Amit Kumar - What Has Helped Me Throughout My Ascent Is Hard Work and Sticking to the Basics (Senior Director, Last Mile Operations, West Region - Delhivery)

Amit Kumar

What has helped me throughout my ascent is hard work and sticking to the basics, which is learn the process thoroughly, secure the process in the short term, build mechanisms to repeat short term success and secure the long term through planning while taking inputs from the ground up. 

Tell us about your background, journey and upbringing. 

I was born in the small town of Deoghar in Jharkhand. I grew up in a small family consisting of my father, mother and brother. However, we have deeply connected family bonds with the extended family who lives in and around Deoghar in Jharkhand. 

I had a humble upbringing and I did my matriculation and intermediate from govt school and college in Deoghar. After that, I did my engineering from NIT Kurukshetra in Mechanical Engineering. All throughout my life, more than curricular, I was more active in extracurricular activities and was very socially aware of my surroundings. 

I continue to actively manage an NGO in Deoghar which we set up when in school, I played a lot of cricket and was the Cultural Secretary of my college. All these experiences have shaped my life in more ways than one and continue to influence my personality even today. 

How did you rise to the highest echelons in your career?

The ride of my career is nothing short of a fairy tale. It is all about being fortunate to get opportunities and me grabbing them with both hands. I joined Delhivery after my B.Tech as an associate in the planning and engineering team. 

Delhivery has remained my only company and it has been more than 6 years with this wonderful organization. Sticking with one company has also helped in rising up the corporate ladder. Just after one year as an Associate, I was selected in one of its first kind Operation Leadership Program at Delhivery. 

I was promoted to a Sr. Manager, Last Mile Operations position. And Since then I have been promoted every two years firstly to a Director, Last Mile Operations and then to Sr. Director Last Mile Operations. 

What has helped me throughout my ascent is hard work and sticking to the basics, which is learn the process thoroughly, secure the process in the short term, build mechanisms to repeat short term success and secure the long term through planning while taking inputs from the ground up. 

What does your typical workday look like?

A typical day starts with a review of the previous day's operations with my direct reports and extended team. We look at various operational metrics, what we did well, where our plans failed and points that need attention. 

This meeting is followed up by a central leadership where we discuss operations at a regional level and review our plan operating in the short term and discuss contingencies. Then throughout the day, there are various calls with support functions and partner teams such as Security, Human Resources, Finance, Commercials and executive councils. 

These meetings are primarily to discuss tactical and strategic planning. Throughout the day there are multiple escalations that I am pulled into. And finally, the day ends with quick catchup with my direct reports and extended team where we quickly go through the next day's plan.

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Several global companies have come out and thrown their support behind not needing a formal education. What is your opinion about this?

It's a difficult question to answer at this point in time. We need to have more data points available for different job families to answer this question objectively. If I look around especially in the technical domain, I think the need for formal education is losing its lustre.

Their roles primarily start as an Individual contributor engagement with the organization where you extend your technical expertise and require less working in groups or collaboration with multiple stakeholders from different domains. And these roles gradually move into people management roles.

However, there need to be more data points around people without formal education succeeding in roles that require collaboration with multiple stakeholders or that require people management fairly from the very beginning.

Formal education setup provides not just vertical learning but horizontal learning (peer to peer) as well. This experiential learning prepares people with those intangible skills required to be successful in the types of roles I am currently in. A model with a good mix of classroom and online study modes would be very useful for all types of roles in future.

Amit Kumar


What is the best piece of advice you would like to give to those who want to rise in their careers in the corporate world?

I don't think I can advise someone on best practices because I am still in the exploratory phase and learning about what works and what doesn't. However, I can always share what has worked for me till now which is primarily two things.

Firstly, the realization that career progression happens step by step, you cannot skip levels. I have seen people worrying about their current levels in the organization and feel that they are undervalued. These people always keep themselves with the thought of either leaving the organization or dreaming about the next level. 

People need to realise that until and unless you prove your worth in the current role you are not building a good case for yourself either for moving to the next level or changing roles within the organization. You ought to have people endorsing your talent which you claim to possess. 

Secondly, use data to be objective and accept where you went wrong, this might not help you in the short term but it really helps in the long term. The sooner you realise and take accountability for what went wrong sooner you would correct it.

Also, being objective and presenting any arguments you make backed by data certainly, tells the management that you are ready for the next level. You should be able to reconcile your hunch with data always. 

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  1. Amit, extremely delighted to see your progress and you have wonderfully articulated this journey and your experiences. Wishing you all the very best in your future.