Events Lounge

Leadership by Dr Kannan Ramaswamy

Today Indo American Chamber of Commerce, Chennai (IACC) had organized a breakfast talk by Dr.Kannan Ramaswamy, who is William D. Hacker Chair Professor of Management in the Department of Global Business at Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona. He is a world renowned expert on global strategy, emerging markets – including India and South Asia, having done lot of work with the energy sector and multinational giants.

Dr.Kannan shared his early school experience, where a teacher encouraged him to study more. How the gesture of the Dean in the US University he was studying picked him up from a bus station and made him coffee after reaching the Univ., which developed into a life long mentorship journey.

What you do outside the classroom might have a greater impact than what you do within.

Contrasting to this, was his experience in one of the under graduate classes he attended where the lecturer simply recited the formulas and refused to explain why.

It doesn’t take much to kill enthusiasm.

In today’s talk Dr.Kannan focussed on a recent study conducted by his team across boundaries where they uncovered how leaders and leadership in large companies have often becoming a hurdle than a faciliatator to an individuals contribution to the growth of the firm.

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Look at some of the data points below from his research:

  • Only 23% of employees agreed to “Leaders ensure that we have resources needed to achieve desired performance outcomes”
  • Only 36% agree to “Leaders set and maintain organizational practices that help us achieve desired performance”
  • Over 44% disagree to “Leaders clearly communicate the purpose and direction driving our work”

Over 80% of your workforces are either actively or passively disengaged at work.

The reasons for these scary numbers range from Lack of a “Speak-Up” culture, Generational Differences, Lack of clear messaging from the top. For example, you can’t have 15 focus area for the year. Focus can be only on select items.

His research shed light on how workers found conformity to be killing, how embracing differences in the workforce, culture can really benefit organizations.

I liked the below quote, very true for today’s QoQ mad rush in the corporate and startup world.

We are living in a fast changing world. Unrealistic returns are pushing everyone mad