What Makes A Leader: Life Shifting Vision With Rahul Bhandari

Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King were two of the greatest leaders in history. The question arises: what makes somebody a leader? Dr. Diane Hamilton’s guest today is Rahul Bhandari, a leadership expert featured in Forbes and award-winning author of Slingshot. Rahul discusses with Dr. Diane how a shift happens with entrepreneurs when they believe in a vision that transcends self-interest. When they dwell in that vision and lead others forward to achieving it, they become inspirational. Join in the conversation for more valuable insights on what makes somebody a leader. Tune in and learn to lead with commitment and significance!

TTL 849 | What Makes A Leader


I’m glad you joined us because we have Rahul Bhandari. You might have seen that Fortune Magazine called him Silicon Valley’s highest-powered thinker. Forbes says he is the go-to person for sharp thinking and so much more. He is the author of SLINGSHOT: How Adversity Propels Leaders To Find Purpose, Be Impactful, and Create Change.

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What Makes A Leader: Life Shifting Vision With Rahul Bhandari

I am here with Rahul Bhandari, who is an expert in strategic high performance and helps successful people teams and organizations become even more successful. You probably know him because he is deemed Silicon Valley’s high-powered thinker by Fortune Magazine and the go-to person for sharp thinking by Forbes. He’s got an award-winning book, SLINGSHOT: How Adversity Propels Leaders To Find Purpose, Be Impactful, and Create Change. I’m excited to have you here, Rahul. Welcome.

Thank you, Diane. It’s such a pleasure to be here.

It’s exciting. I understand you don’t do many of these interviews. You get a lot of people asking you. I appreciate that you decided to do our show. Your work is fascinating to me because of my research in curiosity and perception. The way that you think is important. A lot of these videos and audios and everything that I create ends up in a lot of the courses I teach. I’m the former MBA Program Chair at the Forbes School of Business and a lot of other schools. I share a lot of these clips. You have quite an impressive assortment of things that you do. I want to get a backstory on you for those people who haven’t learned about what led to this success. Can you give me your story?

Thank you for having me on your show. I’m a big fan of your work, especially the work you did on curiosity. There is a lot to talk about. In terms of my backstory, I come from pretty humble beginnings. My parents were refugees in India. I’m a first-generation immigrant to the US, the first one in my family to go to college here. That led to a whole career in Corporate America. I worked in technology and then into more value creation and mergers and acquisitions and as a management consultant. All of that led to being a Founder and CEO as an entrepreneur. I did that for about ten years and then shifted to being an investor first as an early-stage venture capitalist and then more shifted towards value investing. It’s been a fascinating journey. I’m super excited about it. When I think back, I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me. I feel a strong need of giving back and paying it forward. The book is part of that passion project for me.

What made you want to write the book other than having a story to tell? You have had all these other experiences. Why then? I know you have written other things but why this book?

The backstory is interesting. I mentor entrepreneurs, students, and residents at Georgetown Business School. We were having this side chat and one of the students said, “What’s the path for people who become great leaders and who scale up as leaders?” We are sitting in this comfortable room and all the eyes are on me. To be honest, I didn’t have a good answer. I pride myself and was like, “Maybe I have some smarts and some wisdom here to share.” I didn’t have a good answer. I said, “That is a great question. I don’t have a good answer but let me look into it for you.”

That started the journey of looking into what makes somebody a successful and impactful leader. That is how the journey started. The other part of it was, I was asking the same question for myself, “What is it that I want to do next?” I was seeing all these other entrepreneurs who are trying to make a difference. I was looking at leaders in businesses who are trying to make a difference. What happens and shifts people that makes them high-performing leaders? That was the question that led to the research that I did over the years that then led to the Slingshot Method and the book.

You have got a lot of tension for that. I was looking at some of the big names of deans and people who have said great things from Darden and everybody I have seen who has given you praise. It’s pretty impressive, Harvard, Colombia, Georgetown, the list goes on and on. I love that you have a lot of focus on education. I teach a lot of courses where we get into the difference between management and leadership. This stuff is helpful for my students. I’m curious where curiosity falls in what you found in your research and how important it is that to be a good leader? How do you get leaders to encourage curiosity in others?

