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HomeU.SIndian American corporate leaders are adoptive of many cultures, says management guru...

Indian American corporate leaders are adoptive of many cultures, says management guru Ram Charan

Dr Ram Charan, globally renowned business consultant advisor and bestselling author and speaker, who has advised hundreds of top companies for over four decades feels that among the number of things that stand out about Indian American CEOs, is their ability of being adoptive of cultures. “The adoption of several cultures in their lives is very central to be able to do a complex job while being exposed to a lot of volatility, discontinuity and uncertainty,” Dr Ram Charan told Times of India in an exclusive interview.
The second factor that differentiates the Indian American CEOs is the experiences within their Indian families, Dr Ram Charan feels. “These are usually large families that create a more tolerant culture of relationships,” he said.
While the initial education in India, too, works as an advantage for many Indian Americans, who have achieved big success in their career, Dr Ram Charan feels that it is their ability to learn continuously that is the real leverage. “Most of the Indians who have reached the pinnacle in their companies in US are fast and determined learners and from their graduate days to all the way up in industry they have adapted to a different country, different people, and different culture. Most of them did well in their colleges in India and would have done well anywhere in the world,” he said.
Ram Charan, who is in India for the launch of a chair in his name at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, feels that while getting to the top is a personal achievement; educational institutions in India are outstanding and provide a strong foundation. The Ram Charan chair professor in innovation and leadership has been instituted by Harsh Mariwala, founder and chairman of Marico.
Dr Ram Charan has lived in America for over six decades and feels that one of the challenges that Indians face is that they speak too fast. “There is no discrimination in the largest number of American companies and Indians are among the brightest in communications, but they speak too fast,” he said. And for those Indians at the top positions in companies in America, it is important to listen to others and engage with them for their viewpoint, Ram Charan, who has worked with many top companies, CEOs, and boards, feels. “Even when they feel that they are the brightest and can think fast and have the fast answers, it is important to care for others and engage with them.”
Ram Charan, who graduated from the Benaras Hindu University (now IIT-Varanasi) before he went to Harvard Business School for an MBA and then a doctorate, believes that his own early education in India provided him with strong cultural values. “My education at BHU helped establish my credibility when I first went to the US; but in India, I had also learned the element of making sacrifices and that material things are not important. I was trained from the age of 10 to understand that you come with nothing and will leave the world with nothing,” he said. These values, he now believes, set the temperament of Indian American leaders in a highly aggressive and materialistic society.

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