“Running a business in general is a marathon and running Tata Group business is an ultra marathon. These businesses have lots of strength and history, and I don’t think there is any magic sauce to be able to attain success. It requires lots of teamwork, the right people, focus, hard work, and some luck,” said N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Group at the IAA Leadership Awards 2022.
He was in conversation with Srinivasan K. Swamy, Chairman RK Swamy Hansa Group, at the event.
When asked by Swamy about one thing that he wants to change about Tata’s work ethos, Chandrasekaran said that the biggest strength for the Tata group is its ethos, or value system, which is deeply ingrained in its people. It is something every person at the group is proud of and they do not need to be reminded to remain aligned with those values, he explained.
“For around 150-odd years, we have built a reputation and the group enjoys tremendous trust. I have to say, the thing I worry about is continuing to behave in a way that we deserve that trust. Change is constant. We want to be more agile, performance-centric, and more sustainable,” he added.
Chandrasekaran noted, “We are running through a huge number of changes across the board. What we are attempting to do in the next few years in this decade is a huge transformation because we want to be ready for the next 50 years and that will require a lot of change.” But that, he underlined,would never change the ethos of the company.
Swamy asked the Tata group’s head honcho about aspirations and targets – is there a target to be the largest company in India by market share or revenue? Or to be in the top 25 companies in the world in the next five years? If there is a goal post, it isn’t defined by numbers, revealed Chandrasekaran’s response.
He said, “I don’t think numbers are important. I believe life is a journey which has to be enjoyed and it’s not about destinations. The numbers will keep changing, which are not important. Positions are not important. How you perform and enjoy the ride is important.”
On lessons learnt from Ratan Tata, he said, “There are many things to learn from Mr Ratan Tata. One thing that strikes me the most is that in any decision he always looks at things that are beyond (just) business.”
On Tata Neu, Chandrasekaran said that he is very positive and bullish about what the group can achieve, not only in terms of numbers but also the value they can create for consumers..
“Tata Neu has huge potential and what we have launched is Version1. Our own consumer portfolio is so large that it will take some more time to get other brands and portfolios on board. Our job is to simplify life for consumers,” he added.
On the digital journey of the Tata Group, Chandrasekaran said, “Fundamentally, we are focused on digital AI, data analytics. When it comes to Tata Neu, we have created one of the most rigorous 360-degree analytics platforms with lots of AI built in. In the group, whether it’s B2B or B2C business, whether it’s an industrial or consumer company, my hope is that in the next few years, we will have the best of AI and data analytics at work.”