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7 Questions on Leadership with Amit Arora


Name: Amit Arora


Title: CIO


Organisation: SHR LIFESTYLES PVT LTD


Amit Arora, is a retail tech visionary with over 20 years of leadership experience. He's guided SHR Lifestyles to global prominence, boasting more than 120 outlets worldwide.


His pioneering strategies have streamlined operations, aligned technology with business objectives, and elevated customer satisfaction.


Decorated with awards like 'Retail Tech Icon' and named one of the 'Eminent CIOs of India 2023,' his influence is far-reaching. A sought-after speaker, he has graced stages at the Phygital Retail Convention, Retail India Summit by 'RAI', Retail Summit at PHDCCI, CII, Indo-Canadian Cyber Security Summit, and CIO & CTO Leadership Summit. His insights have been prominently featured in various prestigious publications. With entrepreneurial spirit and global acumen, his diverse accolades and achievements coalesce to make him an inspiring and transformative leader in the fast-evolving retail and tech landscapes.


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


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


Cheers,

Jonno White



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


As a leader in the dynamic intersection of the retail and technology sectors, I've encountered multifaceted challenges. Navigating the ever-accelerating pace of technological innovation while ensuring that our retail operations remain agile and efficient has been a central challenge. Additionally, striking the right balance between disruptive innovation and operational stability, and adapting to a continually shifting competitive landscape, has been equally demanding.


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


My journey to leadership was ignited by an unwavering passion for technology and an unrelenting pursuit of innovation. My early roles in technology and entrepreneurship refined my skills and knowledge. Co-founding a tech company that swiftly burgeoned into a million-dollar enterprise in its formative years was pivotal. This experience profoundly shaped my leadership philosophy, underscoring the paramount importance of disruptive innovation and adaptability.


It's the fusion of relentless effort, unwavering commitment, and an unyielding aspiration to catalyze substantial change in the retail and tech realm that propelled me into leadership. Each chapter in my career contributed to my evolution as a leader, from pioneering tech startups to revolutionizing traditional retail paradigms.


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


My daily schedule is meticulously organized to maximize productivity. Early mornings are dedicated to strategic thinking and planning. This is when I tackle creative tasks and engage in critical meetings. The afternoons are usually reserved for addressing operational issues and collaborating with my team. Evenings are a time for reflection and preparing for the following day. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is an essential part of my daily routine.


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


A recent leadership lesson has underscored the importance of fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptability. In the contemporary business landscape, leaders must not only embrace change but also encourage their teams to innovate. Being open to new ideas, accepting calculated risks, and acknowledging that mistakes can often be the stepping stones to significant successes have been crucial takeaways. Maintaining an agile organizational culture is paramount.


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?


In addition to "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen, "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek has been profoundly influential. This book emphasizes the role of leaders in creating an environment of trust, collaboration, and mutual support. The idea that true leadership isn't about being the boss but rather serving the team has significantly shaped my leadership style.


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


If I could offer one piece of invaluable advice to aspiring young leaders and entrepreneurs, it would be to cultivate an unshakable belief in your vision. As you embark on your journey, you'll undoubtedly encounter obstacles and naysayers who challenge your dreams. Stay resolute in your conviction and use these challenges as stepping stones to success.


Embrace continuous learning. The landscape of business and technology is ever-evolving. Stay curious and committed to expanding your knowledge. Seek out mentors, read voraciously, and engage with thought leaders. Every ounce of wisdom gained will serve as a building block for your leadership foundation.


Foster resilience. Challenges and setbacks are not roadblocks but opportunities for growth. View them as chances to learn, adapt, and become a more formidable leader. Embrace change and innovation. The ability to pivot and welcome change with open arms is the hallmark of a visionary leader. The business world is dynamic, and those who adapt swiftly are the ones who thrive.


Finally, never underestimate the power of collaboration. Surround yourself with a talented and diverse team. Leverage their strengths and let their ideas flourish. Embrace different perspectives and create a workplace culture that encourages creativity and open communication.


The path to leadership and entrepreneurial success is laden with trials, but it's these very trials that forge resilient and visionary leaders. Embrace them, stay passionate, and lead by example.


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


My journey into leadership began with an unwavering passion for technology and an unyielding commitment to innovation. Early in my career, I was immersed in various technology and entrepreneurial roles, which helped me refine my skills and expertise.


One pivotal chapter in my leadership story involves co-founding a tech startup that achieved remarkable success, swiftly growing into a million-dollar enterprise within its first few years. This experience was transformative, underscoring the profound importance of disruptive innovation and adaptability. It was a journey marked by hard work, dedication, and an unquenchable desire to make a meaningful impact in the retail and tech sectors.


Another impactful story from my leadership journey revolves around the astonishing transformation of SHREE. Over time, we expanded our global footprint from a single store to over 120 outlets. This achievement is a testament to the dedication and innovation of our entire team, reflecting the immense power of unity and a shared vision. It is a vivid demonstration of the boundless potential for growth and transformation when a cohesive group works collectively towards a common goal.


Both stories exemplify my journey and serve as profound lessons in visionary leadership, cutting-edge technology, and the extraordinary results achievable when a dedicated team collaborates passionately to realize a shared mission.

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