Recognizing talent does take some efforts
Salil, 35 owns and leads a medium size successful company which he built over just five years. His company manufactures precision parts needed by automotive safety subsystems like airbags and seat belts. He had worked in an automotive OEM major as a mechanical design engineer for about seven years. His stint as a mechanical design engineer provided him with good insights into the technical aspects of the precision parts needed in cars. He knew that various automotive parts interacted with each other in many ways during and after assembly and during actual use -and not all these aspects ever get documented and get into the spec sheets. As a result, typically OEMs ask for much tighter specs than needed.
As he turned 30, he felt that his insights like the one above could be used to economically manufacture parts and assemblies that performed well when assembled into automobiles. He decided to quit his job and start his own venture. After some years of struggle to get a chance to prove his ideas in manufacturing he received trial orders. He funded all this through his savings and from his family and friends. His company and its precision parts soon became well known among automotive industry. One business magazine interviewed him and his team for their cover story.
When asked about his success, Salil said, “I think I was lucky to come across many talented people -our designers, manufacturing technologists, purchasers and even back office people are exceptionally talented. I am fortunate that they chose to work with me and continued to do so for all these years. It is one thing to have great ideas, but it is another thing to have good people. Without good people your ideas are worth nothing” His people said about Salil, ” He is like a magnet who draws us to him and he draws the best out of us”. His manufacturing technology guy said, “I think he put more faith in me than I was prepared to put in myself” Another of his key people said, “We vigorously argue on technical matters. We often have shoot-outs for selecting correct technical solutions. But when we make decisions we match up up well about the values involved -e.g. all of us agree to delay a shipment if we are not 100% sure of quality and we do this even if there is risk of annoying our customer because we are sure that we will be able to convince the customer about our choice.”
Salil said about himself, ‘ I come from a modest background. It helped that we lived frugally and it meant that we thought deeply about everything. Another things which I always do is to ask around for ideas, guidance, and help from everyone I meet. I often give an impression that I am wasting time in talking to what many would consider as people of less education or experience or caliber. But I have always found that there is something to learn”
Salil obviously is gifted with a keen mind, an eye for talent, willingness to learn and try, and humility. He may or may not have commonly known talents like public speaking, communication skills, coding some art, but he is uniquely talented.
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