You are an expert on this. I should be asking that question to you. My take is that it’s inherent. Great leaders are inherently and genuinely curious. They are not faking it. I have had the privilege and honor of meeting some of the most iconic leaders in the world. When you talk to them or they are talking with you, they are focused and want to know about you, your backstories, and what matters to you. That is one of the hallmarks of leaders. Can we create that? Can we generate that? Can we learn how to do that? Absolutely. You do such a great job in your book teaching on how to increase your curiosity quotient. In this world, that is going to be flushed with data, artificial intelligence and recommendations. Being curious and being authentically curious becomes such an important success factor for you as a leader.

It is an interesting thing to research. I remember looking at how they were trying to create artificial curiosity and some of the gaming that they had looked at. The devices would continue to play levels like Mario Brothers and wanted to see what’s on the next level intuitively. The computer would go to the next level. There is a lot that we have in us that gets inhibited. Inadvertently, leaders sometimes do that. I had Francesca Gino from Harvard on the show. She had done such a great piece in HBR, about the case for curiosity. Her research showed that a lot of leaders think that they are encouraging curiosity, but if you ask their followers, they don’t necessarily agree. Sometimes there is a mismatch between what leaders think that they are encouraging in general. If you do a 360 on them, you might get something else. Did you find that is the case?

[bctt tweet=”Leaders are inherently and genuinely curious. They’re not just faking it. ” via=”no”]

That is the case. There is a gap between knowing and doing or intention and what is taking place and what people are doing. People are not aware of it. It’s not that they don’t want to be curious. It’s not that they don’t want to be empathetic, intentional, and all of those things, especially if you are a leader in this world. They believe they are doing it, but then the reality is that maybe not as much as they can. Taking this idea of empathy, for example, brings back a memory from my computer science training way back in the day. There was an AI program and it’s rudimentary that was created at the time. It’s like a decision tree and it said, “Diane, how are you feeling now?” You would answer, “I’m feeling a little sad. I’m feeling a little happy.” The computer will prompt back and it’ll pick up that word feeling, “Why are you feeling sad now? Tell me more.” On and on it went. The research showed that people trusted this program with their innermost secrets and thought it was non-judgmental. It was supportive and encouraging.

It leads to empathy when you are asking questions. People intuitively know that.

For leaders now, that curiosity, being authentic, and having empathy, are going to have table stakes.

It’s huge. It’s interesting to see the advancements that have been made with computers and what we are seeing. You are a bioethicist. I teach ethics quite a bit in some of my courses. I wrote an ethics course for a technology school based here in Arizona, which was a lot of fun. I know you deal with ethical issues. I’m curious what you see is emerging in the next decade or two? A lot of my students and everybody reading would find that fascinating.

In that area, there are two things perhaps I can share. One is how do you make the complex simple? You can figure out what matters most and then you can focus on that. That could be in relationships, situations that you are facing, business, or in your communities. That’s one aspect of what matters here. The second one is concerning to me, and these are the questions that are going to be raised because we don’t have the tech here yet, but it’s coming. It’s sooner than what we anticipate and think, which is about virtual reality. I’m concerned about that quite a bit because it has the potential of hijacking all of your senses. Digital addiction now is nothing compared to what we are going to be facing as a society once the immersive virtual reality is here and the preferences to be in this artificial world, the digital world, versus the real world. That causes a whole host of relational issues, mental well-being, health issues. Those are a couple of concerns.

That brings to mind the Bruce Willis’ movie Surrogates. I don’t know if you ever saw that.

It’s a great movie.

You never leave your house. You got your surrogate, a computerized person, taking over and going out there in the real world. It is interesting because I did get Oculus Quest virtual reality for Christmas. It’s amazing what you can do and see on those things. I am also thinking of the potential upside to that thing. If we had the ability for everybody to connect during this COVID time in that virtual setting, maybe we’d have a little bit less Zoom fatigue or something else because it would feel a little more real. Do you see it going that way with events and different things?

Yes. It’s both sides. It could be used for good and used for bad as well. The good aspect is going to be in the education space. It’s going to be transformative. You can do a lot of virtual practices and speed up learning.

