TASMAC – School of Business with its constant zeal to create skillful leaders organized an intellectual Knowledge Exchange Forum on the topic “Leadership Matters” on 27 May 2009. Venue:Le Royce Hotel, Bund Garden Road, Pune India.

The forum presented facts about the leadership qualities required for a person to become a successful leader.

Tasmac KEF

Tasmac KEF

The panel comprised eminent and successful personalities like Padmashri Mrs. Lila Poonawalla , Dr. Arun Bhatt President Clininvent Research –Mumbai and Mr. Abhay Vaidya Resident Editor, DNA Newspaper Pune. The discussion was moderated by Mr Sameer Dua, Joint Managing Director, Tasmac. Also present at the forum, Dr. Giri Dua, Chairman & Managing Director, TASMAC. Throwing light upon the importance of an able leader who could steer head an organization towards greater success, Dr. Dua said, “It’s the leadership quality in a person that helps guide a team to achieve the set goals in turn helping the growth of a company”

Mr Sameer Dua introduced the topic and requested the speakers to present their views.

Dr. Arun Bhatt, President, Clininvent Research, Mumbai said, “An effective Leadership is very important in any given organization. In Managing a team or leading the team to success one needs to follow some traits like trusting the subordinate, the team, colleagues and then judging their capabilities.

Taking forward the discussion, Mr. Abhay Vaidya Resident Editor,DNA, Pune emphasized the traits namely passion, result orientation, willingness to take risk and learning as important attributes of a successful leader.

Padma Shri Lila Poonawala said, “Leadership is imbibed in an individual. There is nothing like born leaders, but born learners. If he or she has the zeal to learn and have self confidence then nobody can stop them from being leaders.” She cited her personal example where she came out of a very difficult situation successfully by listening to the suggestion of junior level supervisor and acting upon it. On being asked by Mr Sameer Dua of her experience as a lady leader, Mrs. Poonawala said that she had not come across any discrimination but there had been instances when the same had worked in her favor.

Mr Sameer Dua towards the end asked the panel whether ‘leaders are born or made’ all did feel that leaders can be developed thereafter and each of the member were requested to highlight and share what they believed were the core values that a leader must possess. The discussion by the panelists was very inspiring as they spoke through experience. Mr Dua then summarized the important issues and invited questions from the audience. In my opinion the intellectual content of the discussions was very enriching as each of the panelist spoke through their personal experience and were successful in their own domains. I therefore was very curious to

My Question

My Question

ask a very fundamental question on leadership which I often discuss in my own strategy and leadership sessions at Tasmac and elsewhere. What I find most paradoxical is that while we discuss the importance of virtues and traits in leadership for business success we have witnessed several examples in recent times of the failures in leadership and corporate greed. So I asked the honorable panelists their views on the importance of ethical and value based leadership. The context of my question was related to the recent happenings narrated in succeeding paragraphs.
 Value Based Leadership-your views

Value Based Leadership-your views

In my recent visit to the US the American corporate was abuzz with the news of Barack Obama, the US president (who I admire greatly), admonishing the CEO’s
Barack Obama admonishes CEOs-shameful bonuses

Barack Obama admonishes CEOs-shameful bonuses

as “outrageous and shameful” that Wall Street employees received more than $18 billion in bonuses. Figures published by the New York State comptroller revealed for the first time the extent to which leading US banks continue to puff up wages, despite relying on massive federal cash injections to stay in business.

The report comes amid daily reports of fresh excesses by the men and women once regarded as corporate titans.

Citigroup, which received $45 billion in federal aid, was poised to splash out $50 million for a top-of-the-range corporate jet with leather seats and a free drinks bar. The bank, subsequently shamed, had to cancel the order.

The New York Post runs a “Rogues Gallery” to name and shame bosses of state-subsidized banks, pointing the finger at men such as Dick Fuld, the former boss of Lehman Brothers, who made half a billion dollars leading his bank to collapse.AMONG Wall Street’s fat cats under fire for taking bonuses, fewer are more pilloried than John Thain, the former chief executive of Merrill Lynch.

Even as his bank was collapsing under the weight of mismanaged assets, Mr Thain last year spent £850,000 on fixing up his New York office.

Shares might have been crashing and thousands facing lay-offs, but he saw nothing wrong in adding a £60,000 carpet, £20,000 curtains and a £7,000 lampshade. No expense was spared – even the wastepaper basket cost the company, the recipient of more than £30 billion in taxpayers’ money, almost £1,000 – on the advice of a celebrity interior designer paid £560,000.

