People@Work

‘Relentless focus kept me going’

| Updated on May 08, 2019 Published on May 08, 2019

Achal Bakeri, Chairman and MD of Symphony

He sells products that keep you cool, but Achal Bakeri, Chairman and MD of Symphony, is himself famous for staying cool. He didn’t lose focus even when the air-coolers manufacturing company he founded was in the throes of bankruptcy. Bakeri pulled Symphony out of it, and turned it around. The architect-turned-entrepreneur known for his love of art is driven by a design-thinking approach and has himself designed Symphony House in Ahmedabad. He shares his thoughts on:

What kept him motivated through those years of difficulties

Relentless focus, that is what kept me going through the tumultuous times. I always had an unshakable faith in this product category. This fire of conviction was fuelled by a strong team I had been blessed with. The team was aligned with my vision and stood rock-solid through the crests and troughs of Symphony’s journey.

As a team we believe in striving for excellence by constantly challenging the status quo. That is why I keep saying to my team that we’ve just scratched the surface.

Where disruptions will be coming from in his industry

Us, who else? Disruptions started when we launched the first-ever plastic body air-cooler way back in 1988. Since then, we’ve been launching many firsts in the air-cooler category. We are known for creating a flutter in the market with innovative features, never-seen-before designs and business strategies that become benchmarks for others to follow.

Three qualities an entrepreneur should have

First and foremost, one should be self-disciplined. It is important to have absolute control over both actions and reactions. Self-discipline gives you the power to hold on to your decisions and follow them through with an unwavering will. Successful entrepreneurs make sure that they do the things that unsuccessful ones don’t like to do.

Secondly, I’d say persistence is key to fulfil your dreams. It is the steel quality of the character that sails through obstacles and makes you achieve your goals. Persistence allows you to take important decisions even when you don’t feel like it and therefore keep producing results.

Another crucial trait is decisiveness. A decisive and action-oriented leader energises his or her team.

A business book he would recommend

Why Philanthropy Matters by Zoltan Acs. It provides a novel perspective on the contribution of philanthropy in the world of capitalism, especially in the US.

His style of management

I believe in participative leadership, which motivates the team to accept and own the vision I share with them. Collective wisdom fostered by the inclusive style helps in sharpening the direction with necessary course corrections.

De-stressing from work

Reading helps me in my pursuit of knowledge. And, of course, there is nothing as de-stressing as spending leisure time with my family.

His favourite work of art

I have been an admirer of Picasso since my days as a student of architecture. Though I cannot afford a Picasso painting, I have some woven-textile reproductions which I acquired from the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.

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Published on May 08, 2019
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