Professor M.S. Rao

I believe in achieving success with integrity which is often ridiculed by many people. Ultimately it is the ethics and etiquette that will make you as a great leader in the long run.

Professor M.S. Rao is an international leadership guru and an internationally acclaimed executive coach, educator, author, speaker, and consultant. He is a C-Suite advisor and a sought-after keynote speaker globally. He earned a PhD in Soft Skills. He has 37 years of experience in leadership development and conducts training programs for various corporates and educational institutions. His areas of interest include Leadership, Executive Coaching and Executive Education. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. His vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030  that is the winner of Leadership 500 Excellence Awards 2015. He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe).

He is the father of ‘Soft Leadership’ and founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He has made the biggest impact on the world with his Soft Leadership which can be applied for companies and countries to achieve excellence. He is the author of over 40 books including award-winning 21 Success Sutras for CEOs. He has published more than 250 papers and articles in prestigious international publications including Leader to Leader, Thunderbird International Business Review, Strategic HR Review, Development and Learning in Organizations, Industrial and Commercial Training, Human Resource Management International Digest, On the Horizon, and The Journal of Values-Based Leadership.

His award-winning book, “21 Success Sutras for Leaders”   was ranked as one of ten finalists for the Department of Leadership Studies Outstanding Leadership Book Award―2013 at the University of San Diego.  His book “Success Tools for CEO Coaches” is the Award Winner from Small Business Book Awards, USA for 2014. He is the recipient of ‘International Coach of the Year 2013’ from Prestigious ‘Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc’  and ‘100 Top Coaching Leaders―India Award’ from World HRD Congress―2018. He received Outstanding Reviewer for Human Resource Management International Digest in the Emerald Literati Network 2015 Awards for Excellence.. He coined an innovative teaching tool―Meka’s Method; leadership training tool―11E Leadership Grid; and leadership learning tool―Soft Leadership Grid, based on his new leadership style, ‘Soft Leadership.’ He serves as an Advisor and Judge for several prestigious international organizations Global Leadership Awards, Malaysia and Middle East Business Leaders Summits & Awards, Dubai. He is honored as an upcoming International Leadership Guru by Global Top Gurus 30 Leadership. He serves on the editorial boards of various prestigious international journals including Development and Learning in Organizations, of Emerald, U.K, and The Journal of Values Based Leadership USA.

Where did the idea for MSR Leadership Consultants India come from?

When I received several invitations to offer leadership development training programs, the idea flashed to found my own company—MSR Leadership Consultants India. Subsequently I got several offers to keynote conferences globally and I successfully keynoted.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I get up everyday morning at 4 A.M. since I am a morning man. My mind is highly creative during this period. my creative juices flow easily. I author books. I go to gym and do workout for an hour as I am from military background and a fitness freak. I invest one hour of time to walking everyday. I go to gym and return from gym by walk which takes an hour and I do workout for an hour. Totally, it takes two hours of physical activity everyday. I read two newspapers everyday and it is a practice to read at least one newspaper everyday since my childhood. If there are any invitations to provide training programs, I go and deliver. Otherwise, I read books and research on my new leadership style “Soft Leadership”. I respond to mails and interviews online. I also participate in podcasts. I blog my ideas on my blog Vision 2030: One Million Global Leaders. My vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030. It is a non-profit initiative. So far, I have trained 35,000 students through my teaching and training programs. I sleep everyday at 10 P.M. I am basically a home bird and I enjoy spending my time with my beautiful and brilliant wife, Padmavathy and my two sons, M. Ganesh Sai and M. Ramakrishna Sayee.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I believe more in deeds than words. I am more of a practical person. Whenever ideas flash in my mind, I capture them on my notepad immediately. When I go for walk or outside I always carry a pen and notepad with me to capture the ideas that flash my mind. I take them on my word document and work on them whenever I find time to blog or write articles or author books.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am excited by technology, but I struggle to update with technology. There are a plenty of opportunities for millennials to excel as entrepreneurs due to technology.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Continuous learning by reading books and newspapers since my childhood.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The millennials (Gen Y) are smart, brilliant and tech savvy. They are impatient to wait for outcomes. Hence, they must work hard, smart and wise to accomplish their goals. Secondly, they must make fitness an integral part of life to stay healthy forever. They must remember that no amount of wealth will replace health.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

People often say that my ideals and ideas don’t work in this cutthroat competitive world. I believe in achieving success with integrity which is often ridiculed by many people. Ultimately it is the ethics and etiquette that will make you as a great leader in the long run.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Be persistent. There will be ups and downs in life. But don’t compromise with your principles and philosophies. Remember that every dark cloud has a silver lining.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Identifying my own passions, building skills around my talents, crafting a vision and working hard relentlessly despite several financial hardships.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I did not anticipate risk in my business. I trusted people blindly who cheated me especially my relatives. In fact, I am a victim of my rogue relatives. I borrowed capital with more rate of interest thus landing me and my family into financial hardships.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Take risks as you have only one life to live and do. Be persistent in your efforts.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I am still struggling as an author in spite of publishing 40 books. I don’t have regular flow of income as training programs and keynote speaking opportunities are not regular. I am frugal. I am a man of a few words and needs. I invest money for my basic necessities, fitness and books.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I am not good at technology. Hence, no suggestions.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

My bestselling book “21 Success Sutras for CEOs: How Global CEOs Overcome Leadership Challenges in Turbulent Times to Build Good to Great Organizations

What is your favourite quote?

It requires a lot of courage to become an educator as it is not for everybody. If a parent is unworthy, children are spoiled; if a doctor neglects his duty, the patient dies; if an engineer performs poorly, the infrastructure collapses; and if an educator makes a mistake, an entire generation is ruined.” ― Professor M. S. Rao

Key learnings:

• Vision to build one million students as global leaders
• Love your mother but don’t hate another person’s mother
• Be a continuous learner.
• Take feedback regularly.
• Respect women and advocate gender equality globally (#HeForShe).
• Achieve success with integrity.


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