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India’s Most Trusted CEO 2021, Automotive – Vineet Sahni, Lumax 

India’s Most Trusted CEO 2021, Automotive – Vineet Sahni, Lumax 

India's Most Trusted CEOs 2021

India’s Most Trusted CEO 2021, Automotive – Vineet Sahni, Lumax

Selected as India’s Most Trusted CEO 2021 by WCRCLEADERS, Vineet Sahni, Group CEO of Lumax is a visionary leaders who leads from the front creating aspirational growth targets and his adaptability to changes.

Vineet Sahni Lumax What makes a strong leader? What are your key leadership strengths that make the strongest attributes of success.

A strong leader is defined by the manner in which he/she is able to create a vision for the organisation and to align the team with the aspirational target. He should be able to ignite the same passion as his, within his team members. The leader must lead from the front. He must earn the trust of his team and vice-versa, this is a two-way process. 

An accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career? What challenges did you face to reach to the success.

Though there have been many professional accomplishments I can be proud of but the following are very close to my heart:

  1. In 2005-06, the company that I was then working for, I managed a business acquisition with an international auto brand. At that moment, we did not have the product knowledge & set up to cater to this customer. When I asked them why did they gave the business to us, their response was – we trusted you and had faith in you to deliver. My personal credibility won and sustained that business win.
  2. Conducted two very successful global acquisitions in 2011-13, one worth approx. Rs 3600 Crore and other Rs 150 Crore within a short span of 15 months. These repositioned the company as the largest automotive lighting company in India with potential localisation of technology.
  3. Transformation at Lumax in the initial 5 years has been very challenging and equally satisfying when one sees the turnaround.

What is a role of leader in these challenging times. List 5 in order of priority.

1.    TRUST & Faith in people and earning their trust 

2.     Lead from the Front and give HOPE

3.     View adversity as a challenge/opportunity

4.     Adaptability to change

5.     100% Involvement of employees in decision making and ensure two-way communication flow, both as feedback and feedforward

What is your vision and how do you share that with your shareholders, employees and others? 

My vision is to create a happy and value creating workplace and culture. A culture that motivates my team to perform with passion and purpose towards the larger vision and goal of the organisation. The purpose is truly to ensure that everyone contributes positively towards the common goal and organisation’s advancement, while also focusing on the advancement of my people for perpetuity. 

I take inspiration from Lumax’s philosophy of ‘Wintegreat Wheel’, it is the essence of building and propelling the organisation ahead into the future. 

 The propeller blades symbolise passion, dynamism, confidence and commitment to accelerated growth. These are integral to my working style and my team is also aligned with these characteristics to create a winning organisation.

Our overall objective goes beyond profit- making, it has and will always be to deliver value to our stakeholders. This sentiment is continuously reinforced through our actions and policies which are aimed at value creation. The following platforms have been created for consistent outreach to different stakeholders:

Stakeholders

Communications 

Shareholders /Investors

Investor calls, Stock exchange, Annual Reports, Annual General Meetings

Employees

Annual Management meets Business Communication meetings, Operations Review Meetings, Town halls, Strategy Meets, Vision setting Exercises

Customers

Regular meetings and visits, Audits, Customers conferences

JV Partners

Regular meetings and visits, Strategy meets

Suppliers

Supplier meetings, supplier development programs

Board Members

Board meetings & Statutory committee meetings

Channel Partners

Channel development meets & conferences, invest time to develop and engage with them

Communities

Directly impacting & engaging with the communities through various CSR programs 

How do you drive active business renovations and how does that impact your subordinates?

    It is a continuous ongoing process. During our Strategy meets we set our targets and then as an organisation work towards achieving them. Regular reviews help us to make course corrections that may be required due to various factors like change in business environment or regulatory framework. Cadence and rhythm in review mechanism is set to ensure harmony in the process and eye on the target. Free flow of communication and engagement facilitates the process. 

Vineet Sahni Lumax How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies? 

Societal responsibility is an integral part of sustainable businesses, as a responsible organisation, it has always been our endeavour to contribute to give back to society and the well-being of communities where we operate. Our CSR programs are aimed at making a positive impact to the most vulnerable sections of the society. All our programs are professionally managed and reviewed periodically by management and boards to ensure their effective implementation. The focus primarily is under two SDGs – Quality education and Good health & well-being. 

It is our endeavour to provide holistic education opportunities to the disadvantaged around our plant locations. Supplementing curriculum through fun based learning, life-skills development, career counselling and scholarships to encourage continuing education, taking learning beyond classroom. 

The programs under Health aim at early detection of disease and right treatment – Cancer screening, awareness and treatment, along with providing Cataract surgeries to the needy and taking care of Juvenile diabetes to the disadvantaged communities to ensure health and well-being.

I strongly practice is never to “Green Wash”. We have our CSR Strategy planned for the next 7 years wherein we focus on ongoing and future initiatives also how many lives we touch and improve through our CSR interventions.

What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?

