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Nikhil Arora- Vice President & MD - GoDaddy, India

Nikhil Arora

Nikhil Arora

"Missionary before mercenary’ as a business leader" Nikhil Arora

I wish I really had a mantra that if applied will always work for me or everyone, but yes there are few tenets that have worked well over these years. Few of them are-

·        Khud mare bina swarag nahin milta! (You have to die yourself to see the heaven) -Fundamentally you have to roll up your sleeves and work hard to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself or your team. You can’t expect that you will not have to do anything and you will achieve what you want.

·        You can’t do it alone! – In conjunction with what I said above please know that in the corporate world it’s a team that delivers results. So be a part of the team and build a strong team to succeed. Be a team player.

·        Change is the only constant – Be flexible and be adaptable. Be open, learn, adopt, adapt, and thrive.


Embracing & Overcoming Challenges:

Being a Fauzi Kid (my Dad’s retired from Indian Air Force) I had a wonderful life traveling across the country and changing cities and schools every 3-5 years. I did wonderfully well through the school years and joined BITS Pilani post my 12th grade having scored 94% in those years.

I had never imagined that life has its own plans for you and you just can’t have an entitlement mentality based upon what you think you deserve. Here’s a chronology of events that unfolded in my life over the years –

·        1992 - I was diagnosed with Osteoclastoma (a form of malignant bone tumor) on the lower end of the femur on my left leg in my 3rd year of college. This came as a big shock and a traumatic experience not just for me but for the entire family. I had to undergo major surgery and cancer therapy (Chemo and Radiation). My friends and family helped me to pull through this and I did manage to graduate from college without having to lose a year.

·        1996 – I was working in Mumbai and was detected with a local recurrence of the tumor and had to undergo a major 9-hour surgery leading to the removal of 12 cms of lower end of the femur bone and Total Knee Replacement with an artificial knee joint implant in my left leg.

·        2002 – The Knee Implant had to be repaired for the wear & tear through another 9-hour surgery.

·        2004 – Unfortunately the knee joint got infected. Amongst all the choices of either replacing it with a new implant (requiring 6-10 months of being bedridden) or fusing the leg straight by using bone from the other leg or above-knee amputation and using a prosthetic limb, I opted for above-knee amputation. This decision wasn’t an easy one but seemed to be the safest looking at the past experience and future prospects of the options available.

Since then I have been fitted with a prosthetic limb from a German Company called Ottobock and have been able to lead a life that I feel is as blessed as anyone else’s. I think this quote - “Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it's no worse than it is.” - sums it all up along with the tremendous moral support from my family, friends, and well-wishers.


Mentors That Have Guided You:

I have been extremely lucky to have some great friends, colleagues, bosses, and leaders who have been great mentors and coaches. I am thankful to them for their support, help, and trust reposed in me that has helped me through my journey so far. Some of the lessons that they taught me are-

·        Success is not final and failure is not fatal.

·        If you learn from the mistakes of others rather than their success you will be one experienced man!

·        You can’t control what happens to you but if you can control your attitude towards what happens to you, you will ride the waves of change.

·        Happiness is a state of mind and you can’t compare the happiness of two minds. So don’t compare yourself with others, cultivate a happy state of mind in your own head.


Evolution Of Process Excellence:

The journey of Process Excellence so far has been based on the concept of continuous improvement through monitoring and studying the current state of the process and identifying the variation/waste in it and then eliminating the same to streamline and stabilize the current state. The challenge with this approach has been that it has given incremental and limited results/business impact.

With the advent of the new era of digital, the erstwhile paradigm must shift from continuous improvement driven Process Excellence to Business Transformation. Organizations must re-evaluate their business models itself using Design Thinking (hinged on Customer Experience) and Design for Six Sigma to radically redesign the processes that must be solely focused on the customer rather than being designed to cater to internal delivery models or organization structures. The companies that will succeed in this new age are the ones who are not going to be the slaves of their internal constraints – Process/People/Technology and above all policies. One of the most overlooked aspects of transformation are the current policies governing the process flows that end up being a constraint on agility/customer experience. The new-age transformation would be driven by customer experience led Technology / Policy / Process /People design as compared to the erstwhile paradigm of continuous improvement that focused on Process / People / Technology / Policy (in that order).


Importance Of Being Resilience In The Current Market:

I feel people will need to first of all accept the fact that the world is not going to be the same again (though that’s how it always has been but this time the change and the fact has hit the entire world at the same time!). In this VUCA world here are few things that are going to be more important than ever before –

·        Emotional Intelligence - EI is going to be a far more critical skill than just pure play academic intelligence. People must build mental/emotional resilience. One must try and see if one can invest and learn more about being emotionally intelligent.

·        Learning Methods and Options - One must be flexible to look at multiple options available to learn new skills / develop new competencies. Self-learning, Learning-on-the-go, and through digital platforms is going to be new norm for self-development. Learning is going to be far more agile, constant, and changing as compared to the static model of graduation/post-graduation degrees.

·        Traditional Job & Role Definitions – The job descriptions and role definitions are going to change drastically. The world and job market requirements are going to get flat. The Contractual and gig economy is going to dominate against full-time jobs and roles. One must be open to operate as a consultant on multiple assignments. This requires one to be able to manage the entire cycle of prospecting of projects to successful execution and closure- entrepreneurship at an individual level is going to be the new order.

·        Core competency vs. Generalists – The job market is going to be more focused on people who bring specialized skills/competencies to execute special projects vs. generalist management roles. So it is important to acquire some niche skills/competencies in your field of interest and expertise.

·        Liberal arts and social sectors – The service/social/liberal arts economy will see a huge revival and surge with people willing to spend time and money in the pursuit of a balanced life (hoping that we all learn from this pandemic the importance of sustainability and environmental balance). So careers in these fields are going to see an upsurge.

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