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BW Businessworld

The Wealth Creator

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Dilip shanghvi, known for being soft-spoken, media shy, is a man with simple lifestyle. Shanghvi, who does not even hesitate to go to Sagar Ratna in New Delhi for a quick idli-dosa breakfast on his way from the airport, or for lunch between two meetings, always cherished strong family values. He and his wife, Vibha, could not go abroad for further education, but they sent their kids — son Alok and daughter Vidhi — to the US for higher education. They not only educated them, but ensured that their children imbibed strong family values. They nurtured in them the basic human values — the qualities that one would ordinarily disassociate from today’s rich and influential.

Very few people know about his certain other qualities that have made him what he is today — a most successful wealth creator. He is stern, determined and aggressive in his pursuit. The long drawn out battle for acquisition of Taro is a testimony to his traits. He is patient, willing to wait for an appropriate moment to strike, but will not wait indefinitely. He will continuously strive to create a situation that will enable him to push his agenda. And, once he strikes, he does not give up easily. One has only to look deeply at some of his acquisitions — some friendly and some not so friendly — to discover these qualities.

Uncanny ability to spot value in a company and evaluate assests are two of his most important qualities in business. These have helped him turnaround companies in quick succession. He knows exactly what is required to be done. These qualities have also helped him in turning down several acquisition proposals, which otherwise could have become a millstone round his neck. He has more than a dozen acquisitions to his credit. But what is not known is the number of proposals that he had turned down. He has rejected more than what he has acquired so far.

Mostly people judge their colleagues and subordinates by their strengths and weaknesses. He is different. This difference is critical to his success. He has unique ability to judge limitations of the people around him. He gives them opportunity to grow, but does not push them beyond their capabilities. He accepts them for what they are capable of and looks beyond for what they cannot deliver. This is not easy. Retention of senior experienced executives and keeping them motivated are a real challenge. But he does not compromise on looking for capable people beyond them. Even at the risk of displeasing some, he pursues this ruthlessly. That is why he is so successful.

There is one area that he needs to guard against. That is the tendency of ignoring vital inputs and prejudging the issue. This tendency generally develops with the long runs of success. However, the dynamics of business are different today. The old issues manifest in many different avatars. Unless one is able to keep up with these changes, which is not possible always, one may end up ignoring what may be crucial to the business. It is, therefore, important that one devotes time to understand the issues in their new manifestations and evaluate their potential to hurt. One may ignore these inputs or even succeed in silencing such dissenting notes, but not their adverse impact.

The author is chief executive officer of Vision Consulting Group and  also secretary general of Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA)

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 18-05-2015)

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magazine sun pharma dilip shanghvi magazine 18 may 2015