Nirmalya Sen: When you came back from Italy as Marketing Director, what was the one reason you were delighted to be at Reckitt Benckiser (RB), India?
Rohit Jindal: I was delighted to be in India. I missed my home very much all these years.
NS: And what is the one thing you missed most about working at RB in Italy?
RJ: I miss my team, a bunch of incredibly talented, creative and hardworking boys and girls, the most.
NS: Rakesh Kapoor, the Global CEO of Reckitt Benckiser famously said – “Many companies hire professionals. I don’t believe in hiring professionals. I believe in hiring people who can truly act like owners of their companies. Because, professionals build their resumes. Owners build their companies.” Do you think RB India is a company of owners or employees? What is your strategy to create more ‘owners’?
RJ: Ownership is freedom to bring one’s ideas to life, freedom to take risks and sometimes fail, but always do better than anybody else. I try to challenge my team and myself to outperform, to benchmark versus & beat competition every day. And support them in taking risks in their endeavor to outperform. ‘Imaging, what can you do, if you knew you wouldn’t fail?’ - My job is to place this question on the table every day, everywhere.Ownership is freedom to bring one’s ideas to life, freedom to take risks and sometimes fail, but always do better than anybody else.
NS: Rakesh Kapoor, in a few interviews, has talked about his belief in deliberately having people who don’t agree with each other and a culture where people have to fight for their ideas. Could you share your views on this and do you feel RB India subscribes to this culture?
RJ: I believe ideas are great only in hindsight, with significant passion, perseverance and hard work behind them. Another way of saying this is that truly great ideas are not born popular. So if we are looking for great ideas, we need to let lot of them come to the party, each with a vocal, passionate support. It is the mixing of ideas, the energetic exchange on what’s possible, how to make it possible that eventually results in something great. Another way of saying this is that truly great ideas are not born popular.
NS: RB, India is in the middle of a great run (touchwood!). Brands like Harpic, Dettol etc. as well as some of your healthcare brands have seen remarkable successes in the last few months. Clearly, there is a lot going right. Could you share with the readers the most exciting thing happening at RB, India as we speak?
RJ: The Banega Swachch India initiative is something that inspires a whole lot of us to come to work every day. This isn’t a one day or one year initiative. We know it will take many years. This is an initiative that needs universal support, and we are happy to keep the issue alive, contribute via reaching out to schools with hygiene curriculum, helping make toilets and so on.The Banega Swachch India initiative is something that inspires a whole lot of us to come to work every day.
NS: To your mind, what is the key to getting the best out of your communications agencies?
RJ: Partnership, respect and a joyful acceptance of risk.
NS: If one did a poll among your team members, anonymously of course, what do you think would be their number one complaint against you?
RJ: I am perpetually impatient.
NS: And their number one reason to admire you?
RJ: If you find their reason to admire me, do let me know.