Dr. Santrupt Misra took early retirement last week concluding 28 years of service during which he not only moved through the ranks of the Aditya Birla Group’s HR function, but also took leadership of multiple business units. He led the group's IT function, was the CEO of its Carbon Black business and Chemicals business, and as of this monday, he was not only Group HR Director but also Group Director of Birla Carbon and Director of Chemicals.
Professionally for People Matters, he has been our guide, a part of our early investor’s group, a well-wisher and fervent supporter of our innovation; and at the same time, for me personally, he has been a mentor, a role model and an inspiration.
I am grateful for the opportunity of having worked so closely with him and, on behalf of everyone at People Matters, we wish him lots of success, impact & more legacy building in his new career phase.
Here are 5 amazing quotes from all the conversations I have had the privilege to have with him over the past 15 years.
“Leadership is all about making things happen. It’s about hard work, doing things right, learning and absorbing from anywhere and everywhere one can. It’s my courage to be able to experiment making the most of my abilities apart from hard work and learning that has led to my success. Success has no secret sauce, it’s a return of your own good deeds.”
On Seizing Tomorrow
“Tomorrow can be perplexing, and the only facet we can control as leaders is how we approach it. One can be “tentative” that is, hide away from tomorrow as it goes past us. One can be “skeptical” that is “dreary” and walk towards tomorrow as slowly as one can, hoping that tomorrow will come slowly towards us. Lastly, one can be “enthusiastic” that is “child-like” where no matter how fast or slow tomorrow is coming towards us, we will move forward to meet tomorrow and make it our own. The third approach is the approach of empowerment, control, and ownership. That is the starting point of the journey of seizing tomorrow.”
On Running HR as Business
“The time has come to run our HR as we run any business. Like every other business, we have to make choices: what is our strategy, what are the key initiatives, what kind of investment do we make in the future? And like every other business, HR must be similarly answerable to its shareholders and customers, with a focus on prosperity of the business central to everything. In today’s context, answering these questions with an enthusiastic eye on the future is critical, as the choices we make today will have a tremendous impact on our impact tomorrow.”
On his Journey from CHRO to CEO
“Being in HR, I always had the ringside view and watched many business leaders closely, helped them solve their problems, understood issues of business from the people’s point of view and dealt with many long-term challenges like change, culture and capability building. Those proved to be basic ingredients of my success. Having said that, I had never worked under intense performance pressure from quarter-to-quarter. Most of HR outputs are qualitative, and that is not the same as an EBITDA number or a PAT number. HR gives you a 70 degree view of the business whereas being the CEO you have to have a 360 degree view. You need to build that kind of dexterity to transition successfully from CHRO to CEO. However, the first and foremost question that you need to ask yourself is: Why do you want to be CEO? It should not be about proving to anyone else that you can be a CEO, instead you should have a desire and have a sound reason for that.”
On the paths we choose
“Often we feel that we are choosing our paths, but life has its own way of choosing you. Whatever you do, feel proud and set your own standards.”
Dr Misra, we wish life keeps choosing you for amazing and impactful work, where you inspire us and keep raising the bar for our community!
This blog piece was first published in Working Out Loud With Ester, a space by People Matters CEO and LinkedIn Top Voice Ester Martinez.