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Leadership Nuances for Sustainable Growth

Rajashree Nambiar, Co-founder & CEO of Ecofy, shares insights on leadership nuances crucial for sustainable growth, spanning innovation and empathy amidst rapid transformation:

Leadership Nuances for Sustainable Growth

Ravi Lalwani: What differences in leadership capabilities do you see between generalists and specialists? Have the differences narrowed or widened over the last few years? Will Generative AI change this trend?

Rajashree Nambiar: The distinction between generalists and specialists lies in their skill sets. Specializing early in one’s career helps builds domain expertise, but as you progress to middle management and beyond, lateral skills and acquiring people management abilities become crucial. All the three abilities of domain expertise, lateral skills, and people management will help you with the corner office job. The dynamics between generalists and specialists may evolve over time, with Generative AI potentially influencing this trend.

After reaching a stable position and recognition and being married with children, people who have risen to middle management in incumbent companies are suddenly facing a disruptive future thanks to disruptive technologies and disruptive start-ups.

The financial services industry is undergoing a significant transformation with the rise of smart digital lenders and fintech companies. Traditional methods involving physical infrastructure, manual processing, and extended customer turnaround times are being disrupted. Organizations are compelled to adopt innovative approaches, leveraging data and technology to develop fresh go-to-market models and enhance customer turnaround times. This shift necessitates a rapid unlearning of certain practices and a swift adaptation to contemporary ways of working across various segments of the organization.

Do you aim for more standardization or less standardization within the organization? Can you explain a situation where your approach helped achieve a substantial transformation?

We are a new-age, future focused company, drawing on extensive experience from traditional businesses to propel us into the future. Embracing absolute customization over standardization, we are charting a new course to address current challenges. Our focus is on finding solutions and looking through a new lens by leveraging the capabilities at our disposal. This transformation signifies a shift in how we approach our work, aiming to pioneer innovative solutions for today’s dynamic landscape.

While innovation is the buzzword, some people are simply not good at it. Do you have any suggestions which will help them think outside the box so as to not lag behind?

In today’s landscape, innovation is crucial and hence every organization needs a dynamic team that includes performance outliers as well as a good mix of youth and experience. It is also important to select individuals with the right attitude and ones that can be more flexible and malleable. Another important aspect is that of recognizing and incentivizing out-of-the-box thinking to foster a culture of creativity.

The pace of transformation will leave some people feeling left behind. Is empathy the most important approach to engage with such people? What other approaches are meaningful and impactful?

At the core of everything is the necessity for a strong organizational culture. Prioritize inclusiveness and ensure that people are doing jobs that leverage their strength and downplay their weaknesses. Emphasize the importance of all opinions and alignment and dedicate effort to identify and eliminate pockets of negativity. Fostering a culture where employees bring their hearts, not just their minds, is essential for inspiring them to go the extra mile.

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