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7 Questions on Leadership with Karuna Mallakuntala


Name: Karuna Mallakuntala


Title: Chief Revenue Officer


Oranisation: MOURI Tech


Karuna Mallakuntala is a distinguished figure in the technology sector, acclaimed for his mastery in Customer Experience Practice, Strategy, and Platform solutions. With a knack for synthesizing multifaceted global marketing needs into groundbreaking solutions, Karuna melds Design, Strategy, Technologies, and Processes with unparalleled finesse. He excels in Client Relationship & Global Delivery, adeptly navigating the intricate landscapes of "solutioning" any service, spanning from Account Management to Portfolio, Program, and Project Management. Venturing into the vital spheres of modern corporate dynamics, Karuna has carved a niche in Revenue Operations (RevOps). He has architected blueprints that fuel growth and drive profitability. Embracing the role of a visionary Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), he's unified the forces of sales, marketing, and customer service to forge a cohesive revenue generation strategy. Karuna's acumen isn’t limited to strategy and operations. His seasoned experience in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) stands testament to his ability to steer businesses through complex integrations, maximizing value through strategic consolidations.


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


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


Cheers,

Jonno White



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


For me as a CRO, the most challenging yet invigorating aspect has been orchestrating the synergy between Sales, Customer Success, and Marketing under the umbrella of Revenue Operations (RevOps). Each domain is intricate and vital in its own right.


Aligning their goals and strategies to not only coexist but also reinforce each other, ensuring that every customer interaction translates into sustainable revenue, has been a complex task. It's a continuous dance of balancing innovation with practicality, and strategic foresight with operational excellence.

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


My ascent to leadership was rooted in a combination of my strong technology background and robust project management experience. Early on, I was drawn to the intricate world of Customer Experience and Strategy, which complemented my technologically inclined mindset. As I delved deeper, my desire for numbers and analytical thinking allowed me to effectively navigate and "solution" various service landscapes, from Account Management to Portfolio and Program Management.


This fusion of technological acumen, project management rigor, and a numbers-driven approach propelled me into roles that demanded visionary and strategic leadership.


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


In the fast-paced world of IT services, it's paramount for me to stay at the pinnacle of customer experience. My days often blur, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact moment I drift to sleep! Nevertheless, I always start with a review of the day's priorities, ensuring that customer touchpoints are optimized. Given the dynamic nature of our industry, adaptability is key, so while I have a broad structure, I remain flexible to accommodate any emergent needs.


Over the weekend, I set aside a few dedicated hours to meticulously plan and prioritize the upcoming week, ensuring that my team and I are always ahead of the curve. And amidst this whirlwind, I've been blessed with the ability to take a power nap, which acts as a perfect reboot, keeping me energized and focused.


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


One of the most touching lessons I've been reminded of is the indispensable role of trust in leadership positions. Leaders, particularly in the roles steering company growth, hold the reins of the organization's future. I've witnessed instances of revenue leakages that can be incredibly challenging to address. It's crystallized the belief that to circumvent such issues and drive consistent growth, there needs to be an unshakeable foundation of trust combined with the right processes, people, and tools in place.


Trust not only in the integrity of the leaders but also in their capability to employ the best strategies and solutions for the organization's success.


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 teachings of "Good to Great" by Jim Collins and "Eye on the Bottom Line" by Anil Lamb have been transformative. Through Collins, I grasped the essence of disciplined operation, while Lamb's insights fine-tuned my approach to revenue details. Together, they've been my compass in leadership.


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


At the heart of successful technology revenue leadership lies a genuine customer-centric mindset. This, coupled with data-driven decision-making, ensures that choices are informed, objective, and beneficial.


However, it's vital to understand that success isn't just about metrics and numbers; it's the human touch - nurturing relationships both within your team and externally with customers and partners. While staying updated with the latest in technology is crucial, it's the foundational elements of leading by example, seeking continuous improvement, and effective communication that truly make the difference. In this ever-evolving landscape, adaptability is your ally. Be ready to pivot, realign, and recalibrate based on insights and changes. In essence, to truly excel in revenue leadership roles, marry the intricacies of technology with the timeless virtues of trust, clarity, and unwavering dedication to excellence.


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


One of the defining moments in my leadership journey came when our organization was on the brink of losing a significant IT project. Rumblings of dissatisfaction were growing louder, and it seemed we were at a crossroads. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, I decided to step in, leveraging my experience as a "firefighter" in high-pressure scenarios. Through a combination of deep listening, adept relationship-building, and the strategic application of our team's expertise, I managed to not only secure the project but also strengthen our client's trust in us. This experience reinforced the power of direct intervention, decisive action, and the value of a hands-on leadership approach during critical junctures.

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