“Effective leadership is a full time pledge and thus demands stamina and conviction of the leader. It is not a position but a series of activities”

The blog features leadership insights from leading CEOs / CHROs on effective leadership and how their leadership styles helped to shape the organization culture and executive performance in mitigating the ever changing challenges in the business environment. This episode features Dr. Sanjeev Jha – Founder & Principal of Strumng a niche boutique consultancy services company focused on developing competencies of insurers in conversation with Riaz Hassen – CEO of Colombo Leadership Academy

Sanjeev has a reputation for achieving successful turnarounds, delivering efficient M&As and running successful businesses. Till very recently, Sanjeev was the Managing Director and CEO of Fairfirst Insurance Limited, Sri Lanka. Fairfirst under his leadership, grew profitably and today enjoys market leadership position in Sri Lanka. He is currently Consultant for Fairfax and is actively involved in their operations across multiple high growth Asian markets like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. Sanjeev is a non-executive Board Member of Paramount Health Services, a leading healthcare service provider based out of India. He is on the advisory Board of Symbo an insurtech building technology that insurers, brokers and agents needs. He is also on the advisory board of Veracity AI, which provides professional services and product development strategy & prototyping in the areas of Data Science, Machine Learning and AI.

Sanjeev is a Fulbright scholar in Management from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, and a PhD in Economics. He is an exceptional business leader who has successfully created effective teams across different cultures.

Riaz – What style of leadership will help to create a high performance organization culture?

Sanjeev – In today’s environment with its emphasis on agility, diversity, inclusiveness, creativity, etc., leadership that displays authentic engagement in the ‘human’ behind the ‘resource’ is most effective. Authentic engagement assumes emotional maturity of the leader to be able to manage interactions that often need difficult conversations in terms of managing performance expectation. Effective leadership is a full time pledge and thus demands stamina and conviction of the leader. It is not a position but a series of activity.

Riaz – What are the key learnings you have taken from the recent crisis in the area of talent management, succession planning and employee engagement culture?

Sanjeev – The value of a work culture that is based on trust, authenticity, responsibility and sensible risk taking are elements that have come to the forefront in these last 18 odd very difficult months. Unfortunately such culture can not be developed overnight and takes time, energy and focus on the ‘human’ elements of the organization. Without such a culture, engagement can never be enduring.

Riaz – What is the future of HR and where do you see the challenges and changes happening? 

Sanjeev – The traditional organization designs are waiting to be changed to reflect the new realties. This includes business models like hybrid working models, remote on-boarding, virtual training, etc. will all necessitate change of core HR processes including performance management. Thus, the HR fraternity is in for a super exciting time.

Riaz – Why is diversity and inclusion important to your organization? 

Sanjeev – Organization needs to reflect the society that it means to serve. Thus, in my view, it is not diversity that is needed by representation.

Riaz – What defines a Great Manager and what are the key competencies required to be one?

Sanjeev – ‘GREAT’ can only be defined to those who have established a track record of continued success. Not one off but over a period of time. Apart from financial and customer oriented KPIs for defining success, people development is an important competency.

Riaz – What are the best practices in your organization that defines your employer brand?

Sanjeev – Organization culture and value must focus significantly on Authenticity, Creativity, Service and Social Responsibility where every stakeholder is taken into consideration in value creation.

About the interviewer – Riaz Hassen

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Riaz Hassen is the founder CEO and Managing Director of Colombo Leadership Academy and has served in board positions in diversified conglomerates and has over 30 years of experience in providing leadership and driving business growth. He is an experienced Executive & Leadership Development Coach, A Leadership Effectiveness & Culture Assessor certified by the Leadership Circle USA. Culture & Diversity Ambassador by Hofstede Insights. Riaz is equipped with vast experience in Executive, Leadership and Transformation Coaching domains. Riaz is also an advocate of crafting Employer Branding strategies developing Employer Value Propositions and Diversity & Inclusion ventures.

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