A Stone for a Business Leader Archana Bhaskara attends a seminar by Arvind Mediratta, MD-CE), Metro Cash & Carry, and shares her learnings

On Tuesday, 25th June 2019, the students of IIM Bangalore were asked, “What would you like written on your tombstone?” Surprisingly, the question did not come from a sociological or spiritual context but from a context of leadership and the expectations from future leaders. 

A pioneer in the FMCG sector and MD-CEO of Metro Cash and Carry, Arvind Mediratta, interacted with students  of IIMB and shared his thoughts on effective leadership. Describing his journey from IIT Delhi, IIM Calcutta and University of Michigan to holding key positions at reputed organizations, Mr Mediratta said, “It is important to lead the life you want to live for yourself and never have regrets.”

Pointing out that management is about doing things right and leadership is about doing the right thing, he said integrity is paramount in today’s business context.

Introducing students to different laws of leadership, he emphasized that the position doesn’t make the leader; it’s the leader who makes the position. “Each one of us in our own capacity can demonstrate leadership,” he remarked. Quoting examples of Mr. K.V. Kamath and Mr Narayana Murthy, he said it takes a leader to nurture another. “Focus on energy management instead of time management,” he said, adding that leaders essentially have one or more of the following three – head, heart and guts. “The most effective leader is one who combines rationality of the head, empathy of the heart and decisive risk-taking.” 

He also sought student views and opinions and was appreciative of the same.

In a nutshell, he spoke of the need for leaders of the future to make the “essential trade-off between corporate greed (profits/growth) and righteousness in the context of the society”. He emphasized the need for “Conscious Capitalism” and closed the session, leaving students with the same question he started with: “What would you like written on your tombstone?”

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