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Believe In The Power Of Aspiration
Natarajan Chandrasekaran helms the $110-billion Tata Group — covering businesses ranging from software to telecom, steel to automobiles, jewellery to hotels, and on and on — as Chairman, Tata Sons
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If there is one thing that clearly emerges from his 30 years with the Tata Group, it is that Natarajan Chandrasekaran prefers to lead by example. His extraordinary calling, points to the need to raise aspirations and push everyone to higher and higher standards of excellence.
As a youngster in 1987 out to explore his potential, Chandrasekaran joined TCS, at that time, a division of Tata Sons. Now, he helms the $110-billion Tata Group — covering businesses ranging from software to telecom, steel to automobiles, jewellery to hotels, and on and on — as Chairman, Tata Sons.jewellery to hotels, and on and on — as Chairman, Tata Sons.in 1987 out to explore his potential, Chandrasekaran joined TCS, at that time, a division of Tata Sons. Now, he helms the $110-billion Tata Group — covering businesses ranging from software to telecom, steel to automobiles, jewellery to hotels, and on and on — as Chairman, Tata Sons.jewellery to hotels, and on and on — as Chairman, Tata Sons.
Acutely aware of what raising aspirations can do to India’s potential, Chandrasekaran recently said when receiving the AIMA-JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award in Delhi: “We are not going to solve the jobs crisis by creating more jobs. We will solve the jobs problem by creating leaders who are aspirational.”
It is this high aspirational bar that the Tata Sons Chairman has set for himself in all walks of life. “If you want to do extraordinary things, we need to believe in the power of aspiration,” he said. This belief made him lead TCS as its MD and CEO to becoming one of the most respected IT companies globally.becoming one of the most respected IT companies globally.
Under his stewardship, TCS became the largest company in the Tata Group stable at Rs 4.5 lakh crore commanding over half the market value of the group. But what sets Tata Group apart is that it employs more than 3.87 lakh people in India and across the world.
Chandrasekaran, who turned 54, is a natural leader and a good person at heart. When you ask people who work closely with him, they say that a group like the Tatas first needs a human being and then a numbers-oriented person. Chandrasekaran sees the big picture. When it comes to driving growth, he ensures that without sounding arrogant or commanding, he spells out his agenda, and encourages his colleagues to achieve their goals.
Chandrasekaran easily evokes the trust of his colleagues and stakeholders. It was under his leadership that TCS achieved scale in the global market. He also prefers to work in the background. There were no fancy presentations and media shenanigans during his TCS days. In fact, he was a people’s man with a huge mandate — you could see it in the lowest attrition rate TCS witnessed of a mere 10 per cent in the entire IT industry. Some say his body language is exemplary; there is no authoritative air, but yet his persona motivates people to lead and excel.
Born into a family of six siblings, Chandra-
sekaran grew up tilling farms and raising crops in a village near Bengaluru. In the 1980s, he graduated in Applied Sciences before receiving a Master’s Degree in Computer Application.
Later he joined TCS as an intern and soon moved up the ranks through his exemplary leadership. In 2002, he was instrumental in expanding TCS in Europe and Latin America, and, in 2009, he was made the MD and CEO of TCS, becoming one of the youngest CEOs in the Tata Group at 42, and the first from outside the Parsi community, and without a promoter background. As CEO of TCS, Chandrasekaran was known as an innovator with zeal for creating shareholder delight. It is a trait that aids him in his new role.
Ever since he took over as Chairman of Tata Sons, many Tata Group company stocks have been delivering stellar returns, outperforming the market’s benchmarks. The Tatas looked far and wide all over the globe for a Chairman, and found him in their own backyard.
To Chandrasekaran, though, the biggest force is within. “If you want to achieve what we deserve,” as he recently said “we must aspire very big in every dimension. The power of aspiration is within everyone.” Now, in the position in which Chandrasekaran sits, it demonstrates the triumph of aspiration and the birth of a new global business leader.