Sridhar Iyengar is former chairman and CEO of KPMG India. He has been with KPMG for 34 years as a partner in the UK, US and India. Currently, Sridhar is an independent mentor capitalist to early-stage companies. He sits on the boards of American India Foundation, Infosys, ICICI Bank, Rediff, OnMobile, among others.
He has also served as president of TIE and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Sridhar Iyengar is also on the board of governors of Indus World School of Business (IWSB), that promotes entrepreneurial leadership among youth through hands-on learning experiences integral to the business programmes. Last week, Sridhar was on the campus to interact with the faculty and students. The interactions were amazing and threw a lot of questions that Sridhar went on to address. At the end of the visit, Sridhar spoke about how we need to reassess all our Basics. Later I got a mail from him where Sridhar elaborates on his thoughts. Though Sridhar will put this on his blog, I felt I should post his note here too. Thanks Sridhar for sharing your invaluable thoughts.
Quite a few insights from Sridhar while he was interacting with students. A few of those I could capture and share with you –
It is not only about knowing oneself, but also showing oneself.
a. Know your talent, abilities and aspirations – to help yourself and also others
-> Internalizing is the key. Accountability is the key.
b. Most of us work with constraints / restrictions that we force on ourselves, success comes to those who do not do so..
c. Thinking big is the need.. do not think small; What would be your dream?
d. The issues of the street corner shopwala will be the same as that of CEO of Bharati Airtel. Only scales differ.
e. Wealth producing and most productive years are between 35-55
-> You are your own CEO. You should be able to create and control your own aspirations
-> CEO are managers of risk, where can we go wrong and how do I manage it
-> Problem spotters are needed, while solvers are available for hiring
-> You should be able to make, sell, market, collect..
f. How many of you do not want to be your own boss?
-> Hire people better than you, do not feel threatened
-> You should be passionate about your own idea, not necessarily execute it yourself
g. Enjoy whatever you are doing, else stop. You are not giving your best.
h. You may do what you like, you can like whatever you do.
i. Seek white spaces, where matrix is not set – new area – new geography – new technology
-> Standing out in the crowd? Afraid of stepping out?
j. Leadership is conceded to you do to your action
k. Failure is not monumental. Nothing you will be doing in your life that risks your life
l. Failure is a process of learning faster. Failure is not a bad thing
m. Where can I fail? Knowing it is the key
n. Socializing the idea is the key. Understand from the customer whether it works.
Aspects of Business – Do you want to start your own business? How many of you want to? Who does not want to be his/her own CEO?
– Access inputs / solicit feedback
– What is the single biggest dimension you worry about – Ans : People
-> [Students “ “
– Convincing self
– Time is precious. Lack of confidence
– Managing risks is the key]
– PEOPLE – Surround yourself with people who will help you succeed; Process of business starts with people wanting to be part of your idea
-> Complemented on skills and temperament
-> Be passionate but do not be emotionally attached
-> Failure in business is guaranteed, if you cannot let go
-> Build advisors who are able to enable you, even if you are not knowledgeable
-> Seek people who will reject the idea and build reasons / process / actions that will help one overcome.
– Ideas die because you do not share
– Avoid regrets in life
– TAKING ACTION IS NOT RISK, DOING NOTHING IS RISK
– Manage the possibility of failure
When you build Business, do you do it for IPO/EXIT?
– Failure is part of building any venture or business
– Increase the pie. Let more people share. Your share may go down but the size will go up. It is all about win-win.
– Diluting – Take money when available, even if you lose a crore or two I the process. You may not get when you really want it.
– A venture capitalist will look for dishing large sums of money for fewer ventures.
– Money has to be smart. Go to one who will add value
What do I do to excel?
– People who spot problems are going to avoid it
– Take control of own destiny – master your own space
– Set goals aggressively. You will end up farther than you thought
– Do not be afraid of failure
– Reflect and introspect, write for your own learning
– Do not be me too. Idea needs to be unique and execute it fast
– Continue to be fresh
How to avoid failure?
– Avoid – Defending my own ideas and not accepting to examine and learn
– Try to attack from various sides, there are many solutions to the same problem
– Do not compromise on ethics and values
– Hurdles generally provide opportunities too; create new ladders
– Do not fight every battle
– Finish the menial jobs in a record time
– Always add value which others may note.
– Draw upon advisors time and again
– Create a TEAM that capitalizes on each others strengths
-> Let the team decide who is the CEO of a particular acitivity
– Realize when you need to bring more capable person to head the business than yourself.