Podcast #102

Vivek Chandrashekaran – How much of a role does relationship play in leadership?

"Leaders are meant to be objective, and relationships are never objective.”

Vivek Chandrashekaran

Executive experience with a track record in delivering growth mandates. Vivek’s focus has been on driving commercial best practice and customer intimacy in Internet, Technology & Telco/Cable businesses (geographies: Benelux, Germany, UK). Entrepreneurial experience in building a high performance product organization for a global online subscription business. 10+ years top-tier strategy consulting and private equity advisory experience across Western Europe and the US.

Listen to podcast

[buzzsprout episode='9530907' player='true']

Watch video on YouTube

Play Video

Share this Podcast



Vivek spoke about how there used to be a narrow definition of success within firms such as consultancy and banking. In more recent years there does seem to be the appearance of being more inclusive. We have had two crises in as many decades. The impact on our youth is widely felt. I am not sure that organizations are realising that the youth are changing in their expectations. What will our future workforce look like? What will they desire and what will they demand? Maybe the answer is staring us in the face, and it would be as big a change as Keynesian economics. Perhaps we will just need an existential crisis to embrace it.

Podcast Notes

Vivek Chandrashekaran, an expert in delivering growth mandates says it’s challenging to bring the words leadership and relationship together because often, leaders are expected to be objective when relationships are rarely objective in nature.

A firm believer that career success is often predicated on relationships, Vivek is adamant that you will not become successful in your profession if you do not take the time to nurture a few good relationships along the way.

Having focused on driving commercial best practice and customer intimacy in Internet, Technology & Telco/Cable businesses in Europe, Vivek’s insights around leadership and relationships stem from his entrepreneurial experience in building high performance product organisation for a global online subscription business.

It’s all about growing with people on your career path he says. People can take you from one starting point to a whole new and exciting place in your profession. And so, he firmly believes that we need to keep those relationships going, and he has personally experienced this benefit through the start of his career to now.

Vivek’s career spans two decades of work experience. His personal journey with leadership and relationships began in a large, traditional organisation, where departments were typically structured to be led and to operate in silos.

It was here, he says that he experienced how in many large organisations, it was the norm for each department to adopt their own set of customs and traditions, but that this separatist approach has had a profound impact on the lack of success that many organisations face today. How can we truly align to a vision and be integrated as teams when company structure makes it difficult to cut across the barriers between these departments?

From traditional leadership to witnessing a change in leadership model; over the last ten years, Vivek has been involved with a number of smaller and larger European companies. In this time he has witnessed the ‘transformative’ approach in companies, where many have adopted commercial agility transformations. He counts himself lucky for these experiences, as his definition and view of leadership and the role of leading has evolved.

How should leadership look in for companies in these times?
In today’s working world, we are dealing with a vast kaleidoscope of different cultures, challenges, situations and personalities. Vivek shares his insights around leadership and touches on the evolution of traditional leadership mandates, to the current stream of relationship building, and why and how we should view relationships building as an objective and also in a meritocratic way.

Take a listen to Vivek’s podcast discussion with Exponentially Me CEO, Eksteen de Waal to discover insights into leadership, as well as the link between leadership by understanding characteristics and why understanding purpose should be important for teams.

Podcast Timed Index

00:00 – Leadership is a relationship
16:00 – Helping people develop
23:14 – Public Criticism
32:43 – Relationships and Culture
34:52 – Employee satisfaction
40:15 – Financial crisis vs Pandemic

Get in touch with Vivek Chandrashekaran
Articles, Books or Publications by Vivek Chandrashekaran
More quotes from Vivek Chandrashekaran
"Career success is often predicated on relationships, you don't become successful in your career without nurturing a few good relationships along the way.”

“Culture within the leadership team percolates all the way through to the organisation, with lots of ramifications that might be completely unpredictable.”

“Majority of us are in the zombie system, where we carry on the habits that have led us to the crisis.”

Mentions in Episode
People Mentioned in Episode
Books and Articles Mentioned in Episode