Business Today

Leaderspeak

"There is no better teacher than the market itself."
Team BT   New Delhi     Print Edition: December 16, 2018
Leaderspeak
Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group (Photograph by Reuben Singh)

Q. The biggest challenge you faced in your career

A. I have worked across fast-growing markets (Russia and India) and developed economies (the US and Canada), which means realigning expectations and unlearning to learn at many stages. Becoming a change agent has been the biggest challenge throughout this journey, but it also leads to the greatest opportunity waiting to be captured. When you are doing business for 20 years and looking ahead, you need to anticipate changes and rally the troops to embrace those, and that is tough.

Q. Your best teacher in business

A. There is no better teacher than the market itself. Understanding the competition, creating a niche and re-evaluating things constantly are critical to business success. Plus, I was guided by industry veterans such as K.B. Kachru, the Chairman Emeritus and Principal Advisor at the Radisson Hotel Group, South Asia. He inspired me, mentored me and helped me grow.

Q. Key management lessons for young people

A. At Radisson Hotel Group, we grow talent and the talent grows us. Hiring for attitude and training for skills can lead to success, but the reverse may not work in a service industry like ours. Strong communications skills, empathy for guests and employees, respect for various cultures and always keeping a plan B ready should help youngsters. In short, managers may get hired, but leaders get promoted.

Q. Two essential qualities a leader must have

A. Good communication skills and integrity are cornerstones of strong leadership. Communication is critical to inspire others to dream more and achieve more. And successful companies pivot on the strong integrity of their leaders.

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