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TechKnowledge: A Conversation with Umesh Ramakrishnan

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Today is my inaugural post for a new series called “TechKnowledge”. In each post, I’ll take a moment to talk with a business/technology leader to share insights that we can all benefit from.

In the first post, I thought it made sense to interview a thought leader who just completed a new book on the advancement strategies of the world’s most successful executives. Called “There’s No Elevator to the Top”, Umesh Ramakrishnan, Vice Chairman of CTPartners talks with me on the day his new book has just become available.

Umesh received insights from CEOs around the world, ranging from our own Michael Dell to Lucas Chow, Group CEO of MediaCorp and executives from Cadbury Schweppes, PepsiCo, Aetna and many more. The book is filled with anecdotes, as is our vlog conversation (see video below).

Here’s a few insights that really connected with me as we talked.

  • Building a network – it’s important to make an “emotional deposit” when you build a network. In other words, you have to put your heart and soul in to making it real. It’s not just about adding a profile on LinkedIn. It’s your personal investment that matters.
  • Feedback – the most successful leaders view feedback as a gift. They look for insight. They don’t expect it to show up at their door.
  • Dealing with Mistakes – great leaders recognize mistakes and look forward to rectifying them. They see mistakes as opportunities to improve.
  • Humility – leaders don’t necessarily discuss this, but it came across as one of the most important traits Umesh saw in his interviews. There are some great stories about Sam Walton and how he focused on the value of his employees, regardless of their title. This is always refreshing to hear.

Another common thread is the willingness, perhaps eagerness, of executives to share their learning’s with all of us. Something we should all remember as we wonder if we should raise our hand at the next management meeting….answer is “of course we should.”

Enjoy the interview.

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