Mr Thain tried to get himself a £7 million bonus before being forced out after the bank merged with Bank of America, but still managed to rush through millions more in bonuses to his under-performing top executives.

But it is not just banks that indulge in the benefits bonanza: Figures from the pay data firm Equilar reveal corporate excess across the US economy. Last year, despite falling profits, bonuses at 132 companies earning more than $1 billion a year actually increased by 14 per cent over the previous year, with the average reaching $265,594.

In India India reeled in shock as the head of Satyam, one of its biggest software services companies, quit after admitting that its books had been cooked for the past several years to show $1 billion in profits. An analyst compares the case of Satyam

Satyam example

Satyam example

Computer Services to Enron, the huge scandal that sent the US energy company to the ropes. The Enron case was the biggest in a series of scandals that damaged the reputation of corporate America. It has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption.

It was heartening to note that there was unanimous consensus by all the members of the panel that ‘value -based leadership’ is the most vital ingredient to lead the worldwide economy through the recession times and also thereafter. Their thoughts on the developing future leaders based on a strong value system were inspiring for all of us including the budding MBA students present in the audience.

May I invite blog guests, colleagues, visitors and my young friends (present and ex) from Tasmac, Asian School of Management, SCMHRD (Symbiosis), SCIT (Symbiosis) and of course The Army Institute of Technology (AIT) Pune, to share their thoughts on how values and ethics can be strengthened in professionals and the society in general. Even a ‘Hello’ from you will mean that you are on board and agree that every small act counts.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters” – Albert Einstein



About Dilip

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are music and growing culinary herbs. Love to play golf and do yoga regularly. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

24 responses

  1. girish says:

    Respected sir ,

    Thank you for a nice write up about value based leadership. In my personal work experience I have found that when I was in a turmoil due to our chief executive of all the eight sugar factories who was against me due to my honesty and integrity for the company for a project assigned to me, the chairman of the company rewarded my values by going out of the way and appreciated my efforts in my appraisal. So values will remain the same forever and authentic.


    Girish Kohli


    • Dilip says:

      Girish Ji

      @ I am glad you too share my belief in the ‘value based approach’ to leadership. Your personal case is very inspiring and thanks for sharing the same.Value based leadership has a long-term perspective and its true test is during the tough times. However some leaders do succumb to the immediate pressures and compromise their values.

      @ Yes the young officers courage and determination is in the true traditions of our Indian Army.


  2. Ashish Patel says:

    Dear sir,

    I am thankful to you for giving me this opportunity to read the case studies and topics on strategic issues. Good learning for us.

    Thank you.

    Ashish Patel


  3. Dilip says:

    Hi Ashish … many thanks for your visit and comments. Do come again. Best regards.


  4. Ashish Patel says:

    Dear sir,
    I think The leadership has to be a positive approach if it is to influence many persons and groups in a positive way. But there is also a need to add value and benefit the society.

    Thank you.

    Ashish Patel.


  5. BS Keron says:

    Lots of learning on your blog , Dilip !!
    Ethics & value based leadership compliance is the primary need of the hour particularly for our political leaders. Wish there was some way to include thia as a prerequisite for all Parliamentary & State election winners , before they take the oath !!
    Good Luck


    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Dear Keron,

      Thanks for the encouragement. Coming from you does mean a lot. Yes in politics even a small step in this direction can have huge impact. The statement made by French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville “in a democracy, we get the government we deserve” is noteworthy. I guess it implies the buck may have start from ordinary individuals doing simple acts. And perhaps the new leadership may emerge from the youth whose minds are green and open – I hope … I trust… 🙂

      Thank you once again Keron.


  6. dilipnaidu says:

    Dear Vedant, I am thrilled to note your visit in my blog! I still remember your boundless energy and enthusiasm.

    Thank you so much and my best wishes.


  7. Vedant says:

    Leadership, it is really difficult to know the exact meaning of this word. Because each and every person has own views and perceptions towards the topic and words. I have a different way of thinking, that is why sometimes my views are criticized. I will describe this word in one sentence:

    As we know that it is not easy to get money from anybodies pocket, the same as it not easy to get your work done from every one. It is an ART.


  8. roshannasidneyevans says:

    Aha, I see you and Kwai have met!


  9. roshannasidneyevans says:

    Yes, I agree, every small act. Every act is a lead.
    Each act is a gesture of leadership, conscious or unconscious, autonomic or constructed. Motion moves space/time in a directional way. Our physiology leads us every second to greater balance, strength, consciousness.
    Often great leaders only need to smile. The rest is written and taught from their Being.


