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Kaushal Aras
Kaushal Aras

Kaushal Aras

Management Consultant

The Boeing Company

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Current job profile
Kaushal is a senior Management Consultant for Fortune 100 companies in the area of transforming business processes and delivering cost-effective IT solutions aligned with corporate objectives to improve productivity and performance. He specializes in Enterprise application systems and supply chain.
Leadership qualities
Leadership at its core is about Integrity and using that as a foundation to practice certain learned skills that produce effective results. The leadership model I subscribe to is that of leadership by effectiveness which revolves around 4 attributes:
a.    Setting a compelling vision
b.    A wherewithal to execute on the vision
c.    Focusing on the Big Three goals
d.    Ability to make quick and effective decisions
The best part about this leadership model is that one can lead regardless of their position in the hierarchy. It is about democratization of leadership. Every person within an organization owns the responsibility of showing leadership within their core competency, within their own unit, at their job. Great leaders diligently work on realizing their full potential.

Ensuring growth
In order to grow and develop as a leader, it is imperative that one self introspects and realizes what their strengths and equally important their weaknesses are, so they can proactively position themselves in a role within an organization. The next thing is to develop a long term strategy to capitalize on the strengths and bring the weaknesses to the acceptable level so that it doesn’t limit your growth. The best approach I have found is to volunteer for projects within and outside of an organization that enables you to do just that. It becomes a win-win situation as every project undertaking then becomes an opportunity for growth while allowing one to make a significant contribution. Also, by bringing a beginner’s mind towards learning and using a process of reflection to apply the learning has been effective for me.
My advice
a.    Create a vision for your life and your organization – ask where would I like to be or my company to be in a few years from now? - and then reverse engineer your approach. For instance if I want to be at point A in 5 years, what do I need to be doing in year 4, year 3, year 2 and year 1. What do I need to accomplish in the next 6 months or next quarter?
b.    Create a core team around you and a collaborative network that helps you execute on your vision.
c.    Also, pay attention to what you feed your mind and body. Eliminate distractions and ensure you exercise and eat right, read books and magazines, attend leadership seminars, and take continuing education courses, explore the arts that provide inspiration, insights and wisdom
d.    Most important of all; always be true to your values and learn to pay it forward.
Doing things right
The important thing that I remind myself is that our biography is not our destiny. So, banking on the experience of the past to connect the dots in the future is not a reliable approach because as we know the future can be full of unexpected events. Innovation usually happens where there is imagination involved; when someone breaks away from the past. The future is wide open to be envisioned and requires a discipline to a core set of principles to enable us to execute on this vision. It is okay to make mistakes and experience failures because nothing teaches you like a setback. But learn not to make the same mistake twice. Edison wouldn’t have discovered the light bulb if he had given up on the first attempt. Reframe a setback such that you are now closer to your goal as you have discovered one other thing that doesn’t work.
Influenced by
There have been quite a few people in my life over the years that I have sought inspiration from. For many individuals the early stages are usually the parents and I am no different. Dr. Wes Shultz who was the dean of Andrews University in Michigan was another great influence. He had the knack of listening for greatness in people and always inspired me to achieve my highest potential. In recent times, biographies of great leaders have been a tremendous source of inspiration.
Handling Grievance
Every situation is different and therefore needs to be addressed accordingly. However by staying true to a few basic principles of fairness, integrity and respect one can make effective decisions that are right for the enterprise and the individual concerned. Also, never shy away from having those tough conversations. What I have found is that contrary to popular beliefs people don’t change and improve when they are comfortable, they change when they are uncomfortable.

Important decision
One of the important decisions of my life has been to pursue a higher education in the US early on in my career while simultaneously working for a Fortune 100 company. That allowed me to broaden my horizons in terms of understanding the business needs in a global world and acquire the skills needed to offer my services to add value to the organization. I am therefore a big proponent of continuing education and collaboration between academia and industry.
My view on India technological development
You are correct in your assertion that we don’t lack in skills or talent in our country. In my view what we lack is infrastructure and systems that enable for a startup to succeed because of red tape and bureaucracy. Let me give you an example, a techie professional in the Silicon Valley with an innovative idea and business plan has a better likelihood of securing the resources and support she needs at a faster rate than for someone in India. Venture capitalists are usually looking to invest in firms that yield a quick return while venture deals in India take a longer runaway compared to US or China. Most VC’s are therefore tempted to look elsewhere or consider other lucrative investments in India like real estate or PIPE deals (private investment in public equity). The bad news is most of the current issues on infrastructure and systems require government intervention and a commitment for transformation; and the good news is that with the right leaders at the helm and successful collaboration it can be accomplished.
Family background
Ours is a small family that always emphasized on education and a global mindset while being true to our Indian values. Another interesting fact about my family is that everyone in our household has a master’s degree or a PhD and has traveled or lived abroad. My father who currently works as a CEO of Admark Polycoats in Baroda came out of retirement to head the company at the age of 72. My mother was one of the top LIC agents in the country who qualified thrice for the prestigious MDRT award. My younger brother is a Scientist and works in the cutting edge field of biomedical engineering in US while my sister resides with her husband in Australia who is an investment banking professional. Most of us in the family are published authors and as a small unit we are always looking to grow and develop in different areas of life while providing a strong support system for each other. We also take an active interest in the Indian tradition and culture regardless of what our current zip code might indicate.
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