Rahul Guha

Rahul Guha

Program Manager in Intel
 
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Ensuring Growth
A leader is as good as his/her team is. Building a team requires mentoring them, spotting right capabilities and potential, nurturing that by giving proper space to grow. It’s almost like raising your own kid . So the answer is not as a leader but asa human being. Also I am programmed to continuously evaluate myself on my capabilities and improve upon the ones that I value most. As I value technology deeply, I spend lot of time on newer technology be it in BI, web or mobility. I keep membership of few selected organizations and follow certain companies across the globe to understand market dynamics. As a leadership team in Prakat we do discuss and debate various business problems which also helps keeping up to the market condition.
Current Job description
My current role is Chief Technology Officer in Prakat Solutions (where I am also a partner) where I am chartered to look after any technology related aspects that comes across the company. It typically happens in following ways: 1. Create solutions, frameworks and tools around Prakat service offering 2. Develop product for our customers in new generation web and mobile technology stack 3. Explore new strategic technology area (e.g. Hadoop and distributed architecture, Win 8 app development, Location based application development etc). 4. Help pre-sales and customer cXo conversations for business development and partnership.
Managing personal and professional life
Human being inherited analytic capability from their ancestors and that's probably why they are the way they are. Today's world gives you access to data of every kind. Looking at data and analysing it with strategic eye (and I emphasize on that because data analytic can be more ambiguous and mis-interpreted) is good place to start. However business of decision making goes beyond this as it's the risk that defines your capability to disrupt and gain. So I manage my own portfolio of decisions - some are traditional cash cow and some I treat as experiments. While we do these experiments, it’s important to identify the transition stages - especially if it's failing. It's a key leadership quality to fail cheap and own up responsibility. Sometimes it's more effective than delivering success in predictable manner.
Leadership qualities
Leadership is different than management and not attached to organizational position; it's an earned perception and not a given one. Few of typical qualities that drive to true leadership are Passion and Pride to a relevant subject (which eventually makes the person knowledgeable), capability and track record of taking ownership and living with that (including failures), transparent but assertive, caring but fair to everybody around, ability to bring clarity by simplifying/breaking-down complex situation and guide the team towards achievable goals. Finally he needs to be quick decision maker to reduce confusion. Having said all these, I actually think it's quite easy as most are quite common sense as long the person don't restrain himself with pre-conceived notion and allow his/her common sense to operate freely.
Important career decisions
Almost at the beginning of my career I was sort of forced to decide to work on technology which is forward thinking and evolving. While that required hard work to without almost no guidance, it actually paid off for me. That way I learnt that ambiguity or lack of clarity actually is an opportunity to explore and get success. Second career decision I made when I joined Prakat leaving a position which was quite close to my heart. It’s this entrepreneurial journey that taught me many things which you can’t learn from any business school. We are still in that journey and every day is a new challenge – and hope one day when things will be more structured and successful, we will make fun of these challenging days
Handling Grievances
As leader, it's our responsibility to define the rules (and exceptions) and ensure everyone knows and buys into those. That is achieved by continuous communication which brings all in one page. Even after that if someone has grievance, investigate the situation mainly to understand if any process improvement is required. If required take immediate necessary action and articulate the to the whole team. But if the issue is with the employee, clearly articulate that to him and address his grievance directly with logic and data. Even after that if the grievance persist, it's better to part with the employee as otherwise it may affect others and teamwork. The key in these situation is fairness based on existing data. Address the issue directly without any inhibition and as quickly as possible.
My advice
Leadership starts with passion and pride. So first identify what is your passion in life. Don't waste time on things which you don't enjoy doing. Once you find what you love to do, learn the subject as much as you can (and most likely you will enjoy that as you like the subject). Then take the journey to apply your common sense and discipline to daily activities, identify your own weakness (most are related to communication and inter-personal) and improve on those consciously. Managers need to transform themselves to leaders. I strongly believe that every person has leadership quality within himself but generally they don't explore that. People are just too much restrained by corporate culture, management process and organizational hierarchy and protocol (a.k.a POLITICS) to identify the leader within themselves.
Influenced by
There are two people who influenced my life most. First is my father who somehow taught me how to stay positive in every situation and especially when we fail. From him I learnt that failure is actually more reality than success and probably more useful as from each of failure we should learn something. Second is my ex-boss in ABP limited (my first real job) who taught me how to break down larger problem and articulate in professional manner so that others can understand.
My views on India Technical development
Indian software industry saw success as staff augmenter and offshore partner for last decades. The focus remained on running high margin offshore business and people were rewarded accordingly. That way an extremely efficient sourcing and delivery engine is built. And in that process somewhere the technology focus got diluted over years. For example, not many 12+ year experience person take pride in writing code or even in technical deep dive - while that is very common in US especially in Silicon Valley. Technology product inception and development require deep knowledge, understanding and passion in technology. If we want to build technology product first we need to bring pride and focus back to technology which in turn will bring recognition back to the same. For that Indian companies need to open their appetite for risk of investing for certain amount of time without billing. That would be a good start.
Family background
I was born and raised in a middle class refugee family where my mother was a school teacher and Father is a journalist and associated to newspapers and publications. I was fortunate to grow up in a transforming environment where I was exposed and came in touch of many respected social and community leaders from whom I draw my energy and direction in times of confusion.
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