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7 Questions on Leadership with Prasenjit Chakrabarty


Name: Prasenjit Chakrabarty


Title: CEO


Organisation: Parallox Software PVt Limited


Introducing Prasenjit Chakrabarty, a dynamic and accomplished digital marketer and legal expert based in India, passionately navigating the intersection of the Indian Software as a Service (SaaS) industry and business law. With a focus on consulting services for post-incubated startups with over three years of experience, Prasenjit is a driving force behind funnel creation, AI integration, appointment setting, recruitment, and training for effective cold and warm calls.


Specializing in crafting authentic, humanized, and plagiarism-free content, Prasenjit excels in developing engaging social media posts that contribute significantly to brand building and organic growth. The commitment to simplicity and clarity is reflected in the use of straightforward sentence structures, adhering to a Subject-Verb-Object format, aligning with a preference for humanized content.


Hailing from India but working seamlessly for global clients, Prasenjit has honed a unique approach that combines frugality with efficiency, ensuring optimal results within limited resources and time constraints. This dedication to achieving tasks within a 20-minute timeframe underscores Prasenjit's ability to deliver results with speed and precision.


Prasenjit draws inspiration from a personal journey marked by resilience and determination. Having faced early personal losses, Prasenjit's story is one of overcoming adversity and channeling that strength into academic achievements, securing positions in competitive engineering and management examinations. This journey, coupled with the guidance of a dedicated father, instilled core beliefs in resilience, adaptability, the transformative power of education, and the importance of supportive leadership.


With a professional mantra rooted in technological progress, lean thinking, and the human touch, Prasenjit continues to make waves in the digital marketing and legal realms. This short bio encapsulates the essence of a multifaceted professional, blending expertise in digital marketing, legal acumen, and a commitment to simplicity and human connection.


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


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


Cheers,

Jonno White



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


Well. This is a hard question. There are two ways to answer it. One is a storytelling way, which I will attempt second. And then there are the gist- which I will attempt first.

First, the problem, as it shapes- Initiating Change:

In the initial phases of change management, there's often a sense of urgency, a crisis that demands immediate attention. This phase is relatively more manageable, as it allows me to channel the entire team's focus towards a common purpose, fostering unity and rallying the team behind a shared goal.


Post-Achievement Evaluation:

After meeting the initial target, the subsequent challenge lies in identifying the root causes of any lingering issues and implementing corrective measures. Securing support, and resources, and negotiating with various stakeholders become pivotal tasks for the leader in ensuring the sustained success of the change initiative.


Building a Performance-Driven Culture:

Creating a culture centered around performance is crucial, but it comes with the challenge of ensuring that team members adhere to a moral compass and choose the right path, even when faced with challenges. It's common for individuals to be tempted by shortcuts, but as a leader, I emphasize the importance of doing things the right way, even when it's the harder path.


Maintaining Standards in a Well-Established Environment:

In companies with well-established performance-based systems, maintaining both the standard of quality and the required level of performance is more straightforward. These organizations have robust processes in place, making it easier to uphold quality standards while achieving the performance metrics necessary to meet them. Sometimes I felt, that I was the Columbus chasing this goal, every day.


Now, allow me to quote an example-


Title: "Leading through Transformation at ABC Ltd"

In the corridors of ABC Ltd, I assumed the mantle of leadership during a period of significant upheaval. My predecessor, faced with challenges in steering the ship through turbulent waters, had made the tough decision to step aside. This marked the beginning of my journey to navigate the company through a transformative phase.


Initiating Change:

The initial days were marked by urgency, a palpable crisis demanding immediate attention. Joining the organization at a crucial juncture, I seized the opportunity to rally the team around a common purpose. We defined our collective goals and worked tirelessly to redirect our focus, fostering unity among team members. The crisis became a catalyst for change, a moment where the entire team could align and move forward with purpose.


