An interview of your truly which appeared in Vida Economica in Portuguese some time back:
1. You are publishing your book in Portugal in March. What’s your relationship with Portugal? Why Portugal to publish your book?
It would be recalled that the relationship between our two countries goes back quite a few centuries.
At the personal level, I have several friends from Goa and Cochin in India, both of which were the seat of power for Portugal till the 1960s. I have always people from these areas to be highly committed but fun-loving at the same time.
At the professional level, having worked in the leather footwear industry for a long time, I had occasionally been in touch with some such businesses in North of Portugal.
Some time back, I came across CEO World, and felt connected to your lovely country.
Relationships evolve over a period of time. It is time to improve the engagement between our two countries. Traditional knowledge and management wisdom is just one facet of the possibilities. That is how, the thought of publishing a book here came up.
2. Amazon said recently that they will not fail to be a major player in India (as it happened in China). They will invest much more this time. How do you see the opportunities for Portuguese companies in India?
Against the gloomy backdrop of major economies, India happens to be a bright spot in the world today. The new government has grand plans for development and is taking steps to improve the ease of doing business in India. The potential in the semi-urban and rural pockets of India is great. Portuguese businesses have a unique opportunity now to enter into tie-ups with companies of Indian origin.
Globally, the largest pool of educated manpower willing to work hard is available in India. History has taught Indians to live harmoniously together, despite wide-ranging diversity in terms of religion, languages and castes. These are unique strengths which can be effectively leveraged by businesses in Portugal.
Companies which want to do business in India would do well to (a) Identify their key strengths which would be of relevance to India, whether in the field of infrastructure, renewable energy, farm productivity, leisure and tourism, etc, (b) Take the help of experts who can put them in touch with reliable business partners in India, and (c) Be clear and patient about the characteristics of the market segment they identify to cater to.
3. “Surviving in the Corporate Jungle” mixes humour with management. Why do you think it should be read by Portuguese managers?
Management concepts are universal in nature. When you wish to motivate your team members, it does not matter whether you are in Porto or in Mumbai. When you are down-sizing, the challenges are the same, irrespective of whether you are in Lisbon or in Delhi.
Portuguese managers who follow one of the effective habits popularized by Stephen R Covey – KEEP SHARPENING YOUR SAW – would greatly benefit from the managerial wisdom of India.
The messages conveyed in the book are serious in nature. Their packaging is not. Profound truths conveyed with a dash of humour, I believe, have a better chance of being effectively communicated.
I believe the upcoming book can help managers in Portugal and elsewhere become smarter, in other words, more effective.
4. Why did you decide to become a founding member of the Portuguese start-up CEO WORLD?
We live in times when the world is shrinking faster than ever. We are at the cusp of a new kind of ‘Industrial Revolution’ which is knowledge-driven. Call it a ‘Binary Revolution’, if you will. Technology is making information more democratic in nature.
Start-ups which enable sharing of management practices across the world serve a useful purpose in the society. Moreover, when we share challenges and discuss possible solutions on a global platform, we gain in terms of empathy and expand our consciousness. We are then making a small but significant contribution towards global harmony, much like a small group of violinists which is a part of a grand orchestra.
For example, one of the platforms CEO World offers is that of Peer Groups. Here, I get to share my current challenges with CEOs from all over the world on a video conference platform. There is no conflict of interest, there is accountability, and there are no travel costs involved. As and when one is visiting each other, one can take the discussion forward.
Peer Groups have been in operation since the last 60/70 years in such countries as the US, Canada, AU, NZ and UK. But the novel idea being practiced at CEO World is that of virtual peer groups which are global in nature. This is a disruptive concept led by a Portuguese start-up.
5. What are your plans for the future and how do you envision your relationship with Portugal?
As a person who suffers from ‘Professoritis’, the plans are for an enhanced level of engagement with the management institutes and associations in Portugal. Another book proposal is on the drawing board. Given support, I would love to do a book comparing the managerial styles of CEOs in Portugal and in India.
It would also be exciting to connect with Portuguese companies who want to have a better understanding of the Indian culture and market and vice versa. Perhaps I can make a modest contribution towards building more bridges between our two countries. This gets aligned with the mission of CEO WORLD: of decreasing the gap between cultures and bringing about a better understanding between the two populations.
(Source: Vida Economica, February 26, 2016)
You can buy the book here.
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