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7 Questions on Leadership with Himanshu Parekh

Name: Himanshu Parekh

Title: Head of Tax (West)

Organisation: KPMG

Himanshu has over 28 years of professional experience on a variety of tax and regulatory matters. He has extensive experience on cross-border tax issues and investment structuring, both, inbound and outbound. He has advised multinationals on complex tax issues and helped clients in developing appropriate strategies for tax planning & restructuring of operations. He has also helped clients successfully navigate through complex litigations and evolve alternate dispute resolution strategies.

Himanshu has been rated as one of the leading tax advisors in India by International Tax Review.

Himanshu is a regular speaker at various forums and has contributed several articles / papers in professional journals / newspapers.

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

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


Jonno White

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

One of my biggest challenges is to get people out of their silo approach and get them to collaborate better for the collective benefit of everyone in the organization. I also feel that people do not spend as much time on innovation/ forward thinking as they should; they are largely focused on completion of the task at hand.

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

To my mind, leadership is a journey and over a period of time, an individual becomes a leader by living the values of the organization, leading by example, acting with integrity, empathizing with and empowering people and in thinking of the organization’s interests ahead of one’s own interests.

Having shown a willingness to accept a larger and more challenging role in the organization and having observed some of the above qualities of a leader in me, one fine day, my Boss called me and asked me to take up a leadership role in the organization. From having led a team of about 30 people, I was asked to lead a division of our practice which comprised of about 600 people, spread across 10 offices in India. It was a titanic shift in my role and the expectations from me in the organization.

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

I get up in the morning, do some exercises , get ready and leave for work around 8.30 am. My day is busy with client meetings and internal meetings. In the evening, I spend some time with my family and thereafter get back to work. I devote around 1 to 1.5 hours every night to catch up on recent tax and macro-economic developments.

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

Right now, I am reading the book “Blue Ocean Shift”. I loved the lesson imparted therein i.e., to move beyond the red ocean which is crammed with competition to the blue ocean of uncontested market creation.

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 loved the book “Drive” by Daniel Pink, which outlined the parameters for fostering a genuinely motivating environment at workplace. Also, loved listening to David Roberts on the topic of “Exponential Leadership”. I have been trying to imbibe the lessons from these experiences in my leadership style.

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

Be passionate about your work, give premium to the right culture and values in the organization, show empathy towards people and empower them and develop long lasting relationships with colleagues and other stakeholders.

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

As a young professional, I used to closely watch the leadership style of our organization's leader (who happens to be a mentor to me even today). One important thing that I learnt from him was that after having become a leader, it is important to create many new leaders in the organization. I always remember that key message and try to follow that principle in my life.

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