Q. The biggest challenge in your career
A. I have faced many challenges, right from leading aggressive growth to transforming perennially low-performing organisations into best-in-class businesses. Out of those, two were particularly significant. First, when I led the global expansion of a Japanese brand, starting with Singapore and expanding through the APAC region. More recently, it was arriving here to take the role of CEO at Randstad India, making tough decisions to future-proof the organisation and accelerating towards the top in a highly competitive industry. In both cases, I arrived alone with nothing more than a suitcase and a clear mission.
Q. Your best teacher in business
A. In my career, I have been exposed to strong as well as weak, ineffective leaders. What I learnt from both have helped me build my approach to leadership. I strive to be the kind of leader whom I would want to follow myself - transparent, strict but fair, supportive, engaged and solution-minded - a leader who walks the talk and is ultra-committed to achieving goals.
Q. One management lesson for young people
A. Young people are inherently impatient, but I would like to share with them what my manager told me early in my career: It is good to be ambitious. Be bold, set your bar high, but always keep your eyes on the ball today. Focus on outperforming in your current role; deliver on your mission now and do it with good values. The next challenge will naturally follow.
Q. Two essential qualities a leader must have
A. Resilience and optimism. A leader can be the centre of attention at one moment and be the loneliest person in the next. An effective leader must have strong beliefs and conviction. He/she should hold firm and remain positive through good times and bad.