Based On An Article Titled
"The Secrets Of Good Leaders"
Dr. Prasad Kaipa
Compiled By Kiran
Thoughts On Leadership
About Dr. Prasad Kaipa
Executive Director, Centre for Leadership, Innovation and Change (CLIC)
Indian School of Business (ISB)
Prasad splits his time between his role as the Executive Director of the Center for Leadership, Innovation and Change (CLIC) at Indian School of Business
(ISB) Hyderabad and Kaipa Group consulting practice. CLIC is an applied research center focussing on integral approach (marrying lessons from wisdom
traditions to traditional management approaches and scientific approaches) to develop global leaders. Prasad Kaipa has been an advisor and coach since
1990 for over 100 CEOs, executive team members and board members in Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Adobe, Sun, Boeing and also entrepreneurial/
International companies like Aztec, BAE Systems, Lunar Design, Mastek, Olixir, Scintera Networks, Aankhen, Polaris and VARStreet. Prasad co-founded
Entrepreneur Institute for the TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) in 2002 and over 13,000 entrepreneurs have gone through its programmes so far. He is a part-
time faculty in the areas of Organisational Systems, Creativity and Innovation; and Developmental and Cognitive Psychology at the Saybrook Graduate School
and a Visiting Professor in the areas of leadership, mindsets, and change management in the ISB. Prasad was/is on the board of directors/trustees for Society
for Organisational Learning (created around Peter Senge’s learning organisation concepts), i-Mantri, Aankhen, Hindu University of North America, Integral
Leadership Review, Intertec Communications and Catalyst.
The purpose of Prasad’s coaching is to ignite the genius within individuals, clarify and align individual aspirations with their corporate objectives. Prasad’s
unique competence is in helping his clients find their next significant step and take it. Prasad advises and coaches his clients to become clear about what they
aspire for and what their core incompetence is. He assists them in becoming effective in managing people and also managing oneself (personal mastery); get
reenergised and build new capacities; and explore more risk taking and make innovative and strategic decisions.
Prasad also worked with companies like Boeing, Disney, Mobil, Ford, Sun, Pepsi (Quaker Oats), Navteq, BAE Systems, Sasken, Syngenta, Mastek, Union
Bank, Canara Bank and AT&T (Pacific Bell) in the areas of change management, innovation and management team development. Executives from companies
like Cisco and HP have worked with Prasad in developing knowledge business models for creating a new business and in coming up with unique, “brandable”
product design that is consistent with their culture. Prasad has also developed approaches and tools that allow executives to “map the genetic code of
organisations” so that they can ‘re-wire’ their organisations for superior performance.
As a senior manager in Apple, Prasad was asked to create an educational menu for Apple technical staff using innovative learning approaches. Later, as a
research fellow in the Apple University, with a charter to help design ‘a learning processor that augments human intelligence,’ Prasad interviewed high
achievers and exceptional people researching how people learn and ‘unlearn.’
Prasad originally got his doctorate in Physics (optical information storage materials) and as a Professor in the University of Utah, helped build an international
research laboratory with Dr Ed Haskell (1981-87). Prasad also worked as an Educator (Saybrook Institute 1994-), as a Manager in international product
marketing (1987-88) and a technology advisor and research fellow (1988-90) (Apple) and received several awards for his contributions. Athena Interactive
released three award winning CD-ROMs for leaders based on his learning interface concepts and his pyramid building (thinking in three dimensions)
Prasad has published an e-book ‘Discontinuous Learning: Igniting Genius Within by Aligning Self, Work, and Family’ (http://www.kaipagroup.com) and many of
his writings, blog, pyramids and tools are available on the same website.
Prasad is married to Dr Vinoda and is father of Pravin (22) and Vidya (18). He enjoys exploring and reinterpreting ancient wisdom (and its application in
developing highly effective and authentic leaders), photography (http://pkaipa.smugmug.com), listening to classical music and playing tennis.
A Lingering Question
One Question Keeps Coming Up
– Do B-Schools really prepare students to become
Statistically, a high % of people at the top-level of
many firms in India (and abroad) are either from IITs
or from top B-Schools or their equivalent in foreign
countries (Ivy league schools).
The Real Questions
Are people at the top management position
If so, how did they become leaders? Or
Is it that potential leaders go to B-Schools to
hone their leadership skills?
– As B-Schools have an enviornment to encourage /
bring out leadership abilities in students besides
Leadership Emerges In A Context
A medical school dean recalls “Many students
join medical colleges due to social pressure
etc., and go through the curriculum for the 1st
two years rather mechanically. Once they start
interacting with patients, some of the back
benchers suddenly, get engaged and end up
becoming great doctors.”
Similar things happen in B-Schools also
Therefore, Leadership is just not about
academic scholarship or having skills. Some
people discover an inner capacity to lead in a
particular area because they find passion,
purpose and meaning in that area.
Leadership Is About Seeing And
A few people thrive by grabbing freedom,
making choices and by effectively using time to
utilize the given opportunity to make something
While others (when presented with so many
opportunities, challenges and resources) may
see the same opportunities but wait to be told
and end up regretting missed opportunities
(without having done much about it).
One Person Becoming A Leader
Means Others Are Not Followers.
Management might operate well in a hierarchical
and control-oriented scenario but leadership
operates more effectively through network and
Best leaders create an environment (a
leadership field) where others see opportunities
to lead as well.
Leadership Cannot Be Taught or
Developed By Others
Students have to actively engage in self
Students should make a conscious choice to
take responsibility to hone their skills, clarify
passion, take risks and fail (as well) in this
(continuous) process to become the best leader
s/he can be.
Faculty can shape students' thinking on
leadership by giving models, doing 360-degree
reviews and conducting workshops.
B-schools Can Help Identify Gaps
B-Schools can help identify gaps between
where you are and where you can be.
– Faculty can help students understand why Warren
Buffett, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, N.R.
Narayana Murthy and Rajat Gupta are leaders
through case studies, articles etc.
It is up to the student to decide where s/he
wants to be and how to get there.
Leadership is a journey, not a
Without developing self-awareness, courage,
commitment and continuous learning, credibility
does not come about.
– These characteristics are to be practised continually
because they are not about achieving something,
but about being somebody — being oneself.
– “When you are really able to bridge your internal
gaps — between what you say, what you feel, what
you do and who you are — you will have an
opportunity to be the best in anything that you take
It takes ambition, talent, hard work and
community support to become a leader.
B-schools are great places to begin that
An article by Dr. Prasad Kaipa in Businessworld
(Issue Dated 19-25 May 2009)
Appendix: Definitions Of Leadership
The first job of a leader is to define a vision for the
organization.... Leadership of the capacity to translate vision
– Warren Bennis, President, University of Cincinnati, University of Maryland
symposium, January 21, 1988
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the
people fear; the next, the people hate.
– Lao Tse, 604-531 B. C., Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism, Tao Te
Transformational leadership means leadership in its highest
form, such that it transcends the trappings of hierarchies,
authority, power, as well as, formal and informal systems of
reward and recognition — and in the political sphere, votes.
– Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Head of Aditya Birla Group