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7 Questions on Leadership with Adheesha Dharmakeerthi

Name: Adheesha Dharmakeerthi

Title: Co-Founder

Organisation: Futura Global

Adheesha is a renowned performance marketing leader in Sri Lanka, with a regional reputation specializing in tech. With over a decade of marketing experience of which 5 years in Tech marketing, he's worked with both multinational and local brands in Sri Lanka and Cambodia, focusing mainly on FinTech. Adheesha has held pivotal roles in the recent years in his career, including Head of Growth (Vice President) at Koko Buy Now Pay Later (an Alibaba Group company), Growth Manager at Genie (an Axiata Group company), and Digital Performance Manager (Head of Digital) at Wing Bank (Cambodia) PLC, bootstrapping their growth through effective performance marketing strategies. Apart from his corporate success, Adheesha is a visiting lecturer at the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing, a sought-after corporate trainer, and a consultant in digital marketing and technology. He is the youngest Doctoral(DBA) student of the first batch of Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM-USJP) and has completed his MBA from the same institute (PIM-USJP). He holds a B.Sc (Hons) in Business Management(2nd Class Upper Division) from the University College of Dublin, Ireland. He is also a member of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM-UK) and the Computer Society of Sri Lanka (MCS-SL).

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

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


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As technology leaders, it is our solemn responsibility to envision the future of our industry. This task is particularly demanding in today's swiftly evolving technological landscape, where accurately anticipating shifts in the business environment is a formidable challenge. Despite the wealth of data at our disposal, determining the most precise projection for the future of our industry remains a complex decision to make.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I consider myself a natural leader. From my early school days, I actively participated in numerous extracurricular activities and assumed leadership roles within prominent organizations, including Interact (a part of Rotary International). During my university years, I held the position of Vice President on the CIM (UK) student council in Sri Lanka and played an instrumental role in establishing two Rotaract Clubs as a member of Rotary International. Furthermore, I served as the Director of Public Relations for Rotary District 3220, overseeing operations in both Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Upon entering the corporate sector in 2013, I diligently observed and looked up to accomplished corporate leaders, absorbing their invaluable insights and wisdom. I had the privilege of reporting directly to distinguished figures in the business world, such as Mr. Dhammika Perera, a prominent businessman in Sri Lanka, and Rajitha Dahanayake, the Founder and CEO of eMarketingEye, the largest digital agency in Sri Lanka. These experiences have enriched my understanding of leadership and contributed to my personal growth.

My commitment to learning extends beyond interactions with superiors; I believe that everyone, regardless of their position, has unique knowledge to share. I actively observe, listen, and learn from both peers and subordinates, as I firmly believe that each individual possesses something valuable to teach. This holistic approach to learning has enabled me to continuously refine my leadership skills and strive for excellence

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Typically, I start my day quite early, engaging in introspection and planning for the day ahead. I methodically prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. The first half of my day is dedicated to more contemplative, strategic work, while the second half is devoted to the practical execution of these plans.

During the late evenings, my focus shifts to my role as an educator, where I have the privilege of nurturing digital marketing talent. By day's end, I assess my progress against my task list, noting completed items and preparing for the following day. In the brief breaks I take, I make a conscious effort to spend quality time with my loved ones.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Don't ever lose hope, when one door shuts, it could open many others which leads to much better places.

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?

That would be Art of War by Sun Tzu. In the realm of business, we often find ourselves engaged in a continuous struggle, much like the principles outlined in Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War.' Whether we embrace this analogy or not, the teachings from this ancient text have consistently provided me with valuable insights and inspiration for navigating the challenges of the business world.

Additionally, I've drawn inspiration from the profound poem 'Invictus' by William Ernest Henley. This poem underscores the idea that we are the masters of our own destinies and the captains of our souls. It serves as a powerful reminder that, regardless of the challenges we face, we ultimately hold the reins of our lives, deciding how we shape our own paths.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Have a vision in life, a crystal clear one, where you picture yourself in the future with absolutely meticulous details. Let that be your guiding light and you just have to keep working towards it.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I firmly believe that a significant aspect of effective leadership revolves around empowering one's team. During my tenure at a technology organization where I led the growth efforts, I encountered a team member who possessed tremendous potential but had, unfortunately, started to doubt her own skills and capabilities due to past work experiences. Her work habits included arriving late and displaying low energy levels while on the job.

Recognizing her potential, I decided to address this issue proactively. I entrusted her with the responsibility of managing our reporting newsletter and encouraged her to present our team's accomplishments. This opportunity allowed her to showcase the exceptional work we were doing and receive well-deserved recognition. Initially hesitant, she eventually agreed to take on this role. Over the course of a few weeks, I witnessed a transformation in her. She began arriving at work earlier and exuded a significantly higher level of enthusiasm, driven by the desire to share an even more remarkable success story with the team in the future.

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