Last Updated 20 Jun 2019

Nandan Nilekani Introduction

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Nilekani is considered among the most successful business leaders from India. He has several accolades and awards to his name which are proofs of his tremendously rich leadership in fostering Infosys first and now the UIDAI. Nandan Nilekani was born in Bangalore, Karnataka on June 2, 1955 as the younger son of Durga and Mohan Rao Nilekani. He grew up as a typical middle class child high on traditional and moral values. As a child, Nilekani was extremely brilliant and had good leadership skills.

He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai and joined the Mumbai based software firm Patni Computers where he came into acquaintance with Mr. N R Narayan Murthy who later founded Infosys Technologies with Nadan and his associates. Leadership Style Nilekani was known for his bold leadership style and risk taking behaviour. He co founded Infosys Technologies with his colleagues and a starting capital of $250 after three years with Patni. Spite having considerably less experience, he moved to the US in 1981 handling the marketing and development effort for Infosys.In 1987, he came back to India and in March 2002, he took over as the Chief Executive Officer of Infosys Technologies. Nilekani stressed in bringing about an excellence in execution within Infosys.

He transformed the business at Infosys by division into verticals such as financial services, heathcare, hospitality, manufacturing etc. emphasizing on values such as timely completion of projects on budget, hiring of high quality employees, excellent training programmes and high client and employee satisfaction. It was under his leadership that the global delivery model emerged as it is known today.Nilekani recognised the global nature of Infosys as it was emerging with a high number of employees and huge bio-diversity. Under his leadership, Infosys was awarded several awards such as “Best Company to Work for” and “India’s Best Managed Company Award” and was also assessed at CMMI level 5 for onsite and offshore operations. Nilekani wanted to build a company that practised high ethical values and Infosys had achieved it by emphasising on values where honesty, fairness, courtesy and fairness played an important role.Nilekani’s first major public role came when the Chief Minister of Karnataka invited him to head the Bangalore Agenda Task Force.

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This was a body formed to address public issues and Nilekani dedicated his weekends religiously to working with the organisation. Nilekani is known for his expressiveness and is a very sought after personality in international conferences. His skills to see the larger picture and an ability to express his thoughts clearly have won the hearts of many eminent personalities.The next big step for Nilekani in a public role was when the Prime Minister invited him toi head the unique identity project. Nilekani had mentioned the advantages of a unique identity number for Indians in the areas of efficient distribution of public facilities. Nilekani took up the role and heads the Unique Identification Authority of India. Nilekani had a huge task of convincing ground level politicians and bureaucrats in convincing them about the idea of a unique identification system and garnering their support to the completion of the project.

His diplomatic and public relations skills helped him gather support for the UIDAI. He is now a cabinet minister and heads the UID project which recently unveiled itself as Aadhaar and commenced the first phase of assigning UIDs successfully. References: http://www. ila-net. org/Conferences/SCC_FromInfosystoPolitics. pdf http://globalasia. org/pdf/issue9/Gerry_Davis.

pdf http://www. infosys. com/flat-world/business/perspectives/Documents/new-generation-companies-nandan. pdf Employee SatisfactionNandan Nilekani wanted to build an organisation reflecting Indian middle class values and ethics. He realised the importance of a sound and effective work force in building a healthy and successful organisation. Hence, he laid a lot of emphasis on the employee satisfaction at Infosys Technologies. Infosys introduced various schemes to increase employee satisfaction levels including distribution of stock options, creation of workplaces with a large number of facilities for the employees, the HRD blog and employee satisfaction surveys.

Nilekani has said, “Attracting the best and the brightest and creating a milieu where they operate at their highest potential are very important for Infosys. Our campus and technology infrastructure is world-class, we pay a lot of attention to training and competency building, we try to have sophisticated appraisal systems, and we try to reward performance through variable pay”. Infosys, while hiring, lays emphasis on interviewees who have a high level of ‘learnability’ and show a high degree of analytical ability, teamwork, communication and creative skills and leadership.The performance appraisal is a highly complex procedure taking into account performance criteria like customer orientation, peer satisfaction, performance improvement potential, timeliness and quality of work. The compensations and reward system is configured in such a way so as to match the performance of its employees, business needs and the growing scale of operations. Nilekani ensured that he brought in the employee stock options plan to Infosys to add on to the employee satisfaction levels and increase the degree of ownership taken by the employees.As part of the holistic HR policy, employees were also given an opportunity to opt for a one-year sabbatical during their careers.

All these schemes helped in raising the satisfaction levels of the employees and reduce the attrition levels in Infosys as compared to its competitors. References: http://www. infosys. com/sustainability/Documents/infosys-sustainability-report-0809. pdf http://mba. tuck. dartmouth.

edu/cgl/downloads/DisciplinedInnovation/20027-InfosysImprovingProductivity. pdf http://www. newagepublishers. om/samplechapter/001818. pdf Nandan Nilekani as a brand Nandan Nilekani has won several awards which recognise his panache and excellence in leadership and building Infosys Technologies. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian honors awarded by the Government of India in 2006. He was one of the youngest entrepreneurs to join 20 global leaders on the prestigious World Economic Forum (WEF) Foundation Board.

He is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.He was awarded the Forbes “Businessman of the Year” for Asia in 2007. He, along with Infosys founder N. R. Narayana Murthy, also received Fortune magazine’s ‘Asia’s Businessmen of the Year 2003’ award. According to a global survey by Financial Times and PricewaterhouseCoopers he was named among the ‘World’s most respected business leaders’ in 2002 and 2003. He was awarded the Joseph Schumpeter Prize for innovative services in economy, economic sciences and politics in 2005.

He is also the first Indian to be presented the Legens in Leadership Award by the Yale University.All these awards represent Nilekani as a brand which stands for excellence in management and leadership. With his foray into the UID project and its successful commencement, Nilekani stands for a high degree of commitment and turning it into action.References:http://en. wikipedia.

org/wiki/Nandan_Nilekanihttp://www. infosys. com/newsroom/press-releases/Pages/nandan-chairperson-UIDAI. aspx

http://www. infosys. com/investors/news-events/analyst-meet/2004/us/Documents/nandan-nilekani. pdf

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