The life of CP Gurnani has been a saga of innumerous transitions. However, with an unyielding fortitude, he not only scaled every challenge victoriously, but also acquired profound wisdom from each one of them. Even when things happened at a frightening pace, he concentrated on collecting worthy memories and experiences, and moved on with an unceasing passion. In fact, challenging circumstances ignited in him the verve to achieve the unattained. For a boy who had no idea of what a computer was till he was in his late teens and for a professional without a business administration degree, leading a multinational conglomerate through a pivotal transformational journey alone wasnít easy. But, he pulled it through stupendously!
The story of this sedulous gentleman is a quintessential example that proves that no dream is far from reality if one works hard and is determined to achieve oneís goals.
THE ITINERANT LIFE
Born in the fatherland of the Central Reserve Police Force ñ Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, CP Gurnaniís childhood was spent in various cities of Rajasthan like Chittorgarh, Kota, Jodhpur and Jaipur due to multiple transfers his fatherís job at the Central Bureau of Narcotics offered.
Before moving to a new place his father would always tell him, ìYouíre going to a new city, to a new neighborhood, and to a new school. The city does not need you, the neighborhood does not need you, and the school does not need you. But you need all of them. The initiative belongs to you and nobody owes you anything.î These words of his father developed in him an understanding towards the fact that he himself will have to initiate the process of change in self to adapt in ever-changing surroundings.
He gracefully matched his pace with lifeís changes and filled his journal of memories with elaborate learning experiences in the cities to which he moved. He developed strong friendships and unbreakable bonds during this phase of life and they remain with him till today. ìDespite all these transfers, my kindergarten, school and college friends joined me to celebrate my daughterís wedding. These are my proudest moments and they donít get you an award,î he remarks.
This itinerancy is still an inseparable part of his lifestyle as he spends the major portion of the year travelling within the country and overseas for business. In addition to helping the company grow, he uses these travel experiences to groom himself. His devotion towards work keeps him going; his fatherís words constantly keep his soul inspired. A journey down memory lane gives him the spirit to move ahead. He likes to turn the pages of his life one at a time while making sure that each page is scribbled with extraordinary tales that can become inspiration for generations to come.
ATTAINING THE SKILLS
Very soon after the computers were introduced in India CP (as he is fondly called) developed an unfathomable passion towards technology. The unique macrocosm of computers sparked a keen fascination towards machines, and he envisioned a future for himself in the world of technology.
He graduated from the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Though choosing this major was not a very easy decision for him as the ocean of options available created a dilemma, he is now content and proud of this choice. ìEngineering trains a student in the art of compromise and optimization between pure science and real world applications. My study and work at NITR has enhanced my skills in analysis and building solutions,î he remarks.
His days at NITR hold a very special place in his heart. He remembers the place as a rollercoaster of challenges and cheers. He was never at the top of his class, but was a very active and keen student and was a member of the college hockey team and the AV club. Debates and discussions were his hobbies. He ensured that he gleaned the most from his years at college. At the suggestion of a friend, he joined Rotaract ñ the youth wing of Rotary Club, Rourkela as well.
Being a highly skilled entrepreneur, he reckons NITR gave him unforeseen opportunities to challenge and reinvent himself. He attributes his industrial skills to the training he got in college.
FILLING TREASURES OF EXPERIENCE
CP had worked with several renowned companies, handling diverse responsibilities, before joining Tech Mahindra in 2004.
His professional journey started in 1975 as a chemical engineer at JK Synthetics in Kota. He, however, realized he would not be successful at his role, for he was fascinated by computers and IT. He soon shifted to design engineering, and was later recruited by Lloyd Insulations as a management trainee. He was good at his work, but he had an insatiable hunger to grow.
He later joined Fenner, of which he says, ìFenner provided me with a Fiat. Hailing from a middle class background, it was a big incentive for me, and I joined themî. But, he was soon bored of his job, and wanted to do something with technology ñ the specifics of which he did not know.
It was around 1986 and the computers were fast becoming popular. He quit his job at Fenner and joined HCL at the age of 27. Joining HCL was a chance that he took, for he did not know how to work on computers, and it paid off well for all.
CP led Tech Mahindra through a series of surprises and challenges. Under his immaculate guidance, not only was the legacy of the name ëMahindraí alive and thriving, but his indefatigable efforts and management skills led the company on an unprecedented path of glory. His strong leadership qualities are conspicuous in the exceptional performance of the company on domestic and global platforms every passing year.
CP lets his actions do all the talking; his entrepreneurial expertise doesnít need a testimony. Faced with the challenge of reviving Satyam Computer Services Limited ñ he was the foremost choice to revive the company when Tech Mahindra acquired it in 2009 ñ he didnít prove anyone wrong; he just worked and silently achieved the impossible. He not only inspired the entire world by resuscitating an impaired company and the reputation of India, but also regained the trust of customers and employees. Sleepless nights and a determined resolution to right the wrongs proved to be part of his business duties while he diligently revitalized the business.
A CONSIDERATE LEADER
CP believes in leading with the people. His amicable nature has helped him build a strong team of loyal friends, colleagues, and clients. His ability to connect with people has carved a niche in the heart of everyone he meets.
A strong believer in the good of people, CP prefers nurturing the potential in people to help everyone emerge a leader. His uncanny skill of assessing the potential of each person helps him spot winners and nurture them.
A considerate and empathizing leader, he has made provisions for employees working overtime so that they do not go hungry and have transport available whenever required. A true motivator, he believes in the potential of the countryís youth and is ready to go out of his way to support their growth.
CPís life is certainly an inspiration for many generations to come. His style of working ñ be it leading a team, getting things done, nurturing his employees, or simply innovating new styles of management for the growth of organization and employees ñ is admired and followed by other contemporary leaders.
His uninterrupted piquancy has given him a chance to lead and assist NASSCOM in catalyzing the growth of Indian technology and services industry as its Chairman. He has been chosen to assist the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh regarding IT matters of the state.
He is one of the few leaders who encourage their employees to make mistakes, to take risks, and to innovate. He dreams of turning India into a technology centre for the world ñ a dream he wishes to pursue as the Chairman of NASSCOM.
He works with the energy of a 20-year-old who is fresh out of college and is seeking to learn as much as he can. He constantly evolves himself and considers a day wasted if he has not learned something new.
He sees his future filled with endless exciting adventures and opportunities that will help him grow as an individual. Signing off with his aspirations for the future, CP says, ìI want to be a relevant global player. But if I donít take advantage of Indiaís growing economy, Indiaís growing youth, and if I donít provide solutions, the world is not going to wait for me.