R Gopalakrishnan, Executive
Director, Tata Sons Limited, receives
the prestigious Bombay Management Association's `Management Man
Of The Year Award' today. Here, he tells Martin D'Souza that
being talented alone is not enough...
Cannot miss the obvious one, even though
it has been asked a thousand times. How does it feel to win this
Great. But I am not a guy who yearns for awards. So it is a perfect
solution to a problem I never had!
Obviously, there is a lot of hard work involved in managing
the affairs of a big firm, how do you strike a balance between
home and work. Are you able to say, `work is work' and time at
home is for family or does your work schedule also eat into your
I have not faced a problem in such balancing. I do what I enjoy
and enjoy what I do, whether at work or at home. So I am a fortunate
guy, I reckon.
What's the secret of being a successful team manager?
I cannot pontificate about how to be a successful team manager.
I recall the words of Gen. Omar Bradley about the wellsprings
of humility being in the field. For a business, it is our customers,
salesmen, factories and so on. Those are the "colleges"
where I have learnt about management.
What would your advice be to someone junior who you see
has potential to grow within the company?
My advice to youngsters would be to spend the first 10 years of
the career in "real" work, in the mayhem of factory
operations, of selling to customers, of trial balances and book-
How do you spot talent within the company?
I spot talent by the reaction of their peers. If peers look upto
a person, even if grudgingly, it is a good sign. Talented people
also come through as unstoppable".
Do you think we in India reward those who need to be rewarded.
I mean, in the West, talent IS rewarded and one does reach places.
But in India, sometimes being talented alone is not enough.
No reward system is perfect, whether in India or the West. It
is a part of the quest of management to improve reward systems
but everybody is far away from the ideal. You know why? Because
the ideal does not exist! Being talented alone is not enough,
I agree. You also need God's grace (some people call it luck)!
How do you unwind from the stress of office work?
I am fond of sports, writing and reading.
Your favourite holiday destination in India and abroad?
I have only one favourite holiday destination — Coonoor
in the Nilgiris.
What's the secret of your success?