Whatever advances in technology, it takes the human brain to innovate: In conversation with Vishal Dhupar, NVIDIA
You have extensive experience leading teams successfully. What leadership style works in the current business world with the millennials entering the workforce?
India’s workforce is undergoing a seismic change. Millennials have entered the business world, and they are challenging the rules of engagement as was traditionally understood.
The millennial workforce is ambitious, well educated and has massive exposure thanks to the explosion of social, digital and mobile media channels. They are very aspirational, know what they want in life and are focused to achieve these targets as quickly as possible. Questioning is a way of life for them and they don’t hesitate to challenge the status quo. In addition, today’s work environment offers them multiple avenues of employment, including entrepreneurship.
To inspire this generation, leadership by engagement and information is critical to ensure strong motivation.
Second, transparency and less hierarchy drives innovation and encourages output. Third, they appreciate short-term goal-setting and continuous feedback on their progress; simultaneously, they are also expecting continuous recognition. Fourth but not last, millennials expect their leader to help them navigate their career, mentor and coach them and be comfortable with flexible schedules.
You’d agree that the recruitment market is very competitive. What has worked for you in hiring good talent onboard – Leadership, mid management and entry level?
Across these career stages, certain factors remain consistent in attracting top talent. These include a challenging role, ethical environment, clear growth path, continuous focus on learning and self-improvement, and the opportunity to take initiatives while working as a team. These are the common factors, regardless of experience level, among the best minds in the country: those who will push for innovation, be able think “big picture” and be receptive to action and execution.
Developing a job description with defined behavioural characteristics of the ideal candidate and mapping a few key responsibilities has worked very well for me. Quality leads come from referrals through current team members, peers and ex-colleagues. Professional and social networking platforms also help in tapping into many potential candidates.
What is your mantra to retain the best brains?
My mantra for retaining top talent is to provide them with stimulating work, lots of recognition, compelling career paths, and the chance to prosper.
Empowering the individual is key; I provide the resources and leeway for them to innovate and perform, followed up with regular meetings with emerging leaders. This enables me to assess their level of engagement, help them set realistic career expectations and make sure they’re getting the right development opportunities.
You’ve also led change management programs both within the organization you are part of as well as while deploying your products at customer organizations. From your experience, what are the key aspects of a sound change management strategy?
Change management has two key elements: culture and motivation to change. Since change is the only constant, culture must be built to encourage continuous learning and evolution among team members. A good example is how the social/digital landscape has changed marketing and lead generation from one-to-one bilateral communication to one-to-many community discussions. The second element – motivation to change – comes from demonstrating the positive impact of change on the individual to get buy-in.
Moving on to the technology world – one that you have been part of for over 25 years. With processing power growing exponentially and scale economies making them affordable, there has been wide spread adoption of artificial intelligence and robotics across industries. What are some of the best uses of GPUs that you have seen so far?
NVIDIA is the world leader in visual computing. The GPU, our invention, serves as the visual cortex of modern computers and is at the heart of our products and services. Our work opens up new universes to explore, enables amazing creativity and discovery, and powers what were once science fiction inventions like artificial intelligence and autonomous cars.
Beginning as a standard PC graphics chip company, NVIDIA has transformed into a specialized platform company that targets four very large markets — Gaming, Professional Visualization, Datacenter and Auto — where visual computing is essential and deeply valued. We are singularly focused on the field of visual computing with the ability to deliver our value through PC, mobile and cloud architectures. We are vertically integrated and bring together GPUs, system software, algorithms, systems and services to create unique value for the markets we serve.
How would you prepare your children for the future – a future where robots are your peers?
Irrespective of advances in technology, it will always take the human brain to innovate. What we consider common today was once cutting-edge technology, for example mobile phones. I encourage my children to work hard in their academic pursuits. However, I stress it is equally important to keep their minds open to new experiences, inputs and information, as learning is a never-ending process. The ability to learn, be inquisitive, apply knowledge to try and possibly fail, are all timeless assets, especially in our fast-moving, information-intensive digital world.
About Vishal Dhupar
Managing Director – South Asia
Vishal Dhupar has served as NVIDIA’s managing director in South Asia since 2010, leading business operations for the company in the region.
In this role, Vishal is responsible for the development and execution of NVIDIA’s strategic plans in the subcontinent. He is also keenly focused on fostering key partnerships with the ecosystem to accelerate the growth and adoption of GPU technology.
With more than 25 years in the Information Technology industry, Vishal brings extensive leadership and industry experience. An expert in the area of change management, he played an active role in understanding and applying change in accordance with the business requirements during the Symantec-Veritas merger, specific to India.
Vishal joined NVIDIA from Symantec, where he held the position of Managing Director – SAARC. Previously, Vishal held the position of Managing Director at Autodesk, prior to which, he was Director – Sales at Sun Microsystems India.
Vishal began his career at DCM Data Products, and followed it up with Sales positions in Digital Corporation and Silicon Graphics.
Over the past two decades, Vishal has been the recipient of several performance awards all through his working career in various organizations. In 2007, Vishal was honored with the ‘IT-People Young Achiever’ Award for his excellence and contribution to the Information Technology industry in India.