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Introduction of Col. Tarun Kumar

Tarun is a die-hard optimist. He believes in the concept of human brilliance; we become what we believe. No wonder he is a great proponent of a bright future and considers it within our ability to build together. Since his early days, his peers and colleagues remember him as one who was always yearning for more, never satisfied with what he had, and maybe this trait of his was responsible for his journey spanning over three decades of a roller coaster ride. And when it appeared that everything was following as per plan, whoa! The never-ending desire to excel will stroke his ambition, and he was rearing to take the plunge once again. Those majoring in business management studies read about VUCA, i.e., Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity; Tarun's life is a perfect example of everything synonymous with unforeseen contingencies.

Education that doesn't lead to employment was not his cup of tea and while pursuing B.Sc (Hons) from Delhi university mid-way, he heard about Hotel Management and changed stream. He joined IHM Pusa, the Premier institute for Hotel management, and my life changed as he got acquainted with the glamorous hotel industry, learned soft skills, mannerisms, courtesies, let go of my ego, and imbibed the culture of hospitality – this was a life-changing event. He always thought his life meant better things were in the offing, but the five-star culture was not even faintly on the horizon. What happened to be the watershed moment in his career was the decision to opt for the Armed Forces while he had spent just about two years in the glamour industry. He had a distinguished career spanning over three decades in the Indian Army. He was in combat battling terrorists in the Northern Sector of India moved on to defending territorial integrity at the highest battlefield - Siachen Glacier, wherein the process became a battle casualty during hostile operations.

Tarun's life's philosophy is, "If you're irritated by every rub, how will you ever be polished." His calling to share life's lessons materialized when he got posted as an instructor at the premier National Defence Academy - The cradle of Military Leadership. In addition, he was fortunate to have international exposure to soldiering, conflict management, and strategic negotiations by being a UN peacekeeper at their mission in Sierra Leone.

Armed forces have this unique distinction of producing some of the best leaders in the world who are brave, decisive, selfless, and dedicated. Today, the corporates face similar challenges faced by the Armed Forces; hence, lessons learned in the military are more valuable and transferable than ever. These transferrable skills are customized under Battlefield to Boardroom strategies to meet every organizational/individual requirement. He works with entrepreneurs, small business owners, professionals, and Corporates to help them emerge as leaders by overcoming their limiting beliefs, enabling them to scale up their performance, leading to commanding respect they so rightfully deserve.

In his work with organizations worldwide, Tarun has attempted to bring in the concept of trust and teamwork. While working in the Army, he has experienced that as soldiers, they trust each other so profoundly that they would put their lives on the line for each other. On the other hand, in the corporate world, there are teams; no matter what incentives are on offer, they are doomed because of infighting, lack of common goals, and trust.

He narrated one incident highlighting the bonhomie, camaraderie, esprit de corps prevailing in the battalion. Tarun was commanding his Unit in insurgency-prone areas, and for close to three years, soldiers were denied sporting opportunities owing to operational commitments. On completion of tenure, the Unit was moving to a peace station, the perils of transition to peacetime operations came to the fore. In peace, soldiers recuperate, realign with new training methodologies and prepare for war in different scenarios. Here sports play a significant role in bonding and showcasing the Unit's performance. Tarun's Unit was of martial race, and soldiers were very competitive, yet the performance in a couple of initial competitions was abysmally poor, and the Unit was trailing at 17th position amongst the 19 units of the Division.

The Unit's morale was low, and Tarun had just taken over the command of his Unit. Although he had prior experience commanding another unit, peacetime requirements are entirely different from the operational scenarios. He held a meeting with his unit appointments and team captains, and the answer became apparent during the ensuing conversation. Tarun realized that Team was good, but lack of preparation and accompanying competition led to poor performance. He is a firm believer that if you want to improve your game, start practicing with better players. He spoke to the National Institute of Sports at Patiala, Punjab, India, to give his Team good practice, to which the Director agreed. That's how the Indian Army is held in high esteem by its civilian counterparts. Under an officer, the Team of Volleyball, football, and kabaddi left for training. After four days of tying up any loose ends, the officer returned, and the practice commenced. As Commanding officer, he used to get weekly feedback on the performance and shortcomings faced by the Team. He visited the Team under training on two occasions to boost their morale. From the third month onwards, the result was for all to see.

The unit teams were on the winning spree, clicking as a team, and threatened the most potent adversary. Despite being considered the underdog, the Unit reached the final during the Divisional championship and lifted the trophy. When Tarun analyzed the results, it emerged that leader makes a difference. On taking over the command of his Unit, Tarun had an uphill task. His predecessors ensured troops' safety during hostile operations, and any future performance during sports competitions when the Unit moved to peaceful locations was not on the horizon. The timely intervention by the commanding officer ensured that the unit morale, motivation, and spirit remained high hereafter, and the Unit remained at its peak because great leaders sacrifice their comfort–even their survival–for the good of those in their care. Too many workplaces continue to be driven by cynicism, paranoia, and selfish interests, and Tarun illustrates his Battlefield to Boardroom strategies through fascinating true stories that range from the military to the corporate world, illustrating that Leaders create an environment of trust and safety for the growth of their organization, and men irrespective of the challenges.

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