven insights to personalize customer interactions. Anticipate their needs and provide tailored solutions. Customers appreciate when they feel heard and understood.


Transparency in Product/Service: Be transparent about your products or services. Highlight both strengths and weaknesses. If there's an issue or a delay, inform customers promptly and explain how you're addressing it.


Customer Education: Provide resources and educational content to help customers make informed decisions. This not only builds trust but also positions your company as an industry authority.


Quality Assurance: Continuously focus on product/service quality. Consistently delivering what you promise builds trust over time.


Other Stakeholders (e.g., investors, regulators, partners):


Ethical Business Practices: Operate with a strong commitment to ethical practices, even when it's challenging. Demonstrate how your business contributes positively to the community and the environment.


Transparency in Reporting: Provide detailed and transparent reports about your company's financial health, performance, and future plans. Regularly engage with stakeholders through meetings, webinars, or publications.


Risk Mitigation: Develop proactive risk management strategies and demonstrate your ability to adapt and pivot in response to unforeseen challenges.


Partnerships Based on Shared Values: When forming partnerships, prioritize alignment in values and long-term goals over short-term gains. Building strong, mutually beneficial relationships with partners helps bolster trust across the board.


2. What do 'VISION' and 'MISSION' mean to you? And what does it actually look like to use them in real-world business?


Vision and Mission are two fundamental elements of an organization's strategic framework, and they play distinct but complementary roles in guiding the organization's purpose and direction. Here's what they mean to me, and how they are used in the real world of business:


Vision:


What it means: A vision statement is a forward-looking declaration that encapsulates the aspirational future state an organization aims to achieve. It is a vivid, inspiring, and often ambitious portrayal of what the organization hopes to become.


Real-world application: In a business context, a vision statement serves as a North Star that provides a sense of direction and inspiration to employees, stakeholders, and customers. It defines the long-term purpose of the organization. For example, a technology company's vision might be: "To create a world where technology enhances human potential and well-being."


Employee Alignment: The vision statement aligns employees with a common goal and instills a sense of purpose, motivating them to work towards a shared future.


Strategic Decision-Making: It guides strategic decision-making by helping leaders determine whether initiatives and projects are in line with the desired future state.


Brand Identity: The vision often becomes a crucial component of the organization's brand identity, influencing how it is perceived by customers and the public.


Mission:


What it means: A mission statement is a concise declaration of an organization's core purpose, what it does, and for whom it does it. It articulates the organization's reason for existence and its fundamental business activities.


Real-world application: In practice, a mission statement serves as a practical roadmap for daily operations and decision-making within an organization. It answers the question of why the organization exists and what it seeks to achieve. For example, a healthcare company's mission might be: "To improve the health and well-being of communities by providing accessible, high-quality medical care."


Operational Guidance: The mission statement guides day-to-day activities, ensuring that they align with the organization's core purpose.


Stakeholder Expectations: It helps manage stakeholder expectations by clarifying what the organization delivers and whom it serves.


Values and Culture: The mission often includes the organization's values, helping to define its culture and ethical standards.


3. How can a leader empower the people they're leading?


A leader can empower the people they're leading by fostering an environment of trust and autonomy. This involves providing clear guidance and expectations, then granting individuals the freedom to innovate, make decisions, and take ownership of their work. Effective communication, active listening, and regular feedback are essential, as they help individuals feel valued and understood. Additionally, a leader should provide opportunities for skill development, mentorship, and growth, enabling their team members to continually expand their capabilities and take on new challenges. Ultimately, empowering leadership inspires confidence, creativity, and a sense of purpose among the team, leading to higher morale, productivity, and a more collaborative and resilient organization.

4. Who are some of the coaches or mentors in your life who have had a positive influence on your leadership? Can you please tell a meaningful story about one of them?


My Uncle, here is a small story:


In my early days, I faced the challenges of being an average student. It was a time of uncertainties, and I was searching for my path in life. During my graduation days, while I was exploring my options, my brother was pursuing post-graduation and earning through shadow writing. I felt a desire to earn as well, but I lacked the required skill set. Then, a close friend suggested that I should consider teaching tuition classes to junior students, which not only would earn me some money but also make a positive impact in their lives. Teaching could also help hone my skills. Filled with excitement, I shared the idea with my mother.


