HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Executing a vision is vital

Hindustan Times   January 16, 2013
First Published: 22:09 IST(16/1/2013) | Last Updated: 22:32 IST(16/1/2013)

SN Sharma is the chief executive officer (CEO) of DEN Networks Limited, one of India's largest cable television distribution companies.


He has over 20-years of experience in the electronic media and is a veteran of the Indian cable TV industry, which he has been associated with since its infancy. He spoke to HT on a range of leadership issues. Excerpts from the interview:

What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is building a team having a common purpose, and executing that purpose. It is about identifying an opportunity in advance and once you have seized that opportunity, your ability to execute it - that is the key difference between success and failure.

There are many visionaries but success lies with the person who executes that vision. People underestimate the importance of execution.

What are the main attributes of a leader?
A good leader always puts the organisation before self. They lead from the front and set an example that the rest of the team follows. They also know how to select the right people for the right job or the team. However, integrity is the key attribute for a leader that allows him or her to command everyone's respect.

How do you get rid of non-performers?
The key element of leadership is developing a high performance team. When you take up the responsibility of being a leader, you always find great performers, good performers and laggards. If you do not pay attention to the laggards, they could drag organisation down.

I believe in a culture of rewarding top performers while giving a chance to non-performers with constructive feedback, by which they can either improve themselves or look for opportunities elsewhere.

What is the best leadership decision that you have taken so far?
It is difficult to think of any particular example, yet taking a timely and informed decision of building Digital Assets and gearing the organisation for a digital service over the last 4 years has proven to be a game changer.

Looking at how direct-attached storage (DAS) is shaping up the media eco system in India, it is indeed a very satisfying decision.

Are you open to question on your decisions with your team?
I sincerely believe that sharing and respecting others' opinions are fundamental to the values of teamwork. It is important to consider and value your team's views and feedback since every member of the team brings a unique set of ideas and viewpoints.

After due consideration, these ideas need to be prioritised according to your experience and judgement.

What is your leadership mantra?
My leadership mantra lies in the ability to shoulder responsibility along with making timely and well informed decisions with an element of foresight.

Another integral aspect is to work cohesively in a team and engrave these values in the organisation's culture, which is essential for to managing an increasingly complex business environment in today's world.

As a leader, does competition bother you?
An environment of healthy competition helps keep us sharp and responsive to change. It also challenges us to be ahead of the curve in a fast evolving operating environment. You will  be surprised at how much innovation and creativity can result from such a mindset.

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