The autobiography is an extraordinary tale of a visionary leader, who believed in principles and despite a number of hurdles, was able to pursue his ideas of transformation
A journey of trials and tribulations and immense success, People Matters reviews ‘Dare to lead’ – the transformation of Bank of Baroda, a book by Dr. Anil K. Khandelwal
On June 23, 2011, Gulmohar Hall at the India Habitat Centre was packed with veterans who had gathered there to listen to the inside story of a chemical engineer and a HR veteran, who was instrumental in transforming one of the largest public sector bank. Home Minister P. Chidambaram, noted author Gurcharan Das and M. D. Mallya, CMD of Bank of Baroda graced the occasion of the release of Dr. Anil K. Khandelwal’s book, ‘Dare to Lead’ at the center. The Home Minister lauded Dr. Khandelwal’s role in transforming Bank of Baroda from being just another public sector bank into one of the most valuable brands in Indian banking. In a separate event in Mumbai; CAG Vinod Rai, Deepak Parekh – Chairman HDFC and SEBI Chairman U. K. Sinha presided over the book launch function. The book is the outcome of Dr. Khandelwal’s lifetime of dedication to human resource development in the Indian banking industry and his passion for sharing his experience with a larger audience.
‘Dare to lead’ authored by Dr. Khandelwal, is a frank, passionate and often emotional account of all that transpired in his banking career over three decades. Be it introducing Rahul Dravid as the brand ambassador, brand building exercises, logo change, marketing blitz, customer-centric innovations such as 8am to 8pm banking, 24 hours banking, retail loan factory, SME loan factory, introducing helpline for distressed employees, providing counselors for stressed staff, etc., were all spearheaded by Dr. Khandelwal during his three year tenure as the CMD of the bank. The book delves into the deep insights of leadership challenges, management solutions and personal & professional excitement experienced by the author in the process of transformation. According to Vinod Rai, Comptroller & Auditor General of India, “The book is a very well-written story of personal character, virtues and how they influenced the institution. Dr. Khandelwal has merely indicated how a CEO can influence his employees.” From a leadership perspective, the book provides enough instances as to how if the leadership is clear and courageous in its intent and is able to muster the support of the human effort within the organization, even a large sized public sector enterprise can be transformed on all parameters. The letters exchanged by Dr. Khandelwal with his team form an integral part of the book, which shows how he expressed his intent with a clear vision, execution discipline, customer centricity, people engagement and furthermore appreciated the efforts of his fellow employees in the process of transformation. What is worth mentioning is the fact that Dr. Khandelwal managed all these changes not with an iron hand but with his ability to empathize with his employees. The book has several references as to how he relied more on his knowledge of industrial relations and human resource development rather than financial acumen to run the bank.
The autobiography is an extraordinary tale of a visionary leader, an astute writer who believed in principles and despite a number of hurdles, was able to pursue his ideas of transformation. The book is a vivid account of the story of 38,000 bank employees who rose up to take up the challenge and successfully demonstrated their ability in creating India’s finest bank. Dr. Khandelwal, while being modest in his contributions (laying the foundation of intangibles – Bank of Baroda is a success story of intangibles) that helped transform the bank, is all praise for the employees. The transformational success saga is must read for leaders, game changers and future managers on the value of intangibles for business success.