Leading With Purpose: Rishad Premji Tells How

Rishad Premji at AIMA’s 49th National Management Convention.

Rishad Premji at AIMA’s 49th National Management Convention.

Mr. Rishad Premji, Executive Chairman, Wipro Limited spoke about the factors leaders must identify to find a meaningful purpose to ensure business legitimacy and longevity. He also spoke about how companies should keep the “mental health of employees” foremost, besides stressing women having an equal representation in the workforce at AIMA’s 49th National Management Convention.

The 9th Session of AIMA’s 49th National Management Convention focused on the factors leaders must identify to find a meaningful purpose to ensure business legitimacy and longevity. Mr. Rishad Premji, Executive Chairman, Wipro Limited was rightly qualified to deliberate the Session.

He began the Session by talking about his career path in Wipro after having worked overseas in a few companies. His journey and narrative itself became the subject of the Session- “Leading with Purpose”. He mentioned that he had a proper induction before starting his role as an Executive Chairman of the company. Explaining further about being involved with Wipro, he said that “it happened organically” and added further he said he was more active in the Company Operations.

He had a clear mandate and his goals were sorted. He was reviewed and got Appraisals too. However, his main objective as an Executive Chairman was to enable the CEO. Embarking on the path of leadership, Mr. Rishad Premji was mostly involved with three different things:

  • He spent a lot of time with customers
  • He spent a lot of time with the Board of Directors
  • He spent a lot of time with Wipro employees

From each group of people, he had a lot to learn and the takeaways only aided him to implement his future undertakings. That is what instigated him to play a pivotal role in restructuring the company’s culture. “Culture is the smell of the organisation”, he said. It is the driving factor for the company to operate on. While keeping the essence of the company, he made many changes in the culture.

The 5 things that he most advocated to be an effective leader-building culture, were-

  • Being respectful
  • Being responsive
  • Facilitating communication
  • Demonstrating stewardship
  • Building trust among the employees

Besides, the in-house Sessions on building culture were very helpful in building the company’s culture.

So, how on a scale of such diversity and mammoths, could a common culture be built? Mr. Rishad Premji’s strategy was also to connect with people and exchange stories. He also said that there should be a philanthropic side to a company. For example, in Wipro’s case, a good percent of the company’s capital goes to social causes and dedicated foundations. All these are recipes that can actually conjure up the identity of a company, which further helps in building its culture.

Mr. Rishad Premji stated that the personal effort of the company owner and the effort of the shareholders plays a vital role in building the company’s name. He said that people come from overseas for the cost but stay for the quality if the company can offer.  And all of these are a part of “leading with a purpose”. The idea is to become change-makers in society that others can take a cue from, to follow. He added that organizations are not just beings but living beings with a purpose and many responsibilities towards the community we live in.

Lastly, he said that earlier, diversity and inclusivity used to be the last clauses in companies. However, now these are sorted out first for the company to be operated on. He spoke about how companies should also keep the “mental health of employees” foremost while strategising for their growth. He also stressed the workforce being diverse with women having equal representation.

Watch the full Session- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r68lQ44l4Lw

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