Anil Gupta is the Chairman and Managing Director at KEI Wires and Cables. He took over the familybusiness in the year 1981 as a partner. A young boy who had hit the 20 year old mark stepped up to take charge of the organization. A multi-tasking personality that he was, he took over the responsibility for managing various important tasks ranging from machinery checks, to recruiting people, to production, etc. He believes that he has inherited the entrepreneurial spirit from his father which he further applied to the firm. It was only after his father’s demise in 1993, that he took over as the Chairman and MD of the business.
Here is the first job experience of Anil Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, KEI Wires.
What is the biggest lesson that you learnt in your first job?
The biggest lesson I learned is that humility and willingness to learn is the only way to grow.If one feels entitled and has a know-it-all approach to everything, learning stops there & growth gets stunted. And because of humility and willingness to learn, in the last 4 decades, I have excelled in almost all functions, be it marketing, production, quality control, product development, etc. I continue to learn as I firmly believe learning should never stop.
What would have happened had the pandemic struck while you were starting your career? How would you have tackled things in your stride?
Any form of pandemic or an event with undefined nature can result in a high degree of uncertainty that gives rise to confusion, a feeling of lost control, and emotional disturbance. In the wake of the prevailing situation, if I were on his early stage of career, I would have tackled situations by focusing on the following points:
- Firstly, recognising & acknowledging the personal and professional challenges employees go through during such uncertain times. Therefore, showing empathy is one of the most vital aspects to uphold. Only this can create a feeling of acceptance & care by the employees creating a sense of belonging towards the organisation.
- Secondly, transparent communication by providing frequent updates, sending a signal that the leaders are confronting the situation & course correcting along the way. This is reassuring for the employees and doesn’t create an atmosphere of animosity.
- Thirdly, by keeping calm and not surging ahead with a predefined response plan, rather march ahead with behaviour & thought processes that will enable them to look ahead and not panic by the havoc a crisis has created.
One interview tip that you find extremely useful and relevant over the years.
Being yourself is the key to excel in any interview, and that it should never be about cracking the interview but understanding whether you are truly a right fit for the organisation & the role, as this will decide your career trajectory in the organisation. Also, misrepresentation of your interests and skill sets is only going to get you demotivated in the long run as you will be stuck in a job that doesn’t bring out the best in you.
What are the 3 main soft skills that a fresher must possess to ace jobs?
According to me, self-motivation, teamwork and taking ownership of our own failures is what every fresher must possess to ace their job. The communication parameter is a daunting one to most of the freshers. However, the good thing is one can hone this skill in less time. Both written and verbal communication skills are important in today’s workplace. The skill will improve the relationship with the team manager. This will help to grow as a team player besides building a strong teamwork. Communication is also required for other skills such as presentation.
Things in the workplace don’t go as planned all the time. During this hard time, an employee needs to find an alternate solution which is possible with adaptability. Freshers should know how to be flexible when a tough situation or problem arises. Employers also expect their employees to adapt to the latest developments or technologies to keep the company updated and competitive.
How has the pandemic shaped/changed the work culture?
COVID-19 threw a curve ball at the world by necessitating social distancing. Maximum companies around the world dealt with this situation by making swift changes to the way of working in order to safeguard their employees. They moved to a new way of working that no one had ever envisioned. During the pandemic, many companies were surprised to see the results of work from home culture. Lot of research reports showcased how productivity levels had increased with WFH as most people enjoyed it as it saved commute time and gave greater flexibility. But there are a lot of unanswered questions as well. I firmly believe there is no one size fits all solution to every situation. The correct approach will be different for every workplace and will depend on a lot of factors like what role requires what level of collaboration for excellence, how will the need for business development through social interaction be met, etc.
Your perspective on the changing work culture over the past decade.
Today organisational culture has become extremely critical and a very factor that binds the employees to their organisation. The tenure of an employee largely depends on how amenable the work culture is. For this, it is crucial for the top management to constantly reinvent itself and lead the way by bringing in the right policies.
The workforce today has very clear expectations from its employers and are more likely to voice their opinions and is comfortable with an open door approach. Their sense of job satisfaction not only comes from monetary compensation but also from the workplace culture. In a nutshell, the focus of the present workforce is more on a result-oriented approach to work and less on a process-oriented one.
One book that you would recommend to the freshers that can help
The Goal’ written by Eliyahu M. Goldratt is the book I would recommend to freshers.