From Managing Family Business To Building One Of India’s Biggest Brands: Harsh C Mariwala’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Harsh C Mariwala, addressing at AIMA’s 66th Foundation Day

Harsh C Mariwala, addressing at AIMA’s 66th Foundation Day

At AIMA’s 66th Foundation Day, Mr. Harsh C Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Limited elaborated on the journey of coming out of the premise of his family business and foraying into the Consumer Goods Market to build Marico.

An iconic businessman and the winner of AIMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2021. A Thought Leader on Entrepreneurship and Management, a multiple brand builder, and author of ‘Harsh Realities: The Making of Marico’, Mr. Harsh C Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Limited addressed one of AIMA’s 66th Foundation Day Sessions about his entrepreneurial journey.

Mr. Harsh C Mariwala came out of the premise of his family business and forayed into the Consumer Goods Market and build Marico, which is one of India’s biggest brands.  Ruminating about the past of the early 70s when one had to get a license to succeed in business, and in order to get one’s company licensed one had to travel to Delhi and do some lobbying, etc, he said that he was not in favour of all of that, and neither did he like B2B business where “one had to go meet buyers and take them out for dinners”. He’d rather interact with the traders and the final consumers. He further added that he went the ‘small way” to build his business in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Since he had no one to guide or teach him, he had to take small steps, and that is how he started his journey. He also said that competition is tough and in order to win for an entrepreneur, his company has to have a differentiator and that differentiator only comes from innovation. He said that Market Leadership has played a very important role in the growth of his company. Additionally, having a good culture and talent is also important for a company to scale up. The way to retain talent is not merely by offering a good salary but by upskilling them in the company itself. As far as culture goes, people should be able to enjoy work.

And in his own words, the employment of ‘right governance’ also plays a pivotal role in a company’s growth. “If you start taking shortcuts as an entrepreneur, people in your company will start taking shortcuts too.” He said that you need to sow good seeds in order to reap well.

So, why did he feel that it was important to build a good culture in order to thrive? When Marico was formed they recruited a good number of 30-40 managers within a very short period of time. And each of them was operating with their own set of beliefs in terms of leadership style and managing the company. The company became a melting pot of different cultures, and that is when he realised that having a unified culture is important. So, Mr Harsh C Mariwala spent a lot of time preparing the culture for the company. He got together with his team in finalising the company values. However, converting the values into the culture was a big challenge. The reinforcement of each and every value played a very important role in creating a strong culture that facilitated the company’s growth.

Also, recruiting resources from diverse backgrounds, empowering them, and encouraging them to take risks and experiment, went a long way for the company to prosper. In addition to that, the company also fostered the culture of having internal innovation awards.

So, did he in the journey of the company’s growth lose talents that had also moved up with the company? He elaborated on this by saying that in the initial stage of the company’s formation, the resources become pivotal for its growth. However, when the “company grows larger” and if the senior management is not able to change their approach or manage the scale of the business, it leads to a lot of demotivation. When faced with situations like these, one has to deal with the situation head-on, which means putting the organisation first. However, one needs to do that in a humane and transparent manner, he said.

Mr. Harsh C Mariwala also cited an incident about a tussle with Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) regarding a coconut oil product; Parachute of Marico and Nihar of HLL. Nihar’s penetration in the market was deep and backed with all the advanced logistics, so much so that Parachute was almost acquired by HLL. He talked about how Marico had to up their game in every aspect and finally not only win the market from Nihar but also acquire it, and that was also a sense of achievement for the company.

Lastly, talking about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Mr. Harsh C Mariwala said that along with CSR, he also believes in Personal Social Responsibility (PSR). A company as a whole needs to do something for society. However, even on the personal side, one also has to individually give something back to society. He said that more than providing monetary help or giving donations, he wants to be actively involved by giving his time, his energy and being passionate about the cause he is involved in. He said that he has chosen two subjects to mentor in; entrepreneurship and mental health. The ASCENT Foundation started by him helps groom entrepreneurs for the related challenges. The Mariwala Health Initiative focuses on making mental health help accessible to marginalised people and communities.

Watch the full session- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onT8rxhxsFc&t=18s

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AIMA JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award: Awardee Address by Dr. Pawan Munjal

Dr. Pawan Munjal addressing at AIMA’s 66th Foundation Day

Dr. Pawan Munjal addressing at AIMA’s 66th Foundation Day

AIMA conferred Dr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, and CEO Hero MotoCorp with the JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award on its 66th Foundation Day. Dr. Pawan Munjal delivered the Keynote Address after being conferred with the Award speaking mainly on the lines of responsibility, innovation, sustainability and more.

Every year AIMA honours distinguished and eminent personalities, who have made outstanding contributions in the corporate world and professional management with the JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award. Established as one of the most prestigious awards in the country, the Award was conferred to Dr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, and CEO Hero MotoCorp his year. On the occasion of AIMA’s 66th Foundation Day, Dr. Pawan Munjal delivered the Keynote Address after being conferred with the Award.

