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7 Questions on Leadership with Raj Kapoor

Name: Raj Kapoor

Title: Founder

Organisation: India Blockchain Alliance

Raj is the Founder of India Blockchain Alliance, the largest Indian emerging technology tech think tank and an Advisory Board Member at over 50 blockchain companies including, Tata Elxsi, Spherium, Sarva Labs He is a global, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency & FinTech Educator, Certified Bitcoin Professional (CBP), Blockchain Solution Architect, and friend of disruptive ideas, protem Chairman for Organization of Blockchain Technology Users (OBTU). He is also the CEO of Growth Alley Inc, USA

Recently Raj spoke and recommended solutions at the G20 on compliance, regulations and standards to be adopted Governments to regulate crypto. Raj has also helped organize India's biggest Blockchain and Cryptocurrency events across major cities .

Raj regularly speak in Tech events in India, UK, USA, Africa, Malaysia and Canada and is also a 3 time TedX speaker. Besides blockchain, Raj is skilled in AI, Robotics, Cyber Security. IoT, and Cloud Computing. He has spoken in over 200 international and national events.

Raj is also a regular contributor to several publications including Economic Times, Fortune, Moneycontrol, Mint, NDTV Profit, Daily Tribune, Business Standard and more. Raj also appears regularly on multiple television channels where he speaks on different aspects of the blockchain industry.

Raj has designed and worked on 4 Blockchains, 5 Cetralised Exchanges, 3 Swaps and 3 DEX's. He is now working with his team on India's own indigenous blockchain. Raj is also working on the world's several sustainable and social impact blockchain projects which are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Raj has authored 20+ courses in blockchain, fintech, DeFi, NFT’s, Metaverse and more. These are implemented by NASSCOM, NSDC, CII, UnAcademy and multiple other edtech platforms in India and overseas.

Besides blockchain, Raj is skilled in AI, Robotics, Cyber Security. IoT, and Cloud Computing

Raj was also selected this year as a top cryptocurrency and blockchain influencer by Asian Market Cap.

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

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


Jonno White

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

World-class leaders encounter numerous hurdles. They must handle complicated geopolitical issues while guaranteeing stability and collaboration in a constantly changing global world. Technological shocks necessitate adaptation and forethought, whereas climate change necessitates immediate, coordinated action. Economic imbalances and social inequities put governments under pressure to promote inclusive growth. Overload and misinformation hamper decision-making, necessitating discernment and a commitment to the truth. The emergence of AI and biotechnologies has exacerbated ethical quandaries. It is critical to balance short-term pressures with long-term goals. In a day of increased scrutiny and expectations, cultivating trust is critical. Leaders of the world must therefore be visionary, adaptive, ethical, and inclusive in their approach. Balance with laser precision vision is the name of the leadership game today.

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

Becoming a leader is not difficult. To remain one is. For me the transition from being a follower to a leader was seamless. The pandemic catalysed the journey as out enterprise floundered in those few years that turned the world on its head.

Being a Founder of a niche technology brought about unseen and unforeseen challenges. It was during the pandemic that we established the India Blockchain Alliance and brought together our members, our community, our people together and offered them not just a ray of hope but a sense of purpose as we collectively got together to solve major issues during the crisis by offering real world solutions, globally.

This bonding and a collective sese of purpose was just the catalyst needed for me to take pole position in the space I was always passionate for - blockchain.

The community rallied behind my efforts and while the world was grappling for survival, we grew 5x and created economic and social impact. We chose not to follow a path which was finite. Instead, we went instead where there was no path and left a trail, where others follow now.

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

For me, a typical day is a harmonious symphony of purposeful actions and thoughtful decisions, commencing with a dawn of personal wellness rituals - a nourishing breakfast and invigorating exercise, followed by a reflective meditation that cultivates mindfulness.

I then immerse myself in strategic planning, meticulously aligning my objectives with my organization's long-term vision, working on fostering collaboration within their team, and fine-tuning strategies.

This is complemented by continuous learning, staying abreast of industry trends and technological advancements, while empowering my team through delegation and mentorship.

I make it a point to engage in strategic networking nurtures valuable relationships, that enrich my perspective and support network.

Decision-making and problem-solving, executed with precision, propels my day forward, while a dedicated follow-up ensure that plans are on course.

Balancing work and life, I make sure to allocate time for family, hobbies, and personal interests, recognizing the rejuvenating power of such pursuits.

My day concludes with reflective assessment, reinforcing a commitment to a growth-oriented mindset, and setting the stage for another day of visionary leadership, where personal well-being and professional success dance in seamless harmony.

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

Recently, I learnt a unique leadership lesson of "Vulnerability as Strength" that, I believe has revolutionized the very paradigm of leadership.

It recognizes that true leadership is not about projecting invincibility but about embracing one's humanity. Vulnerability in leadership builds trust, encourages open communication, strengthens resilience, promotes empathy, inspires authenticity, fosters personal growth, and enhances adaptability. Leaders who embrace vulnerability create environments where authenticity and trust flourish, enabling their teams to reach new heights of collaboration and innovation.

This lesson challenged my notion that leaders must be infallible and instead it empowered me to lead with authenticity, ultimately leaving a profound and lasting impact on my organizations and those they I lead.

It empowered me to create environments of trust, open communication, and authenticity. It fostered resilience, empathy, and personal growth while enhancing adaptability. This for me now is sacrosanct!

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?

