Pragati Leadership’s learning and development programs have encouraged the growth of corporate leaders the world over for over three decades. We believe in a Wholesome Leadership transformation through a route map based on Purpose, People, Planet, and Profit. In keeping with this objective, we felicitated corporate leaders taking extraordinary, even out-of-the-box steps towards growing their businesses through the first edition of the “Pragati Leadership Inspiring & Successful Leadership Awards 2022”. Stalwarts from the manufacturing and supply chain sector in India were chosen for this year’s awards. 

We are grateful to the jury members who adjudicated the awards, including Pragati Leadership’s Chairperson and Executive Director, Anu Wakhlu. The other members on the jury were S. Deenadayalan (Founder, Center for Excellence in Organization), Dr. Sayalee Gankar (Vice Chancellor, D. Y. Patil University), Satish Kumar Anavangot (Former MD, Henkel India Limited), Biji K. Kurien (Former MD – CPS Color India, Berger Paints, and Author), and Raman Chadha (ex Head Oil & Gas, Gammon Engineers). 

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Mr. Shashikiran Shetty, the Founder of Allcargo Global Logistics, is the second awardee this year, for ensuring revenue growth despite a slew of challenges including the pandemic and rapid changes in the logistics industry worldwide. Further, the company’s CSR arm, Avashya Foundation, has been working in six focus areas, viz. education, environment, health, women empowerment, disaster relief, and sports. In his message, he thanked Pragati Leadership for the award as well as for guiding and bringing people together and instilling in them the ability to execute strategic initiatives. Echoing other speakers, Mr. Shetty noted that organizations today were moving in a direction “where we all think beyond profit”. He emphasized that organizations need to make an impact on society, which is one of their biggest stakeholders.

In recent years, he pointed out, businessmen have regeared their mindset towards value systems and value-driven management and sustainability, environmental impact, and governance. He drew from his experience of over 35 years to highlight how leaders need the foresight to think about sustaining their businesses well into the future, beyond their day-to-day success, look for opportunities on the horizon, and relentlessly pursue them. 

More important, he added, was how they manage their entire workforce and get their people to share a culture and a vision, and get rewarded for their work. Setting this culture and standards, and building the organization’s reputation and brand equity is always the highest priority for the management, he said and noted that this was one of the lessons he learned early on. Mr. Shetty however felt that this was all common sense, and “there is no rocket science in this”. He felt that if leaders would listen to “the core of our heart”, they would understand what they need to do, which they should then implement passionately.

Citing the fact that he wasn’t “a highly qualified engineer”, nor did he go to an IIM or Harvard, he attributed his achievements to sheer hard work, transparency, and always paying the highest respect to his integrity and caring for others. He underscored the importance of constant learning and investing in people, systems, and processes. Mr. Shetty saw leaders as continuously thinking about improving their organizations and becoming better by benchmarking with global companies and competitors. 

“We all know that at the end of the day the customer is what keeps us all going”, he reflected, pointing out the central need to adopt new technologies and systems and provide a delightful customer experience and ease of doing business. Another quality necessary for leaders is the ability to inspire the younger generation to take their journey forward, Mr. Shetty said. “People who get inspired are going to be your most loyal employees and people who want to support you in your journey”. 

Mr. Shetty firmly believes that India is a transparent democracy and has a capital market fair to private equity and venture capitalists, which businesses can leverage and help people thrive. He felt this encourages entrepreneurship, and Indian entrepreneurs can take companies global to produce many more multinational companies. While they may be somewhat behind the curve compared to the larger MNCs, Mr. Shetty hoped they can find a real rags-to-riches, India-to-global story in his organization’s journey.

Describing the COVID pandemic as one of the testing times for his Group, he expressed pride in how they went through a transformation both digitally and otherwise. They gained market share, implemented several internal reorganizations, and hired over 50 CXOs. They also acquired Gati in a bad shape and transformed it. In summary, Mr. Shetty called the last two to 2.5 years an extremely delightful experience for him personally.

Since founding AllCargo Logistics in 1993, Mr. Shashi Kiran Shetty has helmed major transformations in the Indian logistics sector, riding on India’s economic growth. Today, the Group enjoys the status of being India’s largest privately-owned integrated logistics company. Mr. Shetty spearheaded 10 key global acquisitions in less than a decade, setting a brilliant example of benefiting from a first-mover advantage.