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Suraj Parkash Sharma, National Head, O&M, TowerVision India
Telecom was never Suraj Parkash Sharma’s first career choice. In his younger days, he wanted to become a pilot but ended up maintaining aircraft in the Air Force instead.
“I had a long and satisfying stint with the Air Force,” he says. “Thereafter, I opted for voluntary retirement and joined the telecom industry. My first assignment was with Idea Cellular, after which I moved to Reliance Communications. I spent eight years with the company and then joined TowerVision.”
The dynamism of the telecom sector continues to excite him. He sees several trends emerging in the near future. “I feel that upcoming technologies such as 3G, 4G, Wi-Max and LTE will proliferate simultaneously with access agnostic content. Moreover, with triple play of video, broadband and voice making its presence felt, M2M value-added services will carve a niche for themselves,” he predicts.
In the meantime, however, he is well aware of the challenges, prospects and targets before him. He explains, “The telecom sector is undergoing consolidation along with splitting into different verticals. These include retail, content and applications. IT will play a major role in this and we are geared up to meet this demand.”
As national head of the tower company’s operations and maintenance (O&M)-related activities, he is responsible for setting up processes, systems and guidelines for O&M activities of the infrastructure provider.
To meet these challenges head on, Sharma opts for a participative style of management. He says, “It is purely participative until decisions are made and plans are frozen. During the implementation stage, some rigour is required and, therefore, formal authority is also needed once in a while.”
He also considers being people-friendly an asset. He says, “I feel extremely comfortable working with people. I can build and lead multidisciplinary teams, and strongly feel that balancing work and family life is a must.”
He further believes that an individual in a leadership position must be approachable at all times. Also, the leader must be fair and unbiased. “People respect and support an honest, hardworking and down-to-earth manager,” he explains.
In terms of professional skills, Sharma jokes that since technology and behavioural sciences have advanced so rapidly, one needs to acquire forgetting skills to unlearn many past practices and adopt new trends.
In his spare time, Sharma enjoys reading books on a wide variety of subjects and spending time with his family.
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