When Sirisha rejoined her family business, fresh with an MBA under her belt, she was mildly taken aback at the recruitment process. The inadequacies in it reflected in the premature departures of the recruits that failed to fit in the family ethos. The opportunity for improvement made her study the roles and their requirements closely. After going through several podcasts and literature, she came up with parameter ratings and a process. What emerged was objective, scientific and more professional. ‘The way I have been hiring people has improved and I can say I have got some excellent candidates.’
In her 39-year-old retail business of home appliances in Gulbarga, North Karnataka, Sirisha, PGPMFAB, Co’2018, is in charge of business development, customer relations, process improvement, finances and investment strategies. ‘My father said if I wanted to work independently, if I wanted to get my hands dirty and if I want to do something creative without restriction, the business was the thing to be in.’ Her effervescence and her energy to bring the exposure gained at ISB to the fore in almost every area is showing good results.
Before she joined her family business, she worked in a couple of corporates to understand what makes them sophisticated and the good practices she could adopt for her business. She is striving to implement processes for operations. ‘Business is like riding a bicycle uphill. You need to keep pedalling to maintain balance. Many a time you know what you are doing is right, and that is reaffirmed by the learnings and knowledge gained which gives you the clarity and confidence to take hard steps.’
A naturally curious person, Sirisha’s zeal to explore has taken her places, but no matter where she was she felt connected with her family business. Attuned to a business environment since a very young age, she has inherent qualities that have got bolstered by her stint at ISB. Her abilities to manage people, motivate them and understand their emotional setup are awe-inspiring. ‘Being in my family business very early makes all of it effortless and I find great joy in what I do.’
Doing an MBA was always on her mind. ‘I was very particular about the quality of the School, though. I did a lot of screening, garnered information, connected with several alumni and spoke with well-informed people before zeroing in on MFAB.’ ISB is a beautiful lifetime memory for her. Being a shadow CEO, meeting business leaders and seeing them in action was an experience she relished. The environment facilitates fresh ideas and one must create opportunities to expand on them, she avers. The way she runs meetings is an outcome of one of such ideas. In her very first family meeting she asked everyone to write five traits about each other that were good and not so good. The activity was quite a revelation, she says. Misunderstandings and misperceptions got dispelled and several positives got unveiled. ‘Oft, you don’t open up and the bottled-up emotions lead to a volcanic outburst someday. Now I go deeper to understand a person’s emotions and the needs that lie underneath. Only when you are aware of the problems, you can solve it or if not at least manage it.’
Her father is a role model for Sirisha. The business reputation he has built and the leadership he demonstrates points to commitment, discipline, consistency, focus on best quality, service and customers, open-mindedness, aggressiveness in business and above all compassion and caring for others. ‘My father has been building leaders in his children from a very young age. When I was a child, he would ask my opinion on certain things and that would surprise me for I was far too young to be consulted on the subject. I sure must have given him some puerile suggestions. But that opened the doors within us to think like a businessperson.’ But she wants her family members to steer away from operations and focus on strategic matters instead. ‘I am doing things differently, trying to professionalise and delegate, but I am clear I will not get involved in operations and so I am developing the staff under me for that.’ She has shown her leadership acumen in the way she has groomed and empowered a long-time employee, a girl, and turned her into a wonderful manager with independent charge of a store. ‘It’s more about setting goals for them and motivating them.’ Her strategic way of dealing with people is bearing her fruits.
Sirisha wants to create an ecosystem for her business that is respected by all its stakeholders for ages. ‘A true visionary secures for generations to come and for that, you need to plant the seeds today.’ She wants to be remembered as a transformational leader. ‘Exemplary leaders should communicate well, be aware of themselves and their surroundings, be able to hold diametrically opposite views in the same mind and take decisions in the interest of their people; inspire and direct people to do the right things for the greater good.’
Sirisha has been in touch with her professors and seeks their advice from time to time. ‘When you are well connected with sager souls, there is a greater possibility of surviving a crisis or conflict and you come out stronger because of the right advice you get.’ Being proactive, being aware, and getting involved are the sure-shot ways of getting the best out of most situations, she says. ‘ISB presents a large canvas to paint. The colours you choose to create a certain vibrancy is up to you. It’s up to you to get the best. If you grow the school grows and vice versa.’
She is a karate black belt and enjoys reading, writing, cycling, sketching, gardening, poetry and getting creative. ‘It’s like getting in touch with the child in you. My body needs to feel that gush of energy that is rejuvenating.’ She is trying her hands at the guitar and wants to learn to swim too. ‘These activities help me understand myself better, help me stay enthusiastic and stay in peace with self.’
About the Sirisha Limkar
As a business owner, Sirisha Limkar does more than just make money. With experience in family-owned retail business almost equal to the time she started putting her first steps on earth, Sirisha loves connecting with her customers and serving them the best. Professionally learnt the nitty-gritty of financial management and accounting and her hunger to learn more about business management particularly family businesses landed her in Indian School of Business and alighted from there being a Dean Lister. Other than work hours, dynamics of families and businesses entice her and is happy to share her experience and learnings in the field to help many achieve personal and professional growth and harmony. Empowering Self and others along the journey, exploring the world through travel and exploring the inner self through meditation keeps her gusto alive.
-Sirisha Limkar, PGP MFAB, Co2018; Business Owner, Limkar Group.