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Leadership Lessons from a Maturing India Inc.

A new survey of Indian CEOs raise questions about the role of confidence to successful leadership.

The current economic crisis has posed a lot of questions about leadership in difficult economic times: Is leadership a function of confidence or anticipated future profitability for the firm? How do business leaders encourage confidence building measures, especially when the stake holders now include shareholders, government agencies, regulators, and the stock market. Leadership and confidence go hand in hand. Each feed into each other. Maybe its the attitude towards risk that establishes confidence in a leader, or maybe its his or her vision.

CEOs across India were surveyed recently and the results highlight a growing confidence in business leaders, more than what would have been expected in a economic downturn that has spared no economy across the world. Authors of the article, Girish Karira and Nalina Suresh summarize it this way:

“Diversifying into new markets, driving down supplier costs and integrating overlapping systems/functions are the most important tools in the ‘recession proofing’ toolkit of the (Indian) CEOs.” As one of the executives interviewed for the report, Daljit Singh, president of the strategy division of Fortis Healthcare explains, “It is not about today or the future, it is about today AND the future.” The report also finds that CEOs in India believe that globalization and localization will have direct impact on their businesses. They have shown greater confidence in the business prospects over the next three years. Also, most CEOs surveyed agree that innovation will be critical to business growth.

American leadership needs to reinvent itself. The financial sector has imploded and taxpayer bailouts of the auto and financial sectors to the tune of billions of dollars are changing the game. India Inc. is now boasting of global leaders. As the global economy recovers from the current downturn, American leaders may want to examine the role of confidence to growth and success. 


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