Trimble, a $3.1 billion company based in California, provides hardware and software services across industry segments such as construction and agriculture and started India operations in 2006. Under Aiyer, Trimble's India revenue increased 12 times over the past decade and staffing went up more than 70 per cent in 2014-19.
Q. The biggest challenge in your career
A. Life always throws a series of challenges, and each one appears to be the biggest at the time until you overcome it. Then the next one will be at your doorstep. It was the same with me. Getting the first job in a top firm in the US in spite of severe visa restrictions and an economic downturn, raising $40 million-plus from top-notch VCs as a young entrepreneur, growing a nascent technology business in India, creating business success out of acquisitions, building an A-plus team and keeping it motivated were the most significant challenges I had to face.
Q. Your best teacher in business
A. In business, your best teacher is the breadth and depth of your life experiences. That is why I encourage future leaders to seek challenges and take calculated risks without worrying too much about success. Failures can teach you more valuable and long-lasting lessons. Not even the best MBA programme can prepare us for life's eventualities, and our experiences are the best and the most immersive classrooms.
Q. One lesson for young people
A. Always hire people who are smarter than you and let them give their input. It is a difficult thing to do if you are a young leader and it will require a lot of conscious practice. But a leader has to become a generalist, and in this age of rapid digital transformation, smart and timely input is the key to survival.
Q. Two essential qualities of a leader
A. A leader should be able to communicate his/her vision and mission very clearly and must be as transparent as possible so that everyone can march to the same tune without worrying about hierarchy. Second, practise what you preach. Authenticity builds trust among members of the organisation, and they will go the extra mile to deliver success.