Gearing up for the 2nd edition of Leadership Unplugged

I begin at least one day a week listening to a podcast. Some of my favourites are Recode Decode, Pivot, Acquired and Exponent. Irrespective of the topic or speakers, these podcasts are brilliantly produced. They are fun, creative, to-the-point and, as a listener, it gets your mind to work laterally.

Earlier this month, I listened to the venture capitalist John Doerr talk to Kara Swisher of Recode about his book, “Measure What Matters”. The book focused on Andy Grove’s system of measuring Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and how this framework can do wonders for whatever one is trying to achieve – whether as individuals, teams or entire organizations. Of course, while the concept of OKRs is reasonably straightforward and, if I may add, just common sense, the podcast I listened to was a “nudge.” It triggered an important action, and I now have an OKR Software for Growth Mechanics – which aligns the entire team to a collection of organization-level goals.

Over the years, I have underestimated the concept of leadership or leading. I thought people would just do their jobs. The performance management system in place was enough and my job as a founder of a small, growing business was to keep the sales and operational process rolling. However, it needs a focused, strategic approach to bring together multiple people, multiple teams, and various processes. There is a collection of layers between strategy and execution (or operations). And, that layer is a collection of decisions and ensuring follow up of actions from those decisions.

When we announced the inaugural edition of Leadership Unplugged in 2018, the idea was simple: get absolutely remarkable leaders to talk about the art of leadership. Of leading teams, leading organizations and most importantly leading oneself!

The first edition was a grand success. We got a slew of brands including Express Exclusive, Centrum Wealth, Sundaram Mutual, Numeric Power Systems to come on board as brand sponsors for the event.

40+ CXOs – family business leaders, professionals CEOs and first-generation entrepreneurs – joined us for keynotes and panel discussions. Express Exclusive, the title sponsor last year, loved the experience so much they decided to come back as primary sponsors for the next edition as well. This year the theme for the event is decision-making. We chose this theme because it is a great way to learn about the finer nuances of what a CXO deals with. Its not top-level strategy, which is specific to an organization. Nor is it about day-to-day operations. Like I have mentioned earlier in this note – decision-making & actioning are the layers that connect strategy and execution. And that’s exactly what we’re going to focus on at Leadership Unplugged.

If you’d like to speak at the event, do write to or with a brief profile and a topic idea. It needs to be a 15-minute talk filled with anecdotes, on a set of decisions you made and the impact of these decisions.

For sponsorship opportunities for the event & the digital YouTube series, please write to

Hope you enjoy reading this edition. Stay tuned to this space for more information on Leadership Unplugged – Edition II.

Prem Sivakumaran is co-founder & CEO of Growth Mechanics, a leadership and entrepreneurship-focused business content company in India. Growth Mechanics publishes The Smart CEO, a publication focused on enabling peer-to-peer knowledge exchange among C-level executives and board members. The platform reaches over 1.2 lakh CXOs across its website, app, print publication & CEO Round Tables, and has featured on the cover India’s leading business leaders/founders from Infosys, Mindtree, Tata Sons, ICICI Bank, Biocon, Yes Bank and several others. In addition of Smart CEO, Growth Mechanics also organises the Startup50 Conference & Awards, an annual event to recognize India’s top 50 startups every year. Startup50 Alumni include Freshdesk, Oyo Rooms, Urban Ladder, Capital Float, Paperboat Beverages, among others. Growth Mechanics’ primary business model revolves around linking CXOs and Brands around engaging content and has worked with India’s leading companies including Mahindra Group, Godrej & Boyce, BASF, Airtel, Tata Docomo, Fiat, IDA Ireland, Yes Bank, Prestige Estates, Frederique Constant, Indian Terrain

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