By Raj Subramaniam, IIT Bombay
Executive Vice President, Global Strategy, Marketing and Communications for FedEx
As an executive at FedEx, I’ve had the great fortune to work for a company that is truly global in nature, and serves as a bellwether for the world economy. Our more than 300,000 team members reach 220 countries and territories across the globe, making FedEx a unique melting pot of cultures and perspectives. My personal journey with FedEx has included world travel and leadership positions in Asia, Canada and the U.S.
Along the way (either through my own trial and error or by observing others) I’ve uncovered key lessons in business and leadership that have guided my decision making processes.
Adapt. Change is no longer what happens to any business eventually. It happens to every business constantly. We are linked in a fast-paced global marketplace, and every day the competitive challenges we face shift, requiring adaptable leadership. Leadership not only demands the vision to see the landscape everyone else sees, but also to see a bit more, and then adapt or change course as needed.
Clarify. Creating clarity in a given situation demands input, insight, data and statistics so you can understand the forces at play. It also means being decisive and taking a stand, even if that means taking a risk. You may not get it right every time, but the willingness to step up and provide direction is fundamental.
Assemble. You need a solid team of people, a combination of minds to help you accomplish your goals-people who can work collaboratively and cooperatively. My global team is like the United Nations-a mix of diverse cultures and backgrounds. With that, the team offers diversity of thought, which is key to operating a global business.
Support. Having established a clear direction and a team to get you there-get out of the way. At that point, your job is to remove barriers for your team. Leaders have to support and trust in the team they’ve chosen to execute their vision.
The ability to adapt, to clarify, to build the right team and then support them create a recipe for good leadership. It’s what builds great companies with solid reputations. At FedEx, we don’t just move packages from A to B, we also connect people and possibilities, opening up the global marketplace to improve the standard of living. It takes solid leaders to drive good business toward success and sustainability, and in the process, create a better world.
Short bio: Raj Subramaniam is Executive Vice President, Global Strategy, Marketing and Communications for FedEx, a world leader in transportation, e-commerce and logistics services. Raj is responsible for maintaining the company’s corporate reputation, and setting the strategic direction for digital access, e-commerce, retail marketing and product and business development throughout the world.
Born in Trivandrum, India, Raj has a degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT. He also earned two post-graduate degrees: a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.