Himanshu Bindal, Bindal Group – India’s Transformational Leader 2019
Every day we are inundated with decisions, big and small. Several factors like past experiences, age, cognitive biases and observations influence the decision making process.
Initially, we are all swayed by others but eventually, our experiences gain us the wisdom. Our learning and experiences gradually change and facilitate our decisiveness be it while making internal policies or product guidelines. I think there is no standard formula for making decisions. Apparently, it’s all situational.
A project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
Born and brought up in a successful business family had me occupied in the industry from a tender age. Manoeuvring my work experience from our plant, studying about the industry and the recent trends instilled in me the fire to do something of my own. Co-working industry was booming back in 2015 and having a keen interest in commercial real-estate, I decided to launch One Co.Work. Seeing my own venture growing successfully motivated me to launch a new property. With God’s grace, in just 3 years, One Co.Work is in 5 cities with profit-generating centres simultaneously growing our steel business by 300%. This phase holds a high magnitude in my career.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
CSR is an ethical framework suggesting that an entity has a direct obligation towards the society. At Bindal Group, we firmly believe in giving back to the society. Since a healthy diet should be accessible to everyone, we provide with the best quality food to all our 5000 collaborates for free, every day! In view of the fact that education enhances the quality of life, we encourage our employees to take part in initiatives like “Teach For India”. To increase the availability of clean water to the locals, we consistently place hand pumps in the surrounding areas. Organising free health camps for the natives, arranging community marriage ceremonies and providing shelter to thousands of non-milking and abandoned cattle is our bit towards social responsibility. In addition to it, we aid budding entrepreneurs with financial assistance and industry specific knowledge.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
Since childhood, my fervour was towards entrepreneurship and I had many thrilling ideas to execute. Quoting an interesting event from my early teenage, I used to flip and trade old cars by revamping them with small investment and then selling at profit. My passion to be an entrepreneur has always driven me to plan, strategize and analyze the dynamic scenarios around.
What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?
I have seen my father involving himself in humanitarian activities since forever. His inclination towards philanthropic work and social initiatives has instilled the same emotion in me. Since I’ve been raised with the same compassion towards the society, I ensure that my venture too has tie-ups with various NGOs to build a better living. Empathy comes to me naturally and I also try to inculcate the same in my team and everyone associated with me. The philanthropic activities have to be part of our annual marketing plan and we have a separate budget for it not to merely brand ourselves but because that’s how it’s been over the years.
How do you define success and how do you measure up your own definition?
Success, to me, has no definition. I believe it is related to personal satisfaction. It will always be different for different people. Person X might do something and feel satisfied and accomplished but the person Y might do something better and is still dissatisfied. For the outside world you are successful but for yourself, you are still striving and improving every day. No metric can measure it. Also, once u label yourself, you limit yourself and I don’t believe in setting any limit.
We are constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. In other words, we strive to do more with less. Talk about a recent project or solution to a problem that you have made better, faster, smarter or less expensive?
At our steel manufacturing units, the continuous cast billets were produced at a temperature of 1000-1100 degrees, cooled down, cut into smaller size and then again reheated at the same temperature. While observing this process several times, I suggested my technical staff to directly roll the billets after first heating. The results were amazing and turned out that the idea had the potential to save time and cost. This process was soon followed by every other player which is saving around $200 Mn across the industry every year.
Recently, our venture One Co.Work (co-working industry) was launched as one of the first few players in the co-working industry. Also, being a shared office space provider at One Co.Work we already have been offering workspaces that are better (than working in traditional offices), faster (as plug & play), smarter (with all the services in the same place) and cost effective (compared to conventional spaces).
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
Leadership is the art of managing a team and inspiring them to put their best forward. It’s always about ‘taking people along’. A leader doesn’t command but rather guides. It’s not just about the delegation of work but the team efforts to successfully achieve the common goal. I believe that an employee always longs for two things: acknowledgement and appreciation. This is what drives them and the organisation as a whole. I personally leave no stone unturned to recognise my team’s value.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has/can contribute for the same?
My perception of an empowered society is where people lift each other and thrive together. When people on a success journey take other people along, it makes the world a better place. At our steel plant we employ more than 5000 people, 70% of whom are from the local areas. We understand that it’s our responsibility to give opportunities to the local people so that they can make a good living. Concurrently, through our co-working venture we’re helping every entrepreneur with apt services within their means. In our supply chain, we persistently empower the budding entrepreneurs by providing them industry specific information and funds.
One thing you wish to change and one thing wish to retain about the industry?
We need to be dynamic to survive and change is for good. The steel manufacturing industry has always been male dominated. Giving employment opportunities and providing equal chances to women is the change I would like to bring in this industry. Not just this would be an act of women empowerment but their ideas in the industry, like any other, would add to the potential of the business.
The steel industry is always open to research & development, new ideas and innovation. We always try to innovate to come up with efficient products. This practice in particular should stay in the industry.
One thing you have to let go off as an entrepreneur/leader?
Anyone can be an entrepreneur but not everyone can be a good leader. History proves that ego is always destructive. I advise all the existing and future entrepreneurs to stay humble and grounded. Be approachable to your team and welcome the ideas and suggestions by them. At the end it’s all about knowledge sharing; we all learn from each other.
Whom do you owe your success to?
Undoubtedly, I owe my success to my parents and my family for backing me. My father has always been my inspiration for how active, dedicated & passionate he’s been for his work. I thank my parents for passing the same values to me and teaching me that work is worship. I’m equally thankful to my employees, mentors, seniors and colleagues to being therein every thick and thin.
Best thing about your job?
Every person you meet teaches you something and vice versa. The best part of my job is building meaningful network. The more we know, the more we grow ‘together’. Not just connecting but exchanging opportunities where one gets a good resource and the other gets desirable employment.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/leaders?
Youth is the future of our country. My message, rather an advice to all the future entrepreneurs is to be passionate, keep scouting for opportunities, harness teamwork, seek inspiration and never give up. If you wish to win bigger battles, first win your people’s heart. Put your honest efforts and stay committed. Long live entrepreneurship!