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7 Questions with Raghav Khosla
7 Questions with Raghav Khosla
Name: Raghav Khosla
Current title: Managing Director
Current organisation: Skyra Professional Equipment Pvt. Ltd.
I am a passionate entrepreneur who has founded and led two startups that are vertically integrated into each other. My experience in product development, progressive manufacturing and creative marketing has been invaluable in bringing fresh, new ideas to tired industries that are ripe for innovation.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Being able to recruit and organize world-class talent
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My grandfather and his family were dislocated from Lahore (then part of India) during the India-Pakistan partition in 1947. They eventually found themselves in the small town of Moradabad, locally known for handicrafts in India. After a few odd jobs, my grandfather initiated a tiny silver-plating cottage industry for sports trophies. With no college education and at a time when foreign travel and transactions were heavily regulated and brutally taxing, he followed his unwavering passion to travel and see the world. In the process, he also successfully leveraged his expertise in electroplating and scaled his little shop into a global OEM for home and gift silverware.
He is my inspiration. Having worked in our third-generation family business for almost a decade, I was smitten by the fabulous design and marketing of European high-street brands for whom we were manufacturing metal goods. Like him, I decided to follow my passion and initiate a global marketing and design brand for professional and home tableware.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I usually start work at 5AM and have a 3hr shift until my kids are awake. This time is dedicated to self-improvement - mostly reading and learning (At any time I am taking an executive course to enhance my skills). At 9:30AM I am back at the desk to answer emails followed by a string of meetings with my direct reports and internal business partners. At 1 PM I take a break to work-out, followed by lunch. The second half of the day is dedicated to working on company operations and external appointments. In case I do not have to be outside the office, I take an hour out to play with my kids. My work day usually ends at 7 PM. I spend the next two hours with my family, having dinner and putting the children to bed. My wife and I are usually in bed by 9:30PM and asleep around 11PM.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
You are as good as your team. And your team is as good as their training.
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?
The Future Is Faster Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler talks about the power of digitization and exponential change. Peter Diamandis is also the Dean of Singularity University - an institution that is dedicated to understanding the future in the digital-age.
The book has helped me comprehend the explosion of the digitization and what it means over the next 10 years. We are at an inflection point in our professional lives. Almost every business in the world is either going to disrupt or be disrupted. This book has helped me understand how to steer my company towards the first option and update our business model to align it with a successful future.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
A focus on systems and training. A well incentivized team and a mindset for progress and growth.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
On 21st May 2020, our 7 year old start-up stood proud in the hotel supplies market as an established global brand of beautiful food presentation and tableware solutions. We had been ambitious and leveraged ourselves completely each year to maximize marketing and growth. Little did we know that that evening would be the last normal day that the company would see for a while. The coronavirus pandemic has sent the hospitality supplies industry spiraling downwards by 95%. As a leader we have not fired or closed any part of our business. Instead we have utilized the open bandwidth of our teams to expedite development on short term rescue products such as personal protection and sanitization as well as long term goals of entering the pet and houseware markets. After a year, we have emerged witnessing year on year growth and a much stronger foundation for long-term growth.