This week we highlight Jayesh Reddy. He is an expert in systems thinking, technology management and innovation, and a new faculty member at USB-ED.
What has been your toughest leadership challenge?
"I had been in a corporate environment for several years where I had opportunities to take on roles that were either new or came with a higher than normal level of uncertainty. I found that those were the circumstances under which I thrived. Not so long ago my wife and I became parents for the first time and following a series of events we decided that I would leave the corporate world and effectively become a stay-at-home dad. Taking on the role of primary caregiver to my infant son was the ultimate new and uncertain role. Simultaneously, I began a process of developing multiple income streams with the aim of carving out a second 'career' which would allow me the flexibility to work gainfully while still being heavily involved in looking after my son. It has been the ultimate test of leadership capability. However, it has also been the most fulfilling experience."
What is the toughest leadership challenge businesses face today?
"Over the past few years there has been a significant rise of businesses actively seeking to disrupt their industries – either in the form of start-up organisations with a new and unique take on a product or service; or traditional businesses having to disrupt themselves. As a result there are sectors changing at break-neck speeds, and businesses find their competitive position under continual threat. There is an old saying that organisations are one competitor innovation away from being made obsolete. The corollary to that point is that organisations are also an innovation of their own away from dominating their industry. The implication for organisations is that technical skills and knowledge are now no longer the differentiator. Instead, the key skills and competencies going forward deal with an organisation's ability to read market trends, adapt quickly and execute innovatively. It is the new business imperative that these skills be extensively developed and finely honed."
Who inspires you and why?
"My son has been my greatest inspiration. I am motivated every day to set an example that he would be proud to follow. I am driven every day to set an example that would make him proud of me."
What is the most valuable teaching you have received from a participant to date?
"With the programmes I am involved with I get to interact with participants quite early in the process and then again when they are quite close to the end. I am always fascinated by the changes they have undergone and the impact the learning process has had on them on a personal level. It is both humbling and gratifying to think I have played a role in that journey. With each person investing so much of themselves into the process, I am driven to offer my best and continually improve how I execute my role. I consider every interaction with the participants to be a learning opportunity for me as I strive to achieve this objective."
Do you have a mantra or slogan that you live by?
"We know what we are, but know not what we may be" is a powerfully simple Shakespearian reminder that we are masters of our own fate. Our futures are yet to be written and it is within our power to shape the path we take."
What book are you currently reading?
"I'm reading Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest and Mike Malone. It's essential reading for anyone interested in how organisations have harnessed technology and innovative concepts to accelerate growth."