Jan 19 2016. view 4875
Full Name - Ravindra Ajith Fernando
Hometown - Colombo
Status - Married
Birthday - May 25
Idols - World leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. David Suzuki. And whenit comes to the sporting world, it would be Usain Bolt and Lewis Hamilton.
Passions - Inspiring future leaders to take action with regard to the planet
Favourite colours - Shades of green and blue
Tell me about 2016. What are your big plans?
To build a strong ‘strategy advisory and training business’ in China and Vietnam.
Tell me about the concept of Blue Ocean Strategy.
It’s one of the most influential ‘strategy’ approaches’ in the world today (taught in 1800 universities) and developed by INSEAD Business school professors Kim and Mauborgne which challenges businesses NOT to compete, but to create new market spaces.
Tell me about your new book 'Strategic Corporate Sustainability - 7 Imperatives for Sustainable Business'.
Yes, this was a concept I developed based on my research at Cambridge University between 2007-2014. It challenges Business and Nations to ‘Embed Sustainability in Corporate / National Strategy as opposed to the current practice globally where they are seen as independent initiatives.
What is the biggest challenge in Sri Lanka for the youth?
To think global and develop skills and competencies which are relevant in the global market place.
What do you think about the new changes in Parliament?
The nation has to mature from being inward looking and disunited to ‘united, strategic and globally relevant’ to take its place on the world stage.
What qualities do you look for in the people you hang out with?
People who are genuine, honest, simple and have proven their sincerity over time.
How do you give credit where credit is due?
I believe one of my key roles is to ‘catch my team doing the right thing’ and celebrate it. Most times we tend to do the opposite.
As an academic, how do you apply what you learn?
I prefer to be known as a ‘Practitioner who appreciates academia’ and one who has created a hybrid between Blue Ocean strategy and Sustainability. I believe the Future Blue Ocean opportunities are Green and try think with this mindset in every situation.
How were you as a child?
I invested my time and energy in sports and excelled in track and field, at the time giving less priority in studies.
As a young child, what were your dreams?
To experience the world as a global citizen and be world class in what I do.
What does empowerment mean to you?
Unleashing the ‘right’ talent for the ‘right task’.
How and where do you find inspiration?
In my faith and nature.
How do you like to have fun when you have some free time?
I enjoy jogging, karaoke singing, listening to jazz (Michael Franks, Watanabe), dancing and experiencing nature.
How do you balance family and professorial life?
By keeping a clear boundary between ‘work’ and family life.
What values are you committed to?
Being passionate in all I do, inspiring all around me to excellence and NEVER being discouraged by those who lack appreciation.
What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed?
Striving for excellence in my area of passion by winning the right to be heard on the world stage.
If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do?
Inspire those around me to believe they can and by getting out of their way, but cheering them every step of the way.
If you wanted to find the second best answer to a question or problem, what technique would you use?
I will not settle for the second best answer but strive for the optimal answer.
If you wanted to encourage innovative ideas, how would you go about it?
First teach them ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ to enable them to think creatively and innovatively and then create an enabling environment which inspires them to do so.
From a Leader's Point of View?
What are 5 key books you feel I should read, and why?
An Inconvenient truth – Al Gore
The World we made – By Jonathon Porritt
The Extreme Future – James Canton
Cannibal’s with Forks – John Elkington
Strategic Corporate Sustainability – 7 Imperatives for sustainable business – R. A. Fernando
Reading them sequentially will help you understand the ‘reality’ the planet and humanity is faced with and show the world we can ‘have’ if we put our hearts and minds to it. Finally ends with 7 Imperatives every National and Corporate leader needs to follow if this was to happen.
How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making?
Not easy as we are all human. I try to focus on the end goal when I get side tracked or discouraged.
How do you approach the unknown?
I absolutely embrace the unknown and untrodden paths.
In the Spot
Nightlife? What are your thoughts?
I enjoy a Friday / Saturday night by unwinding and yet feel the options available to do so are few are far between in Sri Lanka at present. i.e. Jazz bars?
The new government?
I feel we need to give them more time to settle down and get their act together and give them a chance to perform. I believe they should leverage talent on either side to achieve a national vision and strategy.
PM of Sri Lanka?
As the CEO of the nation working under the President needs to align to the next vision of Sri Lanka and rally the nation behind it in a focused manner.