Lessons from leaders: How to manage growth during uncertain times
“Volatility and uncertainty have become the new normal,” says Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India. “We have to accept the fact that we will continue to live in uncertain times. So I would say don’t think too long just because there is ambiguity. Just fire, aim and shoot.”
Speaking at a conference on ‘Bringing certainty in uncertain times’ organized by the Project Management Institute, Pramanik shared some valuable insights on leadership and reflected on his 30-35 years’ experience as a business leader.
Get used to VUCA (Volatality, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity)
“As Indians we always want to be very rational. If we don’t have all the answers, we don’t move ahead,” said Pramanik. “If we keep waiting, we will never progress,” he said. The volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity that we are seeing today is going to be a fact of life and all of us should start getting used to it. No industry, country or company is immune from it.
If you look at the technology industry, we have moved from software to services and now devices. We are now moving to the era of connected devices. This requires a completely new type of computing & it changes the balance of power from the enterprise to the consumer and this is a huge change which may require a different type of approach. We have to start managing this kind of changing environment.
Four key principals to manage during uncertain times
Pramanik also shared four key principals that have always helped him as an individual and as a professional. These are principals that most successful companies and leaders also believe in:
Culture and values: Living our culture and values is important as it brings about a certain permanency in everything we do. “Price and product can be copied, but not your culture,” he said. The integrity and strong values that come from your culture reflects in everything.
Consistency, commitment, relevance: Being consistent, committed and relevant to your customers and partners is the key to success and has to be a part of your strategy. Innovation plays a big role in helping you stay relevant all the time. “You can’t have a different strategy for good times and bad times. You have to be consistent,” asserted Pramanik.
Social impact with IT: If you invest in the proliferation of IT, it will in turn help your company grow. Therefore, IT companies must invest in the country where they are present. For example, Microsoft strongly believes in creating a social impact by contributing to areas like education, employment, e-governance, digital
Precision in execution: Execution is the key to managing during times of uncertainty. Strategy & planning gets you only 10% on the way, 90% depends on your execution. Comparing his experience at Sun Microsystems and Microsoft, Pramanik explained that Sun Microsystems was great at innovation, products and strategy. But Microsoft is the best example of success at execution.
Mega technology trends
The future of the IT industry will be defined by four mega trends: Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. Pramanik strongly reiterated that these trends will reinvent our approach to IT and technology companies must build their strategies around them.
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