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Network > Embeded Community > Sreekrishnan Venkiteshwaran
Sreekrishnan Venkiteshwaran

Sreekrishnan Venkiteshwaran


Sreekrishnan Venkiteshwaran is a member of:

My current job profile
At IBM, I lead the Cloud Center of Excellence, a worldwide team of architects responsible for solutioning client deals. My team engages with about 400 customers a year. As one of the world's largest providers of managed IT services, IBM has a significant stake in the cloud computing space, and my team plays a direct role to help the corporation achieve its growth roadmap.
Leadership qualities
In my view, a good leader should back his employees, give them the freedom to build what they have to build, allow them to commit mistakes, to trip and fall and learn to find their feet again, and move ahead. But if it's indeed a major slip, intervene, bandage, and fix the situation. A second trait I admire in leaders is the way some of them manage to be in control of their unit, even while respecting their employees as their peers. And thirdly, a leader ought to possess the credibility of a captain leading from the front, which springs only from a firm grasp of the associated technology.
Ensuring Growth
On the one hand, I strive to be a "big picture" person. Getting the lay of the land without being overly buried in details is an essential skill expected of leaders. But in order to achieve that, you should have a deep knowledge of how your shop floor works. The latter is what sustains the former, and I attempt to follow that trail.
My advice
In addition to what I alluded to above, folks who desire to head north on the management ladder probably ought to be somewhat philosophical as well.. That would bring perspective, make them better communicators, and have them stay humble and human.
Doing things right
I am not sure I avoid mistakes. In fact, I'm pretty certain I commit plenty of them! However, adopting some best practices reduce the frequency and profoundness of one's lapses. Performing periodic retrospectives help detect weaknesses latent within strengths; reflecting on lessons learned draws strengths out of weaknesses. And both these help improve the next iteration and connect the right dots.

Sreekrishnan Venkiteshwaran's Story

My inspiration
There have been several people indeed, but I would call out my seventh grade Math teacher who taught me to be confident, and my Dad who instilled work ethic and spirituality in me.
Tackling Grievances
I've found that, empirically, a manager's success rate in addressing employee grievances is directly proportional to his listening skills. The more you disagree, the more you should listen. Else, the situation will resemble a T20 cricket match, where the harder you hit, the sooner you go!
Important career decisions
I think there have been several, starting from choosing to go for my Master's at IIT Kanpur, one year into an absorbing engineering stint with Wipro; declining a permanent role at IBM in the United States and choosing to return back to India; accepting Prentice Hall's offer to write a book on Linux internals, knowing that it would translate to four hours less sleep every night for two years..
My outlook on India technological development
It's true that despite possessing a wealth of technical talent, India cannot boast of many homebrewed products that have made a mark worldwide. But that is not limited to technology alone. We've a dazzling array of super stars in our national cricket team, but why haven't we been winning test matches in the last two years? One main reason is lack of partnerships. You need at least a couple of 100-plus run partnerships to post a total that's big enough to win a test match. Likewise, you need sustainable synergy between technology, entrepreneurs, investors, infrastructure, and regulation, to come out with products that make a global impact. There are many variables in this equation, but let me think aloud on a few. The last decade has witnessed notable enterprise especially in India's silicon valley, but only a handful of Indian technology companies have been able to go public or get acquired by the industry giants. If a venture capitalist sees no viable exit path to suit his investment timeline, why would he infuse capital? To yield fruit, talent needs to be complimented by intellectual initiative and supported by a resilient system. There are various pros to the parental shelter that Indian youngsters enjoy well into adulthood, but is individual initiative one of its casualties? Even with talent and gumption, can an entrepreneur go far if the system is fragile? And in the new world, technology and business models need to be agile and adapt to continuous changes. As a product company, how will you survive and stay relevant in the global market place if your country is not a hi-tech "happening place"? But the consolation is that things are changing in India. We are seeing some inspiring success stories such as makemytrip, flipkart and, even though none of them are product companies. And today, organizations such as the IIMs are reaching out to mentor and incubate deserving ventures on a regular basis.
My family background
We are a closely knit family, hailing from Cochin in Kerala. My paternal grandfather was a school teacher; my maternal grandfather was a doctor who saw action in the Second World War. My Dad retired from the central government; my Mom had a Master's in Statistics, but left her teaching job to take care of her children. My sister is married to a director in the Indian coast guard. My wife and I have two lovely girls, a baby and a 7-year-old.
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