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7 Questions on Leadership with Arijit Basu

Name: Arijit Basu



Consummate leader in business for strategy and execution in the specialty chemicals and Automotive & Industrial lubricants industry with 25+ years of experience. A board level executive with proven track record in general management, strategy and people management.

Arijit Basu is a dynamic professional with a career spanning 25 years in sales, marketing, product management, business development and general management.

He is currently the Managing Director in Tide Water Oil Company, manufacturer of Veedol brand of Automotive and Industrial lubricants and greases.

He was formerly the Managing Director at Sika India Pvt Ltd, a Swiss multinational in the field of speciality construction chemicals.

He is a Chemistry honours graduate from Calcutta University and an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management - Calcutta (IIM-C). Furthermore, he has done Leadership Development Program at IMD, Lausanne (Switzerland).

He is proficient in devising strategic business plans for organizational growth, having diverse skill sets which include strategic planning, lateral thinking, business management and leadership skills aligned to create profitable growth. In 2016 he was a receiver of theDr. APJ Abdul Kalam Excellence Award for outstanding individual achievement. His leadership style is “Listen - Learn - Act - Adopt - Deliver”. He loves reading self-development and spiritual books and spending quality time with his family. He is also a chess aficionado and an animal lover.

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

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


Jonno White

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

Managing cultural transitions while meeting the performance expectations

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

I am a “self made” person and my leadership journey has been an evolutionary one having started from the front line to move up through the ranks. I believe my ability to learn fast, manage ambiguity and taking up newer challenges as opportunities to move forward has been the key points which shaped me as a leader.

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

As soon as I wake up, which is generally between 6-7 am, I first make a silent prayer in two simple words (Thank you!) sharing my gratitude to the world around that I am alive and grateful to see one more beautiful day on earth. Then I start my day with an hour of my “me time” when I generally listen to spiritual chants or mediate followed by a cuppa of hot tea and play a couple of games of online chess and then deep dive into my day’s schedule head on. I try to make it a point to stay positive and calm even during the challenging days at the office and always ensure that I don’t bring back work at home. I generally tend to relax by listening to music or being with my family including my fur babies. Before I go to bed I generally read an article or a few pages of a book of my choice.

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

Profit with Purpose! I have always believed that people are at the core of any organisational strategy and I got reminded of it again while managing yet another transition in my current role. While as a leader we need to re think, re shape and re built culture, organisational structuring and deliver profits, we must stay attentive to the core purpose of creating a sustainable future for all the stake holders, and not just profit at all costs.

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?

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. In this classic best seller, what impacted me the most is the power of “small changes” incrementally over a period of time. Owning upto your mistake is essential part of this evolution to become a better personality.

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

As leaders, have “Empathy” and Do the “Right things” - not just the things right!

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

At one of the board meetings, during a succession planning discussion for the leadership team, a very crucial stalemate was reached when my proposal had to be revisited and the Directors at the board had a differing view points. While the intentions at the both ends were to find a logical solutions, the method and timelines never were matching. However I knew I was doing the right thing when I agreed to move ahead with the differing view points in the interest of the organisation which meant the succession plan was officially approved. During the course of the project, the Directors also started to feel and realise that the original proposal had actually thought through the bottlenecks which prevailed and agreed to fast forward a few cases which when successfully executed gave the Board enough confidence to move full throttle which actually brought us in a harmonious, agreeable and mutually satisfying course of transformation for the organisation. To me, this is a key learning how to navigate through conflict and difference of opinions and come out stronger and better even with aligning views of the others towards you!

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