Thursday, May 5, 2011

CEO : Aaram Se

This is a quick follow up of the previous post (Link) after reading Mukesh Ambani (MA) interview in Economic Times(ET) (Link). I cannot but resist myself from quoting three answers of this interview that dwells on the human resources, being responsible in investment considering shareholder's interest and philanthropic activity at personal level. I have emphasized certain parts of the answers that struck me a lot and want readers to take special note of.

After completing previous post I was thinking, were it all philosophical / theoretical? We may accept that there is truth for the sake of argument but feel skeptic if they can be practised! After reading this interview I feel more convinced about its applicability to corporate houses. This reminds and reinforces what we hear from Viveknanda, "That society is the greatest where the highest truths become practical."

I have included 'Aaram Se' from 2nd ans. of MA interview in the post title as I find it very interesting. Bhagabad Gita says that the mark of a wise man / Yogi is intense activity in intense rest or calmness and intense rest or calmness in intense activity. Let me quote this part from here (Link)

"He who sees in the midst of intense activity, intense calm, and in the midst of intensest peace is intensely active [is wise indeed]. (GITA IV, 18.) ... This is the question: With every sense and every organ active, have you that tremendous peace [so that] nothing can disturb you? Standing on Market Street, waiting for the car with all the rush ... going on around you, are you in meditation — calm and peaceful? In the cave, are you intensely active there with all quiet about you? If you are, you are a Yogi, otherwise not.

---- I think that enough ground has been prepared to hear what MA said. Let's read it Aaram Se :-) ----

ET : Are you looking at grooming talent in-house ? Or getting new fresh talent?

MA : We are doing a combination of everything. Fundamentally, we think it requires re-engineering or regenerating the whole human resources architecture. It's very difficult to do. When you think about performance, it's not only people architecture or talent but people performing in a growth-nurturing ecology. You really have to regenerate the environment. It's like colleges. I have been on the advisory board of Stanford and a few other colleges where we change the environment every 10 years. At this stage, we are going through a project where we will have a process whereby we will take everything we have learnt and really mentor and train our 30-34-year-old guys to be better than us. It's a regeneration of the 4-5 pillars we stand on...and not only our existing talent but also welcoming fresh talent. We want our people to be internally happy, because happiness and success should go together. I want everybody at RIL to achieve their true potential . We want to create a new culture in which you will be reasonably transparent to yourself, your peers and your team. That, in my mind, will lead to true innovation . This is the most important and exciting project of my life: How do you really transform and reengineer 40,000-50 ,000 people, most of them professionals, most of them ambitious, most of them very successful, and then tell them to mentor and train 30-34-year-olds and make them better than us. This, according to me, is the sign of a truly New Age business organisation. 

ET : Many speculate you will make a big-ticket acquisition and in your last AGM, you had said that you will plant the tricolour in many parts of the world. Any progress on that front?

MA : We look at these things on an ongoing basis. There will be a lot of volatility and uncertainty in this world. But, I'm a wildlife fan. I love the leopard. The leopard sits on top of a tree. It doesn't take any great risks. Whenever it sees that it can make a kill, it's in no hurry whatsoever to make a kill. It makes the kill so rapidly, you don't even know. And I've actually sat with leopards for hours in lots of forests. It just happens in a flash. And, again, the leopard goes back and sits there aaram se. So, as I tell all our guys, let's not get too much carried away. It's important to keep the balance sheet capability to do this stuff but we shouldn't be in a hurry. We should be watching , we shouldn't be ignoring anything. But unless we feel absolutely safe that we are not going to hurt ourselves, and we are going to go down there, kill 100% and bring it back, we won't do anything funny. We are in no hurry. And we'll never do it for ego's sake. Our watchword is: does it generate value for our shareholders on a sustainable and long-term basis? 

What do you think of the giving pledge?

There are different points of view. My own view is that it's important that one should create sustainability and compassion. My view is that giving must be anonymous. Even if I did whatever I did, I wouldn't brag about it. I would do it for my own satisfaction . It is important you do it straight off your heart you don't talk about it.

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