Novartis Image caption Vasant Narasimhan’s job takes him around the world as Novartis is a global company
When it comes to his leadership approach, Vasant leans on his student interest in philosophy. He says he is particularly influenced by two books: The classic 6th Century BC Chinese text, Tao Te Ching, and Daniel Pink’s 2019 work, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
He say that both have taught him that being a good leader is not about bossing people around but instead giving them more power – and making them happy.
“One thing we know about human motivation is that people feel their best when they have a sense of purpose and a sense of autonomy , “he says.
In practical terms at Novartis, he says this means he has cut out unnecessary bureaucracy, and” eliminated tens of thousands of approvals, which have pushed down decision-making across the organization. “.
“You would be surprised at how few emails I get these days,” he adds. “I get the emails that matter, but the rest are now tackled at the appropriate level.”
Barbara Obstoj-Cardwell, editor of The Pharma Letter, a website providing news and analysis on the pharmaceutical sector, says that Vasant has a “charismatic presence”.