Starting off the Address, he talked about how he had watched a movie with his grandchildren “Kung Fu Panda” and quoting from the movie he said, “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is the present, that is why we call it a “gift”. He efficiently related the quote to how incumbent it is for the current generation to adapt and evolve with the future generation so that we speak a language that resonates with everyone. The other thing to note, he said is that change and the future have always been associated with uncertainty. There are unprecedented events like the Covid pandemic that became an opportunity for humankind to overcome challenges and emerge victorious. Hence we must always see challenges as opportunities. History is proof of how the uncertainties were overcome by the resilient spirit of the human race.

The pandemic has also disrupted the ecosystem. Hence the approach to operations, planning, and beliefs underwent a sea change. Leaders (Public and Private) need to ensure balanced strategies to ensure growth and stability. Another aspect of today’s world is that it is not only changing faster but is far more complex than in the past. The geopolitical situations around the world mixed with fast-evolving consumer behaviour and rapid technology advancements have made companies incur mammoth losses. We need unconventional thinking and calculated risk to tide over such uncertain situations.

In recent times when uncertainties characterise economic and social structures, it is imperative for companies to adopt new age strategies and give up the traditional ones. Since uncertainty is perceived as a threat, human beings get into survival mode. However, uncertainties also bring with them endless opportunities, so leaders and companies are advised to promptly activate their thriving factors. Uncertainties also give rise to undiscovered needs that’s why leaders and organisations should adopt emotional intelligence to build trust. Communication is also critical as the absence of it can create great ease.

Times of uncertainties can also spark innovations for leaders and companies, and Dr. Pawan Munjal explained how he and his team had developed a ‘PPP Model’ during the pandemic. PPP being Perspective, People and Persistence. The ability to get the right “perspective” while amid uncertainty is often the inflection point. To be able to step back, observe and change the course is critical when operating in a fast-paced environment. By quickly analysing the change, an organisation or individual can adapt to the situation. “People” are at the core of everything in an organisation. Empowering people enables them to make decisions and motivates them to contribute meaningfully. It becomes essential for leaders and organisations to be “persistent” in their effort to propel their vision. Through a coherent and judicious mix of such models, the uncertainties of the future can be overcome.

India has come out as a champion in managing disruptions in the past few years, especially the Covid pandemic. The collective strength of the people of India has ensured a success story filled with new achievements. Our society is amazingly resourceful and persistent that is why India has not only evolved but leapfrogged into the future, proving to be the champion of change. With the inclusivity of macro and micro growth and also strengthening the start-up structure, the country has set itself for a mammoth growth in the future. It is now in a robust position to adopt massive economic growth.

Just like how he started his Address with a quote from a movie, he yet again ended his Address with another quote from a popular movie. ‘Spider-Man’. The quote- “with great power comes great responsibility”. He said that it is important for us to support ourselves, our resources, our families and also especially those who require help in times of crisis. He said that these are the criteria that the future generation will judge us on.

Watch the full session- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFFBv9n5QkM&t=14s

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Managing During Turbulent Times: R Gopalakrishnan Tells How

R Gopalakrishnan addressing at AIMA’s Premiere Session of Management Café

R Gopalakrishnan addressing at AIMA’s Premiere Session of Management Café

Managers had to reinvent themselves to function on the disruption created by the Covid pandemic. With so much volatility and uncertainty, another facet was added to a manager’s responsibility of being able to manage in turbulent times. R Gopalakrishnan, Corporate Advisor, The Mindworks and Author gave valuable insights about how those who can handle “what if” situations, those who can unlearn things and those who learn to explore while exploiting will be the “managers of the future” when it comes to handling turbulence, at AIMA’s Premiere Session of Management Café.

The economic crisis of a couple of years had inflicted a lot of damage on business in general. But these crises also provided lessons for reviving business strategy and technology. With the passage of time, organisations found ways to recover, and in the process management structures and processes changed significantly. Managers had to reinvent themselves to function amid the widespread disruption created by the Covid pandemic. With so much volatility and uncertainty, another facet that is added to a manager’s responsibility is being able to manage in turbulent times.

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Changing lives: Philanthropy goes beyond money, says Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty addressing at AIMA’s 7th National Leadership Conclave.

Sudha Murty addressing at AIMA’s 7th National Leadership Conclave.

Philanthropy is about sharing things that you want to so that it gives you happiness. It could be about sharing your experiences, your ideas and affection, said Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Murty Foundation & Author and Social Worker, at AIMA’s 7th National Leadership Conclave.

A perfect epitome of wealth and compassion, Sudha Murthy’s outstanding work in the area of education, healthcare, equality of income creation, culture, and public hygiene has set new standards for the wealthy people of this country. In addition to that, her contribution to modern Indian literature in Kannada and English is commendable. A prolific writer who has authored 30+ books across all genres, one of the ‘original’ Angel Investors in India, and has received Awards for both Philanthropy and Writing. They say it is easier to give money than your time, and she does both efficiently and she was there to share a slice of her life with the audience at AIMA’s National Leadership Conclave.

