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Dream of becoming a CEO? Here‘s what you need

A subtle and silent change is under way in India Inc on the emphasis it seeks in its CEOs: humble and not haughty, sensitive and not insular, about solid teams and not about star individuals. This greater emphasis on soft skills, a manifestation of an economy in crisis and change, is illustrated by how a global bank, with headcount of about 1,000 in India, redefined its search for a country head to executive-search firm Kelly Services a few months ago.

When Kelly presented candidates with plum degrees who had nurtured big brands, the bank's board showed no interest in even meeting them. It, instead, asked Kelly to shortlist candidates who possessed, along with ability and confidence, soft skills to develop talent and win customers.

"The client wanted to know how the candidate has done as a people's person," says Kamal Karanth, managing director of the India unit of Kelly, declining to name the bank for reasons of confidentiality. Adds Jayesh Pandey, managing director, talent and organisation, Accenture: "Increasingly, organisations are looking for CEOs who are humble and have a greater people connect. It is permeating into the way companies are spending their talent dollars."
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