Life is a great learning curve. There are several things that I have learnt in my life which have been very useful in my career. One such example is a story that goes back to my college days when we used to get a small amount of money from our parents for our monthly expenditures. Most of the time I used to spend almost the entire amount two days before receiving the next month’s money and at that time there wasn’t any instant money transfer. So, for two days I use to manage myself by skipping meals and eating bun-omelette, etc. and never asked money from anyone. So, that finance management which life taught me that time, is something that we now implement in our work-life as Financial Prudence. 

One other story is that what I keep saying to myself. It is a story of three students who achieved 95 out 100 in an exam but by three different methods. One gets 95 by cheating. The second gets 95 by hard work and determination. While the third gets 95 by fluke – just by ticking answers without knowing. So, who do you think will be most satisfied and consistent in the future? The answer is the second one. They all may have achieved the same result and for the world they might be same, but deep down they only know who is satisfied and who will be having a consistent future. 

The third story that I would like to share is about how to be at peace with oneself. So, if you go out and find out Rs 100 note on the road and you see no one watching you and you pick it up, while you go to sleep that night your mind will question you – was it right what you did? You can address that question in two ways. First one is when you be rational and say yes, I was right. If I had not picked it someone else would have. Second one is that when you realise that its not meant for you and you have tomorrow to correct yourself. So, next day when you go to work you can do two things, one you can donate that money to the needy and second you can buy some fruits for your children. The effect on the sleep is different on the second day. If you have donated the money, you will sleep with clear conscious. However, if you have fruits for your children, your conscious will say maybe I didn’t do right and hope his/her health doesn’t deteriorate. Now this difference in doing right and wrong. Nobody is watching you but your conscious is. Your conscious is your own inner voice and one should listen to it to move ahead in life in the correct path. 

What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?

Children are the future of this country and it is very important to nurture and safeguard them.

The elders who have contributed to the success of this nation sometimes unfortunately land up at old age homes. This could be due to poverty, being abandoned by the family. Irrespective of the reasons they should not suffer during their silver years. I personally support these two causes.

How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?

I believe that success is always determined by the inner happiness and satisfaction, positive impact that one is able to create in the life of others.  To find joy in what I do. I believe I have achieved what I aspired to do. When you mentor, or nurture a person and see them successful both personally and professionally, I feel I have succeeded. Building bonds and nurturing relationships are very important

In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?

The most significant aspect of leadership according to me is to grow together taking along everyone, all the employees, shareholders, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders together. As a leader, we share a vision and all the stakeholders are aware of that and when they understand the vision, the communication is correct, there is transparency, they have faith in your determination and they start to engage, put in efforts and work hard to ensure the vision turns into a mission, the whole purpose is achieved. For example, our purpose is to become an organisation in which all stakeholders have absolute trust. Now that is what leadership means. You will become a true leader when all the stakeholders have absolute trust in you, that you can achieve what you have set out to achieve. And that trust doesn’t come overnight, its years of hard work, ups and downs, engagement, communication, consistency in results, long term growth, expansion and much more. So, when we grow, our customers get defect free products & consistent service, our suppliers grow along with us, our partners are happy and satisfied, our employees receive increments and promotion, our shareholders receive higher dividends, etc. So, you are growing together. All these are results of years of hard work which resulted in building trust. 

Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has/can contribute for the same?

 A society that is educated and healthy is empowered. The Socio-Economic Health of the individual is the corner stone of an empowered society. A healthy body and mind that has freedom of choice will contribute positively to the society. 

 For the last few years we have been working on providing Quality Education at primary and secondary levels. Our interventions focus on the overall enrichment of their life. Whereas in Good health, our focus is on prevention, screening awareness and treatment. Our projects focus on Cancer, Cataract surgeries and addressing the medical needs of the disadvantaged communities suffering from juvenile diabetes.

In future, we plan to employ People with Disability at our work place to enable them to lead an empowered and dignified life.

I believe when the organisation grows, the employees also see professional growth and they also try to help those in need. This is a cycle and should continue.

 Esprit de corps: How do you bring fairness and equality to all?

 At Lumax we have a pan India footprint with 31 plants, 4 R&D centres (including 1 in Taiwan), offices and channel partners and retailers.

This diversity of people, geographic and demographic, is united by the core values of the Group. This is what I call ‘Itai Doshin’ which means to be of the same mind, even though we are many in body. We all have different faces, characters, and talents. No one is the same. This is the meaning of “many in body.” When we all have the same goal and work together to achieve it, this signifies “same mind.”

This Unity backed by a culture where every voice is heard and respected, of employees, customers, suppliers and all other stakeholders. We encourage diverse thinking, transparency in our functioning and are making our workspaces inclusive.

 We are a policy driven organisation. With a diverse workforce from different states and countries we have a very transparent communication and recruitment policies. Platforms are available to all employees to raise their concerns. Employee App is personally monitored by me and any employee can communicate his/her grievance with confidentiality and the same will be addressed.

 Someone said, “A great business strategy begins with a great human strategy.” I strongly believe that people are our greatest asset and an employee who feels respected, fairly treated and given equal opportunity to grow will prove to be a long stayer and a greater contributor.

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