Business Standard

Leadership by example critical for building culture of ethics: Murthy

Leading by example and creating "messengers" at lower levels who can share values and ethics are critical instruments for building a "culture of ethics", Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy said.

N R Narayana Murthy

Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Leading by example and creating "messengers" at lower levels who can share good values and ethics are critical instruments for building a "culture of ethics" in an organisation, Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy said on Friday.
Addressing young innovators from Atal Innovation Mission's ATL Tinkerpreneur programme, Murthy said there is nothing as powerful as leadership by example.
"If you want to communicate good or bad values, your followers will pick up those habits with a lot of enthusiasm, because they are watching the leader all the time and they want to imitate the leader," he said.
Murthy added that in large organisations, it may not be possible for the head of the organisation to interact with everyone and therefore, it is important that leaders create and train "messengers" at lower levels who can share the good values and ethics with others.
The industry veteran also cited the example of an initiative called 'Value Champion' at Infosys, wherein the company would honour "champions" in various departments.
"Good culture takes time to develop, bad culture spreads very fast. I believe that the best instrument for creating a culture of ethics is leadership by example...second is create messengers at lower levels, and third, create value chain," he told the students.
To a question on how one can continue to remain true to their ethics in challenging times, Murthy narrated how difficult it was to build a company in the 1980s in India.
"You know, building a company in the India of the 1980s was very, very difficult. The government was anti-business, the rules and laws shackled us unbelievably. It took two to three years, and about 30 to 50 visits to Delhi to get a license to import a computer," he reminisced.
Murthy noted while many of these challenges could be overcome by means of corruption, Infosys had decided against it.
"Values are about standing firm, and ready to pay a certain cost for your beliefs and convictions, otherwise there is no value. We chose the option to accept delays in approvals, and even forgo some of our rights and benefits, rather than give in to corruption," he said.
Murthy added that this strategy paid off in the future as even corrupt officials started respecting the company and became allies.
"...after the initial setback, we became highly respected in the society for our honesty and that helped us a lot. And we became stronger and stronger. Therefore, this refusal to cave in, became a big asset for Infosys and we became a strong company," he said.
Under the Atal Innovation Mission, Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) have been set up in schools across the country with the objective of fostering curiosity, creativity, and imagination in young minds; and inculcating skills such as design mindset, computational thinking and adaptive learning.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jul 30 2021 | 10:03 PM IST

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