Name: Tarun Kohli
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Organisation: T K Advisors
Currently, I am CEO and founder of a Management Consulting and leadership Coaching firm, based out of New Delhi India, having over 3 decades of versatile corporate experience across different verticals including International Business Strategy & Development, Manufacturing, Consulting, Coaching & Training. In my career journey have worked with many companies across the globe, both as an employee in Senior Management positions, as well as a Senior Management Consultant-Advisor and leadership Facilitator-Coach, working with corporates, start-ups, MSME sector companies and also with individuals and educational institutes.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Tarun's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a Leader one of the most challenging issues pertains to aligning the vision of everyone, in a multi-cultural global workforce, towards achieving long-term organizational goals, which can also fulfill the dreams and aspirations of all stakeholders and, at the same time lead to their personal growth.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
After my Engineering & Management course, I worked in Japanese companies like ITOCHU Corporation & and Suitousha , moving from Managerial to Management roles including as CMO, CEO. These work experience gave me exposure to the best Japanese work practices and work exposure across different sectors-working at both vertical and horizontal levels in a corporate eco-system. As I assumed a Senior Leadership role in such companies, I had many opportunities to Lead multi-cultural teams across different countries. In my distinct as a Management Consultant and leadership Coach I could further use whatever I gained all these years in helping companies and individuals across corporates, start-ups, MSME's, including university students.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
From Monday till Saturday, I normally get up by 6:30 hrs and after my brief connection with nature and meditation, I browse through newspapers briefly before heading towards my office starting from 9:30 hrs. Then after a brief internal morning meeting with my team I address some of priority mails requiring my attention, followed by few meetings with clients, vendors, attending conferences, business meeets etc. Post lunch after 14:00 hrs I spend some time interacting with team members, in my effort to groom them as future leaders, apart from suggesting ways to address some critical issues, if any. In the evening I am spending 2 hours daily for my own learning, listening to podcasts, attending webinars, audio shows etc. Thereafter normally I am back to my home by 20:30 hrs, having dinner with my family , followed by doing some online courses to upskill-reskill myself, reading self-help books, etc. My day typically gets over by 23:30 hrs. On Sunday's I spend more time de-stressing myself, spending time with my family as well as with myself, connecting with nature or with causes aimed at giving back to society.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
One of the recent Leadership lessons I learned was during & and post covid-19 times, followed by current times of uncertainty in the background of Russia-Ukraine and now the Israel-Hamas war. Since COVID-19 the world around us changed drastically, posing many new sudden unexpected business and even personal challenges. But all this taught me many lessons like how to remain calm in such tough times, experiment in finding new ways to survive for the future yet polishing our strengths, re-skilling as well as up-skilling constantly, working as a team, being more humble & and a good listener.
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?
"Atomic Habits" by James Clear impacted my Leadership style in a way. In this book he explains well how small changes in our lives can help us stay more productive, motivated, and happy, transforming our careers, relationships & and lives. It helped in changing my approach towards life both professionally and at a personal level, helping me to live and contribute better.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be open-minded, try to learn from each experience, learn from failures, move step by step, keep patience, work hard towards the ultimate goal, do inner talk, be empathetic, help others grow alongside, be a Team builder, a motivator, a good listener, and a communicator.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
In the end, people connect with you only if you connect with them well. Your success is not only yours but due to the cumulative efforts of your colleagues, family, customers, vendors, and all stakeholders. So as a Leader one has to be collaborative and inclusive, aiming for fair growth for all. Once we work with this spirit, the team gets built up & and we in turn create an eco-system that promotes grooming of the next line of leaders which will not only preserve your value system but further polish it by bringing other good practices for a long term sustainable future.