I speak with Mr Narsingh Chaudhary to get his views on management, leadership, and find out more about Siemens.
It has been more than 10 years since Mr Narsingh Chaudhary stepped foot onto Singapore soil. Currently, he holds the position of Senior Vice-president of Siemens Singapore and oversees Strategy and Business Excellence for South-east Asia. Amongst his numerous responsibilities, he also champions sustainability efforts for Siemens South-east Asia’s operations and this he does with a big smile on his face I am sure as it is a topic close to his heart. Mr Chaudhary is also president of the Minsdsphere World Association (ASEAN-Pacific), a body working on Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) platform for industries.
An electrical engineer with more than 25 years of international business experience with Siemens, Mr Chaudhary has taken on a varied number of roles ranging from strategy to sales, and even sustainability. He also gives back by working with start-ups to help them scale their operations effectively and professionally and is an active speaker on various technology topics.
I speak with Mr Chaudhary to get his views on management and artificial intelligence (AI).
Sadie-Jane Nunis (SJN): There is a constant debate that management and leadership are different. What are your thoughts?
Mr Narsingh Chaudhary (NC): I think that management and leadership are different, but both are important. Leadership is about rallying people behind a vision and inspiring others to achieve great things. Management is about helping a team make that a reality by translating that vision into actual day-to-day actions.
SJN: What is your management or leadership style like?
NC: I do not follow a fixed style and prefer to switch to different leadership styles based on the situation. I strive to be an inclusive leader and lead by example focussing on driving excellence through active engagement. I appreciate those who speak-up. In addition,
mentoring young talents and seeing them grow gives me great pleasure.
SJN: What strengths should an effective leader have?
NC: In my view, to be an effective leader, one needs to be all rounded. But I would rate social skills, honesty, and self-belief as the top three strengths.
For leaders to have ‘true’ followers they need to display selflessness and need to rise above oneself and work towards pursuing a larger goal which includes others. Self-serving leadership doesn’t work.
SJN: How do you stay motivated?
NC: I have been quite fortunate to have responsibilities assigned which are mostly aligned with my passion and goals. This comes by staying open to accepting new challenges. We all have our share of frustrations however over the years I’ve learnt to be pragmatic and manage expectations. I consider my family to be a strong anchor in helping me achieve this.
SJN: How big is your team and how do you manage and motivate your team?
NC: In my current role as the Head of Strategy for the region, I have a small core team of senior professionals. Honestly speaking the size of the team hasn’t affected how I manage my team, even in my previous role where I was leading more than 250 staff spread globally. I have followed a very simple three-step principle:
- Assign clear roles and responsibilities and ensure they are understood;
- Empower the team and give them freedom to carry out their work without any fear;
- Be aware of the impact created by team members, either within their teams and in the overall organisation, and know how those results help them with their own career growth.
SJN: Tell me more about Siemens and how you became a part of the company.
NC: Siemens is a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation, and digitalisation. We are one of the world’s largest producers of energy efficient, resource-saving technologies, and a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission, as well as medical diagnosis. In infrastructure and industry solutions, we play a pioneering role.
I have been with Siemens now for more than 25 years. I started my career with Siemens in India as a Trainee Engineer in Projects, and since then, I have managed different responsibilities across various parts of the world.
SJN: What role do you see Siemens playing as a disruptor?
NC: Disruptors need to be very good at spotting trends, identifying opportunities provided by those trends, and developing innovations that can cater to those trends.
That’s something that Siemens has done extremely well since our founding in 1847, and we continue to do so in the age of digitalisation.
Today, Siemens is a leader in industrial digitalisation. Our revenue from digital business in the 2017 financial year was €5.2 billion and we’d seen more than 20 per cent growth in our software and digital services in 2017 financial year.
With our breadth and depth of products and solutions, engineering expertise, domain and digital know-how, we are in a way better position than most companies and start-ups to generate performance improvements across the entire value chain, from design to production and operations to maintenance.
SJN: What is Siemens’ take on AI and how does Siemens embrace AI?
NC: AI is becoming an integral part of our lives. It’s shaping our lives in both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) fields.
Siemens is a frontrunner in industrial AI. We have been active in this field for over 20 years and have used AI in many industrial applications.
MindSphere, Siemens’ open, cloud-based IoT operating system—what Android is to smartphones, MindSphere is to industry—and it is already being used by almost a million devices around the world. It connects industrial plants with the cloud. There, data can be securely collected, evaluated, and used by a large variety of apps for various needs. All of these allow plant operators to, for instance, engage in predictive maintenance, energy data management, and resource optimisation.
AI-based systems from Siemens are also helping to autonomously optimise gas turbine operations, improve the performance of wind turbines, conduct predictive maintenance for trains, and help doctors to evaluate thousands of X-rays, etc.
We continue to research and develop systems that harness the power of AI. It is one of the top five core technologies that we invest heavily in for R&D. We set up an AI Lab in Munich in late-2017, that serves as a coworking space for evaluating the feasibility of new ideas.
SJN: What advice do you have for those who are new
NC: I think the most important considerations for anyone who wants to adopt AI are to set clear objectives and goals. Sounds simple and basic but those considerations are important to determine how the AI is designed, programmed, and trained. Otherwise, it may just be a grand waste of time and money.
SJN: What are your views on AI—will it truly replace human beings or a means to work together? Why?
NC: It is true that AI can potentially eliminate some jobs. Government, society, and business must be prepared for such changes. We will therefore need roadmaps to guide us through tomorrow’s digital infrastructures and develop targeted training programmes and a legal infrastructure to pave the way for AI and keep it on the right track.
At the same time, most experts agree that robots and AI systems are a long way from replacing human beings. Robots and AI systems will play a complementary role to human—accelerating applied research and driving industrial applications, giving rise to smarter programmes and products and reducing time-to-market. But smart programmes are written by smart people. So while software can be very intelligent, it cannot replace people.
SJN: Where do you see your industry going to in the next five years?
NC: I think in the next five years, the industries that Siemens is in—energy, urban infrastructure, industrial, and healthcare—will be almost totally digital, faster, more predictive and accurate, more energy efficient, and more sustainable, thanks to digitalisation.
SJN: What role do you see Siemens playing in your industry within Asia in the next five years?
NC: Siemens has been in Asia for more than 100 years, and has partnered with many countries in their nation-building. I’m sure we will continue to be a strong partner for Asia’s growth in the next five years, not just in supplying solutions, but in value creation too. We are already working with developing countries like Myanmar and Cambodia to build up their basic infrastructure such as power plants; and Vietnam and Thailand to digitalise their manufacturing sector. We will partner developed countries like Singapore to co-create new solutions that will help industries to be more efficient and sustainable.
PHOTOS: SIEMENS PTE LTD
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