Name: Geetesh Patidar
Title: Senior Vice President
Organisation: Natwest Group
I am currently working as Senior Vice President in Natwest Group. As part of my role in the Finance change function, I am responsible for delivering regulatory change and transformation initiatives to optimize regulatory processes and ensure that systems are compliant to applicable regulatory regime across applicable jurisdictions.
In my previous role, I was managing a calculation and data platform for group regulatory & risk calculations & reporting. Over the last 20 years in the bank, I have worked in multiple roles across the bank's technology, risk and finance areas.
Prior to this I worked for CMC limited & a social startup Drishte.com.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Geetesh's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
No leader can succeed without a great team. Building a great team with diverse skill and experience is the most difficult part of any leader. This includes setting up required structure, processes, support systems and right context to enable these individual members to operate as a team and harness everyone's best in the most appropriate way to deliver the outcome.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I have been with my current organization for over 20 years and my growth to leadership has been an organic growth. I spent a significant time working in technical and techno-functional roles increasing my knowledge and experience horizontally, taking different roles across multiple functions and domains. That means I took relatively longer time to get into leadership roles, however that also means the growth comes on a solid base and strong cross functional experience.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My workdays are quite predictable. My day starts at 6 AM with some exercise or physical activity, which generally includes swimming or walking for 45 mins to an hour. Post around 8 AM it's time for breakfast, some family time and reading time.
I start my work at 10:30 with a couple of hours in the morning blocked for deep focussed work. 1 PM to 6 PM is the time for collaboration and work with teams and stakeholders. Most of the meetings are scheduled at this time. 6 PM to 7.30 PM is wrap-up time and some planning for the next day. Post 8 PM, it's family time for a couple hours before closing the day.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I was recently reminded of the phrase "Whole is greater than sum of its parts". This phrase fits very well in the context of a well functioning team. A team can deliver great results when we try to bring synergies in the work individual team members are doing and together and converge their efforts and capabilities to make best out of it. The Gestalt principle stands true when individuals are organized and operate as a team.
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 read, learn and absorb ideas from multiple sources. It will be unfair to name one book. I however recently read the book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Danial Kahneman. This book introduces how the mind works by way of various studies, experiments and examples. This introduces the concept of two systems working in mind to reduce cognitive load on mind for routine decisions by helping to take intuitive decisions. There is however a downside to this. The book also identifies situations where at-times the mind can trick us to make decisions which may be wrong or biased if we are not conscious. While fast thinking is good for low stake low impact decisions, knowing how the mind works is useful to avoid getting tripped into wrong decisions. If stakes are high or decisions impact individuals, taking a pause and reflecting consciously in such situations is possibly the best way in such cases.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be open to learn and explore opportunities non linear career progression presents. It helps to bring out innovative solutions or thought processes when you are able to connect wider learning, ideas and experiences.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Looking back I can relate to the key idea in the famous commencement speech by Steve Jobs where he said that you can not connect the dots looking forward; but can only connect to them looking backwards. If I look back I can see many instances where I was unsure if what I was doing was the right thing to do, however looking back it all made sense and every little experience & learning I had came together nicely. This philosophy is of much more relevance in today’s multi disciplinary world. Give attention to detail with an eye on the big picture and have trust in your belief. Dots would connect somewhere in unexpected ways.