Blessed is the one who finds himself guided by the able; a successful leader is the one who with earnest intent makes the latter’s success his own mission.
In the professional space, finding a mentor with such qualities can often be the game changer for how the professional journey passes out and successful milestones are achieved. A leader who is astute to know the different motivational gears of his team members has the ability to shift these gears and get the best out of his team members.

However senior one may be, there are expected rewards, one works for. These are often beyond the realm of benefits and compensation. For most people who reach a certain position and assume an office of importance in an organisation, success in what they do stands out as an important motivational factor to stay involved in their career journey.
If there is someone in the organisation who helps one anchor this, it becomes more rewarding and less stressful.

At IFIN helping each other succeed in assignments is an inherent cultural pillar. IFIN has been traditionally a close knit working team; the Executive Leadership team at IFIN has been part of it since its inception and have been pioneering this culture at IFIN. Over the last few years, the qualities that stand out are the cognitive agility of IFIN’s leadership and the ever nurturing culture it brews.
With Mr. Ramesh C. Bawa, MD & CEO of IFIN, at the helm, mentoring the veracious people for the right jobs has brought about a unique value proposition for the senior leaders at IFIN. As a seasoned Leader, Mr. Bawa infuses trust amongst his team members, which is pronounced enough to not go unnoticed.

Haruki Murakami said “What we call the present is given shape by an accumulation of the past.” The work culture at IFIN, always presents the first opportunity of growth to the one who deserves the most. The multiple success stories of people growing in the organisation is analogous to the fact that meritocracy and support are the cornerstones of organisational ethos at IFIN.

Leadership Trait: Bestow Trust
A leader has the nose for talent and can spot the spark in his people pretty early. Backed by his ability to nurture the spark makes him a leader of greatness and helps the team member realise his potential to make a killing in his responsibilities.
Case in point: The Spark
A person who has the natural ability to strike winning relationships with peers, employees, stakeholders and regulators is spotted early and is provided all the resources and support to reach the pinnacle of his role. This grooming allows the CEO to leverage on these winning relationships and eventually get the benefit for the organisation.

The Fervour:

The CFO’s role was empowered to facilitate every critical business decision. The feasibility of organisational initiatives to be implemented has the CFO involved, to balance the stewardship and business partnership, with sound support of maintaining a healthy liquidity ratio and financial portfolio management.

This role has been made strong by encouragement to build cross business relationships across the IL&FS Group. Be it the regulatory front ending or industry relationship building, the CFO has been mentored to lead the responsibility of its effectiveness. The art of turning talent in to an asset is the key outcome of this mentee-mentor relationship. The discipline of balance between foresight of the mentor and the delivery of the mentee, in turn makes success stories for the organization.

Case in point: Prudent Decision making 

While launching a new initiative or business entity, it is always an easier option for the CEO to put his best people and replicate success. It is a very natural option that emerges, but people who have a firm belief on their intuition and find the right person for the right role, take the option of finding the most suitable person and groom him to be successful.

The Fervour:

When IL&FS Global Financial Services Limited (IGFSL) ME was being commissioned, there was a need to have someone who was akin to the Financial Business in the Middle East and created a strong representative case to carry the IL&FS legacy. Being a region from where one of the top investors in IL&FS Group is based, the success of this subsidiary had a lot more riding on it. Since it was a critical portfolio as this company marked the start of business positioning of IL&FS Group in the Middle East. Upon considerable deliberation, a decision was made by Mr. Bawa to hire an external candidate for this position. Due to crystal clear clarity of the competencies required for the job, the CEO for this subsidiary was appointed in no time. Since it was an appointment of a new person, it was but imperative to induct the senior leader to the leadership code and business ethics of IFIN and IL&FS. The challenge of creating the same business pedigree in the Middle East, which IFIN has in India, was up for mitigation. Mr Milind Patel, Joint Managing Director, IFIN who heads the International Equity business, was ready to roll out a series of support opportunities for the new CEO. The IGFSL-ME CEO was brought to speed with the other locations and groomed to be able to execute his role in synchronicity with not just IFIN, but the IL&FS Group as well. The support of understanding the business dynamics and leveraging robust relationships was instilled in every decision taken in regards to IGFSL-ME. Every business transaction saw the involvement of the IFIN Leadership to guide the helm of the new set up.
Today, IGFSL-ME is one of the top grossers for IFIN’s International Subsidiary businesses and has paved the way for strong business alliances for IFIN and the IL&FS Group in the Middle East.

Case in point - Leadership Trait: Stand by the belief

Successful CEOs have often to make strategic decisions which are based on their ability and appetite to take calculated risks. They stick by their belief even in the questioning eyes of the surroundings, not deterred due to their ability to back promising talent. They are the guiding light to facilitate the desired outcomes from talented professionals and become the catalyst to achieve business goals.

The Fervour:

IFIN’s International subsidiaries (as mentioned in case number two) are supported by the International Business Group (IBG) from India. It is the thread which binds the four international subsidiaries and binds the international business of IFIN. The role of the Head of IBG is challenging and demanding as it brings stakeholder multiplicity and cohesion generation in its business nucleus. It requires a fair degree of elucidation of IFIN’s business strengths and matching it to the international stewardship of services. IFIN has developed its brand equity in the Indian financial sector and has strategically focused its thought leadership towards bringing international synergies clientele opportunities. The need to channelise this thought leadership to the best possible execution is the expectation from this job.
Having established the criticality of this role, there was careful exposure, nurtured hand-holding and intrinsic autonomy provided to the Head of IBG. The person had come back from a sabbatical and started her career all over again. Putting in the faith of the ability of the person and belief to guide her to success displays the thought leadership and mentoring in the Leadership DNA of IFIN. Mr. Bawa, who has an exception eye for talent, invested his faith in the person’s ability and his exceptional ability to mentor leaders to success. Mr Rajesh Kotian, Deputy Managing Director, IFIN who heads the domestic and International Debt Business, guided the IBG head by clearing each road block, providing timely decision making direction and gathering support from the IL&FS Group to provide the impetus in garnering this team’s success. There is vigilant yet consistent thrust in the International Business and it is playing a pivotal role in replicating the IFIN brand name across international avenues.

The validation of success of all the three cases mentioned above is the fact that all three of them have been awarded the prestigious ‘Business Leader of the Year’ award during the last few editions of IStar – IFIN’s annual Reward and Recognition programme.

A commander with trusted lieutenants is often lauded for winning multifarious battles.  A group of soldiers fights on the enemy without hesitating as they know that the commander would take the lead if need be. Akin to the battlefield, an organization thrives on such trusted relationships and the camaraderie shines through the most challenging situations, thus easing it. This trust and camaraderie exude the confidence in the fact that the deserving will experience the fruits and realize the mentoring value in their careers.

The mentor looks on for the willing mentee, if you have the spark the fervour is not away.

Authored by Sudakshina Bhattacharya
Executive Vice President and Head-HR, IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN)


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