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Cover Story
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Path-breaking lessons for CEOs on how to run global transnational corporations
Issue Date - 19/01/2012
“Steve Jobs would’ve loved this book, he truly would have: Guy Kawasaki”

How would one describe a book that the iconic Marshall Goldsmith says “provides a view on vision you won’t find anywhere”; or one, which the most well known management author Guy Kawasaki asserts is “in the same quality of Malcolm Gladwell, Geoffrey Moore and Clayton Christensen”?

CULT, the classic CEO guide to leadership and business strategy for global, transnational corporations, authored by Arindam Chaudhuri and A. Sandeep, was launched in London a few days ago. This 450-page comprehensive and not-to-be-missed CEO manual contains 36 spectacular chapters, with each chapter providing dramatically new lessons that today’s CEOs would find extremely pertinent for their global corporations; lessons that may seem radical, yet are the same ones being practiced by a benchmark and elite group of the world’s best performing CEOs. What places CULT miles apart from your standard strategy book is that with its combination of practical examples, experience, scholarly research and statistical support, the CEO primer provides – as the authors mention – a brutally honest sounding board for CEOs to question themselves on the strategies that they have believed to be apparently successful. The authors prove how a lot many strategies that CEOs of today would have sworn are gold-standards, “no more even qualify in the trials”. In fact, CULT provides evidence how too many CEOs of today, due to their mistaken focus, are practicing strategies that can devastate their companies and criminally destroy their shareholders’ wealth. CULT beseeches such CEOs to change their leadership behaviour and their strategic focus mandatorily – or get booted out promptly.

Yes, it’s tough in a cover story to summarise such a book like CULT that could quite well be the most contemporary and perhaps the only existing new-age CEO guide on how to successfully lead and strategically manage transnational corporations that spread across the globe. Yet, we’ve tried – in this cover story, out of the 36 chapters contained in the smashing treatise, we bring to you excerpts from five key chapters: Vision, R&D, Controversies, Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics. These five chapters will move your senses and your business understanding to levels that you may never have imagined. Irrespective of that, a full reading of the book is imperative to comprehensively understand how to handle key CEO leadership and strategic issues in global, transnational corporations. In conclusion, as the great Marshall Goldsmith says: “Read CULT!” But first, this cover story...


Book excerpt: The biggest problem with leaders and employees alike is the failure to develop a vision for or identify with and chase a vision! And without a clear vision, no organization, leader or employee can be driven enough to lift an organization to excellence! The problem is, many CEOs quite easily assume that they understand the definition of vision – but unfortunately, and far from it, the general definitions of vision are simply limited to wishy-washy nice looking statements that can be peddled around to the community for earning useless brownie points. Yet, there have been icons in the corporate world like Sir Richard Branson and Lord John Browne (former CEO of BP), who’ve personified what all dramatic vision can achieve.

This boy of 14 dropped out of school and joined his uncle’s store as a watch salesman (as his penury ridden father had passed away due to tuberculosis). He worked 16 hour days, and even learnt English from a tutor during the night, after work! Half-a century later, with an astounding visionary approach, his empire spans across industries like oil, electronics, telecommunications, retails, ports, power, electricity and even health and beauty. The name of this determined visionary – Sir Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Hong Kong and the 11th richest on the 2011 Forbes billionaires list, his net worth valued at over $26 billion, with his empire worth much more – $90 billion in m-cap (2011 data). Can you match his vision?

Vision is the obsessive compulsion to continuously set higher benchmarks and achieve beyond those benchmarks, and is the essence, the soul, the character of great leadership. Nothing is more critical and more elusive than the vision of the top management. In the cat-eat-cat world of contemporary business, visioning is the philosophy of looking into the best that the future can ‘NOT’ offer and ensuring that the organisation has a burning desire to vie for that unachievable objective.


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