Shiran Yatagama shares a glimpse of his victorious journey in the blooming field of Finance. Commencing his first step back in 1989, Shiran takes up multiple roles, over the years of his expertise.

In his first position, he served at the Corporate Credit Department of Commercial Bank, where he learnt the fundamentals of Corporate Credit, before he moved to Seylan Bank gaining years of solidarity in the finance sector. After handling branches in 3 different provinces, he was posted as the Manager of the eCommerce division. Shiran was part of the core team that rolled out the Kalypto Risk rating module. Shiran moved to Union Bank, designated as the IT & Business Coordinator, where he spearheaded the initiative towards reducing paper based internal correspondence. He continued, I was instrumental in introducing the eMemo concept, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. Left behind my Banking career by moving into Commercial Leasing and thereon as COO to CBC Finance Ltd and Bimputh Finance PLC”, describing his effort in making policies, guidelines and operational manuals at these Finance companies. Furthermore, he adds on “I am an Associated Member of CIMA [UK], Associated Member of Institute of Bankers in Sri Lanka and a Diploma holder of Bank Integrated Risk Management.

Continuing, Shiran states that a COO should ensure the smooth interconnection between different silos, such as Credit, Operations, Finance, Legal, International, Recoveries, Vehicles yards etc., topping these various departments to synergize their output to optimize operations. According to his belief, COOs must be knowledgeably enriched in all areas. Shiran is proud of the knowledge and experience he gathered over the years which enabled him to be an effective COO.  

Describing success, he believes that success should be achieved both materially and spiritually. He says “I always believed in spirituality, both in good times and bad times. Sorting out the spiritual component will support in achieving sustainable material success”, while adding that “one should work with enthusiasm and vigour for wholesome success”.However, with the increase of responsibility, Shiran adapts to the best pursuit of himself, letting him become a C-suite executive starting from the clerical grade.

Acknowledging spiritual connections over materialistic connections, Shiran has taken up the balance of maintaining priorities among his personal life and his professional life. Turning down opportunities might seem like a mistake to many, Shiran understands it to be another open door to success and understanding. I turned down my overseas employment, because I wanted to be with the children”, he contemplates on the importance of spiritual priorities, while advising corporate officials to understand that. “The idea is to achieve a well-balanced, normal bell curve. It shouldn’t be skewed”.

Further elaborating on success tips, Shiran state that it is quite essential to honour the word. “Managers mustn’t be all about soothing phrases to get rid of a dicey situation. The staff of an organization are the plant and machinery of a service organization. They cannot be treated as machines. You need build trust & confidence with your staff. Speak the truth; the logical truth. Being bonded over trust and integrity is essential. I never lead people with ‘Positional Power’. I use ‘Charismatic & Knowledge Power’ instead.”

Shiran encourages managers to be honest to one’s detriment. “One should be able to distinguish between honesty & justification. People justify within the contours of norms made by man. Honesty breaks the boundaries of norms and comprehends the bigger picture to educate the people”, he adds. He further continues to advice managers to encourage subordinates to argue, and counter argue, as he believes this to be a wise method to sharpen skills. “As humans we cannot ‘see’, all facets of an issue. Combined minds could and thus one could comprehend an issue much better. One needs to be armed with knowledge & confidence to practice this”.

Another highlighted practice to focus as a leader of prominence is the ability to be compassionate towards people who are genuinely apologetic. Shiran states that being compassionate is essential as We all make mistakes, and at times contribute towards the mistake. Hence it is considered vital to understand individuals so that no one is left one at the completion of the process. Every action should be done with a pure intention.”

Contemplating on the future, Shiran states that strong financial institutions are made up of ethically strong leaders, who are aware of their fundamentals. He states that the Ethicality of Organisations depends on the level of spirituality of its leaders. Individuals holding leading positions must be resilient, honest, and willing to acknowledge the truth of the current industry and be vigilant to apply appropriate solutions, benefitting the customers and the future of the
Finance Industry.