This is a story about Ramesh Sheth of Mehsana*.
After finishing his engineering, Ramesh established his foundry by raising funds from family and friends. With his technical prowess and business acumen, he made excellent products. He developed domestic and international clients over a period of time. From nowhere he grew to 120 Cr company in a decade. He roped in foreign investors also to expand his business.
It has been a decade. Everything was going fine, but he felt something was not right.
With a common connect, he came to know about my work on leadership coaching. At predetermined time, I went to see him in his office.
He narrated me his entire story, from the early beginning to till date, informed me about all the challenges he faced and how he overcame them.
I found him determined, honest, and sound businessman.
I was just curios to learn why did he invite me to have conversation.
After initial formal discussion, he shared his mind and his dilemma.
“I have grown well. I have developed new products, brought in innovation in technology. I have also got reputed clients. But, unfortunately, people don’t stay with me, especially at senior level. The average span of senior executives in my company is not more than two years. I feel I need to do something, otherwise I will start declining.”
I could understand his pain.
At first instance, it was more strategic than operational.
Over the last few years, my own work has convinced me that such problems occur because we try to solve human issues with approaches better used to solve problems with machines.
As I studied his own growth trajectory, I found him great at technical skills. I also noticed his ability to learn customer’s requirements – technical requirements, and ability to design products accordingly.
I interacted with his direct reports, and few old employees.
According to them, “Sir is excellent technical person. He is highly dedicated, intelligent, and committed person. Once he determine something, he does not listen to any one. For him, customer is god. He makes most of his decision on his own.”
Here, we caught the catch. Each senior person who joined him found himself redundant. People would join his company because of the brand, the work they do, and technical supremacy. But, would leave as they find themselves under-utilised.
So, we designed three point action plan.
- Active listening during the meeting – don’t judge or conclude before you listen to anyone.
- Collaborative leadership approach – involve respective person in decision making, and
- Taking feedback from direct report – to involve senior executives actively
Initial coaching of six months helped him to improve his relationship with direct reports, and brought healthy results for the company. He did not have that fear of anyone leaving his company prematurely. He could establish sense of confidence among his direct reports and increase trust for him among them.
Dr. Shital Badshah works as Leadership Coach and Consultant. If you want to get more details about above case or related cases, please write at Shital@GrowthCatalystIndia.com or speak to him at +91 942 841 9021.
*The name of person and place is changed to keep the identity disguised.