Name: Ashwani Makkar
Title: Senior Project Manager
Technology veteran & enthusiastic with 23 years of rich experience in all spheres of SDLC. Playing leadership role in technology services to guide new generation in delivering valuable outcomes to our customers and key stakeholders every moment. Always involved in Strategic planning to designing the mission-vision-goal to implementation. Leading and directing team with projects on Cloud migration. Generative artificial intelligence ( ChatGPT, Bard) , data analytic with Hadoop & Kafka and many more advanced technologies.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Ashwani's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Continue learning , self improvement and return on organisational investment on you by adding value. In simple words, keeping ROI higher by adding value in fast changing technology landscape.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
It’s a process for everyone to go through from specialist to management to leadership. I have gone through the transformation and appreciate the process which continually push you to move the productivity needle to perform better. Most successful team member automatically becomes choice for team leader.
In my journey I got team leading experience very early when my passion was still on coding, programming and developing projects. It took me 5 years before becoming comfortable in team and gradually I have started enjoying the change. It has mutually benefit to my department and company. Major transformation happened in last 5 years when I understood the true meaning of leadership which means amplify the outcome with your experience and leadership. Illuminate the new generation with your ideas and experience.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
1. Wake up at 6
2. Light exercise on terrace
3. Drop my daughter to school
4. Reach office early with audible book listening while driving.
5. Meetings Planning and to do list review
6. Office hours with lot of networking and focused discussions on current & future tasks hand.
7. Some fun with all grade of colleagues and helping staff.
8. Return to home with audible books or light music.
9. 1 learning hour
10. Dinner and brisk walk with wife
11. Go to bed by 10 pm max.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
People watch your actions than intent so better articulation and actions are more important. Always ensure you are not misinterpreted to remain successful leader.
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?
Think Again by Adam Grant has definitely changed my perspective and challenged many deep rooted beliefs. It has reminded not to get trapped on biased view of the world with limited isolated experience & small sample size. We can see similar behaviour in Generative AI which can give wrong decision due to training on historical data which is biased against women, some ethics and even skin colour.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Learning unlearning relearning is the life long process of success. Be it any profession you need to improve the business outcomes everyday and that’s only possible by quickly adjusting with the demand of time. Outcome is the function of rethinking, recalibrating the strategy and lean implementation to fail fast but fail forward.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
We have started our cloud transformation journey before Covid pandemic hit the global economy. We have continually transformed our workforce on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and today we have phenomenal success. Any technology and cultural transformation takes its own sweet time so one must remain patient and keep on finding innovative ways to achieve the target.