Post-Achievement Evaluation:

As we met the initial targets and stabilized the ship, the need arose to delve deeper into the root causes of the challenges that had prompted my predecessor's departure. Identifying these issues became a priority. I engaged in extensive dialogue with the team, sought their insights, and initiated corrective measures. Simultaneously, I undertook the crucial task of garnering support, allocating resources, and negotiating with stakeholders to ensure the sustained success of our transformation journey.


Building a Performance-Driven Culture:

Central to our transformation was the establishment of a performance-driven culture. I communicated a strong message about the importance of adhering to our moral compass, even when faced with the allure of shortcuts.

This became a guiding principle for the team. I emphasized that true success lies not just in achieving targets but in doing so ethically and in the right way, even when faced with challenges.


Maintaining Standards in a Well-Established Environment:

During the change, we worked diligently to embed robust processes. Drawing on the well-established principles of performance-based management, we created an environment where maintaining quality standards was not a separate task but an integral part of achieving our performance metrics. The organization transformed into a well-oiled machine where excellence was not compromised in the pursuit of success.


As the leader, my journey at ABC Ltd wasn't just about weathering a storm; it was about harnessing the turbulence to steer the ship towards calmer waters.

Through change, adherence to principles, and a commitment to performance and quality, we not only weathered the storm but emerged stronger, with a transformed organization ready to face new horizons.


Some of the crucial efforts and successes of the team were

1. We created a new product, which later became the best new product launch in that industry, garnering over 6% market share in the segment within 24 months over 30% of the internal product mix, and a source of over 70% of profitability.


2. Enhancing performance standards by successfully deploying SAP MM PP QM module implementation, during a pandemic and accomplishing without a single-day business disruption and zero add-in human headcount.


3. Creating water-saving projects, that could bring to the country, 2 Top sustainability awards from the group, having representations across 24 countries.


4. All these, were accomplished with the same team, with zero attrition, who went on to implement successfully projects worth $17 Mn in the space of 12 months to rapidly achieve technological and business transformation.


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


My journey into leadership began with a strong foundation in Chemical Engineering, providing me with technical expertise and a problem-solving mindset. Early in my career, I took on varied roles in planning and procurement at a multinational corporation, managed customer accounts at a leading paint company, and led projects at an organic chemical manufacturing company.


The pivotal moment came when I joined the organic chemical manufacturing company. Businesses demanded the creation of cryogenic processes compliant with the food industry, and through strategic collaboration, we successfully developed a product that served as a substitute for European imports in India. This achievement showcased the intersection of technological innovation, compliance, and cost-effectiveness, resulting in a remarkable 90% cost saving for customers.


The subsequent phase at the paint company in Goa presented its own set of challenges. Tasked with revitalizing a fire-damaged unit, I successfully led the demolition and reconstruction, introducing automation and innovative technologies. This challenging project became a crucible for my leadership skills, requiring me to navigate complexities, negotiate with stakeholders, and inspire a team toward a shared vision.


Alongside my professional endeavors, my passion for lifelong education led me to pursue teaching in management. The desire to communicate with younger generations and stay abreast of new technologies became a driving force behind my continuous learning journey. Engaging with students not only allowed me to share my experiences but also provided me with insights from the new generation, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas.


During this transformative process, I closely worked with top leaders at the organic chemical manufacturing company, learning firsthand the importance of human touch and lean thinking in any technological transformation. These principles, ingrained in the success at the organic chemical manufacturing company, became key pillars of my leadership philosophy, guiding me in various roles later in my career.


These experiences positioned me as a capable leader, leading to opportunities at another prominent beverage company and later, a renowned spirits manufacturer. In these roles, I faced and overcame challenges such as restructuring units, implementing quality standards, and driving cultural change.


The culmination of my journey brought me to my current role enabling Sales, in the Technology sector, my commitment to lifelong education remains unwavering, as I continually seek new insights and knowledge. Today, as a leader, I draw on this diverse journey, leveraging technical expertise, strategic thinking, human touch, and lean principles to drive success in dynamic environments. My dedication to education, both as a teacher and a perpetual learner, remains at the core of my leadership philosophy.


