India’s Transformational Leaders 2019 – Ganesh Somwanshi, Kresendo Communications
Decision making is crucial to all dynamics that involved in the ecosystem. Over the years, I have come to realize that it takes a combination insight and foresight to make the right decisions.
The evolution to this philosophy has taken a few years though. When I started out as a young professional, like most others, I was only executing the decisions made by seniors. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that each cog in the wheel is an important aspect of decision making. An organization is only as good as its team. Gauging situations correctly and being able to think laterally are other important aspects that have helped me immensely in being prudent about the decisions I make today for myself and on behalf of my clients.
A project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
The most significant accomplishment during my career was the launch of Piramal Sarvajal, seeded by the Piramal Foundation in 2008. It was a unique mission driven social enterprise that designs and deploys innovative solutions for creating affordable access to safe drinking water in underserved areas. Sarvajal is at the forefront of developing technologies and business practices in the safe drinking water sector that are designed to make a purely market-based model sustainable in both rural and urban deployment conditions. The mileage generated for the project not only garnered attention of policy makers but also corporates and apex bodies in India. It also had the privilege of being mentioned as the most promising initiative in a White House press release.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
We are an integrated communications agency and are actively involved in providing communications strategy and support to large corporate houses and Independent charitable funds. As part of our giveback to the community we undertake pro bono projects for NGOs involved in development of the underprivileged, on a regular basis.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
‘Knowledge is Power’ is the philosophy that I believe in. Increasing one’s knowledge of just his/her own domain is simply not enough. Knowledge of one’s clients businesses, relevant sectors, geo-political conditions and overall global business trends are a must to stay competitive. Keeping to this philosophy, we at Krescendo strive to provide knowledge powered insightful business solutions to our clients and partners.
What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?
Some of the prominent works that we have undertaken are as follows:
Peace On Wheels – World’s first Mobile meditation van
Impact – This initiative came to my mind and was the result of close study of the stressful lives that millennials lead due to over digitization and increasing work pressures. With this noble concept of we took meditation to those who are stressed, right to their door step be it home or work. The initiative was launched in partnership with Jawaharlal Nehru Udyog Kendra in Pune, Maharashtra, India by the Commissioner of Women and Child Welfare and Development department
Wings Rainbow in partnership with Humsafar Trust- India’s First and only LGBT driven radio cab service
Impact – Post launch got an appreciation by The U.S. Consulate, Mumbai. Special invitee to attend a round table discussion on LGBT Issues in India along with EXIM Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg which was organized by U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai. The dignitaries present for the round table were Radhika Primal, MD, VIP Industries, Matt Beven, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Nisaba Godrej, Director, Godrej Industries and Pallav Patankar, Director, Humsafar Trust.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Launch and free distribution of India’s first beetle flavored condoms for sex workers in Mumbai
Impact – Ground level connect with sex workers to understand their problems. Conducted AIDS awareness workshops and educated them on the repercussions of unsafe/unprotected sex.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Success is a result that one sets out to achieve. According to me process is the key element that helps one keep checks and balances and ensures success in any sphere of life. A systematic approach to designing solutions is imperative to ensure and maintain a successful success rate. However, it is also very relative in nature. What may have seemed like success five years ago, maybe irrelevant today. Hence I reset my success metrics every year to ensure that I cover, knowledge, experiential growth along with business.
We are constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. In other words, we strive to do more with less. Tell me about a recent project or solution to a problem that you have made better, faster, smarter or less expensive?
Our entire proposition at Krescendo is about providing better, faster, smarter, cost effective solutions. Krescendo started out as a pure play Public Relations agency and within three years of inception moved on to become a wholly integrated communications company that provides reputation management, brand strategy, digital media solutions, advertising and production, content management services to name a few. We have now also moved on to providing strategic partnership consulting as well. This ensures that all communications are seamless and cost effective.
As the most recent testament to our evolution as a turnkey partner, we launched India’s most reputed online music learning school, Shankar Mahadevan Academy in Singapore. For this project we scouted for a local partner, brokered the alliance with Maharashtra Mandal Singapore and also designed and implemented communication campaigns to reach out to the entire ASIA market. Our carefully designed and implemented strategies witnessed a stellar response from ASIA and had the highest recall value during the launch and post launch phases. Enquiries grew manifold; student traction ratio increased thus making it a successful launch.
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
Leadership qualities are tested the most during the time of a transition. Clarity of vision and dexterity of the strategy that goes into the decision making at such a crucial juncture, defines great leadership. In my opinion, the most significant aspect of leadership is the ability to understand flux, convert it into actionables and inspire your team to collaborate and produce winning results.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has/can contribute for the same?
An old adage makes a lot of sense here – “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life.” Empowerment of the society is the only way to building a strong and successful nation. Our industry has been an evangelist for empowering the society ever since inception. Apart from creating new job opportunities and being equal opportunity employers, we also are the information bearers for the society who empower them make better informed decisions in life.
One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry?
Paucity of skilled workforce is something I would like to see a change in. As our industry becomes more sophisticated, cross functional and global in nature, industry ready skills is the need of the hour. Mediocrity has no space here and I wish to see that change. Thoroughness in approach to solutions is a vibe that is auguring well for the industry and I wish we retain that and even better; take it a couple of notches higher.
One thing you have to let go off as an entrepreneur/leader?
Since the day I have become an entrepreneur I have let go of feeling the need to micromanage work.
Whom do you owe your success to?
I owe my success to Ajay Piramal and Swati Piramal of Piramal Enterprise for believing in me and making a difference in my life and also, my parents and family who believe in my dream and stand by me as pillars of strength.
Best thing about your job?
Best thing about my job is that it helps me be on track with what is happening around the world in real time. This profession has made me a smarter, better organized professional and gives ample opportunity to add true value to brands that impact us daily.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/leaders?
Entrepreneurship is a huge responsibility. It means that while you will create jobs and help the economy, you are equally responsible for the people who join you as they believe in your vision. There is no short cut to success. As entrepreneurs you might come across many challenging situations that seem overbearing. Self-belief and relentless pursuit of excellence will bring rewards for you and your partners. Be diligent.