Activities and Skills of Narayan Murthy

28/05/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

IT in India would have never been the way it is without one man: N.R. Narayana Murthy.

A chief founder of India’s largest (and most respected) IT company Infosys, he is one of prominent architect of information technology in India. Not many people would know that Mr. Murthy borrowed Rs 10,000 from his wife to start Infosys. But we all know the success story Infy (as it is fondly called) now is and it’s largely owing to the astute leadership and vision of one man.

After serving as the CEO of the company for more than two decades (1981-2002), he retired to the post of Chairman Emeritus in 2011. A recipient of numerous prestigious awards like the ‘Padma Vibhushan’, ‘Legion of Honour’ (awarded by the French government), Mr. Murthy continues to serve on the board of HSBC, Ford Foundation and the UN Foundation.

He has been constantly ranked high among top business leaders/influential personalities by renowned media organizations like The Economist, Time, CNN etc. Not only is he an IT wizard, he has successfully led key corporate governance initiatives in India. He is an IT advisor to several Asian countries. His leadership lessons are most sought-after, not only by Indians but even by managers in other countries.

We bring you his insightful and thought-provoking advice on some core concerns which confront almost every manager. However, if one reads between the lines, his lessons can be relevant for not just entrepreneurs and managers but almost everybody: students, army men, artists, and even housewives, that is anyone who aspires to make it big in his/her respective field.

Here is some amazing leadership-oriented advice from N.R. Narayana Murthy:

On Adversities and Challenges

Mr. Murthy espouses that one of the leader’s core jobs is to raise the confidence of the followers. Tough time and challenges are essential parts of the life and they will come out better at the end of it. According to him, a leader has to sustain followers’ hopes and their energy levels to handle the difficult days.

Mr. Murthy often quotes the example of Winston Churchill to stress on this point. Churchill’s gutsy leadership as prime minister for Great Britain successfully led the British people away from the brink of defeat during World War II. He raised his people’s hopes with the words, ‘These are not dark days; these are great days the greatest days our country has ever lived.’ Mr Murthy says that during a time of crisis a strong leadership is needed more than ever.

On Being a Successful Entrepreneur

Mr. Murthy suggests these four essential qualities for entrepreneur to make it big:

  • Passion and will to persevere
  • Giving more priority to the long-term interests
  • High levels of optimism and high aspirations
  • Being a team player
  • On Starting a New Venture

According to Mr. Murthy, these four things can be instrumental in launching a venture:

  • The Idea: One should have a clear, well-defined idea of the product/service he wants to sell.
  • Market value of the idea: One must have a basic level of confidence in the fact that the market values your product and is willing to pay for it.
  • Team: One must have a team of “complementary skillsets”. A team may be composed of people with varied skillsets but they must complement a common cause.
  • High Aspirations: Aim high and work hard for that.

On Building Trust

Mr. Murthy is of the view that trust and confidence can only come when there is a premium on transparency. “The leader has to create an environment where each person feels secure enough to be able to disclose his or her mistakes, and resolves to improve,” he emphasizes. He further adds that even investors respect the organisations which are transparent and have high degree of credibility. He says, “At Infosys, our philosophy has always been, ‘When in doubt, disclose.’”

On Values

Mr. Murthy has always highighted importance of a value system in an organization. And, compliance to a value system creates the environment for people to have high aspirations, self-esteem, belief in fundamental values, confidence in the future and the enthusiasm necessary to take up apparently difficult tasks. What he’s really stressing here is that having a value system is not all. Leaders have to follow it themselves and thus lead by example. As they say, “they have to walk the talk.”

On Work Life Balance

Mr. Murthy doesn’t really identify with the concept of work life balance. He had once said, “First let’s make a life, then think about work-life balance. I don’t understand the concept of a work-life balance.”

On Success

Mr. Murthy’s definition of a successful person is “one who when he/she walks into a room, people’s eyes light up. If he/she brings a smile to people’s faces, then irrespective of whether that person is educated, not educated, self-employed, employed, I would still consider that person to be successful.”

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