  10. Shantanu Deshpande says:

    It is often said that it takes a lot of courage to tell the truth and standby it.
    not only in the corporate world but also in our personal lives we often find it true… thats why it is said often take it with a pinch of salt…
    as young managers we often want to take ethical standards but then fundamental question arises what is ethics? Ethics is based on ones value system. so it suggests that my value system is different than anybody else’s… so there our ethics change? and thus our choices and decisions….
    a far fetched example: a kid sees his father smoking and has accepted that smoking is right (as the only heros of his life till he/she gains enough knowledge is always his/her parents).
    so there we go…
    like wise in the corporate life…


  11. aniisu says:

    Hello Dilip,

    This is a very interesting post on a topic that appeals to me.

    The post is well written and articulates excellent messages.

    In my opinion, we are all leaders in our own little way – it is not really about holding a position of importance but about how we respect people, gain trust, demonstrate value and are consistent in our behavior. That to me is leadership.




  12. Santosh Kr. Singh (ASOM,B) says:

    Dear sir,

    Values and Ethics gives dicipline to the business but trust is something different from these. Trust as related to believes and faith each other. If we belives in God by 100% faith then you can find God. A trusty employee and employer can do the best for the organisation. But all depends upon organisation culture and environment.


  13. Dwarak Ethiraj says:

    There are one set of conditions under which true sense of value can germinate and another (complementary set) under which they can mature. The underlying element for both being presence of “culture”. Unfortunately, with this gradually diminishing on family front and rapidly getting extinct in work place , I do not believe we are giving value based leadership a chances to emerge. Nuclear families are starved of wisdom and increasing M&A activity is making culture a non entity on corporate front. What chance then do class rooms have ?

    At serious risk is the very concept of value and the greatest challenge is to address this. In a corporate set up three different people groups being share holders, customers and employees whose interest would be considered supreme ? The answer to this question from the leader can determine the organisation’s position on value scale….. No prize for getting the order right.


  14. UMESH BATRA says:



    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Prof. Umesh thanks for highlighting some valuable issues that are important to ‘value based leadership’. Yes if the theory is not backed by experience it will lack conviction. The participants may not derive real learning.

      I entirely agree with you that ethical and spiritual beliefs are vital ingredient for the execution of VB leadership. My interactions with the young folks makes me feel that they too agree that ethics and values are important for them to be successful (in real terms) in their professional as well as their personal lives.

      Thank you


    • roshannasidneyevans says:

      Interesting definition of leadership!


  15. UMESH BATRA says:


    “people don`t care how much u know until they know how much u really care for them”Entrepreneurship or running a corporation can`t be taught thru jargons & buzzwords.It simply can`t be taught thru “hired” “faculties”.A very seasoned & enlightened person(chief guest) was honoring the eminent free enterprise teachers in an institution in America ,he said “u all professors tday are being honoured being given medals,ribbons prizes for teaching Free Enterprise System for years ,WHICH U HAVE NEVER PRACTISED BY URSELF”& then he quoted sthg which only a person of his stature could quote.He said “PIGS DON`T KNOW THAT THEY STINK THE MOST”



  16. Dilip Naidu says:

    Hi again Kwai,

    Models and theories are essential to build conceptual abilities but it is their application in the real world that matters. It is here that a professional leader or a teacher faces the challenge of simplifying the complex to a doable form. If the leader/teacher’s own concepts are clear only then can he be effective in inspiring young minds to become good citizens and sound leaders.

    I have been fortunate to see live examples of great leaders ‘in action’. They were powered by their implicit belief in values and fair play and always led from the front. Amazingly the core traits all such leaders possessed were common and I refer to the ones mentioned in your last paragraph above. My earlier blog post on ‘Rushmorean leadership’ also makes this abundantly clear and believable.

    I agreeing with your views on the limitations of psychometric tests. Having had direct exposure in ‘the Services Selection Boards’ to psychometric testing, I feel such tests when conducted with a commercial mindset can actually harm a candidate with good potential unintentionally. One has to take great care on this issue.

    Kwai I wish to convey my sincere thanks to you for investing your valuable time for the betterment of viewers, blogger colleagues and most of all for our keen young friends, who I am sure will establish their own links with ‘Leaders Cafe Foundation’.

    One of the many answers for all leaders wanting to practice value based leadership can be found in Mahatma Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” 🙂 Cheers.


