Businesses Do Not Fail, It Is Leaders Who Fail - Karthik Siva - MARKETING Magazine Asia


Businesses Do Not Fail, It Is Leaders Who Fail – Karthik Siva

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Businesses do not fail, it is always leaders who do. There are several qualities that make a leader succeed.

Clarity is a defining quality. When Walt Disney spoke about “creating the happiest place on earth” – it was laughable, preposterous and incredible to everybody.

How is it humanly possible for a business to be the happiest place on earth?

Isn’t that the job of a psychiatrist or a kindergarten teacher?

Walt Disney managed to pull that off ! Clarity is power because it eliminates ambiguity and fuzziness.

Often, it is this ambiguity (aka lack of clarity) that stops a business from achieving big things…

Courage is yet another indispensable ingredient of leadership. It is the foundation of leadership. All attributes of leadership are built on courage.

One cannot do anything significant or create anything amazing without courage. That means, a leader who plays it safe does not qualify to be one.

Clarity and Courage are vital, but without integrity, nothing is sustainable and everything comes crashing down. Integrity makes a leader credible.

Adam Neumann, the Founder of WeWork projected his brand as a technology platform with a combination of excellent marketing, packaging and smooth salesmanship, when in reality, WeWork was nothing more than a real estate company with wifi.

WeWork racked up a valuation of USD 47 Billion at one time. Unfortunately, Adam Neumann was getting his company to buy millions of dollars of real estate actually owned by him. He included his wife and his brother-in-law in the company besides some of his relatives and close friends.

WeWork made massive losses and was eventually called out for defrauding its stakeholders. Softbank, the primary investor eventually had to pull the plug and back out of funding this business built on an edifice of lies.

So integrity is really the glue keeps it all together. No amount of charisma can make up for character.

In a fast changing business world, adaptability and agility are at the top of the totem pole of leadership. But the quintessence of leadership ultimately lies in empowering people.

True, leadership is never about the leader himself. It is always about expanding other people.

So a person qualifies as a real deal leader only when she creates a powerful pipeline of empowered leaders rather than millions of followers – this is ultimately what separates the women from the girls!


Karthik Siva is a highly acclaimed and respected international strategy consultant, nation branding expert and leadership mentor to CEOs and entrepreneurs. He is the Chairman of Global Entrepreneur Xchange, the founding Chairman of Global Brand Forum, Asia’s most influential Forum for brands, business and leadership, described by BBC as the “Davos of Branding” and by Straits Times Singapore as the “World Cup of Branding”.

Karthik is also a highly sought after keynote speaker and trainer in international and regional forums. Karthik’s leadership and expertise has been recognized and commended by several CEOs and entrepreneurs including Nobel prize winner and former Vice President of the United States – Al Gore. Karthik is also the author of Tools, Tips & Thoughts for Entrepreneurs, SPARK and How to Present and Persuade with Power?.


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