Ratan Tata retires on his 75th birthday this week, handing over the baton of his business to Cyrus Mistry, the first chief appointed from outside the immediate Tata family in its 144-year history. While Ratan Tata has been credited with transforming the Tata group into a streamlined conglomerate of more than 100 companies and earning a global reputation for his consolidation and expansion strategies, I am looking at his leadership traits and how those traits influenced the group and made him the most powerful Indian Chief Executive Officer (CEO) brand globally.
VISION & MISSION
Ratan Tata is a visionary and no one would have any doubts about it if they glance through his stint in Tata. He is a futuristic leader who looked ahead with a powerful vision. In 1983, thirty years ago, he authored a document that was unofficially called the Tata Plan when the company was under the leadership of JRD Tata.
The group got Ratan Tata to draw up a blueprint for the future. At that time he recommended that the group should seek substantial growth in international operations. He also suggested restructuring the group to address the global opportunity better. Another example of his futuristic vision is Nano. “What drove me — a man on a two-wheeler with a child standing in front, his wife sitting behind, add to that the wet roads — was a family in potential danger,” said Ratan Tata, while explaining why he went for the Nano.
Visionary leaders are the builders of a new possibility that never existed before, working with imagination, insight, and boldness. They present a challenge that calls forth the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose. They operate from a positive intent and alignment with a higher purpose. They are social innovators and change agents, seeing the big picture and thinking strategically. Both globalisation of Tata and introducing Nano to India are just two smaller examples of how visionary Ratan Tata is....
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