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For Madhav Sheth, lessons learned from past errors are the biggest teachers

For HTech's Madhav Sheth, the experience gained from daily interactions has taught him valuable lessons and shaped his understanding of the world

Madhav Sheth initiates his day with an intense workout, embracing the physical and mental challenges it presents

By Shail Desai

LAST PUBLISHED 06.11.2023  |  01:00 PM IST

In 2020, Chinese electronics manufacturer, Honor, withdrew their smartphones from the Indian market. A few months ago, Madhav Sheth took on the responsibility of relaunching Honor smartphones under HTech, a comprehensive solutions provider offering services to manufacturing capabilities, and steadying the ship during their second innings. It was a task that he embraced head on, despite the risks associated with reentering the cluttered smartphone space.

“Of course, there are challenges such as fierce competition, high customer expectations and building brand recognition," says the 43-year-old CEO at HTech. “But lessons from the past have guided our data driven decisions. While I acknowledge the previous setbacks, I also see untapped potential, and we are confident that our product will align perfectly with the consumer."

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Gurugram-based Sheth was instrumental in establishing Realme India in 2018, which helped him gain a good understanding of the smartphone market in India. Those learnings have been vital for laying the groundwork for Honor over the last few months. Going forward, Sheth wants to focus on manufacturing in India and use cutting-edge innovations to make daily life more efficient and enjoyable for their customers.

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“During the formative years of Realme, a profound understanding of consumer psychology proved to be paramount. Setting up a company from scratch brought forth a plethora of challenges, which in turn facilitated significant personal and leadership growth. What excites me about these opportunities is to create solutions through technology that can enhance people’s lives and bring about positive impact," he says.

Sheth talks to Lounge about mentorship and why he relates to the game of squash.

Who do you consider your mentor?

While I don’t have a specific individual as a mentor, the experience and knowledge gained from daily interactions and the lessons learned from my past errors have been my most influential teachers. These two sources of guidance have taught me valuable lessons and shaped my understanding of the world.

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

Giving back to society has fundamentally shaped my perspective on personal growth and innovation. I’ve realised that knowledge and skills are most valuable when they can be harnessed to create products or solutions that not only serve consumers, but also have a broader positive impact on society. This has inspired me to seek opportunities where I can contribute to the betterment of communities and individuals. It’s a principle that guides my actions, ensuring that what I learn and create serves a greater purpose beyond personal gain.

Also read: Jayant Rastogi on why he left the corporate life

What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?

Being a mentor means sharing knowledge, experiences and guidance to help colleagues grow both personally and professionally. I see mentorship as a two-way learning process, where I offer support, encouragement and insights, while also remaining open to new ideas and perspectives from those I mentor. It’s about fostering a culture of continuous learning and development within the workplace.

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What’s your morning schedule like?

I initiate my day with an intense workout, embracing the physical and mental challenges it presents. This sets the stage for cultivating resilience and determination, qualities that are paramount in our fast-paced industry. I also devote time to keep abreast of the latest technological trends and consumer insights. I firmly believe that comprehending our customers and keeping pace with evolving technology are the pillars of success.

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

Staying focussed and disciplined has been pivotal in enhancing my professional and personal life. These principles have enabled me to prioritise tasks effectively, manage my time efficiently using techniques like the Pomodoro method, set clear and motivating goals, continuously learn and adapt in a rapidly changing world, strike a healthy work-life balance, and utilise technology as a productivity tool.

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

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

In the midst of chaos, I realised the importance of taking a step back to evaluate my actions and decisions. Every evening, I set aside time to assess what went well and what could have been handled better in the entire day. This introspection has not only enhanced my self-awareness but also helped me make more thoughtful, strategic choices. It’s a habit that goes beyond the workplace and serves as a valuable tool for personal growth and leadership. By understanding ourselves better, we can become more effective leaders in all aspects of life.

Any book or podcast you would recommend about mentorship and growth?

I find The Art of War by Sun Tzu to be a valuable resource for several reasons. This ancient text provides me with strategic insights that are highly relevant in the fiercely competitive smartphone industry, offering guidance on how to approach competition, make critical decisions and achieve success. Sun Tzu’s teachings on understanding strengths and weaknesses, adaptability, effective leadership, risk management and moral influence all resonate with my role, helping me gain a competitive edge, navigate market shifts and build a resilient company culture.

How do you unwind? Do you pursue any serious hobbies?

I’m passionate about squash—it’s not just a way to stay fit, but also a competitive outlet that keeps me challenged and sharp. The fast-paced nature of squash demands quick thinking and agility, qualities that I find transferable to my professional life. Yoga, on the other hand, is my sanctuary for inner peace. It’s a practice that allows me to focus, destress and find a sense of balance amidst the chaos of a busy schedule.

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

Shail Desai is a Mumbai-based freelance writer.