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


Morning:


6:00 AM - 7:00 AM: Wake Up and Morning Routine


Begin the day with meditation or light exercise for mental and physical well-being.

Check and respond to urgent emails or messages.

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM: Breakfast and News


Have a nutritious breakfast while catching up on industry news and trends.

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM: Office Commute


Commute to the office, either physically or virtually, preparing mentally for the workday.

Work Hours:


9:00 AM - 10:00 AM: Daily Partner Meeting


Attend a daily meeting with partners to discuss ongoing projects, share updates, and align on priorities.

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Core Work Tasks


Dive into priority tasks, such as content creation, campaign management, or legal research.

Schedule and attend virtual client meetings as needed.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Lunch Break


Take a break to recharge with a healthy lunch.

Use this time for a short walk or quick exercise.

Afternoon:


1:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Administrative Tasks


Handle administrative duties, such as reviewing contracts, managing invoices, or addressing legal matters.

Respond to non-urgent emails and messages.

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Creative Work and Strategy


Engage in creative tasks, like brainstorming new marketing ideas or drafting engaging content.

Work on long-term strategies for client projects or business development.

Evening:


5:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Daily Client Meeting


Conduct a daily client meeting to discuss project progress, address concerns, and provide updates.

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Family Time and Dinner


Have dinner with family members.

Engage in quality family time, discussing the day and sharing experiences.

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Review Daughter's Progression


Spend dedicated time reviewing your daughter's studies and academic progress.

Provide support and guidance for her educational journey.

Night:


8:00 PM - 9:00 PM: Relaxation


Engage in leisure activities, such as reading, watching a documentary, or listening to music.

9:00 PM - 10:00 PM: Planning for the Next Day


Review tasks accomplished and plan priorities for the next day.

Set goals and objectives to maintain focus.

10:00 PM: Bedtime Routine


Wind down with a bedtime routine to ensure quality sleep.

Avoid screen time before sleep and prioritize rest.

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


One crucial leadership lesson fascinates me. I would like to cite it here.


In the pursuit of unraveling the mysteries behind high-performing teams, Google initiated a groundbreaking research effort known as "Project Aristotle". This comprehensive study, spanning several years and encompassing a diverse array of teams within Google, aimed to pinpoint the critical factors that distinguish successful teams from their less effective counterparts.


Contrary to conventional wisdom, the project's findings suggested that the composition of a team, individual personalities, and skills were not the primary determinants of success. Instead, five key dynamics consistently emerged as essential for team effectiveness:


Psychological Safety:


Defined as the feeling of being able to take risks, admit mistakes, and seek help without fear of judgment or punishment. (Remember Scrum Values?). Fosters open communication, collaboration, and innovation within a team.


Dependability:


Requires team members to be reliable and fulfill their commitments, establishing trust and mutual respect.

Allows team members to focus on collective goals when they can count on each other.


Structure and Clarity:


Involves clear goals, roles, and processes that provide direction and reduce ambiguity. Essential for efficient and effective teamwork, coordinating efforts, and avoiding misunderstandings.


Meaning:


Team members must believe that their work has a purpose and contributes to something larger than themselves. A sense of meaning motivates individuals and inspires them to exert their best effort.

Impact:


Team members need to see tangible results of their work and recognize the impact they have on others.

Reinforces the value of their contributions and fuels continued motivation.


Leadership's Role in Fostering Psychological Safety:


Among these dynamics, psychological safety emerged as the single most crucial factor in team effectiveness. Leaders play a pivotal role in creating this psychologically safe environment by:


Modeling openness and honesty:


Leaders should share their vulnerabilities and mistakes, illustrating that imperfection is acceptable.


Encouraging risk-taking:

Cultivating a culture where experimentation and new ideas are embraced, even if they lead to failures.


Actively listening and responding:

Making time to listen to team members' concerns and providing feedback in a supportive and constructive manner.


Protecting team members from external pressures:

Shielding teams from unnecessary criticism or interference, allowing them to focus on their work without undue stress.


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?


