Leader’s talk: Piyush Khaitan, Founder & Managing Director, NeoGrowth

Leadership is not wielding authority- it is empowering people ”, Becky Brodin.

Leadership is not only about holding a prime position, it’s much more than that. A leader is someone who has a vision and a passion to make things happen. TimesJobs brings to you exclusive interviews of industry maestros’ whose journey and experience are incredible and influencing. Read on, to know about their journey and their advice for young, upcoming leaders…

Here we have an account from Piyush Khaitan, Founder & MD, NeoGrowth

With which job role/ position did you start your career?

Belonging to an entrepreneurial family in the textile industry, I joined my family business during my college days as a trainee. Overall, it was a rigorous four year apprenticeship which included managing the mill worker’s attendance, accounting and also looking after the technical side of the textile production after which, I established a small engineering unit.

When did you join your present organisation?

My brother, Dhruv Khaitan and I had founded a digital payments processing firm, Venture Infotek in the mid-1990s and later on, we divested Venture Infotek to a European Multinational in 2010 and founded NeoGrowth in 2011-12 with the aim of easing access to credit for these MSME retailers.

What kind of leadership style do you follow in your organisation?

At NeoGrowth, we believe in both employee engagement and employee empowerment for a holistic growth of the employees and the company. When there is employee empowerment, there is a certain degree of responsibility and autonomy which enables them to make their own decisions, make mistakes, learn and grow.

How are you contributing to the growth of your employees?

By and large, people don’t really join an organisation, come to office every day to take home a particular salary. They join an organisation to grow as an individual, professionally and personally. At NeoGrowth, we focus on providing a learning experience with new set of challenges and developing them every day.

Name one person who had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
Although it may sound very clichéd, for me, it was Mahatma Gandhi who had a profound impact on my growth. His method of winning Independence for India was unique. To me, the greatest quality of the Mahatma was the fact that his whole life was an experiment in self-improvement. He explored almost every facet of his own personality, striving all the time to make himself a better person.

Share that one critical decision that you made as the leader of your organisation?
When we started NeoGrowth six years ago, for the first two years, the company grew at a slow pace. It was completely a new product and new innovation that had come up in India and nobody was really aware of it and hence, it was quiet a difficult concept to sell. With competitors having a great business, n we were tempted on diversifying the product offerings in a more conventional market to grow the business fast.

That’s when it clicked and we somehow decided to stay focused on one product and luckily, that has paid off well. When look at the last four years, the company has grown at 50% to 100% compounded and clearly established as a market leader.

When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
At NeoGrowth, we always look for candidates who match our value system. We like people who are more transparent, dedicated and self-motivated and more culturally aligned to what we follow in our organisation.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
I strongly believe that every leader should be empathetic. There will be situations where one cannot really be tolerant or sympathetic, but empathy is critical. When employees understand that the leader is listening with an open mind, you are able to put across your message very effectively.

What is one lasting impact that you hope to leave on your present company?
For me, that one legacy that I would like to leave behind is the work culture of NeoGrowth. How things are done is far more significant than what you do. A key leadership trait is bringing out the best in others so they are willing to assume roles of leadership and responsibility.

What are you doing to grow and develop as a leader continuously?
Every day is a new day and brings in a set of fresh experiences and learnings. When you come across something good, we should learn to imbibe that and practice it and when you realise something is not worthwhile; one should know to step away from it

What advice would you give to the new- age leaders?
As a leader, you have to invest deeply in what you believe in. There will be roadblocks to success but remember one thing, if everything would have come so easily, then everyone around you would be doing the same thing. Be patient, be positive and everything will work in your favor.