I agree with that. I had the CEO of Prisms VR on my show, Anurupa Ganguly. She is amazing. She has a Master’s from MIT. She has this company where they reinvent how we’re going to learn STEM in K-12. It’s an immersive thing. You get in there and you look around. Instead of looking at an equation on a flat piece of paper, you’ll see where the idea came from. It’ll be great. You mentioned earlier that you used to be a VC and you shifted towards value investing. Don’t you teach that at Georgetown?

TTL 849 | What Makes A Leader
SLINGSHOT: How adversity propels leaders to find purpose, be impactful, and lead change.

I co-teach it.

What do you focus on? How Is that different from investing in general?

Investing is a broad spectrum. It depends on your risk appetite. Early-stage investing is a high risk, for example. The more you shift towards more established companies that have a lot of history and performance that you can look at, it’s a different way of thinking, evaluating, and looking at those opportunities. As a VC, it’s a different mindset. Over time, you get a sense of what’s going to work and what ideas may resonate. The fascinating thing is these ideas evolve until they get a product-market fit. It depends on the entrepreneurs as they evolve. Some of them can scale up and others don’t scale up as well. A lot of risk management on that end.

On the value side, that’s changing as well. In the older school of value investing, you could see the difference between the actual value of a business and what it was selling for in the market as an entire business. Now you have so much information that it’s hard to find those value gaps but they still exist. The update is to look at companies that are innovating, looking at digital transformation, and are focusing on customers that are coming up with new innovative services, products, and experiences. Those are the ones that are going to start dominating their spaces. You are seeing this with companies like Amazon. That value that they are creating is then being reflected in the prices as well.

You studied a lot of companies. I was looking for your book. You were looking at PepsiCo, Google and major companies. You talked to different people about how they have been profoundly shaped by the type of ideas that you studied for your book, SLINGSHOT. I have had people like Chris Yeh, who wrote the book with Reid Hoffman and others who have written about startups and having to fake it until you make it sometimes in the new business world. If you did VC, you probably had to see a lot of companies who are trying to be the next unicorn thing. You have been mentored by Peter Drucker. You’ve been mentored by some of the most major people out there. What lessons have you learned from your mentorship and how does that apply to these startups and how to create the next unicorn maybe?

I’ve been an entrepreneur myself. I’ve been an operator and entrepreneur. I’ve been through a journey, the high highs and the low lows. When you win, you are top of the world. When things don’t go your way, it’s not such a good day and that takes a massive effect on your personal life, your relationships, your health, and so forth. Having peers and support groups is important. It’s lonely at the top. Unless you’ve been through that journey, you don’t know how lonely that can be. I empathize with those entrepreneurs who take on that journey.

You have to be bending the reality field a little bit, so to speak, to take on this idea of creating something out of thin air with resources that you don’t have and having this powerful vision that you can then communicate to other people who come on your side. They then provide you the resources that you need to help you realize your vision. This idea of faking it to making it is not a good analogy, although that’s what I hear often. A better or authentic way to achieving success as a leader is you look forward and you project forward to what your vision is and then you dwell in that vision. You live in that vision and you come and you engage from that vision. You get your way of being and your way of doing from your envisioned future and that becomes inspirational.

One of the things that I teach about is when you look at the iconic leaders, you look at Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King. Mahatma Gandhi was one of many lawyers at the time until he experienced something that shifted something in him powerfully that he had a vision for the future. We all know the results of that work. When you look at Mother Teresa, she was one of many nuns until something shifted in her, she took that vision, and she transformed the world. The same thing with Martin Luther King, he is one of the many Lutheran preachers. Look at the transformation that he brought on because something shifted in him. That shift also happens with entrepreneurs as they believe in that vision and they want to make that vision come into being.

As you are saying that, it reminds me of a course I taught where we got into charisma used in leadership for good and bad. Martin Luther King comes up in every single class. Hitler comes for the negative use of it. Martin Luther King for positive. The ones you mentioned are all positive. Do you think you need to have the charisma to be a successful leader?

Not necessarily. It helps if you are a charismatic leader but there are many leaders who are not charismatic also. What people resonate with is your vision. If your vision is broader than who you are and if your vision is to make me great again, people don’t resonate with it as powerfully as they would resonate with a cause or a bigger vision that you have, which is greater than your self-interest. People want to be part of that journey with you.

