Shailendra Shukla is managing director, Vehicle Group & eMobility – India for Eaton. In this role, he is responsible for leading and growing the vehicle business & eMobility in India and oversee operations, profitability, sales performance, market development, customer management, partner relationships, new product launches and leadership development.
in the country.
Shailendra brings along over two decades of industry experience. During this tenure he has exposure to various leadership aspects like – Change Management, Business Transformation, P&L Management, leadership Development, Service Operations, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Development.
Prior to joining Eaton, he held leadership positions with leading global technology organizations in domestic and international market.
He holds a master’s degree in business administration from K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Thadomal Shahani Engineering College (Mumbai University) and a Certificate in Operations Management from IIM-Bangalore.
He likes to read on current affairs, business and history and in spare time catches up with movies. He follows both cricket and football with equal passion.
Eaton is a power management company with 2021 sales of $19.6 billion. Eaton provides energy-efficient solutions that help customers effectively manage electrical and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton has approximately 90,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. For more information, visit Eaton.com.
Our Exclusive Interview:
What was your journey like to get where you are?
The journey has indeed been exciting, marked with a plethora of opportunities to overcome challenges, learning and exposure, taking challenging assignments, building robust relationships, innovation, making big decisions, failing early, learning from mistakes, planning, implementing, and executing plans.
The journey to immense responsibility is a function of multiple actions which involve grooming self and business—meeting and exceeding objectives in an organized and timely fashion, taking risks, and building relationships.
How important is the organization’s culture to you? How do you ensure that you maintain a healthy culture in your organization?
A famous Peter Drucker quote says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I subscribe to this saying and endorse that culture will decide the success and future of the organisation.
Maintaining healthy culture in the organisation is essential, and leaders have a strong role to play here. Leaders must lead from the front by creating an apolitical environment built on trust. This environment should celebrate failure and have an excellent learning culture. Leaders must enable powerful feedback mechanisms and communication for effective engagement with employees.
I want to highlight Eaton’s robust leadership model, which incorporates ethics, passion, accountability, transparency, efficiency, learning, thinking, and acting strategically, building organisational culture, getting results, and digital mindset as part of a Leader’s outlook.
What is your current and ideal work/life balance?
A leader is expected to handle multiple stakeholders demands, including prioritizing day to day decisions, to bring effective work-life balance and simultaneously handle time management. The line between work and life has further merged during the current times when several employees are working from home.
Everyone has to effectively divide time between work, family, society, and self. I do not prescribe to divide time into a number of hours per day in each category but in blocks of a week for work, family, society, and self and ensure that depending upon the situation; the focus on each category can vary. Certain weeks the focus on family and work is equal while some weeks would mean more intense emphasis on work and deadlines. Each individual leader must walk this fine line while managing competing demands on their time. It is also important to remember that investing in your health and learning is of paramount significance.
What’s your biggest people problem you’re trying to solve right now?
Currently, I am contending with supply chain management, commodity fluctuations, and customer demand. In the current scenario, most organisations that manufacture products and solutions are facing multiple challenges and managing them without compromising on customer satisfaction and profitability.
Describe a time you had to make a tough decision (e.g., budget cuts, organizational restructuring, market withdrawal, etc.). What did you do, and what was the result?
In business making, decisions are a daily affair. The more challenging decisions are usually “people-related,” followed by “managing scarce resources” and “new investments decisions.” Difficult decision-making situations are not uncommon, and I had to make such decisions multiple times.
Empathy and open communication for people-related matters is of utmost importance. In the case of managing scarce resources and investments, one needs to calculate risk and depend on data study, situational analysis, gauge future trends followed by guts and grit.
What was your most unexpected lesson in leading for growth of the company?
The brightest idea may come from most unexpected quarters and thus be grounded and spend time with customers, users, and your people.
If you were able to go back in time 10 years from now. What would you tell yourself about leadership that you didn’t know then?
Align all your goals towards the customer, have empathy, learning never stops, don’t delay decision making, take risks, and have the right team to deliver results.
Which leader in the Corporate world do you admire and why?
I believe in unpretentious leadership and am highly fond of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Ratan Tata, and Narayan Murthy from the Indian corporates who believe in empowering their people. I have an equal passion for innovation, digitization, and customer insights and thus would not want to miss Steve Jobs. Finally, one has to give back to society, and Bill Gates has done a commendable job here.