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Deep focus at work is key to getting things done, says Tae-Jin Park

Kia India’s MD and CEO on what led him to working in the automobile industry

Tae-Jin Park, managing director and CEO, Kia India.
Tae-Jin Park, managing director and CEO, Kia India.

Growing up, Tae-Jin Park travelled a lot with his family at home in South Korea. During these journeys, he keenly observed cars around him and soon developed a fascination for them. Over time, he learnt every little detail related to a car’s design, technology and performance. The constant disruption that he observed in the world of automobiles inspired him to join the industry with Kia Motors in 1987.

“The role of technology in enhancing driving experience fascinates me. It’s why I’ve dedicated all these years to this sector, where we’ve pioneered various features that have resonated with our customers,” says 62-year-old Park, managing director and CEO at Kia India.

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After working across the world for Kia, Park took over his latest role in 2021. The challenges were different at the time as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was easing off. But after safely navigating the period, he got down to tackling the cluttered Indian automobile market, which is the third largest in the world today. “Before our India foray in 2019, we had carried out deep market research on various segments with respect to design and technology. We found that customers were willing to experiment with unique drive experiences and pay a premium for it,” he says.

Park talks to Lounge about meditation and the importance of focussing on one task at a time.

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

The need to focus on the unmet and unfelt needs of the customer. Deep research on the market opportunity and leveraging emerging trends for business growth is another area where I’ve tried to differentiate our approach in India.

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

A mentor is a guiding light who shows you the way towards achieving goals, whether it’s professional or personal in nature. It’s someone who helps them to become the best version of themselves.

What’s your morning schedule?

I meditate for ten minutes every morning, irrespective of whether I’m travelling or not. My regular day includes meetings with the department heads, reviewing their performance and discussions on how we can serve our customers more efficiently.

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

I’ve come to realise that your ability to get things done depends on how well you can focus on each given task at a time, whether it’s for five minutes or an hour. I am a firm believer in the power of taking breaks and practising deep focus during work hours.

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

I’ve realised the importance of spending time in nature and the need to follow a healthy daily routine.

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

I would suggest the book, The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier.

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.




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