In a world captivated with connections, from fast streaming services, to building personal networks, to even connected cities and homes, it is the personal connections that matter the most – that is why we are proud to introduce KORE Connections. This new forum is a Q&A series where our thought leaders and innovators can share their perspectives on life, innovations and business.
Romil Bahl serves as the President and CEO of KORE where he brings 30 years of consulting, information technology, professional services, and IoT experience to the company. Romil has led KORE through a highly transformative period in the growth of solution offerings, business acquisitions, and the expansion of its public presence.
Because of Bahl’s change agenda and strategic pivot, KORE is now the world’s only pure-play Internet of Things (IoT) provider of IoT connectivity, solutions, and analytics services. Most recently, Bahl has been honored by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the “Most Admired CEOs” in the technology category. This recognition highlights the leadership and expertise Bahl demonstrates in his role.
Success comes with wisdom. In our Q&A, Bahl shares his insights into what it is like to be a CEO, industry advice, personal mantras, and more:
Q: What does life look like as a C-level executive and how does it differ from other leadership roles?
A: Life as a CEO is not for everybody. It is incredibly fast-paced, it spans all functional areas of the company, and it requires prompt decision-making – sometimes with only 70 to 80 percent of the facts available. Because of this, CEOs must build a sixth sense when full transparency is not accessible and learn to trust their instincts. Being a CEO also requires taking risks and driving a company and its team members toward a vision and strategy.
Q: What is your favourite “life lesson” quote and why?
A: “All else being equal, the company with the best strategy will win.” Early in my career at A.T. Kearney when that venerable consulting firm was making a strong investment into strategy consulting and, in fact, had acquired a boutique company in Northern Europe, we launched a class for all Kearney employees to take - Business Unit Strategy. One of the senior partners from the acquired firm who helped develop the class made that statement to me as I worked on developing other parts of the class – a course that I would end up teaching as a core faculty member. I have since applied this concept in every business unit and in every company that I have ever led. Coming to KORE as the CEO, which was my primary initiative: to align the organisation around an inspirational and aspirational growth strategy. From that strategy, we have been able to build to where we are now. In times of resource constraints and prioritisation debate, we rely on the KORE strategy as a compass to steer us on the right course.
Q: From your perspective, what do you think makes KORE stand out as a company?
A: Two-plus years into the pandemic, I can honestly say that this testing period has made me look at what makes KORE stand out in a completely different way. If you had asked me this question at the beginning of 2020, I would have told you that our strategy, the unique breadth of our solution portfolio and our ability to scale were our differentiators. Now, I truly believe it is the culture of KORE that makes us different and better. I was worried about how we would keep our culture when it became clear that the way we worked would be drastically different because of the pandemic. But what I saw in response was KORE and its people succeed despite the pandemic. As a technology company, we pride ourselves on being nimble and agile – responsive to an ever-changing environment. To see how our organisation’s culture and the team’s cross-functional cooperation toward meeting our common goals, even in the face of overpowering and almost debilitating external factors, has been a true moment of pride.
Q: What important characteristics have led you to your success today?
A: 1) A high level of personal integrity. I do not ask anyone to do what I am not willing to do myself and I always put the care of our customers as a top priority 2) A strong work ethic and resilience. I pride myself on working relentlessly toward our goals as a company and as a team. No matter the inevitable tough moments any journey brings us, I wake up each morning full of energy. I jump out of bed and get going again full of optimism and positivity. 3) Loyalty, which goes in both directions. I have a strong sense of loyalty to my Board of Directors and company as well as to each member of my team, and I work hard to ensure they are hugely successful.
Q: What piece of advice would you give a young individual aspiring to be where you are today?
A: First, work hard to proactively get out in front of challenges. This means coming up with solutions instead of simply pointing out problems. This can-do attitude will raise your star in the eyes of leaders who are always looking for potential. Second, take the effort to learn about the different parts of the organisation for which you work. Be curious and know what is going on around you, and how your area or department fits. The overall knowledge and skills you gain will give you a broad base of business acumen that will make you a better teammate and eventual leader. Finally, find a mentor and also serve as a mentor. I have had several in my career, and the guidance they’ve provided has been invaluable.
Bahl’s close friends will tell you, one of his biggest personal beliefs is expressing gratitude. He believes that while a company is a corporate body, it’s made up of people with different experiences, expertise, and points of view – and perhaps gratefulness is the glue that keeps a corporate team strong. With that, we salute and thank Romil for being such a pivotal part of KORE’s success today.
Read more about Romil’s “Most Admired CEO” recognition.
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