“There is no one express elevator to the top,” says Umesh Ramakrishnan, the vice chairman of the global executive search firm CT Partners.
His new book, “There's No Elevator To The Top,” is an account of how corporate go-getters trekked their way to the top based on stories that Umesh has stumbled upon in his course of his career as a top corporate “headhunter” or recruiter.
Umesh provides consultation to boards of directors and chief executives of global corporations and has recruited members for boards of directors, CEOs, CFOS, COOs, and other senior management positions.
An authority on corporate leadership, Umesh, as the vice chairman of CTPartners, one of the world’s premier search firms, has placed dozens of C-level executives at companies around the globe. In his book, he shares powerful lessons from his long career and also from exclusive interviews with top CEO’s.
Umesh, who graduated from Bangalore University in India, holds a master’s degree from the University of Texas and is a sought-after speaker and a widely quoted expert in the business media. Ramakrishnan and his family live in Cleveland, Ohio.
In his book, Umesh identifies the qualities that distinguish those who are likely to make it from those who aren’t. For instance, he explains:
-Why the surest route to the top is not always straight up the greasy pole.
- How it’s possible to have a star team without everyone being a star.
-Why your listening skills need as much attention as your communication skills.
-How to meet the challenges—and grasp the opportunities—of globalization.
The book is more like an exclusive lunch date with a table full of chief executive officers, as Ramakrishnan features the insights of dozens of top leaders at companies like Dell, Cadbury Schweppes, Aetna, BT Group, Pepsi, Infosys and Ecopetrol.
The book is divided into 10 chapters that offers tips to climb the corporate ladder under humorous subheads like the “First Steps”, “Boarding Pass” , “You are the Sum of their parts”, “Corporate Bonds: The Art of Networking”, “Getting The Message Across”, “A World of Opportunity”, “Get a Life -And Keep It”, “What's in a leader”, “How's Your day Been” and “Why its all worth in the End”.
Narrating the story of Bill Amelio, the president and CEO of Lenovo, one of the world's largest makers of computers, Umesh says Bill was fascinated by the ability of leaders from business to politics.
“I was fascinated by the ability of the leaders to command attention, to captivate people and make them understand a vision,” Umesh writes in his book, quoting Bill Amelio, one of the author's “leadership specimens”.
Bill kept a close eye on what it was about these individuals that made him unique and then asked himself if he could do the same. “Suddenly I realised that leadership was in my blood and it became a passion,” says Amelio in the book.
Amelio, the son of a Pittsbug shoe repairman and now in his early fifties, started his career at IBM and then held positions with NCR and Honeywell. He has a master's degree in management from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University.
Family, explains Umesh, plays an important in individual success.”If you don't have a strong relationship and the right agreement with your partner or spouse, you will not be successful,” says John Swainson of CA, Inc, in the book. “You can't be, because you dont have the emotional stability”. Swainson also stresses how important it is to be honest about how you have set up your personal life to complement your high career goals.
Lucas Chow of MediaCorp wasn't afraid to wax sentimental on the subject of why do you do your job and want to get to the top. For Chow, its not the prestige, money, respect or fame that a corner office might bring. “Successful managers that I worked with all share a common characteristic: passion,” Chow said.
Instances and inspirations jostle for attention in Umesh's book. Every CEO has an exciting tale of personal success to recount. It is not so difficult to get to the top.
The book priced at Rs 499 has been published by Penguin-Books India.