Name: Dhananjay Bendre
Title: Senior Director - Client Solution Practice
Organisation: ORACLE INDIA PVT LTD
Dhananjay, popularly known in in circles as DB, I have over 34 years’ of experience and have worked in multiple capacities as vendor, distributor, OEM, Customer & Consultant. Started my carrier in 1987 after doing my MBA. Worked with several known companies like Datapro, Tata Unisys, Oracle Corporation till 2000. He left Oracle to start a company with goal to create ERP for EPC construction vertical and partnered with Promotor of Hindustan Construction Company to start an IT company. As founder and CEO of the company I established offices in US, Dubai and London and had team of 150+ people. I was also acting CIO for HCC group companies.
In 2004 I moved out of HCC to start my independent Management Consulting Company to advise midsize companies to grow their business internationally and list on stock exchanges.
I ran the consulting company till 2007 and was instrumental in raising over USD 10 Million for various private and listed companies also managed 3 acquisitions and worked closely with several Private equity ventures to advise them to invest money in Indian companies. I was instrumental in doing 3 M&A deals in this period.
In 2007 I started a Private Equity venture in partnership with royal family of Miraj in Pune and listed the company on Mumbai Stock Exchange. As COO and Executive Director, I Invested in several mid-size companies, listed companies, ran Management advisory services with team of 20 + CAs. Was instrumental for several Mergers & Acquisitions and raised over US 30 Million during this period from HNIs, Family Offices, and International Funds. I was on board of several companies and also use to teach “Venture Funding Course” in reputed management institute.
From 2011, I am working in Oracle India, as Senior Director and managing India’s consulting business for India. During the tenure in Oracle I was instrumental in growing the Cloud business multifold and acquiring several new marquee customers from various verticals.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Dhananjay's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Keeping every member of team & family happy is one of the most challaning part of every leaders life. As a leader everyone expects something from you and most important is time, and how to manage it.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I feel leaders are born and you discover yourself when people around you starts asking you for your opinion, your help, your support. I also went through same phase from class monitor to Cr in college, then becoming team leader and growing as leader.
I think over period of tie you realise that you are a leader till then you just enjoy the attention and making everyone happy. Once you know that you are a leader you start understanding the responsibility. I went through same cycle.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Earlier days it was chaotic when I was not able to define priority to tasks at hand. Now I have compartmentalised office, friends and family and depending on urgency I give more time to each compartment and everyone is happy.
I get up early morning, check my calendar and mails, messages from family and friends and then plan my day by defining what I can do today and what can be pushed or avoided. On a regular day I close my laptop by 6 pm and spend time with family, there are always exceptions but you make sure rule is not broken.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
You learn everyday from someone. I know a person in my company and never ever interacted with him for some reason. The other day I had chance to catch up with him on lunch table. He had excellent education and excellent conceptual & technical skills but he was doing some routine job. I immediately understood his potential and talked to his manager to move him in a role where he could engage with customers as solution architect.
This made me think, how many such individuals are there whom I have not interacted and understood their potential. I try to meet as many people as possible but its important as a leader to go down the chain and find the future stars, Many such gems are hidden as their managers do not give them opportunity and finally they exit your organisation. This is recent learning for me.
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 don't have any specific book which I am fond of. There are thousands of books on subject but what you need from that book is mostly a paragraph or a chapter. So I talk to people who read books and learn what I want to. This I learned from another great leader and my mentor sometime ago.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Your team is best judge to understand your potential as a leader. Do self check once in a while by talking to your team members one on one and see what can be done to improve yourself.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Many times when we face leaders bigger than us we are not sure of our approach / our views. I learned to be confident and putting your views / plans firmly ( after reviewing them ).
I had opportunity to present in front of American Society of Civil engineers in Washington and I came to know at last moment that US President is likely to visit the venue and attend few presentations. While I was presenting President walked in the hall and I was speechless... before I could welcome him he waved and walked away. I later thought, so rude of me not to welcome him, have 2 words with him.. but time had gone. I feel we should be ready for any such challenge and must have presence of mind in most difficult situations.