‘People are a firm’s most valuable asset’ – The Hindu BusinessLine

Clipped from: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-others/tp-variety/people-are-a-firms-most-valuable-asset/article65194442.ece

Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprise PAUL NORONHA

Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprise PAUL NORONHA | Photo Credit: PAUL NORONHA

Hero Group chief SK Munjal says kids must not be forced into family business

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) got to hear from Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman of Hero Enterprise, what they don’t teach at the school.

Hailing from one of the oldest family-owned business conglomerates in the country, Munjal said that people are the most valued 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 , the story of the birth and rise of Hero Enterprise, founded by four brothers who moved to India during Partition.

“The only asset that continues to appreciate over time, through experience, learning and mistakes — people. Everything else that we set up depreciates,” he said. Drawing examples from his group, he said 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.

To a question from an entrepreneur, he said family-owned businesses must not 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 said.

“You must demonstrate value or show them the future potential that the business has, to encourage them to work in the business,” he said. “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 equal footing with those who have succeeded,” he said.

“Because the recognition was not for the outcome but the attempt to do it better,” he added.

Collaborate

Advising the students to go for collaborations, he said, “None of us have 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 said his company even partnered with a Swiss company for a single machine. “We set up a joint venture with that company for just one machine,” he said.

‘Be bold, take risks’

Citing the example of his father, he said that when the government gave them licence to manufacture bicycles, he 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 are welcome, they should not be disruptive disruptions.

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