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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Getting the best out of average

Harish Revanna
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Harish Revanna
Bhaskar in Sanskrit means ‘The Sun.” But for Bhaskar Pramanik, Sun has always been a visionary company that has kept redefining the future of computing. As the Managing Director of Sun Microsystems India he often talks on how goals are achieved at Sun with the three-fold mantra: Innovation in engineering, marketing and partnering. “To be successful in an innovation driven technology company, you have to be passionate about technology,” he says. Strangely, he has had no stint as a technologist; his first job as a management trainee at DCM, prepared him for the functional management aspect of business. From then on, his managerial flight has never stopped. As a Stanford management alumnus, it is not strange that his passion for business superceded his academic education as an Electrical engineer from IIT Kanpur.

Since his arrival at Sun in 1998, the company has never failed to achieve its targets either in revenue or profitability. “In the last 8 years we have grown at a CAGR of 40 percent and our revenue has doubled every two years, while employee count has multiplied 6-7 times,” he says. Sun India currently houses 1000 engineers working on the philosophy of sharing innovation and building communities at the forefront of the next wave of computing: the Participation Age. Pramanik also emphasizes that 90 percent of India’s telephone and Internet traffic passes through Sun’s systems.

Recently Pramanik was awarded the company’s Leadership Award in recognition of his contribution to the growth of the Sun business in India and for being a role model for all of Sun. He is currently the Co-Chair of the company’s Leadership Awards Review Board, which identifies and recognizes the outstanding leaders inside the company who models Sun’s values in the delivery of business priorities. For Pramanik, this coveted chairmanship is new at the outset, but personally it’s a jury he’s been all his life—at different companies.

In early 70s, like every ambitious IIT-ian, he had formulated his own theory of success: work with the best and you become better than the best. And, he had got his theory right. Today, name some 10 CEOs in the country; chances are that Pramanik would have worked with at least five. “I was fortunate to have come in contact with some of the leading CEO’s in business. They are all visionaries, who knew how to execute and get to be successful,” he says.

Pramanik learnt his leadership lessons by watching and emulating, while some others were self-taught and inherent. Interestingly, Pramanik’s first company taught him how to manage senior employees who were much older to him. Today he’s learning how to work for managers who are much younger to him—both his boss, Lionel Lim, President for Sun Asia South and Scott McNealy, Chairman and CEO, Sun Microsystems Inc. are younger to him by 5 years. “That’s the fun of it all,” he says referring to his openness in learning from anybody. Albeit his graying hair doesn’t indicate his age, it surely tells a story of change he’s seen in his 54 years in life. “I’m a leader in my own world,” he says indicating the situational leadership, a term which he closely relates to.

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