Dr. Balaji Krishnamurthy is a veteran corporate executive with more than 31 years of corporate experience, having run 17 different businesses in his career. With a Ph.D. in computer science and a strong technology background, he has run a variety of service and manufacturing based, private and public technology businesses ranging from millions of dollars to a billion dollars. As president and CEO of Planar Systems from 1999 to 2005, he led the company’s transformation from a sleepy technology company to a leading player in the flat-panel display market. Even as the technology industry collapsed, annual sales of this Nasdaq high-tech company more than doubled under his watch to $256 million. TIME magazine recognized him as one of 25 Global Business Influentials, and national publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, have featured Balaji and his innovative concepts as representing a new genre of corporate leadership.
Although Balaji has five advanced degrees from prestigious institutions, his concepts of leadership are shaped from the laboratory of corporate experience rather than the classrooms of academic learning. Yet, his academic training has caused him to structure his experience into practical models and tools that he has used and taught throughout his career and now teaches to corporate executives. Currently, as the Executive Chairman of Think Shift, Balaji communicates his decades of corporate leadership experience through provocative logic and passionate delivery. Known for his innovative and thought provoking concepts on corporate leadership, Balaji works with CEOs to develop organic leadership through an intentional corporate culture.
Q. What is the difference between brand and culture?
A. Brand is the outsiders’ view of the company. It is the perception of your company as held by your customers. Brand is not what you say it is, it is what your customers say it is. In contrast, culture is the insiders’ view of the company. It is the perception of your company as held by your employees. Culture is not what you say it is, but what your employees say it is. So, quit shouting out to your employees what your culture is with posters plastered on the wall with motherhood and apple pie: Honesty, Teamwork, Respect, etc. Instead ask yourself, what do you do – so unique and so different – that your employees are caused to talk about it at their backyard barbecues?