Book: "Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman


One book that has profoundly influenced my leadership journey is "Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman. This insightful work delves into the dynamics of leadership and explores the concept of multipliers—leaders who amplify the intelligence and capabilities of those around them.


The story of how "Multipliers" impacted my leadership style is transformative. As I delved into the pages of this book, Wiseman's exploration of two contrasting leadership styles—multipliers and diminishers—resonated deeply. It prompted a critical reflection on my own leadership approach and its impact on the individuals within my team.


The key lesson from "Multipliers" was the realization that effective leadership is not solely about showcasing individual brilliance but, more importantly, about empowering and extracting the best from every team member. This revelation sparked a shift in my leadership philosophy towards creating an environment where everyone's ideas were valued, and each team member felt intellectually stimulated and empowered.


Wiseman's emphasis on the multiplier's ability to create a culture of trust, collaboration, and continuous learning became the guiding principles in my leadership approach. I started to actively seek out and leverage the diverse strengths of my team, fostering an atmosphere where everyone felt encouraged to contribute their unique perspectives.


The impact was palpable. Team members began to express their creativity more freely, collaborate more seamlessly, and take ownership of their projects with heightened enthusiasm. The shift towards a multiplier mindset not only improved individual performance but also cultivated a more vibrant and innovative team dynamic.


In essence, "Multipliers" served as a catalyst for a leadership transformation, inspiring a shift from a diminisher mindset to that of a multiplier. This change has not only elevated team performance but has also fostered a workplace culture where everyone feels valued, motivated, and capable of achieving their fullest potential. Liz Wiseman's insights continue to shape my leadership journey, influencing the way I approach challenges, cultivate talent, and foster a collaborative and thriving work environment.


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


In your journey as a leader, always remember the triad of technological progress, lean thinking, the multiplier mindset, and the human touch. Embrace every experience as a chance to learn and grow, both in the realms of cutting-edge technology and the profound impact of your actions on individuals. Just as technological advancements drive progress, incorporate lean thinking and a multiplier mindset to streamline processes, fostering efficiency, innovation, and the amplification of collective intelligence.


Yet, in the midst of algorithms and optimization, never lose sight of the human touch. Cultivate empathy, connect with your team on a personal level, and understand that leadership is not just about directing but about inspiring. Blend the precision of technology with the simplicity of lean principles, the multiplier mindset's ability to unleash the full potential of your team, and the warmth of genuine human connection. This harmonious blend will not only propel your professional success but enrich your life's journey as a leader.

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


One poignant story from my journey as a leader is deeply rooted in the resilience and guidance I learned from exceptional figures, particularly my father and supportive bosses. Losing my mother to cancer early in life brought profound challenges, and my father, a beacon of strength, faced adversity head-on. Despite the loss and financial setbacks from unsuccessful treatments, he took it upon himself to fill the void.


My father's unwavering determination led him to explore alternative means of income. He became a micro-manager, providing not just financial support but invaluable guidance. His meticulous guardrailing ensured my success in two demanding competitive exams—first as an engineer and later as a manager. His sacrifices and dedication to our education and well-being shaped my core belief in the importance of resilience, adaptability, and the transformative power of education.


Parallelly, my professional journey introduced me to remarkable bosses who emulated the qualities of heroes. They entrusted me with challenging roles, believed in my abilities, and provided unwavering support. Their leadership was akin to a paternal figure, guiding and nurturing success. They instilled in me the belief that empowering and supporting one's team is the foundation of effective leadership.


These experiences birthed my three core beliefs:


Resilience and Adaptability:

Rooted in my father's response to adversity, the belief that resilience and adaptability are vital attributes has guided me through professional challenges.


Empowerment through Education:


Shaped by my father's emphasis on education and my bosses' trust, I believe in the transformative power of education as a catalyst for personal and professional growth.


Supportive Leadership:

Influenced by the fatherly leadership of both my dad and bosses, I firmly believe in supporting and empowering those around me. This nurturing approach fosters success and builds resilient, high-performing teams.

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