Leading a company with a large portfolio and a diverse customer base can often be a challenge in itself. Ashish Modi would certainly know.
As the India president of the engineering and technology company Honeywell, one of his focus areas has been to script the “One Honeywell” story to build better visibility for their many products and services, and employ their expertise in providing handy solutions across various sectors from urban infrastructure to aerospace and energy.
“India is in a sweet spot as compared to global economies and I feel like it’s a great time to be in this role. My biggest opportunity is to leverage the macro trends around sustainability, digitisation, automation, air travel, and the growing middle class to drive growth for the company,” he says.
Among the key projects they’ve taken on over the last few years is the implementation of the Bhubaneswar Smart City project in 2015. Through one of the biggest command control centres in the country, they’ve created capabilities to manage the city administration and in turn, improve the standard of living for the residents.
They followed it up this year with the Bengaluru Safe City project. The first phase, which was completed in March, looks to create a safe environment for women through remote monitoring of public places, while also collecting real time data for future analysis. Through 7,000 video cameras spread across 3,000 locations, their artificial intelligence platform allows for evaluation of the feeds and ensures uninterrupted surveillance.
With 50% of India’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2047, Modi believes that creating data centres, digital systems for financing and payments, command centres for city administration, energy management solutions, and overall enhancement in end-to-end citizen experience will all become a key need. Honeywell will look to address these infrastructure challenges, keeping sustainability at the heart of their operations. Over the years, some of their solutions include the Forge and Building Management systems introduced this year that empower organisations to optimise energy consumption, reduce demand and ensure energy savings. Their ethanol-based jet fuel further promises to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change.
Through the Sustainability Centre of Excellence in Madurai, Honeywell India looks to continue developing innovative products and services to help their stakeholders minimise emissions. The facility will focus on sustainable methods of production and serve as a hub for thought leadership, training and education on sustainability. Honeywell want to also achieve their own Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitment to be carbon neutral by 2035.
In an interview with Lounge, Modi talks about people-centricity and how he mentors his colleagues and teams. Edited excerpts.
It means being a partner to your mentee in their life journey, advising them when they need it and being truly invested in their success.
I spend time with them periodically, say once a quarter, and see how they are doing. I make it a point to meet them in person when I am visiting their city and catch up over a coffee or dinner.
I enjoy morning jogs and walks.
I like to keep meetings to the point, and use tools that make us efficient and effective. I also like to be well-versed with multiple collaboration platforms such as WebEx, Zoom and Microsoft Teams as that helps me in being efficient when switching between multiple virtual meetings and managing my deadlines accordingly.
I will say people-centricity. The pandemic has taught us to think differently about people, be more empathetic about how they work, and how to inspire them to do their work well.
Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck.
I look forward to cooking on weekends.
Shail Desai is a Mumbai-based freelance writer.