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Monkish Management Maven Is A Man Of Mystery

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May 2007
Monkish Management Maven Is A Man Of Mystery

Four Indians appeared in the last Thinkers 50, a biannual list of notable management gurus. Their global ranking is based on a survey of over 1200 corporate executives, professors, consultants and graduate business students. Ranked third, C. K. Prahalad, a professor at the University of Michigan, is widelyknown. And now, Ram Charan (at 24) is also gaining broader recognition, although in some ways he remains the most enigmatic of all business thinkers. Vijay Govindrajan (at 30) and Rakesh Khurana (at 33) round out the Indian section of the Thinkers 50 list.

Having already won respect in the upper echelons of corporate America (Jack Welch is a fan), Charan is now attracting greater attention. "What he does is hard to describe," declared an article in Fortune magazine last month. "But the most powerful CEOs love it enough to keep him on the road 24/7 and make him the most influential consultant alive."

A lifelong bachelor who lives frugally, Charan has no home or family in this country, and his possessions are mostly what he carries in his suitcase from place to place. Indeed, this ultimate road warrior stays only in hotels, 365 days a year. Charan never visits his rented office in Dallas, from where he periodically receives new or freshly laundered clothes, along with other necessities, by FedEx. His one indulgence seems to be a yearly trip to India, where his closest family members live. The moniker Guru fits him perfectly because Charan, who is totally dedicated to his work, embraces the motto "Purpose before Self" as his guiding philosophy. Charan has written about his methods, which he often bases on ‘observational' research, in books such as Know-How and Execution.


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