Author of the Wall Street Journal and Amazon best seller Open Source Leadership (McGraw Hill 2017), Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders (Simon & Schuster 2011), co-author of Be the Change (McGraw Hill 2014) and a regular writer for Forbes, he is an out-of-the-box thought leader on leadership, change management and corporate governance. He has extensive global experience in leadership and organizational consulting, with a particular focus on uncovering personal and organizational “leadership energy.”
Rajeev’s professional roots are in industry. Prior to starting LEC, he was CEO of the Iclif Leadership & Governance Centre based in Malaysia. Formerly, he has been Chief Learning Officer of both Coca-Cola and Morgan Stanley, and has held senior positions at American Express, HSBC and Goldman Sachs. At Goldman, Rajeev helped found Pine Street – the firm’s acclaimed leadership academy – and headed Pine Street for Europe and Asia. Before embarking on a career in Executive Development, he was a banker and currency trader. Today, he is a sought-after international speaker and has been widely featured in international media platforms from Bloomberg to CNN to Harvard Business Review.
THE BACK STORY
After a high-flying start in a coveted investment banking career, Rajeev felt disillusioned by the prevalent greed and erosion of values in the business world. He noticed the idealism and enthusiasm of hundreds of starry-eyed young professionals quickly give way to cynicism and hopelessness. For him, the inspiration for transformation arrived in the most unusual place -- his father's funeral.
At the funeral, I noticed that entire town had come for my parents' funeral. Thousands and thousands of people pouring in. I couldn't understand. My father was an accountant, an ordinary citizen, not a very rich person. Why did the whole town come? He's not a leader in the traditional sense -- he's not a Neta, he's not a public servant, he's not ... so why? For the funeral, there was a traffic jam. Nobody could get in. Everyone wanted to pay their respects.
In my grief at the time, I looked around and saw people I hadn't seen for years. I remember seeing an elderly gentleman who carried me in his arms when I was a baby. "Uncle, you came all the way?" I asked him. He replied, "I have come to salute your father. He never had much, but whenever anybody asked him for anything, whatever he had, he gave. There are not many people like that, son." I asked another person the same question. He said, "In the sea of corruption that taxation is, your father was one beacon of honesty. Never took a bribe, never gave a bribe, never did anything wrong and I've come to salute him." I asked a third person and heard a similar response. "Well, he had the courage to fight against injustice. Never ever was he scared. He had so many powerful people wanting to shut him down and even life threats because he was creating havoc for corrupt people, but he was not scared. I've come to salute him."
Years later as I was sitting down in deep reflection, I realized what leadership was because I was reminded of this funeral and realized that to be a leader you don't have to be big, you don't have to be famous, you don't have to be a genius. You have to have a heart full of gold. And you know the kind of gold I'm talking about! A gold made of grace. You need a heart full of grace and a burning desire to create a better future. That's what my father was embodied -- change the world through his own example. Be the change. That was him.
His father's example deepend his understanding of about leaders like Gandhi and Mandela, who even after most testing circumstances, never allowed hatred, pride and greed to come in their way and always stood-up for the wellbeing of ALL. That made him realize, that world doesn't need more "bosses". What we needed, were true "Leaders." Leaders who can truly listen to the music of their inner voice and their values, . Leaders who can truly dance to a large purpose, beyond simply money, power or fame. And Leaders who are truly "Stewards" for a more beautiful and sustainable future for ALL.
That inspired Rajeev to devote himself to the work of planting seeds for more purposeful and values-oriented business and leadership.
In 2014 and 2017 he was named one of Top 100 Global Thought Leaders for Trustworthy Business by ‘Trust Across America.’ Rajeev and his family have lived in fifteen cities in eight countries, and he currently splits his time between Singapore and USA. You can learn more about Rajeev through this website.
In this conversation, we will listen to some powerful stories from Rajeev's life which led him to transition out of a highly rewarding financial services career, and to explore a life more deeply aligned to his true values, purpose and love. We will also learn from his insights on how to unlock the "leadership energy" in our own lives so that we may become stewards for a more beautiful and sacred future for all!
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