Who dares, wins

After almost 30 years at the helm of Amigotua International group of companies, Mr. Ram – fondly known as Ram babu in the organization decided to hang on his boots and hand over the baton to the next gen leadership.

In his farewell address, he spoke of his journey in the organization and stressed on the important milestones which changed the course for the organization. In one of the references, he shared about an incident that occurred 15 years ago. During that time, everything was going great for the company. Ram babu decided to expand the business by launching a product which is completely unrelated to the current business. He invested in the technology which wasn’t too well known at that time; and also gradually used trained robots in the factory. For that he was criticized by the board who saw the move as an unnecessary expense and dilution of the company’s product line. Ram babu candidly admitted that had it not been a family run business, he may have lost his chair. Today, 15 years later 92% of the company’s revenue came from that newly launched product; to the extent that it was able to help the company weather a storm that its sector faced a few years ago.

So, what was Ram babu’s inspiration? He was firm believer in the two A’s of strategy- Anticipation & Adaption. He believed if one can anticipate upcoming challenges and adapt his business with the necessary changes then they will be able to survive and grow in any business environment. He recalled how he had anticipated back then that their product line could become outdated in a few years and how his organization adapted to the new technology & regulations.

In business, or even in our day to day life, it’s very important that we anticipate the changes our future could present to us and plan accordingly. Reactive strategy can help; but most of the time that feels like chasing the tail with a good chance for a high risk of failure. A true leader anticipates future challenges and adapts to a strategy that overcomes it.

Erring in two A’s can cost big time. Take the case of Nokia. They failed to anticipate the future trends of dual sim phones or the concept of smartphones. This affected them so much that the one-time global giant almost become a footnote in the history of mobile communication devices. On the other hand, Samsung anticipated these new technology trends and adapted its product lines to emerge as one of the leaders in the cell phone industry.

Let me give you one more example. HDFC Bank: Till 2011, for 80% of one’s banking needs he or she needed to visit the branch. Although at the time it was such an accepted norm that even customers had grown accustomed to it. Yet the bank anticipated future customer behaviors and completely revamped its online platform such that 80% of a customer’s transaction could be done online. That alone immensely enabled the bank to expand its footprints in the country.

A successful company is always able to anticipate changes quickly. In current scenario, there cannot be better example than Maruti Suzuki India. Diesel cars prices are set to go up due to BS VI norms & contrary to history, the difference between Diesel & Petrol costs is minimal. Maruti anticipated that the buying behavior of customer will change, preference for petrol/CNG cars will increase, and therefore adapted to this future demand by deciding on phasing out its line-up of small diesel cars.

There can be many things like technology that can be disruptive for businesses. The one who adapts survives but the one who anticipate changes and adapt accordingly, the chances of his sustainable success grows by leaps and bounds.

Corporate life is more than it meets the eye