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Francisco D'Souza: Staying Power

What Influences the CEO of Cognizant Technology? Built To Last

Published: Oct 7, 2009 08:20:00 AM IST
Updated: Oct 7, 2009 08:44:55 AM IST

I was particularly influenced by Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. Unlike many business authors, their perspective is based upon meticulous research. In culling through mounds of data over several years, they discovered some of the enduring core elements that special companies share.

Built to Last also provided insight and guidance on the elements we at Cognizant needed to maintain our unique qualities. Like establishing a “cult-like” culture focussed on core values that can build upon itself in a positive manner, ensuring we sustain what’s unique to us as we grow.

Francisco D'Souza, President and CEO, Cognizant Technology
Image: Maurico Lima/ AFP for Forbes India
Francisco D'Souza, President and CEO, Cognizant Technology
The book argues that once this culture is in place, the firm doesn’t need “big personality” leadership,  for nobody is bigger or more important than the team and its collective mission. Th e book stands out as one of those that I appreciate more with the passing of time, and in this economy, is as valuable as ever.

(Co-ordinated by Elizabeth Flock)

Ex Libris features business leaders on the
books that infl uenced their thinking.

(This story appears in the 09 October, 2009 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Lakshya

    Cannot agree more. The "cult-like" customer-centric culture of Cognizant is second to none. The leadership team drops everything for a customer meeting or call. One of my friends at Cognizant told me that on the day when the company got listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, Francisco (then head of American Operations), Gordon (then and now the CFO) and other senior members of the management were not at the NASDAQ market site but busy presenting their credentials to a prospect and subsequently won the deal. The story goes that the deal value was larger than the total company revenue at that point in time. No wonder Cognizant's cult-like customer-centric culture is helping it post industry-besting growth, year-after-year.

    on Oct 7, 2009