Ravi Krishnamoorthi, senior vice president and head of business consulting at Fujitsu EMEIA
Ravi Krishnamoorthi, senior vice president and head of business consulting at Fujitsu EMEIA, charts his career so far and reveals his top tips for aspiring business leaders.
What is it the company does?
At Fujitsu we enable our global customers to thrive amidst the challenges of business transformation, by helping them to integrate robust IT and digital applications. We strive to help our customers gain a competitive advantage in a world where technology is constantly evolving. Everything we do circles back to human-centric innovation, and the idea that every product and service adds tangible value to the customer.
What does your role involve?
My role is much more than helping stakeholders meet their objectives. I’m determined to help people – customers and colleagues – realise how IT can help them meet the challenges of today’s technology-driven world. I operate across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and manage 4,500 people, and the best thing about my job is that I get to play around with cutting edge technology from artificial intelligence and machine learning to the Internet of Things applications.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I had a very humble beginning and truly believe that the early years of my career were integral to helping me reach my potential at Fujitsu. I started out as a programmer 35 years ago in India and swiftly moved on to set up three companies as an entrepreneur; two actually failed and one was a success, however all three helped me to grow and learn from my mistakes. Fast forward to now and I find myself in a very unique position. My experience is a precious blend of the maturity expected of a corporate office and the agility of an entrepreneur. It’s fantastic to have two different mind-sets as I am able to draw on entirely unique experiences.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Two simple traits: empathy and focus. Empathy gives you a human element and focus helps you to channel the leadership needed to guide your team. Both need to work in harmony in order for one to be a great leader. The result of achieving the perfect mix will make you accessible to your team, agile in your role and easily help you transfer your ability to help your staff grow.
You must also have a propensity to add value in every interaction. Whether you’re speaking to a customer, employee or colleague, at the end of any conversation listeners should be left with new information that they can use to grow and develop their own career. Successfully doing so is the true mark of a leader.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
My role is driven by technology and as a result is a very interesting space to work in. It’s also a very fast-paced sector that is constantly changing. Managing people is the biggest test as I am constantly challenged to motivate my team, ensure we deliver true value and keep up with the pace of technology. These are all daily test but the key to overcoming any challenge is creativity and passion. If you don’t love your job you will not succeed. I’ve never had to struggle to get out of bed because I enjoy the challenges that everyday work, and life, brings forth and every decision that I make is designed to help me achieve just that.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I’m a strong believer in principles. If you don’t like what you do you will likely experience regular stress, but if you love what you do your determination will ultimately help you grow. I am extremely passionate and expect that same level of commitment from my team. I’m so confident that I am in the right role that I would happily take a conference call on the beach if I had to – although I would probably prefer not to! On a simpler level, I meditate every day and never sleep without reading a book; I actually read two different books at once (one fiction and one leadership) to help mentally stimulate my mind.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Like most young children, I wanted to do many different things. First it was a motorbike racer, then a cricketer and finally a fighter pilot. Although none of those seem relevant to my current role there is one simple thread that runs through them all. I always wanted to be successful and constructively disruptive, all the while contributing to help better people’s lives. When I was a young motorbike racer I wanted to donate the prize money to less fortunate children. When I was a fighter pilot I wanted to protect India from all that was bad. Some may see this as an immature mind, I see it as aspirational. Everything I did and do is to help the customer and that is why I love my job.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I hate it when people are not agile! Technology is so fast-paced that it warrants a need to be quick on your feet and adjust alongside the demands of the customer. I can get quite frustrated at times but always come back to my point of having empathy and understanding your role as a leader to help your team grow. I frequently ask for forgiveness and believe that sometimes you have to just get on with your job.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Simple, I firmly believe that in five years Fujitsu will be one of the top five businesses in the world, helping customers to achieve a positive return on technology investments. I want us to be tech leaders in the future and at the bleeding edge of innovation in the world. Ultimately, I want to be adding business value to the customer every single day.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Be humble and cherish and nurture the talent around you. One piece of advice that I would give to future leaders is to associate yourself with young people because they can give you a ground level view of everything. The younger generation have an unfiltered perspective and are not easily influenced by external factors – they are not afraid to speak their mind. It is absolutely paramount to gain a different perspective in order to grow as a business leader, but more importantly as a human being.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Three fundamental things: life is not as straight-forward as perceived, there are no free lunches and most importantly, trust is something that you need to be stingy about. We must all understand that life cannot be plotted from point a to b, and you must prepare to embrace the twists to come. No-one, and I truly mean no-one, will give you a free lunch and you will have to work hard to gain what is deserved in life. And lastly, I wish someone told me to not overly trust people too quickly. There is a fine balance between trusting people and growing as an individual and team. I’m not afraid to say I’ve been scarred in previous relationships but am proud to say that each scar has helped me learn and become the better person that I am today.