As they gathered at the auditorium for the first time in almost two years, young entrepreneurs and students of the Indian School of Business (ISB) have gotten to hear from Sunil Kant Munjal, the Chairman of Hero Enterprise, what they don’t teach in the school.
Hailing from one of the oldest family-owned business conglomerates in the country, Munjal has said that people are the most value asset of an organisation.
“It is very important to ensure that everyone’s personal concerns are addressed. If something bad happens at an associate’s house, somebody from the senior management will actually be sent,” he says.
Munjal was at the ISB on Friday for a discussion on his book The Making of Hero’, a story that relates the birth and rise of Hero Enterprise, founded by four brothers that shifted to India during the Partition.
“The only asset that continues to appreciate over time, through experience, learning and mistakes. Everything else that we set up depreciates,” he points out.
Drawing examples from the group, he says generational change in leadership should happen not by preaching. “People learn values from actions than orders. They learn from your humility, integrity, actions with right aggression,” he says.
Replying to a question from an entrepreneur, he tells the family-owned businesses not to force their kids to join the business if they didn’t show interest in it.
“They should be allowed to pursue their interests. We should not control the future of our children and grandchildren,” he advices.
“You must demonstrate value or show them the future potential that the business has, to encourage them to work in the business,” he feels.
“You must constantly encourage people and let them try and do better. Well, when you experiment so much, not everything’s going to work many times. We used to recognise people who failed in their attempts on the equal footing with those who have succeeded,” he says.
“Because the recognition was not for the outcome but the attempts to do it better,” he points out.
Advising the students to go for collaborations, he says: None of us has a monopoly over brilliant ideas. It can come from any place. So we partnered extensively with many companies.”
Citing the example of the association with Honda, he says his company even partnered with the Swiss company for a single machine. “We set up a joint venture with that company for just one machine,” he points out.
‘Be bold, take risks’
Citing the example of his father, he said when the Government gave them licence to manufacture bicycles, he had refused to take it. “He said he would take it only if the restriction on the number of vehicles that he can produce is removed,” Munjal said.
“We were very deliberate in what we were doing all the time. You should be willing to take risks,” he said.
On disruptive technologies, he said while disruptions were welcome, they should not be disruptive disruptions.