India’s Best Leaders – Amit Somaiya, CEO, IMS People
Years of working in the industry, your contribution reflects versatility and volubility. What has influenced your decision making process at various stages?
An entrepreneur goes through various cycles during the course of setting up his business. I am not certain whether these cycles have a common pattern amongst different entrepreneurs, but in my case, I first experienced the influence of ambition at the time of start up of our business. All my decisions and judgement were highly influenced with the ambition in accomplishing the goals I had.
My decision making during the second phase of the growth of the business (once the business was moderately set up) was influenced by persévérance.
At the current stage where the business is today where the brand is now well established and there are a number of accomplishments to our credit, the decision making process is influenced by the vision of creating a master piece for the future.
A project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
One of our major clients had decided to part away from us and stopped availing services after a 3 years relationship. This decision of theirs, so we believed, was based on erroneous assumptions. Both the contract as well as the relationship were extremely crucial for our business. The relentless pursuit to meet the client and their stakeholders, reengaging them, and successfully enrolling them for the future has been extremely fulfilling and significant. Today they continue to avail services from us and are the largest buyer of our services.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
Giving back to the society is a noble as well as an important activity that corporates ought to practise. However, it works best when one integrates such social cause along with their business strengths and/or practise. IMS has a large pool of talent working for them. These youngsters are energetic, full of life, and equally enthusiastic to make a difference in the society. Channelizing their energies in the field of social work is one of the business strategies that IMS has adopted.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
“Be the cause in the matter“
The above has been my mantra over the years. Challenges are a part and parcel of life. Any business is mired with breakdowns and difficult situations. I have always observed that blaming a situation or the circumstance is merely an excuse to shift the responsibility. Being the cause in that matter and taking appropriate action (whether they bring success or not) always ensures genuinity of one’s cause. Eventually you do get success.
What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?
I am involved with an organization called “MAD” (Making a Difference).
With this organization we support children on the street in both urban as well as in desolated rural areas with clothing during winter.
We also carry out programs for supporting child education as well as sponsoring education costs for children whose parents are unable to afford school fees.
Besides the above there are other smaller programs associated with reducing the use of plastics.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
I believe success is about making a positive contribution to one’s vision. Success is not a destination; it is the journey which one embarks on, can face various hurdles, come across various twists and turns, but what stands out is their progress of this journey. The mere fact of persevering and continuing relentlessly in the direction of one’s vision, is success.
My success journey is on. I therefore never feel of having arrived in life, or at the final destination of my vision. As I progress the vision takes new shape and form and the journey continues.
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
When a leader is able to make himself entirely redundant within his team. This I believe is the most important aspect of an accomplished leader. Undoubtedly a leader needs to practice many virtues; being just and fair; a person of integrity; mentoring and guiding people; as well as a visionary in his field. However, I believe that the leader has accomplished the most when his team (with his support, guidance and mentoring) are able to stand up and function in his absence, as effectively as they would have done during his presence. This is a single most significant aspect of leadership.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has / can contribute for the same?
I believe the society is empowered when they have freedom of choice. The recruitment and the staffing industry researches on opportunities and presents them to their candidates. This provides a choice to the candidates to decide on how they would like to shape their future careers. The staffing industry plays a vital role not only in keeping the engines of the enterprise running, but also empowering individuals to shape and control their careers.
One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry?
One thing which I would really like to change about my industry is the ‘dogmatic’ attitude that I have seen in many recruiters about their respective business models. It is imperative that with the change in times, advancement in technology, change in customer needs and behaviour, one also should modify their business outlook in the right direction. I have seen quite some firms who have failed dramatically just because of a dogmatic view of how their business should be.
The consultative nature of our business model, making strategic contribution to an organization’s development would be the key features which I would wish to retain for our industry.
One thing you have to let go off as an entrepreneur/leader?
If one wants to succeed as an entrepreneur they would need to let go of their ‘pessimistic’ view about their business, situation or life. This would be one of the single most show stopper for any entrepreneur.
Whom do you owe your success to?
There are a number of people whom I would like to acknowledge for the success that I have accomplished in my life :
All of my employees who are the foundation of our organization their relentless pursuit and dedication is truly commendable.
My various business mentors who over the years have ideated with me, lent support to my thoughts and contributed to my wisdom and I would like to give a special mention to Joost Kreulen and Jack Unroe.
My parents for giving me the strength, imbibing me with integrity, and my uncle Ashok who truly invested and made me believe in my vision and that I could accomplish my dreams.
Finally and most importantly my wife Toral and my children Vatsal and Hritika. Their love and selflessness gave me the strength to withstand the most testing times especially my wife to whom at times I turned for wisdom and who has been my steadfast partner ensuring that I don’t run off course and I am able to accomplish my vision.
Best thing about your job?
‘The best part about my job is, that I can make, and am able to, make a difference to people’s life’.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/leaders?
My final parting message for other entrepreneurs is a quote from Werner Erhard which I would like to mention over here
“It is important that you get clear for yourself that your only access to impacting life is action. The world does not care what you intend, how committed you are, how you feel or what you think, and certainly it has no interest in what you want and don’t want. Take a look at life as it is lived and see for yourself that the world only moves for you when you act.”
– Werner Erhard