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June 04, 2009

Narayana Murthy: Leaders Must Be the Change They Want

Hitendra Wadhwa
Associate Professor of Professional Practice
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Narayana Murthy is arguably the most respected voice in India’s business community. Under his leadership, the computer services firm Infosys, which he founded in 1981 with six others, paved the way for the booming outsourcing industry that now thrives in the country. In 2005, the Economist ranked him 8th among the 15 most admired global leaders.

His words and his presence exuded a blend of conviction, practical wisdom and humility as he delivered the inaugural Khemka Distinguished Speaker Forum talk to the Columbia Business School community at University Club in Manhattan on May 26.

Mr. Murthy offered a provocative thesis on what has gone wrong with capitalism in recent times and how to fix it. Instead of focusing on regulatory policy and institutional reform, he took aim at the enemy within — the need for a change in leaders’ attitudes and mindsets, the need for each of us to, in Gandhi’s words, “be the change we want to see in the world.”

What do you think of Mr. Murthy’s definition of “success” as being “not about money or power… [but] the acceptance by the circle of your family, friends and your community that you are indeed valuable”? What is your definition of success in life?

Mr. Murthy’s prescriptions for strengthening our leadership qualities — such as “creating an environment of happiness around you”, “shunning jealousy” and seeing all parts of your life in totality — resonate well with the scientific findings and great-achiever stories that we discuss in the CBS course on Personal Leadership & Success. Which prescriptions do you find provocative, or difficult to accept? Why? And which of them strike a strong chord with you?

Comments

by Pradeep Henry | July 24, 2009 at 1:20 PM

I'd determine an individual's SUCCESS based on the Value he or she delivered to a person or "organization" other than himself or his immediate family. That's a "quick-and-dirty" attempt, but it has the essence of what I thought.

by Pradeep Henry | July 24, 2009 at 1:35 PM

I'd determine an individual's SUCCESS based on the Value he or she delivered to people or "organizations" other than himself or his immediate family. That's a "quick-and-dirty" attempt, but has the essence of what I thought!

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