[bctt tweet=”Even when you are on top of the world, having support groups is very important.” via=”no”]

What is interesting to me about the title of your book is the subtitle, How Adversity Propels Leaders to Find Purpose, Be Impactful, and Create Change. I had Daniel Goleman on the show and other people we have talked about Steve Jobs and how maybe he wasn’t the same emotionally intelligent the first time as he was the second time when he was at Apple. I want to know where you think adversity plays a part. Do we need to fail to be successful? Can you go right into unicorn everything perfect status? Do you have to go through some crisis?

Given my journey, I wasn’t born rich. I had a lot of struggles in my life. I can still remember early in my life, I didn’t have enough money. It’s a hot and muggy day and I had enough money to go and buy a Snickers bar. Even then, I was short $0.10. That was my lunch and dinner. Coming through and facing that adversity that a lot of immigrants, a lot of people in this country face, and now, a lot of people are facing that globally with a pandemic, losing loved ones, and a lot of challenges. It also helps you gain the strength and have the faith that you got what it takes to handle the challenges that are thrown at you.

You can come above them, you can conquer them in a certain way. It helps you evolve and show up as your best self. It helps you dig deep into the courage that is needed to face the challenges that you’re facing. Adversity is not necessarily the only key to finding purpose, meaning and creating change and impact. It is one of the many ways that a lot of people do the shift in their life to find that greater vision. This idea of SLINGSHOT is not the idea that you would think about. When I say slingshot, Diane, what’s the image that comes to your mind?

Flying through the air?

That little toy that we used to play with, you put a little pebble and pull it back.

You hit something with it.

I have updated this model to the 21st Century. It’s this idea of when we are going into space and reaching other planets, we take the gravity assist from another planet’s gravity to change direction, go farther, and faster to a new destination that we would not have otherwise gone. That is the idea of SLINGSHOT. There was some research that was done a while back at Stanford about people who were diagnosed or who had heart attacks and they survived. What happened is their lifestyle changed. They started exercising more, walking more, eating more healthier, and their whole life changed. The big question was, how can you bring about those changes without going and experiencing a heart attack? That is this idea of saying, “How can we be more intentional about it so we can avoid having the adversity and still achieve our full potential?”

It’s hard. You have to experience hate to appreciate love or pain to appreciate not being in pain. Some of this stuff you have to know to know the opposite. Naveen Jain was on the show and I remember going to dinner with him one night.

He is a great guy.

He was fun to talk to. We were attending an event where we were all talking about creating our moonshot, which is this unbelievable thing you would like to achieve if everything could be achieved. He wanted to mine the moon with one of the things he was working on at that time. I remember looking at him while we were eating dinner and you could see him looking at the moon thinking about it. I’m curious what your moonshot is.

TTL 849 | What Makes A Leader
What Makes A Leader: There’s a gap between knowing and what people are actually doing.


My moonshot is to see how I can influence leaders. If I can influence a leader who is responsible for 200,000, 300,000 people in our organization, then I’m making change at scale or making an impact at scale. That is what I’m trying to do through this book.

It’s the at-scale part that holds a lot of people back trying to get to that level. It’s challenging. I’m sure you learned a lot. You were mentored by Peter Drucker, who is the godfather of modern management. How did you connect with him? What led you to get mentored from such a legend?

This is way back when I was at Accenture as a management consultant there. I got introduced to Peter Drucker doing some work for his nonprofit group and we hit it off. We had some common interests. That’s how the mentoring relationship started. In terms of what I took away from him, there were several lessons and there are two of them that stood out. He said to me, “There are three phases of life. The first phase is that you’re learning, you’re growing, and you’re experiencing. The next one is you are getting established, getting married, having a family, and focusing on your career. The third phase is giving back. Remember, you don’t have to wait until you have achieved success to give back.”

He was ahead of his time about this. The second thing was about leading volunteers. He did a lot of work in thought leadership in that space and we are seeing that. Most of our employees are volunteers. They come in the morning and they don’t have to come back the next day and they can go and join another company or a different company that has values and mission that’s more resonant with the values and mission of these employees. He talked about how do you focus on what is important, what is the mission that is bigger than you or the profit motive. He says, “The profits would come if you focus on the customer, innovation, and delivery, but you also focus on your people.”

