Retail CEO ! Experienced Business leader | Director & Board Member for several Food based businesses | Advisor NewZealand Trade & Enterprise | Ex MD, Godrej Nature’s Basket
Strong track record of Performance in leadership positions (CEO/MD) in high-paced retail businesses. Has successfully created new organisations and brands ground up. In-depth understanding of the retail & consumer market – with quality experience in building premium, gourmet retail & discount retail. Driving organizational improvements & implementation of best practices. Superior interpersonal skills to help resolve multiple complex organisational issues across functions and motivate’ staff to peak performance. Over 30 yrs of extensive business experience in sales, marketing & retail functions across industries. Of this, the last 15+ yrs has been in leadership roles in the retail and QSR industry.
Our Exclusive Interview:
1. What does Leadership mean to you?
To me, Leadership is both a privilege and a responsibility in many ways. It is the privilege of leading your organisation or your function or team or task force. Coupled with this privilege is the responsibility of inspiring the team to achieve intended goals, the responsibility of being the face of the organisation; of leading in good times and bad and making the team succeed even when faced with daunting odds. Its about keeping your head down, framing the right processes, maintaining the right spirit and motivation, building the right culture and empowering the team to take their decisions. Its also about demonstrating desired behaviour and leading from the front.
2. How do you delegate responsibility? What is your mantra for making your team accountable?
Accountability is often the product of a culture that the organisation boasts of. It starts from the leader setting aside his pride and being one of the team members. In my organisation, it starts with me respecting others time, taking onus for processes, being sorry when I falter or am wrong and more. And that’s the culture, the team imbibes.
I as a leader, value transparency and open communication with my colleagues. It involves not just clear and timely communication on roles, responsibilities or key result areas but also on constraints, challenges, possible approaches, budgets and timelines. Delegating any task when done unambiguously and with clear communication around the context and expectations is rarely a challenge. Especially when it is done with empathy. My mantra for making the team accountable is simple – Focus on the process and give it your best. The end result usually follows.
3. Have you struggled with work-life balance? How did you handle it? How do you handle it even now?
Yes, always. I have struggled with this over many-many years. I can only say that I have gotten better at it over the last couple of years. Handling work pressures at home initially was never easy and I could never ever say No. Often at the expense of family time. With experience, I have learnt to leave work pressures at the door, when I enter home. This does not mean, that I don’t work from home. It just means that when at home, my personal life and relationships take precedence. Confidence to defer things that can be addressed later of-course, helps. Learning the art of delegation and empowering team to take decisions helps greatly too. What also helps is having interests apart from work that can help take the mind off regular and mundane work.
4. How can leaders influence their team and other employees in the organisation to achieve the objectives of the organisation?
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for influencing team members. However, there is a clear process that has worked for me time and again. It involves being honest about expectations and setting clear objectives for my teams. It involves creation of an environment that appreciates and values the individual for what he or she brings to the table and empowering them to be honest and authentic themselves. Being part of their discussions and suggesting out of the box solutions and approaches to look at issues, often helps open up their thinking. Importantly, the surest way of influencing the team is to inculcate a level of trust that goes beyond tasks and lets an employee have the confidence to trust their Manager. This often means supporting your employees across situations and giving them the confidence that the organisation is behind them in their endeavours.
5. How would you describe your leadership style?
I would describe my style as collaborative and perhaps transformational. I work towards creating an equal relationship with my team members where in they feel part of something larger, believe in the vision of the organisation and participate in decision making as well as setting up of milestones and the process frameworks. Simultaneously, I remain committed to see them succeed and grow.
6. How do you define your vision for your organisation?
My vision for my organisation is to see it as India’s most formidable and profitable company in its chosen category of businesses.
7. What matters to you the most – loyalty of your employees or loyalty to your customers/ clients?
I don’t think I can chose any one versus the other. Both are equally and critically important. I cant be loyal to one at the expense of the other. Loyalty to employees allows me to develop and nurture individuals so that they can deepen their understanding of the business and its drivers. Loyalty to consumers is what helps our employees develop newer strategies, products and concepts to grow the business.
8. How does competition affect your strategies towards your organisation – for productivity, for turnover, for employees?
Our strategies in our organisation are driven by our longer term objectives for growth, by changing socio-economic trends and by rapid changes in customer tastes and behaviour in general. It is not necessarily dictated by what competition may be doing. Specifically for issues like productivity, turnover etc – we are driven by what can be best in class – rather than through myopic lenses of competition.
Know the Person
- Money to you is Important but not everything
- Your favourite film is 3 Idiots.
- Your favourite food a perfectly al-dente Aglio olio,
- Your favourite film star (male) is No favourites really
- Your favourite film star (female) is Madhuri Dixit
- Your favourite holiday destination is Italy & Goa
- Friendship to you is a stress buster, also something I can fall back on.
- The person you admire the most is my Father
- Your dream is to keep going further, higher !
- Your best kept secret is still wrapped up. it must not be revealed !