Name: Krishna Kumar
Title: Deputy Director
Organisation: Sri Siddhanta Foundation
A senior Sales, Marketing and Business Development professional with 30 years of experience the field of Strategic Planning / Business Planning / Contribution Analysis & Profit & Loss Responsibility / Entry Strategy / Brand Management, Marketing Strategy & Communication / Project Management / Business Development / Sales Management currently heading the Admin/CSR/Corporate Management of a group of NGOs
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Krishna's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
To be a leader. With the days getting dominantly driven by technology and digital disruptions, oldies like me, with average or more than little average skill set to combat the growing complexity of tech disruptions, remaining a leader itself is the highest challenge. Yet, with a passion, an utmost aptitude of learning as much as I can, trying to keep pace with newer trends and advancements. In the journey, I feel that I am learning, if not every second, every hour at least.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Year 1980, got to be a 18 year old teenager, despite the dreams like every other, was forced to enter the world of becoming a bread-winner for the family. A family of 8, equally distributed, 4 elders and 4 youth. Commencing my career of earnings as a Supervisor in a Chemical Processing Company, as part of a big corporate manufacturing company.
The first day, setting me a path from dark to bright light, (not a visionary illumination) its the early morning darkness before the Sun Rise, i didn't know it would be the same everyday. But, the first day evening itself taught me the toughness I might have to face, the days to come.
Since then, it's been a travel of around 43 years now, professionally engaging myself to earn for the family particularly, and a little bit to my siblings and extended families, within relations and external too. If only, i could call myself to have accomplished some levels of leadership and the grip of being the leader, it was 2013, when I launched my own business, into a very aspiring and complex yet engaging business nature.
An industry that combines business creation to exposure to engagement to image building. That's manufacturing to exhibit showcase to demonstration to brand building. Have been instrumental to more than 500+ organisations/brands offering over 6000+ products/services who have been serviced by mein this journey.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Having born into a cultured family background life starts for me at about 5.30 am with morning practices of freshen-up to prayers, walking and workouts, to pre-check of daily routine with emphasis to previous day left-outs if any and process oriented work flow for the fresh new day.
With hours passing by, though not left without sudden challenges (mostly crisis and conflict management issues) it's almost 9 hours of action packed travel in the profession. Typically because, I handle the initiatives of close to 9 different organisations within the broader family of the group, diversely involved from Common People Upliftment to Underprivileged empowerment to spiritual institutional fund management to issues of concern and governance for compliance to cultural and heritage knowledge series development to narrative building media forum to Vedic and Shastra Learning Initiatives.
The list is only at a macro-level. Micros involve administrative processes, financial compliance and best practices, CSR compliance and workforce management. But one thing, when I get back home, I have my satisfied mind to speak to family members, get to know their experience and needs, relax a bit to soothen my thoughts with sops and reels digitally, fooding routine with medication (demanded by being a diabetic), indulge into a almost filling sleep mode for a day.
I have been true to all possible beliefs while I said all these, and would also include a bit of soar on certain days I encounter. The pains of smoothening my aged father, not physically supported by his best half who left him behind 18 years ago. Despite experiencing the pains that he suffers, it's the inside leadership inspiration he imbibed in me, when I was just 18. It was he who laid the foundation that I become the leader of the family to take it forward, when I was a teenager, that drove my journey all these days.
He's a real hero, who told me if I could do all this in just Rs.60, 30 years ago; what you are starting of with Rs.300 in 1980's. Its all those experiences of the 43 years travel, that beholds my life to be of some use to as many as I can, through all possible ways and means I am involved in.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
The recent leadership lesson that I learnt for the first time, is to embrace better tasking of desired goals. That too, the art of muli-tasking across non-monetizing, non-commercial and dominantly philanthropic initiatives. Though these are beyond what we call money, they do demand a very high degree of indulgence, especially towards accomplishing the best with the least. Best in terms of beneficiary fulfillment with the least of intricate disturbances that might arise out of a heterogenous human resource, who are driven both by money and innate passion too.
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?
I think I should be true enough here. While it goes with Dale Carnegie's "Think Big. Grow Big." the first ever leadership literature that impacted my mind. That too, impacted by my mentor guru who taught me "What YOU think was not Leadership" and its much more and larger in every dimension.
The fact is, he was an English Professor, with astounding characteristics, of not only mentoring, but a clear action driver, in whomever he mentored. Had the privilege of travelling with him for more than 30 years of my life and every time we used to cherish memories, it was none other than this literature referred herein.
But, I understood in all my experience, the word BIG does not refer to size of thoughts and growth I would achieve, but the processes and thoughts that I need to have, be it in depth as well as width.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
It's not important that you aspire or wish to become a leader. You have to become so. You have to Live so. You have to Lead so. Simply because, in jurisprudence, there's a famous belief, "it's not enough that justice is sentenced. it should be experienced and seen to have been delivered". So is the leadership.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Life is all about happenings. May be good, bad and sometimes even ugly. Filled with Success, Awards and Rewards, Money and Fame, Happiness and Fulfillment. But remember, you would equally get filled with losses, failures, unhappiness, pains, wounds and for that matter total zero effect too.
But, the one simple message that we should keep in mind is, when we have the former, someone or everyone around us have been experiencing the latter and vice versa. Therefore, these are not what made / makes you a leader.
It's your thoughts, action, deal and zeal, the need and demand that makes you and zeroes you as a leader. If you think you became the leader, stay there. Never drop down. Rest is all not you or yours.