The TATA Values — driving brand and ethics for prosperity
From Rich Karlgaard:
Prosperity, of course, isn’t caused by government. It’s brought about by entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies. Few companies in the world are better at creating shared prosperity than the Tata Group, a 146-year-old Indian company with roughly $100 billion in revenue. If you hang around the technology world, and you know about Tata Consultancy Services . It did $11.6 billion in 2013 sales and is expected to show $14 billion in 2014.
But Tata is also in airlines, automobiles, steel, electricity, construction, hotels, and food and beverages. Tata has more than 100 lines of business and operates in more than 100 countries. I stayed at a Tata hotel–the luxurious Taj–and was driven around in a beautiful Tata-made car, a Jaguar XJ that looks more like a Bentley than the faux Jags from the Ford Motor F -0.19%-ownership era.
How does a global conglomerate of Tata’s size stay in top form across its various industries without reverting to the mean? Tata’s success comes from a blend of strategy, execution and strong cultural values. More than most, Tata puts real thought and muscle behind the oft-neglected cultural side of business.
In Tata’s historic and humble Bombay House headquarters, I spoke with Mukund Rajan, who holds the dual title of brand custodian and chief ethics officer. Rajan’s odd dual title hints at the way the company views the world.
“Tata plays a long game,” said Rajan. “In the long run trust, ethics and good corporate citizenship create happiness, which ultimately leads to success.” Rajan says the age of social media and hypertransparency is good for Tata’s historical values. “Those who take shortcuts for the bottom line will be found out sooner.”
If the rest of India follows Tata’s example, expect tangible results from the land of dreams.