”Leadership is all about courage and it should be coupled with empathy towards the fellow employees and community” quoted Mr. Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian – Tata Sons. He was sharing 3 decades of his life experience with the Tata Group at the 12th WiseViews Interactive Webinar Series conducted on July 09, 2021 by ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education for the benefit of Working Professionals, Research Scholars and Students across the country.
Mr Bhat spoke on the topic leadership, life lessons & inspiration and emphasized the need for leadership today to be purposeful, driven by courage, humility, clear thinking and execution.
Initially Mr Bhat started off by paying his respects to the late Mr. NJ Yasaswy, the Founder of the ICFAI Group. Professor Yasaswy taught him Corporate Finance at IIM Ahmedabad.
In his inspirational speech Mr. Bhat drew out the core values instilled in the group DNA by the three key leaders of Tata Group namely Jamshedji Tata, the founder, JRD Tata who succeeded him and Ratan Tata.
- Leaders have a sense of purpose. They have an objective: Jamshedji Tata from early on placed the health and wellbeing of their employees and community as the foundation of the Tata prosperity. As the group did well over the years he contributed to nation building in many ways, one of them being the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Welfare of the employees, community and the nation was at the core of his work.
- JRD Tata who succeeded him emphasized on the quest for excellence in all that he did. He also inculcated this value amongst his team members. This emphasis over decades led to the Tata brand being trusted. JRD created India’s first airline which was later nationalized and known as Air India.
- Great leadership comes with great courage: Ratan Tata who took over in the late 1990s, dreamt of building India’s first indigenous car. He wanted a car as large as an Ambassador, fuel efficiency of a Maruti and the styling of a Zen. A disused plant was traced in Australia, dissembled, shipped to India and reassembled. Trust in the engineers, continuous improvement and innovation has ensured significant improvements. A car took 8 days to make initially. It now takes only a few seconds. This led to employment and catalyzed a new industrial ecosystem. Ratan Tata demonstrated great courage to do that which had never been done before.
Mr. Harish Bhat further shared his own experience with the audience about the life lessons and learning, “Do that which is right for your conscience. I was never asked to do anything incorrect during my stint of 34 years with the Tatas. Never got used to a zone of comfort. From moving from one division, Tata Chemicals to another- Tata Tea and later the jewelry business, I have taken risk and landed up with my good share of success. I have taken a sabbatical to write a book which helped me identify one of my life passions. It takes time to discover what you are passionate about, in my case Marketing, Consumer Behavior and writing. Put People First. While one needs to be worried about performance one has to be equally considerate to people. Tata tries the best that it can.”
Mr. Bhat took a number of questions about leadership, mindset, sustainability, the pandemic effects, the role of educational institutions, the emerging opportunities, the Tata brand, his distinctive journey with the Tatas and his role as Brand Custodian.
The webinar was moderated by Prof. R Prasad, Director – Academic Wing, ICFAI Group and Prof. Sudhakar Rao, Director – Branding, ICFAI Group.
About 250 participants including entrepreneurs, Research Scholars, prospective students from various parts of the country registered in advance and participated.
About : Mr. Harish Bhat: Harish Bhat is the Brand Custodian at Tata Sons. He joined the Tata Group in 1987, as an officer in the Tata Administrative Service (TAS). Currently, he is the Chairman of Tata Coffee Limited. He is a Director on the Boards of several other Tata Companies, including Trent Ltd., Infiniti Retail Ltd., Tata Starbucks Ltd., Tata Unistore Ltd. and Tata AIA Life Insurance Company Limited. During his career spanning over 33 years with the Tata Group, Harish has held several senior roles. He also played a key role in the successful turnaround of the Jewellery business, and in the milestone acquisition of Tetley.
Harish is passionate about writing and is a prolific writer who contributes regularly to various national newspapers, such as Hindu Business Line and Mint. He has four published books to his credit, including the newly launched, “#TataStories”, which narrates 40 timeless tales from the Tata Group. This book is a sequel to the national bestseller “Tata Log
About ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education: The ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education is Deemed-to-be University under section 3 of the UGC Act 1956. ICFAI Business School (IBS) is a constituent of ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education. About 5,800 students are pursuing various programs in the Faculty of Management (ICFAI Business School), Faculty of Science & Technology (IcfaiTech), Faculty of Law (ICFAI Law School) and ICFAI School of Architecture, NAAC, an autonomous institute of University Grants Commission has also accredited The University with ‘A+’ Grade with an impressive score (institutional CGPA) of 3.43 out of 4.