Bajaj Finserv interviews Suhas Gopinath – Chairman & CEO, Globals ITeS Pvt Ltd. One of the youngest CEO’s of India.
Bajaj Finserv:Suhas, Welcome to Bajaj Finserv
Bajaj Finserv: When we first heard that you have agreed to be our next speaker at Confluence, we were all pleasantly surprised. Bajaj Finserv is so much different from your domain. What made you come here today ?
Suhas:So I spoke to the organizers and they told me that they are planning to scale up and want to foster entrepreneurship so that a sense of ownership is fostered in the company. This is what excited me and gave me an opportunity to understand , get some knowledge and also share some of my experience with the young leaders at Bajaj Finserv. I think it is important for them to feel that it is their company because I have faced some individuals who feel that they are employees of the company from 9-5, they feel it is not their company because it was founded by someone else and they are just the employees. I feel every staff and employee should have a sense of ownership. And you should foster those in the company itself.
Bajaj Finserv: Talking about ownership and as you said one should feel that they own this place, you built Globals Inc. from scratch. What has been your experience, rather what has been your biggest learning ?
Suhas: The fact that I started a company was my passion and that is exactly what is needed for every individual. He or she should do something that he or she is passionate about and have fire in the belly. When I started Globals, there were multiple hurdles like prejudice because of my age. People found it hard to accept that a 14 year old, who hasn’t even grown a moustache has actually established his own company. So it was very hard for my own employee to take me seriously. It was very hard for my partners to take me very seriously. But I have tided through that prejudice and also I was very assertive in my life and I never allowed failure to stop me from my success. I understood that it was part of the process to succeed in something.
Bajaj Finserv: So, building on that, in many other forums also you have said that, you have an impatient and an aggressive work personality. How has it really helped you in your career or your workplace?
Suhas: I am an impatient optimist, so I wouldn’t say that I’m only impatient. If you are only impatient then, at times it is seen as a weakness. But I would say that I am an impatient optimist because I feel that opportunities don’t wait for anyone so and its very important that you don’t miss the bus. So If you have a great idea but don’t think it is the right time to present and wait, you may end up opening the newspaper one day to find out that someone has already gone ahead and implemented it, and that really sucks! I have always felt that it’s important to be impatient and also an optimist just so that if you have any ideas it’s important to act on them and have belief in your ideas.
Bajaj Finserv: So do you follow such people practices in your company
Suhas: Yea exactly, so in my company we follow flat hierarchy structure. I still remember how when I was 15 and was hiring for my company, some of the candidates who were 29/30 commented that how can they work under someone half their age. This is exactly when I started to emphasize that at our company you didn’t have to be working under anybody but are looking for opportunities to work with you. So we removed the culture of boss and subordinate and it’s a flat hierarchal structure, which fosters innovation ultimately. I think that sets the outcome. There are other outcomes like attrition is low; it’s very easy to acquire talent. So in terms of workplace where the teams can interact more and exchange ideas to foster innovation and that means the outcomes are set.
Bajaj Finserv: Suhas you are now 26. You are the youngest entrepreneur. Your company has a huge turnover, and offices all across the globe, almost everything that people think is the pinnacle of achievement. So what’s next?
Suhas: I think it’s still the beginning for me. I think success has no full stops. When I met Bill Gates, that’s what he indicated – that success is not a stamp on you saying that you will always remain deeply successful. It’s important for you to understand that when you start your day, it’s actually the beginning of new opportunities and it could also have some hurdles. It is also very important for you to stay modest and to understand that you should have sustained success and that can only happen through values and ethics. At the same time, you should always be innovating in the company. So you can’t sit back and say – ok, we reached here, we have got operations in 14 countries and we are all good. I think that the entrepreneur has to feel it’s still the beginning.
Bajaj Finserv: Right. So Suhas, this is about your work and businesses. The world knows you as a person driven by the entrepreneurial spirit. But what does the world not know about you?
Suhas: Something the world doesn’t know about me is that as a personality I am an introvert.
Bajaj Finserv: Well that’s hard to believe!
Suhas(Smiles): When I speak in public forums and when I attend conferences and events, I assume it’s part of my job, so I speak up and network. But when I am with my friends or when I’m with my family I think I’m an introvert. I won’t be speaking much. I would sit back and observe others. My relatives think that at events he speaks so much and I keep seeing him at the media but when he attends this marriage or family gatherings, he is so shy. Quite a contradiction to my public image!
Bajaj Finserv:In your work life, you have always been improvising. You do something and you are already looking at your next goal. If I say the phrase “What is, is not as good, as it can be”, what does it mean to you ?
Suhas:I have always felt that when somebody gives you feedback like “excellent work” or “good show” etc or you have already achieved that, it’s important to emphasize that you are not sitting back and you are taking on appreciations and taking all the positive feedback. It’s also very important that you also personally believe in the work you have done and are satisfied with the results. If not, then sustenance will be a question.
Bajaj Finserv:Thank you Suhas, for sharing your views and thoughts with us. We hope that a lot of people would gain from this conversation and thank you so much for coming today
Suhas:Thanks for having me here.