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7 Questions on Leadership with Abhinav Rastogi

Name: Abhinav Rastogi

Title: CEO


Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Abhinav's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The most challenging aspect has been balancing the rapid growth of our company with maintaining a strong, positive company culture. As we expand globally, ensuring that every team member feels valued and heard, regardless of their location or role, remains a priority. Navigating the uncharted waters of global expansion, akin to an explorer in the Age of Discovery. Each new market is like a new continent, rich in possibilities but fraught with unknowns. The challenge lies in adapting our ethos to diverse cultures while keeping the essence of our identity intact.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My journey to leadership is interwoven with the legacy of my family. It's a story that begins not at the helm, but in the heart of our operations – the shop floor. Eleven years ago, I embarked on this path, not as an heir, but as a craftsman among craftsmen, learning the soul of our business from the ground up. The rubber business runs in my veins, a rich heritage passed down through generations, starting from my grandfather. This legacy has been my compass, guiding each step from the shop floor to the CEO's office. Along the way, I've not only mastered the intricacies of our trade but have also cherished the human connections made, still vividly recalling the names and faces of those I stood shoulder to shoulder with. My leadership is not just a position; it's a chapter in a family saga, written with respect for the past and a vision for the future.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Imagine a day as a canvas. The early hours are broad strokes of planning and introspection. The workday is a kaleidoscope of meetings, decisions, and interactions—each adding color and depth. Evenings are the final brushstrokes of family and work again since we work across the world. Having office in US adds to the work hours given the time difference. It is a 24x7x365 job. I eat, sleep, breath our business.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Recently, I've been reminded of the importance of active listening. True leadership involves not just directing but also understanding and empathizing with your team. This approach fosters a more inclusive and innovative work environment. It becomes challenging and overwhelming sometimes but most important is to not react on everything but sit back and jump in where required, let things sleep and take their shape. Do not fire fight everything.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Simon Sinek's 'Start with Why' profoundly impacted my leadership style. It shifted my focus to the 'why' behind what we do, helping me lead with a purpose-driven approach that resonates deeply with both our team and our clients.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Stay curious and humble. Leadership is a continuous learning journey. Embrace challenges as opportunities, and never lose sight of the human aspect in leadership. Imagine your leadership as a tree. Focus on deepening your roots in knowledge and values while extending your branches towards new experiences and perspectives. Stay grounded, yet always reach for the sky. Strive to be better than tomorrow.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Once, during a critical project phase, a junior team member's innovative idea saved the day. It was a profound reminder that great ideas can come from any level within the organization. It was like finding a diamond in the rough, shining with potential and brilliance.

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