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Leadership Amidst Crisis

10/27/2009 12:00 PM Wong Auditorium
S. D. Shibulal, Co"founder and Chief Operating Officer, Infosys Technologies, Ltd.

Description: In thirty years, S. D. Shibulal has seen his share of economic crises, three to be exact. But in thinking hard about the role of crises in the future for today's students, he predicts: they will occur more frequently, and will be less predictable, longer lasting and more costly.

Within this framework, Shibulal sets out to share his experience and wisdom on this issue with hopes of inspiring the next generation of leaders to not fear crises, but to embrace them and use them to learn and grow. He details three main themes for survival: accept reality, practice learned optimism, and lead by example.

In general terms Shibulal explains how important it is to accept a crisis in the making. Accepting, rather than denying a crisis, will in itself lead to a better and quicker response. Learned optimism is not just keeping a rosy picture of the situation. Instead Shibulal underscores the need to be mindful of what is in your control and focus attention on those elements, noting that pragmatism is a key ingredient in this response. Most importantly, he advises, stay out of negative cycles, which can reinforce a downward trend and put enormous pressure on an organization. Leading by example often means reacting quickly, with conviction and finding a way forward.

During the Q&A session, Shibulal provides insights into India's economy, and education system, discusses the rapid growth of Infosys and its prospects for the future.

About the Speaker(s): Shibulal is one of the co"founders and member of the Board of Directors of Infosys Technologies Limited. Shibu, as he is fondly called, has over three decades of IT leadership experience. He has played a pivotal role in the Infosys journey and a signal role in the evolution of the Global Delivery Model which is now the de"facto industry standard for delivery for outsourced IT services. Shibu started his Infosys journey in 1981 by first spearheading its project management, followed by client relationships in North American region for a decade. He followed this with a five"year sabbatical with Sun Microsystems between 1991 and 1996, where he responsible for designing and implementing their first e"commerce application amongst other credible contributions. In 1997, on his return to Infosys, Shibu established and headed the Internet Consultancy practice. He moved on to serve several leadership roles at the group level, firstly as the Worldwide Head of Customer Delivery and later as Group Head, Worldwide Sales and Customer Delivery. Over the years, Shibu has been known to foster innovation, leadership, teamwork and work values within the organization. On June 22, 2007, Shibu took over from S. Gopalakrishnan as Chief Operating Officer and has been serving this role since. His focus has been on increasing competitiveness, improving customer experience, improving employee engagement and increasing the depth of services. Shibu received a master's degree in Physics from the University of Kerala and a MS in Computer Science from the Boston University

Host(s): Sloan School of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management

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