However, as a loving and caring mother, she expressed concerns about my own academic performance and the potential impact on the younger students' future. Reluctantly, she advised me against it, and I trusted her judgment, putting the idea aside.


Life had other plans for me, and after my graduation, I took a leap into the world of technology and pursued an advanced course in Computers. It was a turning point in my life, as I found my passion in the tech field and began honing my skills, setting out on a journey of growth and learning.


Before embarking on my technology journey, I became a teacher at an institute called Aptech, where I discovered my love for imparting knowledge and empowering others to excel.


During this time, a significant event occurred that would change the trajectory of my life. One eventful day, my highly educated and knowledgeable uncle, who was the General Manager at IRE, and someone I deeply admired, happened to visit the institute for a purpose. Curious about my whereabouts, he was directed to the classroom where I was passionately teaching my students.


Rather than interrupting the class, he chose to quietly observe from outside, soaking in the entire session. Little did I know that his presence that day would have a profound impact on my life and my self-confidence.


After the class concluded, my uncle approached me with a warm smile on his face. He praised my teaching abilities and expressed how impressed he was with the way I engaged with the students. He even remarked that he wished he had a teacher like me during his own time as a student. Those words of praise were like a spark that ignited a fire of self-belief within me.


That single compliment from someone I held in such high regard was a turning point. It bolstered my confidence, reaffirming that I had the potential to excel in the tech field and make a positive impact through teaching.


From that moment on, I embraced the power of self-confidence and set out on a remarkable journey. Today, I stand before you as a Delivery Head of a prominent IT company, leading teams of 100 members and providing solutions to Fortune 1000 companies across the globe


5. Leadership is often more about what you DON'T do. How do you maintain focus in your role?


Clear Prioritization: Identify your top priorities and objectives, aligning them with the organization's goals. Concentrate your time and energy on these key areas, and be willing to delegate or say no to tasks that don't directly contribute to these priorities.


Effective Time Management: Develop strong time management skills, including setting specific blocks of time for focused work and minimizing distractions. Use techniques like the Pomodoro method to stay on track.


Delegation: Trust your team and delegate tasks and responsibilities appropriately. Empowering others to take ownership of their roles not only lightens your workload but also fosters their growth and development.


Saying No: Be discerning about commitments outside of your core responsibilities. Politely decline requests or activities that don't align with your primary objectives.


Regular Self-Reflection: Take time for introspection to evaluate your daily actions and assess whether they are contributing to your leadership goals. Adjust as needed.


Limiting Information Overload: Filter information to focus on what's most relevant to your role. Unsubscribe from unnecessary emails, use filters, and prioritize critical updates.


Setting Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life to avoid burnout and maintain mental clarity.


Accountability and Feedback: Have a trusted colleague or mentor hold you accountable for staying on track, and seek feedback on your leadership focus regularly.


6. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Everyone plans differently. How do you plan for the week, month and years ahead in your role?


In my role, I employ a structured yet flexible approach to planning for the week, month, and years ahead. At the start of each week, I establish clear, achievable objectives in alignment with my long-term goals, ensuring they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). I prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency, and I allocate dedicated time blocks for focused work. Monthly, I review progress, adjust priorities as needed, and engage in strategic thinking, seeking feedback from my team and mentors. For long-term planning, I create a strategic roadmap, outlining key milestones, learning opportunities, and growth areas over the coming years. However, I remain adaptable, recognizing the importance of agility in an ever-changing environment, and I regularly revisit and revise my plans to stay responsive and resilient.


7. What advice would you give to a young leader who is struggling to delegate effectively?


To a young leader struggling with effective delegation, I'd offer this advice: Start by recognizing that delegation is not a sign of weakness but a powerful tool for growth and efficiency. Begin small by delegating tasks that are well-suited for others on your team and clearly communicate your expectations, goals, and any necessary resources. Trust your team members' abilities and encourage open communication, offering support and feedback as needed. Remember that delegating isn't just about lightening your load but also about developing your team's skills and fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility. Over time, as you gain confidence in your team and their capabilities, you'll find it easier to delegate more complex tasks and focus on higher-level leadership responsibilities.

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