Ajit Isaac is a quintessential Indian entrepreneur who has had a long, slow journey of nearly three decades, unlike many startup rocket ships we see around us today. He has built his company Quess, which is valued at around ₹ 4,900 crore on the BSE, as an enterprise that values “what you chose to run for and the goals you set, more than the raw speed at which you cross the finishing line.”
With over 384,000 employees on its payroll in India, Quess is the country’s biggest private sector employer, more than TCS’ payroll, which employs thousands of staff across different countries.
In this episode of Outliers, Ajit shares life lessons and deep insights from his career that started as a management trainee at Godrej’s offices in Vikhroli, Mumbai.
With scale, complexity kept growing too.
And like any leader, Ajit kept battling different dilemmas before settling down on a moral compass that shaped who he is today.
“As a filter, or as a litmus test for decision making, I never had it for a long time. I would just go with the flow and make the decisions. But as the organisation started evolving, stakes became bigger, the potential impact of my decisions grew. We were confronted with choices, what to do, what not to do, and what’s the right thing to do in many situations,” he tells me.
“Very often when this happens to me, the way I resolve this is to think about what my dad would have done in this situation. It usually takes me less than ten seconds to know what my dad would have done because he was a straight shooter and razor sharp in terms of his judgement. And I always trusted his judgement.”
Tune in to this conversation to learn how to manage the entrepreneurial dilemmas, build an enterprise that lasts, and create a societal impact at scale.