Winning Stroke: Interview with Sunil Mittal, CSMO of CSS CORP

"I get hyper-focused and forget to take a break. Whether it’s a client that I know we can serve really well or teaching my daughter to ride her bike"


1. If not in the current profession, you would be?

Growing up, my family had a business and I had always planned to join them. When I graduated University, I took a job in the IT services industry to gain experience – and I loved it. And I never looked back. But if I wasn’t doing this, I think that is where I would be.

2. One tune you always hum.

There are actually two. One is “Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye” and the other is “Dream Big” by Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand.

3. One book to read when you want to motivate yourselves.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. The author writes about the situation where the conventional wisdom fails you. It’s the ability to “spot the next move” during those times that makes a great leader.

4. One dialogue of a movie that motivates you or you like the most.

I like the movie, The Pursuit of Hapiness because it shows how hard work and vision are unstoppable. There is a passage where Chris Gardner tells his son, “Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you, you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?” That has always resonated with me.

5. The place you never been to and always want to go?

French Polynesia. In the past, at one of my client locations, my view out of the window included a billboard advertising Bora Bora, with the sun setting behind Mt. Otemanu. We’ve been waiting for my daughters to be old enough to scuba with us. I view it as an opportunity to work on my patience!

6. Choose one from each below

Marvel or DC >> DC

 Batman or Superman - >> Super Man

 Tom or Jerry - >> Tom

 Chacha Chaudhary or Super Commando Dhruv - >> Chacha Chaudhary

7. If your life was to be turned into a movie who would you like to play your part?

Me! Who is more like me that I am? Being in a movie would be a fun new experience.

8. Luck or Hard Work, what do you think weighs more in defining a successful person?

Absolutely hard work. Luck favors who work on creating their own destiny.

9. One best decision you ever made.

I spent the first decade of my career working in Japan and that culture has a great impact on me. It is heavily focused on having very stable long-term relationships, with trusted partners and suppliers. Also, the quality of personal service in everything is very high – everyone

focused on keeping the customer happy. Those expectations took root in me while I was there and have helped me all along my journey, and now as a leader that experience is irreplaceable.

10. A strategy that you always use to take your decisions in Personal or Professional life?

I usually look backward from the results I am trying to achieve. It’s easier to just make decisions as they come but that won’t usually lead you to the destination you were aiming for. Instead, I identify the goal and then work backwards. What was happening right before? And just before that, and so on? I think in both personal and professional lives this technique has helped me set a straight course.

11. Whose advise you seek when in dilemma?

Myself, actually…when I have to make a tough decision I imagine myself taking various options and thinking about the outcomes from the perspectives of the others involved…how would each option work out for everyone involved and take the next step accordingly.

12. What has been your biggest achievement?

My Work. Taking up with the role of Chief Sales and Marketing Officer (CSMO) at CSS Corp. I have been able to turnaround quite a few functions like sales, marketing, solutions and customer success within a period of 12 months.

My family. It would all be hollow achievements without my loving wife and amazing daughters. Jhanvi is 13 and Aarna is 6. Every day I strive to be worthy of these strong ladies.

13. One thing that you want to change in yourself?

I get hyper-focused and forget to take a break. Whether it’s a client that I know we can serve really well or teaching my daughter to ride her bike, I always have to remind myself to lighten up a little and relax. Stepping back for a minute gives me more insight than continuing to focus.

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