There have been several, but the one that stands out for me is "Good to Great" by Jim Collins which is a groundbreaking leadership book that delves into the attributes that differentiate truly great companies from their good counterparts.

In this book Collins and his team uncovered a set of principles that define the path to sustained organizational excellence.

One of the central concepts in the book is the "Level 5 Leader." - someone who possesses a unique combination of personal humility and unwavering professional will. These leaders are driven by a deep commitment to the long-term success of their organizations rather than personal glory. They are not only highly skilled but also excel at building and nurturing exceptional teams.

The book alsoi introduces a very unique perspective and concept - the "Hedgehog Concept" as a key framework for greatness. This concept, drawn from the fable of the hedgehog and the fox, suggests that great companies are like hedgehogs. They focus relentlessly on one core idea or concept they can be the best in the world at, are passionate about, and that drives their economic engine. This singular focus guides their strategic decisions and actions.

Another concept - "Flywheel Effect" illustrates the process of transforming a good company into a great one. He likens the effort to pushing a massive flywheel, which requires significant initial effort to set in motion. However, with consistent and persistent effort over time, the flywheel gains momentum and becomes self-sustaining. This metaphor underscores the idea that greatness is achieved through disciplined, long-term effort.

His emphasis on technology as an Accelerator, not a driver is quite the eye opener as we view technology as a tool to enhance a chosen strategy and not as the primary driver of their success.

Reiterating these concepts with real-world case studies, companies such as Walgreens and Wells Fargo that successfully made the transition from good to great gets the condepts well aligned. Conversely, he also discusses companies that failed to make this leap, emphasizing the critical importance of adhering to the principles he outlines.

"Good to Great" is a timeless and influential leadership book that offers profound insights into the path to organizational greatness, a path that I completely follow.

It is thought-provoking book that challenges traditional beliefs about motivation and provides a compelling framework for me to inspire and empower my teams. By emphasizing autonomy, mastery, and purpose, I can now tap into the deep well of intrinsic motivation that exists within individuals, leading to increased engagement, creativity, and overall satisfaction in the workplace. My Bible I would say!

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

I would advise all young (and older) leaders, to embrace the "Power of And." In a world often defined by polarities and binary choices, it's tempting to think in terms of "either/or." However I believe that true leadership often emerges from the ability to hold seemingly contradictory ideas, values, or approaches in tandem, finding synergy in their coexistence.

Embracing the "Power of And" means recognizing that you can be both confident and humble, assertive and empathetic, visionary and practical. It's the realization that complexity is inherent in leadership, and navigating it requires the agility to balance multiple perspectives. By embracing the paradoxes of leadership and avoiding the trap of rigid thinking, you'll not only find innovative solutions but also build trust, adaptability, and resilience, qualities that are vital for success in an ever-changing world.

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

This is not just a story - it is the story of myself and my organisation ! In the heart of a bustling urban landscape, a unique leadership story emerged within a dynamic organization known as "India Blockchain Alliance," led by myself.

My journey to leadership was marked by a combination of unyielding passion and an unwavering commitment to innovation and social impact. My leadership not only transformed my company but also inspired countless others.

My early years were defined by a deep fascination with technology, even though I come from a non technology background, and a desire to harness its potential for the betterment of society.

However, what set us apart was our belief that technology could be a force for good, addressing societal challenges and fostering inclusivity.

Upon founding the India Blockchain Alliance (IBA) I introduced a distinctive vision: "Blockchain for All." I, along with my Co Founders believed that technology should not be limited to the privileged few but should empower everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances.

My leadership style was characterized by an unshakable commitment to democratizing access to technology.

I encouraged my team to explore unconventional ideas, championing a culture of innovation and experimentation. This approach led to groundbreaking solutions that went beyond profit margins and addressed pressing social issues.

Our projects ranged from providing affordable, real world solutions to underserved communities to developing assistive technologies for individuals with disabilities.

Our commitment to inclusivity was not confined to just our organization; it extended to the wider tech industry. I championed diversity and gender equality, actively promoting the inclusion of underrepresented groups in the tech workforce. My initiatives included scholarships, mentorship programs, and partnerships with organizations focused on diversity and inclusion.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of my leadership was my emphasis on ethical technology. He understood that the power of technology came with ethical responsibilities.

IBA implemented stringent ethical guidelines, ensuring that our initiatives and services prioritized privacy, security, and societal well-being. I believe that leadership in the tech industry should be defined by ethics and a sense of social responsibility.

Today, IBA has become synonymous with technological innovation with a purpose. We are not just about profit; we are about making a positive impact on the world.

This approach resonated with both partners, clients and our communities leading to exponential growth and recognition in the tech industry.

My leadership today, has extended beyond the corporate realm. Today, I actively engaged with policymakers, advocating for regulations that promotes ethical technology and privacy rights.

I also serve as a mentor to aspiring tech leaders, sharing my wisdom and experiences to inspire the next generation of innovators.

In a world where the tech industry is often critiqued for its lack of social responsibility, My team and I have stood as a beacon of hope. My unique leadership, marked by a commitment to inclusivity, innovation, ethics, and social impact, demonstrated that technology could be harnessed as a force for positive change.

Leadership in the tech sector should not be defined solely by profit margins but by the broader impact on society, leaving a lasting imprint of inspiration and ethical leadership.

When a story becomes real, it is the culmination of a dream and a translation of a vision. So here we are - living a dream with an eye towards the future!

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