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Executive Voice

Viren Shah, Chief Digital Officer of GE Appliances shares his advice

Viren Shah
Viren Shah of GE Appliances, Handout

Viren Shah is a people and customer-focused leader with vast global experience in value creation using technology in multiple ecosystems and Fortune 10 organizations. Currently, he serves as the Chief Digital Officer of GE Appliances, a Haier company based in Louisville, Kentucky. In this role, Viren is responsible for transforming the company’s digital capabilities to drive growth and create new business opportunities. He has been with GEA since October 2018 and has already made significant strides towards achieving the company’s goals. Viren is also an active member of AHAM’s HomeWork series, where he shares his insights on how to leverage technology to create value for customers.

Tell us about yourself 

At GE Appliances, where I presently serve as chief digital officer, my main objective has been to harness digital capabilities to constantly improve our existing business model while opening the door to new business models. My experience covers a lot of start-ups, greenfield projects, integrations, and global M&As, including Walmart.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?

You are a sponge, Viren, and you will always be able to learn new things. “Thank you for facilitating my progress and letting me recognize my potential,” a coworker stated.

How would your parents describe what you do?

My parents are very proud of me and my accomplishments. I am ambitious, hardworking, and straight-forward.

What does your morning routine look like?

I get up around 5:30 a.m., go for a little workout, tune in to the news on the radio, and communicate with my team.

What motivates you? How do you think of disruption?

My goal is to continue advancing organizations while providing a platform for people to reach their full potential. I’m motivated to make changes when I can have a little or significant influence. A transformation has no set end point, and when a business stops evolving, it loses relevance and becomes a prime target for either self-disruption or external disruption.

What was your mission at the beginning of your transformations?

Disruption is the goal of any transformation. Disrupt both the competitors and yourself. The causes of the change, the rate of change, and—most importantly—a sustainable mechanism to maintain the change must all be determined.

What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?

A growing mentality and ongoing education in humility, since no achievement is little or large. Who receives the credit shouldn’t matter to us. Have Hope: As St. Augustine put it, “Hope has two beautiful daughters, one of whom is anger at the way things are and the other is courage to make things the way they should be.”

When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? to not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.

I’ve conquered several challenges by keeping loyal to my objective. Recognize my ignorance and help me to fill in the blanks. Tenacity is, in my opinion, the most crucial quality to possess when pursuing a goal.

Employees are one of the most important players in business success. What do you look for in an employee?

I look for the potential they have with the goal of helping them see it. I always believe that if one has a great attitude, we can always train for skill. Entrepreneurship is very critical for all of us to have, and enabling that in each person is very critical.

What is unique about your business? Is there a competitive advantage that you have over the others?

The operative phrase for us is zero distance. How can the barrier between us and everyone we engage with be eliminated, whether they are clients or members of our internal team? We can only do this by decreasing inertia at all points of contact.

Have you ever had a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?

My constant pursuit of gaps enables me to act as a catalyst and change agent. When I notice that expectations are not being met, I make an effort to identify and close gaps.

Is there a type of marketing that has worked amazingly for you in the past? If so, how did you stumble upon it?

The bulk of us have one common objective, which is to raise the average transaction value or transaction volume. You should think about how many and what kind of interactions actually help you meet the needs of your stakeholders. The encounters will constantly lead to more and more transactions.

Is there any resource or resources that helped you on your journey to be an entrepreneur?

My MBA has been the most valuable resource for me since it inspired the entrepreneur in me and drove me to keep improving.

What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business? What do they need to know from the very beginning?

There are no poor ideas; the trick is knowing when an idea isn’t workable. If your company is new or has few resources, be careful with your language. A management system is necessary. Establish the measurements you’ll use to gauge success, the procedure you’ll use to achieve those goals, and the resources you’ll need to carry it out.



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