Building an Early Foundation:
The world operates on constant learning. It is a continuous process. Learn things from people around you like contemporaries. As an entrepreneur, we need to follow new-age trends and new concepts. When your learning stops you get stunted and you won’t grow. It is important to keep learning and evolve with the environment. I also introspect about what is going on in the industry. I feel that my openness to learning from people from different walks of life has helped me evolve in entrepreneurial capabilities and skills.
Beyond the Barricades:
Every failure has some takeaway. We can look at failure as something negative and resent or regret it. But these are all negative reactions to an incident; this would only hamper your growth. It would block your capability to think creatively. Rather than feeling negative about the failure, have a deeper look. Search for what you get to learn from there. Don't forget the mistakes you make or resent them. From the essence of learning from your mistakes, you might as well add value to something in the future. Thus, the mistake you've made helps you rise, and think constructively.
The Evolution of Business through Time:
Things were quite unstructured in the corporate world in the previous decade. There was a lot of levy and flexibility for things to be done in multiple ways. With time and growing businesses, it needed to be well structured. Running businesses in a structured way will always pave the ways for more businesses to grow. If you are disorganized you would not have the opportunity to grow in multi-locational, multi-dimensional, multi-national existing businesses. Without having proper systems, it is next to impossible to run any business.
Value on the other hand is very integral to running businesses. There needn't be any debate on the right and wrong values of any business but there should exist a set of value-system on which your business operates. These values are then required to be put across in a system-oriented structure and this structure should be put in all your businesses on all levels, from top to bottom. This is the only mantra for new businesses to keep evolving.
The Gift of Lineage – Guidance and Inspiration:
The lineage of my side of the family begins from Mr. R. D. Birla, my great grandfather. He was exceedingly good in the stock market and at citing the right companies to invest in, run and manage and an exemplary visionary in the same area. In fact, as a visionary, he was the one who in those days chose Century Textiles as one of the best companies to acquire and run. As a big philanthropist in the country, he had several charities and schools. What I have always learnt from him is that we are a trustee and it is our responsibility to give back to society by always helping the unfortunate ones and also helping the people associated with your community and culture. Rajasthan is where we come from and thus, he did a lot for our homeland and its people. My father, Mr. Ashok Vardhan Birla, himself in his time was a distant visionary. He used to see businesses from about 20 years before they came out as widely prevalent. For example, we all invest in mutual funds now and know about it but two decades back it didn’t even exist. My father was the first person to launch mutual funds in the country and he formed a joint venture with a foreign company and Birla together. Unfortunately, back then the government rules had a lot of problems and were not convenient for businesses. There was a problem in accepting foreign directors on board because of the government rules and the project got delayed, in the meanwhile, UTI (Unit trust of India), a similar concept was started by then chairman, Mr. Manohar Pherwani as one of the first mutual funds of India. This was the original idea of Mr. Ashok Birla shared by the then chairman. This particular example proves how exemplary he was in his work. Moreover, he also got the company 3M, which today is a blue-chip company in India. He recognized that the potential of 3M in India would be great and whatever his vision was is successful today. We were a joint venture but, ultimately, we sold out for a joint venture partner in that company.
Passion for Fitness and its Impact:
What I believe is that
fitness is not only related to the body but it’s also related to the mind. It
helps to bring a sense of discipline to the mind; you have to do it regardless
of whether you want to do it or not or you like it or not. You have to do it
because it’s the discipline that you follow for the wellness of your body and
mind. Being dedicated to fitness teaches you that you have to overcome that
fatigue and tiredness and go to the gym and work out. Once, you spend ten
minutes working out, you realize you have overcome everything that you have
been feeling. You go from being tired, and lethargic to being optimistic and
full of energy. The amount of focus, determination, dedication and consistency
that I put into fitness has helped me in the other factors of my life like the
workplace, relationships and interactions with other people as well. It makes
you feel confident about yourself, makes you healthier and helps in the better
functioning of your brain. Physical activity affects your hormones and endocrine
glands which control your mood, and clarity in your brain which helps me to
keep the stress away from my life. If your physical health is good, then when
you walk into a place, having a fit body and great physique gives a lot of
confidence among other people.
Sources of Powerful Lessons:
I returned from the USA, after completing my Master's in Business
Administration in 1990, my relatives were helping me in handling our business.
They played a vital and influential role in my life. Notably, Mr. Aditya Vikram
Birla, a successful businessman with subpar management skills, was an absolute
delight to watch and the way he interacted with people was inspirational. He
conducted meetings on my behalf with my company representatives and he
addressed people with phenomenal style. The way he handles the company and
conducted all the work was very inspirational. Another inspirational
personality in my life is Mr. Rahul Bajaj, a close friend of my father and a
Director of some of our companies’ boards. He had an inspiriting personality
and an influential aura to him while he interacted with people and conducted
meetings on my behalf. He even heard and solved everybody’s problems despite
not being a part of our company. All of this had a huge impact on me and
distilled great values in me and also made me realize that visionaries like
these have a 360-degree personality which we appreciate and treasure, even in
the future as well.