Purpose, People, Planet, and Profit are the core principles that drive the learning and development programs at Pragati Leadership. Over three decades, we have continually worked with corporate leaders across industries to refine a comprehensive approach that blends business, social, and ecological sensibilities in creating emerging leaders. In addition, to encourage leaders already walking this path further, we instituted the Pragati Leadership Inspiring & Successful Leadership Awards 2022.
To select this year’s motivating leaders from the IT industry, we turned to four esteemed jury members including Vibhas Joshi (Author, Coach, Facilitator, and Former Board Member, SAS Research & Development, India), Tarun Sharma (Founder, Yodda, Former CEO BMC Software India, Board Member, Global Logic India), Dr. Ganesh Natarajan (Chairman, 5F World, Lighthouse Communities & Honeywell Automation India Ltd.), and Dr. Shikha Jain (Director – IMDR).
The jury members chose a well-known global personality, Mr. L.C. Singh (Executive Vice Chairman, Nihilent), as one of the 2022 IT Industry awardees, “for pushing the envelope of technology, as well as making an impact in society”. In his five decades in the industry, he has taken Indian IT and consulting to the international stage. He believes in continuously experimenting at the leading edge of technology while also ensuring that it has an impactful role in society. Accordingly, he has ensured Nihilent’s collaboration with Bhatkya Vimukt Jati Shikshan Sanstha (BVJSS) continues in the form of numerous CSR outreach programs serving tribal communities, the physically challenged, orphans, and underprivileged children in Pune.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Singh spoke of being inspired by the leaders at Pragati in terms of being empathetic, caring, thoughtful, and peaceful, adding that peaceful existence requires fulfillment. Accordingly, he said, his first goal is “to feel the satisfaction of achieving something creative, innovative, and which is useful to humanity overall”. He reminisced about his fifty years in the industry and mused that he might have “lent a few bricks” through his contributions. He expressed pride in the people he has worked with and how many of them have grown to become the most inspiring and successful business leaders.
Mr. Singh warned against getting fragmented by thinking in terms of narrow boundaries and stressed the need for holistic thinking and problem-solving. He explained that holism holds a special meaning for him that he has derived with constant experimentation over the last 6-7 years, asking “do we know everything that can be known?”. He added that design thinking appeals to him specifically as it caters to the primary need of any business which is to serve customers. “Everything else is peripheral, including making money”, he noted. He felt that commercials are needed for companies to thrive and serve the customer better with more efficient tools, and improved technologies. As a leader, he believed in doing everything to enhance the quality and longevity of human life, which he felt other leaders could adopt as an objective and emulate.
Regarding technology, Mr. Singh spoke of his reluctance to experiment with technologies that are intrusive to human life and violate the privacy of any individual. He said that he was a firm believer in anonymity, which gives him the freedom to live life on his terms. Not living simply but instead famously or publicly, he felt, could lead to living by other people’s standards. Turning to corporate life, he didn’t find becoming or not becoming a millionaire consequential, as he only wanted to create an industry of the future. He recalled laying the foundation for a corporate model in the 80s, which began flourishing in the 90s through the 00s and continues to do so today. He underscored that doing the right things and walking the right path was a matter of consequence, not size.
Following one’s convictions, leading your way, and communicating with everyone around you form the crux of inspirational leadership. To him, leadership was not about himself but about what he could create in others and project what was coming in the future. However, he remarked that with success comes difficulty in changing. “I can change process, I can change technology, but can’t change the person”, he quipped. He did stress that if one makes people feel different, they are likely to change. So to change people, Mr. Singh concluded, it is important to show them the consequence of a path, which is essentially what he sees as leading through motivation.
Mr. L.C. Singh is a distinguished alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology and an alumnus of the Harvard Business School. A pioneer in the field of information technology, he performed key roles at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). At the time of leaving the company, he was the Senior Vice President, in charge of operations for the UK, South Africa, and the Middle East. In addition, he also looked after marketing, public relations, and brand building. He briefly worked with Zensar Technologies as President and CEO. He founded Nihilent in 2000 and is the author of Nihilent’s patented change management framework MC³.
Mr. Singh is a Fellow of The Institute of Management Consultants of India (IMCI) and Computer Society of India (CSI), and a certified Due Diligence Professional (CDDP). He is an internationally recognized thought leader on design & systems thinking, and an invited speaker at global conferences on Design Thinking, Change Management, and Digital Disruption.