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The Right Choice: Shiva Shivakumar Resolves Career Dilemmas for Extraordinary Success

Shiva Shivakumar addressing at AIMA’s 39th LeaderSpeak Session

Shiva Shivakumar addressing at AIMA’s 39th LeaderSpeak Session

“An individual is solely responsible for his career,” says Shiva Shivakumar, Group Executive President, Corporate Strategy & Business Development, Aditya Birla Group. However, he also belted out tips on how to handle the career dilemmas from his new book- ‘The Right Choice: Resolving 10 Career Dilemmas for Extraordinary Success’ at AIMA’s 39th LeaderSpeak Session. 

Having an illustrious career across different industries and having his views on leadership and strategy widely known, Shiva Shivakumar, Group Executive President, Corporate Strategy & Business Development, Aditya Birla Group talked about his maiden book, ‘The Right Choice: Resolving 10 Career Dilemmas for Extraordinary Success’ that became a bestseller, at AIMA’s 39th LeaderSpeak Session.

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“Beyond Covid-19 Pandemic: Sanjiv Bajaj talks about redrawing India’s financial economy growth map

Sanjiv Bajaj addressing AIMA’s 50th LeaderSpeak Session

Sanjiv Bajaj addressing AIMA’s 50th LeaderSpeak Session

Many sectors including the Financial Services were hit badly by the pandemic but with digitisation and risk management practices in place, companies can strengthen their ‘resilience’ to come out of unprecedented events like the pandemic, said Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman & Managing Director, Bajaj Finance Limited at AIMA’s 50th LeaderSpeak Session.

The economy had recovered from the shadow of the pandemic and the GDP growth had bounced back. There had been major growth in every segment of the economy and consumer confidence had improved significantly. But the omicron variant of covid hit the economy again, hence the economy map had to be redrawn. Digitisation came as a revolution even in the financial services sector, as everyone opted for digitised transactions of money. The arena of financial services had to be broadened to offer lending, saving, insurance and investment products at all levels of the economic pyramid.
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Net Zero to Net Positive: Jayant Sinha Recommends A Green Frontier Development Model For India

Jayant Sinha addressing AIMA’s 53rd LeaderSpeak Session

Jayant Sinha addressing AIMA’s 53rd LeaderSpeak Session

To build a sustainable, competitive and resilient economy, India needs a new development model- a green frontier development model, that’ll take India on a Net Zero trajectory, said Jayant Sinha, Hon’ble Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) at AIMA’s 53rd LeaderSpeak Session

It has become difficult to ignore the harmful changes in our planet’s life-supporting ecosystem because of humanity’s accelerated consumption of nature. The biggest source of climate change is the excessive burning of fossil fuels to fire up the engines of economic growth. The West can be accused of the hypocrisy of teaching about conservation after taking advantage of the planet’s bounty, but we can’t ignore the fact that humanity will suffer if the earth’s environment heats up further.

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Amb Shyam Saran addressing at AIMA’s 57th LeaderSpeak

Amb Shyam Saran addressing at AIMA’s 57th LeaderSpeak

India is feeling the heat for being reluctant to condemn Russia’s current actions. Amb Shyam Saran, Former Foreign Secretary and Former Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board clarified that India’s interest lies in adjusting to the existing global order conditionally and not accepting it fully at AIMA’s 57th LeaderSpeak.

India has long-standing diplomatic ties with Russia but India’s economic prospects are tied to the USA, which also plays a role in influencing India from being involved in Russian affairs, which translates to India being “neutral”.

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Indian Aviation Navigating Covid Turbulence & Chartering A Future Course: Jyotiraditya M. Scindia

Jyotiraditya M. Scindia addressing AIMA Foundation Day 2022

Jyotiraditya M. Scindia addressing AIMA Foundation Day 2022

Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation talked about how Indian Aviation inched back to form post covid and how it now will be the backbone of Indian transportation both because of its physical reach and its cost-effective economic rates, at AIMA’s 66th Foundation Day.

Aviation was one of the most affected sectors during the pandemic, yet the services it provided to the people during that time have been admirable. The Civil Aviation Ministry remained unmovable during the very difficult time and has played a major role in the transportation of logistics in the country. Continue reading

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A Multipolar World: Inevitable or Wishful Thinking- Amb Kanwal Sibal

Amb Kanwal Sibal addressing 56th Leaderspeak Session

Amb Kanwal Sibal addressing 56th Leaderspeak Session

There have been talks about the world having multiple Super Powers, but a peaceful transition to a Multipolar World is a debatable topic, said Amb Kanwal Sibal, Former Foreign Secretary of India at AIMA’s LeaderSpeak Session.

AIMA had organised the 56th LeaderSpeak live session on ‘A Multipolar World: Inevitable or Wishful Thinking’. Amb Kanwal Sibal, Former Foreign Secretary having a distinguished career as a professional diplomat and having served in many countries that were key to India’s geopolitical security and economic interest, was rightly qualified to deliberate the session.

For many years, especially since America’s financial meltdown, multiple Super Powers; India, Russia and China have been potential names for the formation of the Multipolar World Order, but right now China and Russia are tangled in an escalating conflict due to the Russia-Ukraine War. Besides, China also has issues with India regarding border problems. Continue reading

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