Failures are Stepping Stones to Success

Jun 08, 2022
This article was originally published in ET CIO  - Source link
An avid music lover and hustler in every way, Shreeranganath Kulkarni, Chief Delivery Officer, Birlasoft is a humble and rooted person who believes in entrusting people and making an impact on every person around him. He also understands the importance of leadership and planning.
Shreeranganath Kulkarni
Shreeranganath Kulkarni

Former Chief Delivery Officer


Shreeranganath Kulkarni’s father worked in customs and excise and had “42 transfers in the span of 28 years”. This was the reason behind his family changing the location very often. However, most of his childhood took place in Dharwad, Karnataka. “This is the kind of place where 5 prominent classical Indian singers like Bhinsen Joshi and others come from. It is a place of cultural heritage where I grew up.”, he added.
Most of his schooling was done at local schools, the very same ones his father passed out of. Further, Kulkarni pursued his engineering (Chemical) at Karnataka University. Going down the line, he completed his Post Graduate and Diploma degrees from IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) while working at the same time.
His family comes from a service-based industry. Initially, his father was in the army, then later he joined the customs and excise department, while his mother was a homemaker. His uncle was in the same services industry but then later moved to state transport as head of stores for Karnataka.
Early Career
Kulkarni’s first job was at Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO). During his time it belonged to the public sector. He mentioned that the selection criteria were fairly difficult as they could only select 20 candidates across the country, and Kulkarni was one of them. “While I had opportunities in Mumbai and other places, but since here I represented the best out of 20, I moved on to there (IFFCO) as a chemical engineer”, he said.
During his time in the late 80s, there was a rush to blend IT into every company. “From the 20, they selected two of us and asked ‘can you move to IT?’, that is how I got embedded into IT and it became my whole career. Initial 4-5 months were in the chemical industry. That was my first job”, Kulkarni worked there for a few years and then moved to another company called Mastek Ltd, which was into ERP, solutions, and businesses.
Failures are stepping stones to success
“It was a small company earlier, with only 1000 people. Being a small company, people knew who the promoters were, who the CEO was, just a few locations”, he exclaimed. After that, he joined Infosys as a project manager and later became the Divisional Manager and Development Center Head of Pune. That company helped him to scale a 40-50 member team to a 2000 plus one. He then left Infosys and joined Cognizant as a Center head (Pune) and managed the largest relationship during his time. He mentions how it was all about focusing on the customers and that all other aspects of the company, be it R&D or sales, will fall into place only when the focus is set on the customers. From there, he moved to Accenture, which was a “truly global, multicultural organization”.
Currently, Kulkarni is part of Birlasoft as a Chief Delivery Officer where he is responsible for global delivery, global operations, and enabling functions.
“It was a true opportunity for me to make my personal impact on the lives of the people, help the company to grow with my experience, and relive all that I have done for the last 30 years”, Kulkarni said.
Leadership Lessons
His family teachings are the reason for Kulkarni’s humble and down-to-earth personality. “If we look at what has worked out for their career, and if I look back to what has really shaped my career, I would attribute it to two or three people in my life. One was my uncle for his services background”, Kulkarni explains how his uncle made him realize the importance of having a plan and executing it ideally. His uncle also taught him to be disciplined which “came in very handy”, he adds.
Failures are stepping stones to success
He also attributes his success to a few of his teachers who taught Kulkarni and all his classmates a lot, in the sense that they provided so many valuable lessons and guided them throughout without expecting anything in return. “Bunch of us got benefit out of it. The only mentoring we got in terms of how one can be a rounded person, not just in studies, but in terms of behavior and having values is to have respect for individuals, be a team player, make things happen, be regimental, and so much more”, he exclaimed. Playing a sport during his early life has also taught him to accept failures as stepping stones for success.
He also explained how it is necessary to have the right leadership, especially when it comes to having large teams. “That leadership has to be aspirational. You trust people. When you trust people, you will be surprised that the return is much higher”, he adds.
When people are entrusted, they hold all the accountability and responsibility onto themselves and take it up as a challenge. The benefit that can be derived from enabling people works out well.
Failures are Stepping Stones to Success
The initial days of being in an IT company are always going to be a challenge, according to Kulkarni. “The company empowered you to go and grow. As long as the company is growing, they support you when things do not go well and back you. While there is a lot of empowering and mentoring, there are a lot of things, you eventually learn by looking at people around you.
Still, you have to do your part, make the customer happy, people come together, and acclimate with the company’s pace”, this is what he had to say. On the personal front, he considers managing his work and private life a challenge.
Kulkarni further explains that while all of the attention deviates to the work-life, a lot of connections and friendships are lost out of with people that have been dear to him. “Success comes at a cost and you have to balance it”, he said.
Hobbies and Interests
As Kulkarni came from a cultural heritage and a place where 5 of the greatest classical musicians came from, music is something that he is extremely fond of. He loved music in every form. He can also play the tabla. Reading is also something that he enjoys and he has a habit of reading anything that he would find interesting. “I have just started reading Your Prime Minister is Dead by Anuj Dhar. It has nothing to do with technology but it helps you to understand other aspects”. Kulkarni loves cats. Except for the last 18 months, he has always had a cat in his family.
Final Words
On being asked about his motto in life, he mentioned that making a personal impact on people around him is something that he aims at doing. He wants every organization that he is associated with derives value out of him and his work.
Was this article helpful?