The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business people. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you cannot learn in a classroom. We want to thank our interviewee for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.
I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz, Monday.
Can you please tell everyone your name?
What is your job role?
Co-Founder Director at Future Fit LLP
Tell us about your company?
Future Fit LLP, in its third year of operation, is India’s largest privately held Gymnastics coaching company for children.
We engage with schools to undertake Gymnastics coaching as in-school programs integrated within school curriculum and also partner to operate after-school academies on a revenue sharing basis, resulting in useful monetization of school infrastructure.
In addition to Delhi and the National Capital Region (Gurgaon, NOIDA, Faridabad), where we operate 6 after-school academies and partner with over 15 top schools (Shri Ram School, Shiv Nadar School, Pathways International, Kunskapsskolan International, DPS International, etc.), we also operate a fully equipped academy in Kolkata and partner with the city’s one of the most pioneering educational institution, The Newtown School for in-school Gymnastics program.
With the objective of providing a platform to showcase talent for our budding gymnasts, we also organise an annual inter-school invitational competition — the Indian School Gymnastics League. With over 400 children participating, and more than 20 school teams vying for the champions trophy, it is perhaps the largest such event in the school sporting calendar today. It is in its third successful edition in 2018, scheduled for end-November. You can find details about the event held last year at https://www.indianschoolgymnasticsleague.com/
What do you love most about your job?
After more than 20 years of working with large MNCs helping them create wealth for their shareholders by launching and managing successful brands, I am now on a journey to create a brand of my own. Future Fit, I hope, will build not only sustainable business value for its stakeholders but also help promote physical fitness and wellbeing for generations of future India and perhaps globally.
What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
The conviction that I can get at least one more child to forsake the lure of addictive digital devices and embrace the joy of fitness through Gymnastics!
How do your co-workers inspire you?
We have a reasonably large team of Gymnastics coaches and academy heads who are incredibly passionate about their work. They not only go beyond their usual work-brief, but they also take ownership of inspiring young budding gymnasts to keep raising the bar on their performance! The team lifts my energy levels whenever I’m at work. I want to cite an example of a coach who carries a bag full of apples every day for his young gymnasts (4–7 yr olds) to ensure they consume a fruit snack during training!! There have been innumerable instances when academy heads, faced with low attendance during festival months, have come up with novel ideas to encourage full participation by children, eg. “No Class Missed” trophy for the month!!
How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Although we do not have a process/policy laid down for “fun at work” as many large organisations do, we are a very close-knit team. We often have impromptu team lunches during the year — occasions being someone’s birthday, anniversary or just because we got together for a team meeting. But especially during festival times like Diwali, Holi, Durga Puja, etc. we always have a team get-together for lunch where team members take turns to shake a leg, sing a song or have fun together! The annual competition (Indian School Gymnastics League) and Intra-center events are also occasions when the team bonds together to plan and execute these events smoothly and successfully!
What are some of the challenges of your job?
The biggest challenge of my job is to convince school promoters and educators on the critical need for Physical Literacy for children starting kindergarten upwards and not just academic excellence. Another is also to bring this conviction to parents. In India, even today, schooling means “studies.” And sports is just a peripheral diversion from the primary role of schools — academic education.
What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Having over 20 years of experience in working across leadership positions in sales and marketing in large organisations like Unilever, Philips, Dabur, Avon, my biggest lesson has been this: “Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.” There is no substitute nor shortcuts for hard work. And whether one gets results as expected or not, the experience with honest hard work always stands you in good stead.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
My advice would be, keep at it! Sports education in India is an emerging industry but possesses excellent potential. We are a nation of 1.2Bn people, and though not all can be born with the academic intelligence to become engineers, doctors or bureaucrats, every Indian has a right and responsibility to be the fittest they can be. However, unless you are passionate about fitness and the need for better health and well-being, do not tread this path since it is a slow burn and demands a lot of effort, patience, and perseverance.
Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web: