EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRPERSON | ENERGY EFFICIENCY SERVICES LIMITED (EESL)

Saurabh Kumar is an internationally recognised authority on the design and implementation of scalable, replicable and impactful business models for promoting energy efficiency across sectors. Under his leadership, EESL, an energy service company of the Government of India, has implemented the globally-lauded Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) programme and Street Light National Programme (SLNP).

This interview was originally published in The Global Power & Energy Elites 2021.

WHAT’S THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ THIS YEAR?

I haven’t been able to do a lot of reading in the last months but one book I cherish, by Dan Ariely, is called Predictably Irrational. I always thought rationality was the most important element of any decision I made. This book changed that completely. It explains how the human mind works in such a way that we make irrational decisions while believing they are rational. This idea opened me up as a person. Not everything you do is rational; you need to look at things from a distance and then look again. This is the learning I have benefitted from most, and I continue to benefit from it. I can recommend this book to everyone because it will open up everyone’s perspective.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A SUCCESSFUL LEADER?

Every leader should possess sincerity as a quality. Taking the first step instead of letting others do so is the second quality. Thirdly, I would say you need to stand by your decisions as a leader. If you are leading a group, try to give them the kind of confidence that if anything good happens, it was the whole team who made that happen. If anything doesn’t go to plan, stand behind them as a leader to help take corrective measures. Having worked in a bureaucratic system where in a high position, people presume that automatically it means leadership. For me, that has never been the case. You have to provide leadership to people, your peers and even people who are ready to move on.

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