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Mr Om Prakash Bhatt (OP Bhatt) is the Chairman of Tata Steel Limited and a Board Member at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and Standard Chartered Bank. He started his career in State Bank of India (SBI) as a probationary officer in 1972 and retired as the Chairman of SBI in 2011. I had first met him when I was participating in the Director’s Club programme conducted by Hunt Partners, designed to prepare individuals to be effective Board Members.

In our conversation, we spoke about how leaders should think about whether Board roles is something they should consider and his thoughts on what it takes to be an effective Board Member. More specifically, he talks about the distinction between the skillset and the mindset required to be an effective Board Member. He dwells on how leaders often need to build new muscles of influencing that their corporate career that they may not have built during their career. We also discuss the critical role of a Chairperson and how he/she can get the most out of the Board Members.

This conversation is likely to be of specific value to individuals who are considering getting onto Boards and are curious about whether it is the right thing for them and what it takes to be effective in a Board.

Published in Oct 2018.

Transitioning to becoming a Board Member

Mr. Bhatt talks about how Chief Executives should be thoughtful about deciding which Boards they want to get onto. They need to have a very clear “Why” before they take on a Board role. He also goes on to discussing the key behaviors that leaders need to embrace and let go as they transition from leading a Company as a CEO to influencing a Board. He underscores the criticality of a contributing mindset and says that it is possibly a greater indicator of effectiveness and fulfilment than competence on a topic.



Making good Board decisions

Mr OP Bhatt talks about the role of a Chairperson in ensuring that good decisions are made. He talks about the situations where sometimes not making a decision and seeking more information is better than suboptimal decisions. He also discusses how he would handle divergent opinions on the Board by facilitating a more nuanced conversation that embellishes the issue and the nuances come out.



Chairperson versus CEO - Leadership nuances

Mr OP Bhatt talks about how the leadership context for a Chairperson in a Board is very different from that of a Chief Executive in a Company. He talks about the hierarchy in an organization with KPIs, Metrics and other variables that gives the CEO control over outcomes. He contrasts that to the context in the Board where individuals have to be nudged and cajoled to carry on tasks that might be critical for the Board.



Ensuring Board members add value

Mr. Bhatt talks about the criticality of a Board review to ensure Board members get tailored, actionable feedback that can raise the bar on the performance of the Board. He talks about the importance of the role of a Chairman in processing the feedback that he/she is given as part of the process and in how he/she leverages that to get the most out of each Board member.



Seeking and giving feedback

Mr Bhatt talks about the tact with which Board member should provide and seek feedback. He specifically underscores the criticality of the role of the Chairperson in ensuring that he/she doesn’t have a blind-spot in the way he/she is performing. He discusses how some effective Chairpersons find the subtle opportunity and timing to elicit timely feedback from some select Board Members.



Attitudes that have driven his career

Mr Bhatt talks about how in every role he has done, he has tried to look for a “plus” which is an additional dimension beyond what is expected in the role. He also talks about the importance of understanding the criticality of the service you provide in the life of the consumer.



In Summary - Playing to Potential

Mr Bhatt talks about a simple habit that he has found helpful in his journey over the years. He talks about the role of the conscious and the sub-conscious mind and how that can be leveraged for self-development. He talks about how he reflects for 5 minutes at the start of the day and at the end of each day and the difference it has made to him over the years.



The full conversation

akash Bhatt (OP Bhatt) is the Chairman of Tata Steel Limited and a Board Member at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and Standard Chartered Bank. He started his career in State Bank of India (SBI) as a probationary officer in 1972 and retired as the Chairman of SBI in 2011\. I had first met him when I was participating in the Director’s Club programme conducted by Hunt Partners, designed to prepare individuals to be effective Board Members. In our conversation, we spoke about how leaders should think about whether Board roles is something they should consider and his thoughts on what it takes to be an effective Board Member. More specifically, he talks about the distinction between the skillset and the mindset required to be an effective Board Member. He dwelt on how leaders often need to build new muscles of influencing that their corporate career that they may not have built during their career. We also discussed the critical role of Chairperson and how he/she can get the most out of the Board Members. This conversation could be of specific value to individuals who are considering getting onto Boards and are curious about whether it is the right thing for them and what it takes to be effective in a Board. Published in Oct 2018\. HOST Deepak is a Leadership Advisor and an Executive Coach. He works with leaders to improve their effectiveness and in helping them make better decisions specifically around organizational and career transitions. He currently runs Transition Insight (www.transitioninsight.com) and works with leaders to handle phases of transition thoughtfully. He has worked as an Operations Consultant with KPMG in UK, Strategy Consultant with McKinsey in the US and as a Leadership Consultant with EgonZehnder (a Swiss Leadership Advisory firm) where he helped companies recruit CEOs, CXOs and Board Members and worked on Leadership Development. Deepak is a certified CEO Coach and is an alumnus of IIT Madras, IIM Ahmedabad and London Business School. His detailed profile can be found at https://in.linkedin.com/in/djayaraman OTHER GUESTS 1.Vijay Amritraj 2.Amish Tripathi 3.Raghu Raman 4.Papa CJ 5.Kartik Hosanagar 6.Ravi Venkatesan 7.Abhijit Bhaduri 8.Viren Rasquinha 9.Prakash Iyer 10.Avnish Bajaj 11.Nandan Nilekani 12.Atul Kasbekar 13.Karthik Reddy 14.Pramath Sinha 15.Vedika Bhandarkar 16.Vinita Bali 17.Zia Mody 18.Rama Bijapurkar 19.Dheeraj Pandey 20.Anu Madgavkar 21.Vishy Anand 22\. Meher Pudumjee 23.KV Shridhar (Pops) 24.Suresh Naraynan 25.Devdutt Pattanaik 26.Jay Panda 27.Amit Chandra 28.Chandramouli Venkatesan 29.Roopa Kudva 30.Vinay Sitapati 31.Neera Nundy. 32.Deepa Malik 33\. Bombay Jayashri. 34\. Arun Maira 35\. Ambi Parameswaran DISCLAIMER All content and opinions expressed in the podcast are that of the guests and are not necessarily the opinions of Deepak Jayaraman and Transition Insight Private Limited. Views expressed in comments to blog are the personal opinions of the author of the comment. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Company or the author of the blog. Participants are responsible for the content of their comments and all comments that are posted are in the public domain. The Company reserves the right to monitor, edit, and/or publish any submitted comments. Not all comments may be published. Any third-party comments published are third party information and The Company takes no responsibility and disclaims all liability. The Company reserves the right, but is not obligated to monitor and delete any comments or postings at any time



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