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Kishan Jain on how the electricals sector can help fight climate change

The director of Goldmedal Electricals explains why he prefers virtual meetings, and what mentorship means to him

Kishan Jain, Director of Goldmedal Electricals.

By Shrenik Avlani

LAST PUBLISHED 09.10.2023  |  01:00 PM IST

Kishan Jain’s cotton shirt is practical for the Mumbai summer, and his hair is short. The choice of his office in suburban Mumbai is again a practical one as it is a short drive from his home. He is much like one of the most popular products from his brand Goldmedal Electricals—a practical retrofit kit that allows people to upgrade their existing electrical fittings to automated ones without changing any wiring.

The 44-year-old is a second-generation business leader in this family-owned business, which started out as a wholesale venture in electricals in Vijayawada in 1979. Goldmedal started manufacturing switches and electrical components in 1995 and today it has products ranging from LED lights to electrical appliances to home automation solutions, alongside the core business of switches. Along with more products has come growth: the business, which used to have a turnover of 18 crore when Jain joined about 20 years ago, today rings in 2,200 crore with three manufacturing units and a fourth under construction.

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Jain, who trained in plastic engineering with L&T in Chennai before joining the family business, is now focused on scaling up the business. Jain tells Lounge how his friend became his mentor and taught him the importance of design and scaling a business.

Who do you consider your mentor?

Yogesh Jain, who runs a garments export business in Bengaluru, is a close friend and mentor. He taught me the importance of introducing changes into one's life and encouraged me to explore new avenues for doing things in a more effective manner. Under his guidance, I gained an understanding of business scaling and the significance of honing design skills.

One major insight you worked on with your mentor’s guidance?

Early on, we encountered several difficulties where it appeared that giving in to a few compromises would be a lot simpler than upholding the values we had established for ourselves. The success we have had, however, is much sweeter because we have remained true to the values we were raised with.

What does being a mentor mean to you?

Someone who will share their experiences and wisdom but will encourage you to make your own decisions and learn from them. A mentor also helps in objectively analysing the decisions. I try to take the same approach. I share my expectations and give them a free hand on execution. Making mistakes is a part of the process. My role is to make everyone realise that we are playing the long game and that mistakes should not be considered stumbling blocks but a lesson for the future.

Describe your morning schedule?

I wake up around 7 am and the first thing I do is check my texts to see if any matter needs my immediate attention. Then I hit the gym and eat breakfast with my family. This is the most significant time I spend with my family.

What’s the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?

Taking part in video calls. Virtual meetings require much less coordination than getting a team together in person. It has helped me save time that I would have otherwise spent commuting for meetings.

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Any book or podcast recommendations about mentorship and workplace growth?

I enjoy reading biographies of entrepreneurs and inventors as they inspire me to work harder. It is the best way to learn… from their successes and failures and gain an understanding of the strategic abilities they employed to grow their business.

Any serious hobbies?

I enjoy watching movies. One of my favourite ways to unwind is to watch movies in a theatre with my family.

What are some of the productivity principles you follow that have improved your professional and personal life?

I avoid putting things off and procrastinating. I try to make business decisions that are swift and clear cut to prevent delays. Furthermore, it's crucial to hire and retain the ideal team if you want to simplify your personal and professional lives… when you are surrounded by appropriate people, work becomes a lot simpler.

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How is the electrical and home appliances sector future-proofing against climate change?

We need a holistic approach to climate change holistically since it is a generational concern. With cities consuming high power and resources, there is a need for advanced technology that can aid in the conservation of energy resources. Small but impactful actions like adopting environment friendly products that put emphasis on sustainability can make a big difference. Making energy-efficient products is urgently needed.

What shapes customer decisions today when it comes to appliances?

Electrical devices are no longer just utilitarian devices—but something that people find delight in interacting with. Reliability, aesthetics, ease of use, and efficiency are the most important factors in this industry. Given how crucial a part these devices play in people’s daily lives, safety and dependability are also vital. However, people choose items that are aesthetically pleasing, simple to use and that keep up with the most recent design trends and technical developments.

Monday Motivation is a series in which business leaders and creative individuals discuss their mentors and their work ethics.

Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.