INSIDE THE MINDS OF BUSINESS LEADERS
By TA News Bureau
Author, writer, editor, broadcaster and consultant, Tim Bouquet stands out among other well-known journalists as an outstanding observer of the corporate world. He has been to the sanctum sanctorum of high-flyers in business and turnaround management leaders who morphed penniless companies into multibillion dollar conglomerates. He knows the brains of great entrepreneurs who set up savvy businesses that are loved by shareholders and admired by consumers. In this exclusive interview to Tyre Asia the author of best selling books “Cold Steel: Lakshmi Mittal and the Multi-Billion-Dollar Battle for a Global Empire “ and “The Man Behind the Wheel: How Onkar S Kanwar Created a Global Giant” among other widely sold publications, dissects the minds of business people who have made it big in the corporate world. There are many common traits among such people that CEOs can adopt to run their companies successfully
Tim Bouquet has access to some of the world’s most influential business leaders who have set the gold standard in business. As a person who has extensive experience of writing for leading international newspapers and magazines, he enjoys the credibility of both the readers and his featured business leaders. As editorial consultant for major multinational companies, he knows the inside outside of corporate functioning and has an uncanny ability to track the evolution and trends that companies go through. He knows the psychological profiles of the winning leader.
Bouquet says that the key personality traits of any successful entrepreneur are an unshakeable vision and a steady nerve, even when the prevailing opinion questions that vision.
“Even Onkar Singh Kanwar’s own father wanted him to ditch Apollo Tyres when it was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early days! Equally important is the ability to listen to the views and advice of others,” he told Tyre Asia in an interview.
In his most recently published book, “The Man Behind the Wheel”, Apollo Tyres’ Chairman Onkar Kanwar frequently seeks advice from those he trusts. “Like all successful entrepreneurs he is not afraid of taking decisions, but equally he has listened to others on the way to taking them.”
Kanwar always believed that listening is learning. This is one reason that he listens to colleagues at all levels and takes note of consumer thoughts while making decisions. “They are equally important. I would say that managing people is the same thing as managing an enterprise,” observes Bouquet.
Successful companies can only be as good as their employees and the key to expansion and meeting economic challenges is a well-managed and incentivised workforce that feels that a company is ‘their’ company. Apollo Tyres fosters that sense of family very strongly and is a fundamental foundation of its success.
Power of adaptation
Another trait that Bouquet has found among successful business people is their innate quality of adaptability. “Apart from a steadfast belief and vision, the ability to be adaptable is vital,” he points out.
Three very successful entrepreneurs that he got to know—Lakshmi Mittal, Onkar Kanwar and Sir Richard Branson—are from very different businesses but they have two things in common, an uncanny feel for customers and the ability to recognise and respond to changing markets.
“They also have around them a small group of trusted colleagues of many years’ standing, supplemented by young and eager talent,” Bouquet said emphasising how top business people gather around talented teams to run the company and implement the vision of the leadership.
When asked whether entrepreneurship is a quality that can be cultivated and that it is not something that someone is born with, he thinks that everybody can learn from the successes and failures of entrepreneurs. “However, I think all great entrepreneurs are born with one quality that is not always easy to learn, and that is courage.”
After interacting with some of the world’s top entrepreneurs, Bouquet has one advice to offer to budding entrepreneurs looking for guidance to run successful business: Do not be put off by those who say it can’t be done.
“History is proof that vision, energy and creativity often turn the tide of cynicism and defeatism in favour of the conviction of the entrepreneur,” he reminds. As was said of the great Indian steel and energy entrepreneur Om Prakash Jindal, “where others saw walls, he saw doors.”