The ability to lead is a decree of abundance, integrity and rejuvenation. Polishing years of orchestration, Rajeev Gooneratne, the CEO of Genxt, Sri Lanka, shares a glimpse of his trajectory journey, highlighting the highs and lows till date.

Having completed his secondary education in the President’s College Kotte, Rajeev starts his first job at the young age of 19. The pharmaceutical sector at Gerorge Steuarts alluded to his interest, encouraging him to maintain a 15-year time period in pharmaceutical organisations like George Steuarts, Hemas and Swedish Trading, learning and prospering within trade. After mastering the tenets of his job, Rajeev’s urged to shift trades. “I felt stagnated. I needed a quick change in trades. I wanted to learn and develop once again”. Answering his conscience, he accepted a job at Softlogic from Mr. Ashok Pathirage the current Chairman as Dealer Sales Manager to develop Nokia in Sri Lanka. And upon developing a 10,000-handset market to a 100,000-handset market in few years, I was offered positions such as National Sales Manager, General Manager Sales and Director Sales subsequently at Softlogic Communications, handling brands such as Nokia, Microsoft & HTC in my 13 years of service”.

In 2017, Rajeev had an undeniable offer presented to him. “As intrigued as I was by this offer, I met my current MD, Kailash Gupta in Singapore, who offered me to take over duties as the CEO of Genxt Sri Lanka”, he states, while pondering on his decision to take over the challenges of running a company. He continues, “But that’s what I wanted in my life; to build a company from scratch and develop it to an exemplary level”. Upon Rajeev’s acceptance of the proposal back in 2017, Genxt initiation was a humble start-up, accompanying 15 employees. Yet, perseverance, determination and the audacious capacity to face turbulent challenges, brought the team towards unexpected heights. Rajeev explains proudly, “Our business yield was slow in the first year. But once we collaborated with substantial brands, we were off to a great start. One of our finest achievements is getting ‘Apple’ onboard, followed by ‘Xiaomi’. Both of these names are well established telecommunications brands in the world which has the capacity to capture good market share as its targeted at different consumers “. Rajeev claims that Genxt faced a fair share of both possibilities and downfalls. “We had good numbers until the situation in the country worsened recently”, he adds.

Extending the conversation to his key values, Rajeev shares his wisdom on the significance of resilience and optimism in leadership. “I basically do not give up easily” he states to explain his urge to find an answer in every concerning situation. “Thinking outside the box will guide you out of a tough situation. And I believe there is always a way out”. Enunciating the optimistic persona in him, Rajeev believes that there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

Rajeev stands by his team throughout the process of distribution. He finds his resilient and optimistic front to be of great assistance towards the sustainability of a business. Distribution being the core practice of the company entails in the continuous process of tackling and untangling knots. Rajeev leads his team through a motivated atmosphere, ensuring none of his employees are left unheard.

Establishing Genxt has opened doors to services, retail and distribution. Therefore, according to Rajeev, challenges shift forms when appearing in situations. Hence, avoiding the accumulation of obstacles on one’s account, he has constantly manoeuvred ‘evaluation’ and ‘risk taking’ as two important practices in tolerating challenges! He states, “First evaluate the problem. Understand where you would end up in a situation and look for smarter ways to turn around a problem. Find your tactics and face your issues!”

Vitalizing the decisions and the opinions of his staff members, Rajeev adds, “I have a very young team and I always engage in discussions with them. Our sector heads, and heads of department are quite experienced. Incorporating their advice into my decisions have always made a great pair in dealing with situations. Smart ideas and innovative brainstorming is quite common in youth. Our company sustains these ideas and channels them towards our services. Yet, no matter what we do, we must always remember the beginning, the journey and the destination, where it ends up. Make your evaluation and then take your chances!”

Contemplating audacious moves, Rajeev believes that companies striving and thriving during a global pandemic as Covid-19 is a perfect example of bold decisions. “Being a developing country, functioning during Covid-19 is the greatest challenge we all faced. Therefore, as a country, we must always be up-to-date with technology and innovation”. He further takes pride in stating that Genxt is one of the few companies that still continues to supply mobile handsets to the market even in today’s country situation. Although this doesn’t completely measure up to the level of demand and expectations, Rajeev states that this exerts hope in sustaining within the business. “We somehow manage, because we have good muscle from our head office”, Rajeev states when highlighting the support and contribution provided in terms of investment. He also appreciates his MD, Kailash Gupta, for constantly encouraging the prospective decisions by guiding Genxt in expediting forward.

Heading with his finest leadership qualities, Rajeev claims, “When giving feedback on anything specific, I always ponder on the extent the damage will be made on the person or the business. Therefore, I always balance it out and manage to make it more diplomatic”. He strongly admits his contribution in walking a cohesive path, “I do not surrender easily when facing issues. Instead, I come straight to the matter and delve head first. That’s the best way to land in a win-win situation with both parties”.

Conquering the pros and cons of the trade, Rajeev believes that no success can be achieved without one’s intention to take a leap of faith. He says, “Engage in something! That’s when you would face challenges, and encounter issues, which you will have to go through at one point. Although it seems hasslesome initially, you will eventually identify your path to invincible victory”. Enlightening us on the gravity of team effort, he points out the importance of cherry picking the right individuals to work with; “Your team will take you to your goal. So as a leader I will always insist that you select your right team”.

“Your goal must be fixed before you. And you will have to constantly plan and plan and plan”, Rajeev states, when explaining the significance of continuous planning. He sees a beneficial outcome of maintaining a contingency plan to the master plan. “In my journey, I have always had a plan A and a plan B for everything I do. And after each plan, I involve my teammates for feedback”. Continuing to share his strategies in handling a triumphing company, he states, “You can be the CEO, you can be the MD or you can be the investor. But actively listening to your teammates is a crucial step in leading a company. They possess experience and they have opinions as well. Give them a chance. You never know what innovative ideas will emerge during discussions”.

To conclude, Rajeev encourages entrepreneurs and leaders to involve as many brains as possible in tackling issues. He repeats his strong interpretation of success over the years, and emphasis on teamwork. He ends his statement, “Even in difficult times do not give up. There is always a way out. Giving up is easy. Beginnings are hard! But if you ever start, never give up!”