Name: Dr. Rajiv Dalmia
Title: Founder & CEO
Organisation: Future Relevant Consulting LLP
Founder & CEO of Future Relevant Consulting LLP, Renowned Leader, and Inspiring Mentor with over 24 years of diverse experience across 111+ countries.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Dr. Rajiv's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Throughout my career, I've encountered various challenges, each viewed as an opportunity for growth and learning. Among these challenges, one of the most striking and consistently vexing has been the prevalent lack of appreciation for the importance of time, both one's own and that of others. I hold a strong belief that time is an individual's most valuable resource, and treating it with respect is crucial in both professional and personal contexts. This unwavering dedication to time management has significantly influenced my leadership style and fostered a deep understanding of how respecting time shapes one's overall character and success.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
The foundation of my leadership journey took root in a modest village, where early life circumstances compelled me to develop strength and resilience. Faced with limited resources, I grasped the significance of conducting tasks with integrity and upholding punctuality. This dedication to effective time management naturally evolved into an integral aspect of my leadership approach. Recognizing time's preciousness, I embarked on a mission to instill this value in my colleagues and associates. My formative experiences, marked by early-life challenges, laid the cornerstone for my leadership journey, as I continue to motivate and guide others in embracing the importance of time and other virtuous habits on their path to achieving excellence.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My day is a reflection of my commitment to good habits, discipline, and a structured routine. As a firm believer in the old adage, "early to bed, early to rise," my day begins with a sense of purpose. It starts with a tranquil morning 'puja' (prayer) to set a positive tone. Regular exercise follows, which invigorates both my body and mind. Work takes center stage, where I prioritize tasks and create a to-do list to ensure efficiency and productivity. Maintaining a healthy diet is paramount, providing the energy needed to tackle the day's challenges. In the evening, another 'puja' session brings a sense of peace and gratitude. Quality family time is non-negotiable, fostering a strong bond and a sense of balance. Healthy food once again fuels my body, while meditation ushers in serenity. Finally, my day ends with a commitment to a good night's sleep, ensuring that I wake up refreshed and ready to embrace a new day with vigor. This structured daily routine helps me maintain a balanced and purposeful life. Weekends is all same except no work, additional family time and reading.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent leadership lesson I've embraced, albeit a challenging one, is the importance of saying "No" decisively and promptly. In the past, I often found myself delaying or revisiting these difficult decisions, driven by thoughtfulness or a natural inclination to avoid disappointment. However, I've come to realize that saying "No" in a timely and clear manner is essential for effective leadership. It not only preserves my own time and energy but also respects the time and expectations of others. This lesson has shown me that being transparent and decisive in saying "No" is a valuable leadership trait, allowing me to focus on what truly matters and foster clear communication in my professional interactions.
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?
"The Seasons of Life" by Jim Rohn has had a profound impact on my leadership journey. This book taught me that every season in life, even the challenging ones, is necessary and valuable. It emphasized the importance of embracing difficult times and learning from them.
One short story "Tom White washes the Fence," from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has stuck with me since childhood. It highlights the power of perspective and turning mundane tasks into rewarding opportunities with the right attitude.
The life of Sir Ratan Tata, has a lasting impact on my overall approach to life and leadership. His life has been instrumental in shaping my leadership style, emphasizing the value of humility, learning and growing from every experience, no matter what.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I could offer just one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to embrace the profound significance of respecting time. Time is your most valuable resource; treat it with the utmost respect and efficiency. Additionally, remember to continuously learn, build a strong network, embrace failure as a stepping stone to success, and lead with purpose and integrity.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
During my time in a leadership role, I recall a significant story where an example was set. This happened in one of the organizations I was a part of when there were high growth expectations, even during a challenging phase of cost-cutting. My personal workload was already stretched to the limit. In this demanding situation, I launched the "Each One Score One" initiative with a tight three-month deadline. The idea behind it was simple: to provide each team member with a chance to engage in sales, business development, and client relations. Each team member, in their unique way, would collaborate with existing clients, aiming to bring in just one additional full-time equivalent (FTE) project. The results were truly remarkable and took everyone by surprise. In just three months, there was almost a 35% increase in headcount and business growth, all achieved without any significant effort from the business development team. This initiative showcased the untapped potential within our organization and demonstrated that every team member could contribute to the company's growth. This experience taught us a valuable lesson: when leaders set a clear and inspiring example and encourage each team member to take ownership and contribute, exceptional results can be attained. It emphasized the strength of teamwork, collaboration, and the untapped potential that an organization can harness effectively.