It’s interesting because my last book was on perception. I was looking at some of the people you wrote about in your book. You examined prominent entrepreneurs, politicians, doctors, corporate titans, you name it. If you look at what they are focusing on, each person has their unique focus. When we wrote about perception, we looked at it as a process of examining, interpreting, predicting, and correlate. You come up with your final conclusions. That is impacted by IQ, EQ for emotional quotient, CQ for cultural quotient, CQ for curiosity quotient. It’s how we looked at it. I’m curious about the people you interviewed or researched for this book. How were their perceptions different or formed differently at all from maybe their background? For example, Naveen, coming from India, was focused heavily on education. It was something important to him growing up. Did you see a lot of different cultural aspects that shaped the people you wrote about?

One of the components was nurture versus nature. It’s about what impacts us into who we become, the company that we keep, and the impact of that on who we become. We look at cultures like India, China, and other emerging markets, for example, they’re highly competitive. You’re growing up in that highly competitive space as a kid. You are competing in school. You are competing for grades. You’re competing at the national level. When you become an adult, you continue competing. The challenge then becomes how do you moderate? You don’t want to compete on everything.

If your significant other says, “Let’s go watch this movie. Let’s go to Thai food versus Indian food.” You don’t want to compete and you don’t win every time. You gain maturity and you gain what I call the perspective. That’s what I found in these leaders that they were doing. They were aware of the context that they were operating within and aware of the various aspects of the lives in which context those areas they were operating within. That gave them the advantage and the awareness to respond versus react.

[bctt tweet=”You have to experience hate to appreciate love. ” via=”no”]

That is an interesting way of looking at it. I noticed you had interviewed the CEO of Google. Google is often mentioned that they used to take whatever percentage of their day to explore ideas. 20% of it is not part of their culture. It’s unsaid that they do this thing. Whether it’s formal or not formal in any company, I’m curious what you found from Google and how they helped leaders become innovative if they got into anything to deal with curiosity there.

Google has an interesting model. Number one, they are data-driven. Number two, they experiment a lot. A lot of their experiments don’t work out. The ones that do work out have outsized gains. That’s true for the various leadership and management development things that they are trying to do. These days, most companies are focused on becoming better at having their leaders and their teams and how they collaborate on issues of diversity, inclusion, and equality. Like all the other companies, Google is also focused a great amount on making sure that is happening because they see the advantage of having diversity, inclusion, and equality. Are they doing a good job? No. Their leadership recognizes that there are gaps and there’s a need to improve and they seem to be working on it. It’s not an easy thing to do though.

A lot of these people who get into some of these companies get in later. They are not the initial founders but some of the founders, I don’t know if they recognize how big things are going to get. Everybody hopes that they will, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to have the next Google or Facebook or whatever the next big thing is. What I thought was interesting from your book is you say that there are four critical contexts we operate from and four leadership abilities that help you to find and live your purpose. I want to make sure we cover those. What were the four that to which you refer in your book?

To remember it easily, there are four Ss in the four Cs. Anybody can learn that. The four Ss are about the inner game, that’s about context. The first one is about survival, the second is security, the third is success, and the fourth is significance. As a leader, if you are facing a situation and you’re in survival mode, where is your mindset?

Now and not in the future.

It’s immediate. Short-term focus. What is happening to your core values at the time?

You are trying not to drown. You’ll do whatever it takes.

TTL 849 | What Makes A Leader
What Makes A Leader: Companies that are innovating, looking at digital transformation, and focusing on customers are going to start dominating their spaces.


They are being tested. If somehow you manage to survive and you find some floor under your feet, that’s security and you can take a deep breath. The next thing comes success. Success could be achievements that you can quantify. Success is also a journey towards achieving those goals. A lot of people stop at that when they have achieved success. There is a next step, which is about significance. That is coming back to that whole idea of having a vision that is greater than for yourself, that is for the needs of others or a cause or a need in the world that is bigger than you and that you are passionate about. That is about paying it forward. That is about giving back. You see that a lot of the folks who attain a high level of success shift into this idea of significance. They are operating from this significant idea, which is about abundance, lending a hand, pulling people up. They welcome diversity, inclusion, and equality. When you are in survival mode, you may not be open to diversity of opinions but that’s exactly when you do need diversity.

