Of opportunities, creativity and focus in taking businesses forward

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Saurabh Mukherjee, Co-author of the book “The Victory Project – Six Steps to Peak Potential”

 Opportunity favours the prepared mind. Creative, focused individuals who know how to collaborate with other individuals with complimentary talents thrive in adverse circumstances like Covid — that’s the message of a new book, “The Victory Project – Six Steps to Peak Potential” (Penguin). Its co-authors,

Saurabh Mukherjee and Anupam Gupta offer a six-point mantra for success in an increasingly competitive world.

For instance, almost all the fund managers and promoters who feature as case studies in the book have, in fact, turned the adversary of the lockdown into reading extensively on a variety of subjects such as psychology, management and finance.

“They have steered clear of feeding themselves on the hosepipe of social media induced panic around Covid and instead focused on steering their companies/portfolios calmly through Covid whilst capitalising on the opportunities created by the crisis for gaining market share,” Mukherjee told IANS in an interview.

And, if proof were required of the pudding in the eating, his own company increased its headcount by a third and revenues by 40 per cent through the lockdown.

“The core principles and the behaviours assume more importance now since we are being bombarded with so much bad news and fear on a daily basis,” Gupta added.

“For example, we can detach ourselves (spiritualize, declutter) from this daily barrage of negativity and focus on achieving our goals (specialize). Building a daily routine (simplify) can also take our minds off the obsession around daily counts and focus, instead, on what’s more important to our lives — health and goals,” he explained.

What then, are the six mantras (The Simplicity Paradigm) the authors offer?

* Discovering the World of Specialization — A case study how Raamdeo Agrawal built the Motilal Oswal empire.

* How to Simplify Your Life – The framework that Sanjay Bakshi, Managing Partner at ValueQuest Capital LLP and Adjunct Professor at Gurugram’s MDI, built around simplicity.

* Connecting with Your Inner Self – The spiritual journey of Jason Voss, CEO of Active Investment Management Consulting, LLC, and co-founder of The Sarasota Institute think-tank

* Reduce, Reduce, Reduce: Getting Rid of Clutter – How Marico founder Harsh Mariwala cuts through clutter

* Develop Your Creativity and Memory – How Sanjeev Bikhchandani, the founder of Edge that owns naukri.co, broke all the rules to make his billions

* Teaming Up with the Best – Lessons from the multifaceted career of Manish Sabharwal of TeamLease Services.

The book then presents a “how to” scenario.

* How Simplicity Powers the Best Businesses – How Apurva Purohit built Radio City around the tenet of simplicity.

* Building a Simple Framework to Achieve Your Financial Goals – Mark Mobius’s legendary journey in emerging markets’ investing .

* Boiling It All Down to the Simplicity Checklist – R.D. Burman and A.R. Rahman: A case study of two creative giants

The message is very simple: normal, new normal or whatever, just get down to it!

“I think life has already changed in profound ways and we are learning to live in this new world in our own ways,” Gupta said.

Pointing to the Simplicity Paradigm, Mukherjee said: “There is no such thing as ‘normality’ insofar as at any point in time we will be living through one crisis or the other. Before Covid hit us, many investors were worried about the stricken state of our financial system or about the economic slowdown. Post-Covid there is bound to be some exigency or the other. Thoughtful, focused, creative professionals understand this and they learn to thrive in a world which is perpetually in flux.

“They see crisis and adversity as windows of opportunity. For example, Harsh Mariwala has shown that his company can produce rapid profit growth in spite of the lockdown,” Mukherjee added.

What are the lessons to be gained from the present upheaval for promoting the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan (Self-reliant initiative)? Will the stranglehold of the PSUs be overcome so that the private sector can compete as an equal partner?

Gupta said that while self-reliance is a noble goal and even more pertinent in the current times, foreign and domestic investment and industry have co-existed in the past and remain vital for economic growth in the future.

“Past liberalization in large sectors like automobiles and telecom has shown that the rise of the private sector brings about scale, efficiency, employment, etc., and hence the private sector is critical for economic growth,” he added.

Mukherjee concurred, noting that India’s path to self-reliance will be mightily hastened when our business leaders adopt the core principles of the Simplicity Paradigm (as explained in the book).

“Leaders who adopt the Simplicity Paradigm are able to create strong, successful, cash generative businesses which give employment to thousands and offer goods/services which enrich the lives of millions of Indians. As Indian PSUs wither on the vine, ‘The

Victory Project’ can act a precursor for building a new, confident and self-sufficient India,” he maintained.

The book is the final part of a trilogy on outsized success in competitive fields. The authors started with “Unusual Billionaires” (2016, on corporate success), followed it up with “Coffee Can Investing” (2018, on building a portfolio consisting of these rare companies) and finally “The Victory Project”.

“This is the conclusion of this near-decade long research that can help us achieve peak potential in our personal and professional lives,” Gupta said.

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