Servant Leadership in Supporting the Growth and Well-Being of Employees, Insights on Servant Leadership, Ramesh Razdan, Global CIO at Bain & Company

Although the concept of servant leadership first took shape in 1970 as coined by Robert K. Greenleaf, the philosophy has gained traction over the past few years.

Servant leadership is described as “a non-traditional leadership philosophy, embedded in a set of behaviors and practices that place the primary emphasis on the well-being of those being served,” according to the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.

HMG Strategy Founder and CEO Hunter Muller recently caught up with Ramesh Razdan, Global CIO at Bain & Company in an HMG Spotlight interview. Ramesh shared his insights on servant leadership along with his top focus areas.

The following is a condensed version of their discussion.

Hunter Muller: Ramesh, welcome to the program! Congratulations for being named as a 2023 HMG Strategy Global Leadership Institute recipient!

Ramesh Razdan: Hunter, thank you for having me here. It’s wonderful that you have built a platform where we are connecting and learning from each other.

HM: Ramesh, you’re doing some amazing work at Bain. What are the top three things that you’re working on right now that you’re most excited about?

RR: We are doing a lot of transformation internally. How can we leverage and harness the value of technology and deliver world class experience to our employees? I think the second part of it is how do we scale and deliver digital products and services to our clients that truly accelerate the time to value? The third one is that we have a fiduciary responsibility in this complex ecosystem to de-risk the business and how we go about doing that.

HM: Thanks, Ramesh. In this work-from-anywhere environment, building a world-class team is really important. How would you characterize your leadership style and fostering culture for your own organization?

RR: The most important asset for any organization is its people. People make it happen.

Technology is important, but people are the most important assets for any organization. That’s more than just a slogan – at Bain it’s our amazing and highly talented people and teams that make the terrific results we can deliver for our clients possible. So, I would characterize my leadership style to be a servant leadership mindset. I am a servant of our people.

My goal is to remove the hurdles from people, give them the opportunity so that they can bring the best of themselves to work every day. As far as the culture is concerned, I would think about it as collaborative, humble and global in nature.

We want to bring the best of everybody’s capabilities to the forefront so they can shine in their career.

HM: Ramesh, there’s not a better time to be a business technology executive. What do you think about the innovation cycle we’re in right now and where are the opportunities?

RR: People get paralyzed about the amount of innovation and change going on, but I’m turbocharged by it. This presents a unique opportunity for us to explore the value that technology can bring to the forefront.

There are many amazing opportunities. There was already a digital wave going on. Now, with this new AI wave, particularly with Generative AI, the amount of value that we can bring to the table has exploded. This is a true inflection point for business and economies globally and the potential is exponential from my point of view – this is an industrial revolution for knowledge work. I’m really excited about the opportunities in front of us and how we can harness the value of them.

For Bain, a key part of this is our global alliance with OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT and other recent, powerful innovations that have stimulated so much excitement around the world. At Bain, we’ve embedded OpenAI technologies in our internal activities, across disciplines. And we’re bringing the same ground-breaking OpenAI technology to our clients – by combining that with our own deep implementation capabilities and strategic expertise we’re delivering state-of-the-art solutions to the companies we work with across almost every sector.

We already have amazingly strong momentum for this work with dozens of cases underway with clients to the point where we’ve been significant expanding the teams we have working on this activity.

HM: Ramesh, Bain is one of the top companies in your space. What drew you to Bain and what is the mission that you stay so focused on?

RR: There are several things that attracted me to Bain and Company

  • Bain has a unique culture which is collaborative with servant leadership that is amazing.
  •  We deliver extraordinary value to our clients and solve some of the most complex problems. More importantly we work with our clients is that we partner with clients and our tag line is that we don’t do it to clients, we work with the clients
  • We embody servant leadership style which is truly amazing.

It’s about the mission, culture and the leadership style, which truly differentiates us. That’s reflected in the multiple recognitions we’ve received from independent scrutiny in every region of the world as the best place to work in our industry, and indeed one of the best places to work in the world.  With all of Bain’s strengths and, especially it’s people, I’m enormously excited about opportunities ahead of us in the coming years.

Ramesh Razdan will be a featured speaker at the 2023 Boston CIO Executive Leadership Summit on September 6. Click here to learn more about the topics to be explored at the summit and to register for the event.