Back to Drucker, we can do it all the time.

You can map different aspects of your life where they are. Your health, wealth, engagement, job, career, relationships, where do they stand? It’s a self-scoring thing. Whatever you assess, that’s your reality. That’s how you feel. You may say, “My health is in survival mode. My relationship is a success.” You can figure out how to dial it up or dial it down. If your health is in survival mode, perhaps there are things that you can do to help get into a sense of security about your health or about your relationships with certain things that you can do to move it into significance. Maybe you dial down some other things. That gives a sense of agency. Being intentional and aware of this is a hallmark that I found about the most successful leaders.

You mentioned four Cs.

That is the outer game. The four Cs are Clarity, Conviction, Commitment, and Contemplation. Clarity is about knowing what you want but also what outcomes you want. What do you want to achieve? I call my friends in New York and after they say hello, the next question is, “What do you want?” I used to be annoyed by that, but that’s okay. That is how they sense clarity. It comes from iterating and experimenting. Earlier on in your life that you can gain clarity, you have more time to work on achieving those. There’s then the idea of conviction. Do you believe that you can achieve those goals that you’re setting for yourself, your business, your organization, or your nation? A lot of that comes from language. You can talk yourself into depression. Animals can’t talk themselves into depression for example but humans can. Language becomes important. There are other things that you can also do for gaining higher conviction, but language is powerful.

The next one is about commitment. Are you going to do what it takes? You run across entrepreneurs. They have pitched their ideas 400 times. For the 401 times, they got an investor who backs them up and the company became super successful. That commitment is about behavior. It’s about actions. It’s showing up day after day. There is this idea of compounding. Over time, your efforts compound and you become an overnight success. The most important part of this thing is contemplation, which is about reflecting and being mindful. That is hard to do because we are busy and we are chasing after goals that may no longer be relevant goals for us. We may be living other people’s expectations of us.

Unless we reflect and we are mindful, we cannot course correct. That goes for businesses as well. You see a lot of businesses, which you scratch your head and you say, “These are the businesses that should have come up with these new transformative and disruptive ideas but they did not.” An example is a lot of the hotel groups that didn’t come up with Airbnb. You can go down the list. They didn’t because they are focused and they were not innovating. They were not taking more risks. They were focused on operational excellence in the business model that they know well. A newcomer comes, a new technology comes, a configuration of new technologies enables new capabilities. The next thing you know, their business is getting disrupted.

[bctt tweet=”You don’t want to compete and you don’t want to win every time. ” via=”no”]

As you are talking about all this, many things come to mind based on my research in curiosity. I see curiosity as the spark to all the things that companies would hire me to speak about. As far as innovation, engagement, motivation, drive, you name all these things and curiosity leads to it. If you are thinking about the things that inhibit curiosity, I found, were fear. Risk tolerance is something we fear for why we don’t go to the next level or try to scale up or whatever. Assumptions, we got into that when you were talking about thinking into depression. That is your inner voice.

Your assumptions are the things that you tell yourself, “I’m not going to be able to do this.” “It’s going to be too hard. It’s too much work.” Technology was one as well, which we over and underutilize sometimes. We might be great at it, but we don’t have the foundations and things have not been taught to us or we rely on it too much. The environment, you were saying you value certain things. Naveen had valued education and certain people have all these different aspects. A lot of what I studied ties into what you are saying here and it’s important.

What was fascinating to me is that there was not a lot of research out there to tie these things together to say, “If we build curiosity, this will prove that you are going to save X dollars on innovation because you are going to make all this money because of asking questions.” If you look at some of the companies like the Blockbusters or the Kodaks and then you were saying the hotel industry is not reinventing the Airbnbs. There are a lot of cases for why we need to get out of status quo thinking and yet, we are comfortable in status-quo thinking. How do you think we should get people out of that status quo way of doing things?

TTL 849 | What Makes A Leader
What Makes A Leader: Adversity is not necessarily the only key to finding purpose, meaning, and creating change. It is one of the many ways that a lot of people gain the shift in their life to find a greater vision.