  17. Kwai Yu - Founder, Leaders Cafe Foundation says:

    Hi Dilip,

    Thank you very much for your kind words.

    I think we have made personal leadership and people leadership too hard and complex for many to bother. Too many psychometric tests, 4 box models, matrices and lists etc,.

    I go back to a phrase that the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen quotes in his book DEVELOPMENT AS FREEDOM …

    ‘creative discontent and constructive dissatisfaction leads to growth and growth leads to freedom’

    My quest is nothing more than helping individuals to find their own sense of FREEDOM.

    You may be a CEO or an administrator working for the same company. So long you feel, in your job, ‘discontented and dissatisfied’ with your lot … that sense of freedom will always elude you.

    If, in your job, you retain a sense ‘creative discontent and constructive dissatisfaction’ …. then you will seek to grow … in order to find that sense of freedom.

    That could mean:

    [1] Staying with the job you have – and seek your growth outside the company

    [2] Seek career growth within the company

    [3] Seek career growth outside the company

    [4] Seek work that is an expression of you, inside or outside of a company.

    These are all conscious choices – although many people often feel they are given Hobson’s choice. That’s wrong, Do Nothing is a conscious choice.

    For many leaders, they fear the thought of those they manage ‘leaving them’ or ‘leaving the company’ … that they will rather not help them grow.

    For others, they simply do not know how to have those courageous conversations on purpose, passion, faith, hope, humility, compassion, resilience etc,. WHY? Because we don’t cover this kind of ‘right stuff’ in our management training, management studies or MBAs.


  18. dilipnaidu says:

    Dear Kwai,

    The import of your writing is precious and valuable. Not only has it enriched my blog but will be of immense value to so many. I now know how you are actually ‘doing’ and moving forward in your quest to develop a ‘million leaders’. I take the liberty of posting the inspiring mission of ‘Leaders Cafe Foundation’ founded by you “helps people to achieve business success by de-mystifying the process of moving from KNOWING to DOING to WINNING. True success comes from: Adding to the peace of the individual Creating more harmony in society Increasing compassion among the wealthy Increasing hope among the needy” And my ‘Namaste’ to you for sharing!



  19. Hi Dilip,

    The immediate phrase that came to my mind is ‘do as I do and not as I say’.

    I believe if you asked a million business leaders, or 10 million, whether ‘value based leadership’ is the most vital ingredient to future economic success … 10 million leaders will SAY they agree.

    However, that is very different to the question – ‘Do you have the courage TO DO?’

    In the silence of your own room, behind close doors and no one will hear your answer … how honest will you be with your answer to the second question?

    Do corporates really have the ability to practice ‘value base leadership’ …. when the company owner are the money men?

    When a company is owned by shareholders, what people forget is that CEOs are also employees. They just have the title ‘management’. In that sense, they are just as human as the receptionist. They are just as susceptible, if not more so, to the symptoms of Affluenza and Status Anxiety.

    For me, it takes a huge amount of courage to practice ‘value based leadership’. Why? Because it can be, will be and is … a lonely journey.

    You will be confronted with decision/choices that confronts your conditioning. Those choices will assault your self-esteem. And we are hard-wired to protect our self-esteem.

    What do I mean by conditioning? Well …

    Your conditioning about what constitutes ‘monetary’ value. What is the value in a pair of Hugo Boss jeans compared to a pair of Marks and Spencer jeans? Why should one be sold at 10 times the value of another? When .. the ‘craft’ that harvest the cotton, that weave the fabric and that work the machinery … are broadly the same and may even originate from the same country???

    Your conditioning about what constitutes self-esteem. Why should you feel good only if you drive the latest BMW?

    To practice ‘value based leadership’ means we have to think about our thinking. This is hard when … for the last 31 years that I’ve been an adult … we have been conditioned to see success as one dimensional. The acquisition of material wealth.

    Our self-esteem is now hard-wired to wealth and ‘things’ acquisition. And isn’t it ironic that it was the introduction of Values and Lifestyle (VALs) marketing 30 years ago that resulted in this hard-wired conditioning in our youngsters.

    Just to show I’m not all talk and no action. I’ve decided to follow my purpose(s) and my passion in forming the Leaders Cafe Foundation. Part of the risk was that my family may need to live off 40% of our previous earnings.

    The risk came true … but guess what? We’ve found that we can live off 40% of our previous earnings. I’ve had to discard a lot of conditioning to do so.

    And I’ve spent a fantastic 3 years – doing work that is an expression of who I am.

    The cherry on the cake is that I’ve also been able to take my daughters to and from school 🙂