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Lakshmi Prasanna: A Maverick Leader

“The thrill of starting something of my own, and sweating it out to shape it to some form of conceivable success was truly satisfying.”

I am passionate about meeting new people, and understanding what motivates them. Working with a team gives me so much joy, although I have been accused of being too process oriented. However, I do believe that this is required for what I do. I fight very hard for the things that I believe in, but at the same time can be quite nonchalant about those I know won’t affect me. Surprising people with information is something I have always liked, and I thrive on the shock factor it brings. Those around me say that I am the unlicensed therapist to my friends and family, and nothing makes me happier than making them laugh.

Leadership Mavericks came into existence mainly because Monika Pathak, my friend/business partner, and I noticed a gap in the market for hands-on Executive Search. Seeing this lack in the industry, we decided to focus on addressing that. Working for multinational companies for close to two decades showed us that the capacity to customise to the needs of the client is limited when you are part of a large firm and have to work within the confines of the boundaries that the establishment has created.

Being a small team enables us to be nimble, which means a quick turn-around for the client. It also allows us to focus the highest standards on the client and candidate’s needs. I like that I am my own boss and it gives me the opportunity to train and motivate my team. Our model enables us to channel our energies to identify and solve problems of the client rather than getting caught up in administrative hurdles.

While we love what we do and bring a lot of energy to the process, it has been a tough journey to acquire clients and justify to them why they should hire us. It is a very crowded market after all.

People want to be heard and while we all recognise that, it has become quite evident to me that in a business like Executive Search where it is the key to success, very little listening is actually done by the consultant. I wanted to change that, and creating a small and more hands-on firm has given me that possibility and opportunity. Giving up a corporate job with a steady salary and the thrill of travel as well as being part of a big team was not easy, and created a lot of anxiety for me. However, the thrill of starting something of my own, and sweating it out to shape it to some form of conceivable success was truly satisfying.

The process of finding the right person for every job and evaluating culture fit is something that excites me and makes me love my job even more. It is quite exhilarating and interesting helping people figure out what their motivations are for the decisions they make.

While Leadership Mavericks keeps me very occupied, I manage to enjoy long phone conversations, dark comedies, yoga, reading, embroidery, and intricate colouring. The beach is my go-to vacation! Of late, however, I have succumbed to online retail therapy.

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