Ajay Mehta, managing director of Aiwa India, the Japanese audio visual products company, is not enthused by the rapid pace at which consumer tech products are developing. In spite of being in the consumer electronics sector, Mehta believes that technology needs to slow down a bit, and that it is affecting children.
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Before joining Aiwa India, Mehta has worked with MCC Group and brands like Canon, Polaroid, JVC, Mitsubishi Electrics, Toshiba. For Mehta, music is an integral part of his life. An alumnus of Doon School, Dehradun, Mehta is trained in Indian classical music – he plays the violin.
The 49-year-old speaks to Lounge about his style of mentorship, how the pandemic pushed him to take exercise seriously, and more. Edited excerpts:
Who do you consider your mentor and why?
I don’t really have a mentor. I believe in learning from my personal experiences as well as from the people around me. Each individual in my life has their story to tell, perspective to share and ideologies. Their view of the world had kept me motivated, especially when I was not feeling my best.
One major insight you have implemented from your experiences that has helped you grow?
My mantra in life has always been ‘Fly straight, and under the radar’. I don’t like to beat around the bush and prefer coming straight to the point. I am polite but frank. For instance, I was interacting with the chairman of one of the biggest suppliers of a certain electronic components here. I came straight to the point about certain issues that we were facing. He said he will do his best in solving the issues. Instead of beating around the bush we saved both our time. I believe you shouldn’t treat other person a fool. It make things lot more easier and people respect you for it. As for ‘under the radar’, I prefer that one's work speak for itself rather blowing one’s own trumpet.
What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?
We all are a mentor to ourselves because we learn from our experiences and continue to strive for a better, more successful and fulfilling life. Being a mentor means not losing hope and believing in yourself. Even at work, I endorse a collaborative environment; wherein everyone can teach and motivate each other to become their best self.
As a leader, I understand that putting pressure on colleagues or employees does not get great results. Hence, I advise my people not to take things seriously and work dedicatedly to achieve the objective and prepare for the worst. I resolutely believe that if we all work as a group, we can overcome any problem and achieve great heights.
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What’s your morning routine like?
I usually wake up by 8 am and begin my day by hydrating myself, followed by a cup of coffee and fruits. I prefer having light breakfast. My routine may change, depending on my schedule, but one thing that remains consistent is my devotion to god. By 9 am we have a puja at home. I don’t take any calls or respond to messages before that. After the puja, I start for work.
What’s the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?
Developing and maintaining a workout regimen is one of the best habits I have undertaken during the pandemic. Exercising regularly has positively impacted my life and I wish to continue with my workout routine in the future. If the pandemic has taught us anything, (it's that) our health comes before anything else.
What are your productivity hacks that make your professional and personal life easier?
One principle I follow is to ensure ( meetings) finish on time – they do if you plan accordingly. It keeps me productive. In fact, it was very useful when we all were working remotely.
I also believe in getting multiple opinions from different (even unrelated) departments, in order to to get productivity from an effort. So, I would talk to a sales person about some design issue. The reason for this is that eventually the consumer is getting a product which is a culmination of all these functions in the organisation. When you get diverse opinions, you get some interesting insights.
How do you unwind?
Most of my free time I spend listening to music. My current favourite genres are jazz and I am training my ears to appreciate classical western music. My son is a trained pianist so that's why the interest in the latter. In jazz, I am currently enjoying a sub genre called funk or acid jazz. It’s more upbeat and the percussions are used in interest ways to produce unique sounds.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.
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