That is an important question and it’s not easy to do. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. There are a few things that a lot of successful companies are doing and we talked about some of them, Google being one of them and Microsoft being another one. A lot of the entrepreneurs are doing it as well. We can learn a lot of lessons from them. In business success, I focus on five things. As you said, curiosity is the spark that ignites all of this stuff. Asking this question, “Who am I? What matters? How can I make my vision a larger vision? What are the things that I can do to make that happen?”

There are environments where you cannot do this because those environments don’t support these innovative ideas. The leaders are incented, their performance is tracked, and their KPIs are unique to the performances of the existing business and making the existing business better and not on coming up with disruptive new ideas. Disruptive ideas are shunned and canceled. Those turn into entrepreneurial ideas and then they gain momentum and speed up. The five things in a business, the first one I start with is about customers. If you focus on the customer, the customer needs, and the customer journey, everything starts with the customer in my world. The second thing is about people. There are certain people that have more comfort, one way or the other. Some are more risk-takers. Others, like more stability and steadiness as they go. Others are great at operationalizing and scaling up, while others are disrupting all the time.

You need a mix of these folks and figuring out how to incent them, what roles to give them, and how to get out of their way. All of those things become important. The last thing is technology. Every business is a technology business if you don’t have a strategy on digital transformation on using the emerging technologies that are coming up and that are going to change customer expectations drastically. The value that customers are getting and what they are paying for and how these business models are being monetized. You are going to lose out.

That is an important point.

[bctt tweet=”Commitment is about behavior. It’s about showing up day after day.” via=”no”]

The pandemic has accelerated technology adoption. A lot of companies are struggling with how to go about adopting new technologies for the delivery of their services and development. Everything is getting accelerated as well. It’s a logarithmic gain. We are going to see that happening more and more. The kids are now growing up in the world of video chatting. I grew up in the era where we had those rotary dial phones. If you misdial the number, you had to start all over again. Another interesting one was when I was a kid in India, one of the families in our community bought a television set. They would invite all the neighboring kids and you can come and watch the shows and watch the news. There was only one channel, one national station. They had this clip on thing on the TV screen that they clipped it on. It’s like glasses. This plastic screen had blotches of color.

I haven’t seen that. I’m thinking you were going to go with the rabbit ears. We are going in a new direction.

This is called technicolor. The black and white moved in the back. The actor would be orange, blue, and green or whatever the blotches were. Technology has come a long way.

I miss that. I was there for the rabbit ears. To get a station, you would have to adjust them forever. Everything you are working on is fascinating. I could talk to you all day. I know a lot of people want to learn from you. I know you do coaching, training, workshops, all those things. I want to make sure that we get that in before we end here. Is there some site or anything you want to share for people to learn more?

TTL 849 | What Makes A Leader
What Makes A Leader: A lot of people achieved success; but there’s a next step, which is significance.


I have enjoyed this conversation. I look forward to continuing the conversation with you and your readers. Our website is SlingshotMethod.com. There is a form there and if your readers would fill that out, we would be glad to send them a free workbook that goes along with the SLINGSHOT book. I love to hear back from your readers. Anything I can be of help to them in their journey, I would love to do that. That is open.

Thank you, Rahul. This has been great. Your work is super impressive. I knew everybody was going to learn so much from you. Thank you so much for being my guest.

Thank you. It’s such an honor.

It was my honor.

I would like to thank Rahul for being our guest. It’s fun to have these conversations with such intelligent people who have such amazing backgrounds. Rahul has worked with the best of the best. We have interviewed many people. I know it’s hard to catch them all. If you have missed any past episodes of other individuals who have worked in technology or leadership, you can go to DrDianeHamilton.com to find out more. I enjoyed the whole background and everything that Rahul has done. There is so much more information on him. I hope you take some time to explore his site. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead radio.

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About Rahul Bhandari

TTL 849 | What Makes A LeaderRAHUL BHANDARI is an expert in strategic high performance and helps successful people, teams and organizations become even more successful. Rahul advises public and private equity boards, investors, executives, and prominent business families on strategic growth mandates, investments, and digital transformation. Deemed “Silicon Valley’s high-powered thinker” by FORTUNE, and “go-to person for sharp thinking, unique ideas on conscious leadership, and turning adversity into an advantage” by FORBES.

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