My life experiences and learnings
I was invited by my founder friend Abhishek Shah (co-founder, Almo) to deliver a talk to the young team members at Almo – one of my investee companies.
I spent some time talking about my experiences starting with the foundational values and philosophy of my life, besides sharing few learnings based on my personal and professional experience.
Here are some key takeaways and beliefs:
- The dream of who I am today was created by my mother when I was born. She aspired to see me as a successful human being despite having very limited resources at their disposal.
- My nani (maternal grandmother) taught me the core values of gratitude and humility from my childhood
- My parents went beyond their means to educate me in one of the best schools in Delhi
- What I am today is because of blessings of Maa durga, my parents and nani
- I am blessed to get the love, compassion and support of my wife during this journey of life
- My interactions with some great people helped me reinforce my values and beliefs
- Lately, I have defined philosophy of my life in 12 words
- Recently I have engaged with my 42-year-old yoga teacher who is a post graduate in Sanskrit and Yoga as my Guru. He helps me to reinforce these values
I have enlisted below some of the leaders who had significant impact in shaping my 36 years professional journey.
My journey started with 8 years at Escorts, 4 years at Ranbaxy followed by 24 years at Hero group which was mostly with Munjal family members:
- Mr Rakesh Chopra was amongst the youngest member of the senior management at Escorts, he was very dynamic, energetic, aggressive and always supported his colleagues.
- Late Dr Parvinder Singh the promoter (owner /founder) at Ranbaxy was a visionary. He inspired me with his simplicity, humility, respect, trust, team building and amazing leadership qualities. He always had his feet on ground and encouraged risk taking. Ranbaxy grew significantly more than the industry growth rates under Dr Singh’s leadership.
- Mr D S Brar, President at Ranbaxy was a tough task master but was brilliant in visualising the future and had razor sharp memory. He made me learn how to handle tough situations and pushed limits to excel in whatever you do. He made me realise to never leave as a loser even in toughest of situations. His interactions pushed me to deliver the best outcomes. I was able to deliver much more than was expected of me. Given that I was paid much lower than my market value, I was able to take decisions like an owner. I was able to maintain my self-respect working with a tough boss like him.
- Late Mr Vinay Kaul, CFO was a born risk taker and optimist, extremely intelligent, hardworking and amongst the most trusted and respected confidant of Dr Singh. He always worked like an owner. I shared a wonderful bond with him, he trusted and respected my creative abilities to take informed risks. He encouraged me to be gutsy, as a result of which I was able to deliver wonderful outcomes to both the company and Dr Singh.
- Late Shri Brijmohan Munjal Ji was a symbol of humility and loved to create and nurture relationships across all stakeholders in the ecosystem. His approach of building relationships like a family led me to building and nurturing long term Dosti (Friendship). He taught me the power of empathy, compassion, sharing fruits of growth, being a good listener, being customer and people centric, being approachable to everyone and enjoying the journey. Hero Honda flourished under his leadership and got to a global leadership position in motorcycles.
- Late Shri O P Munjal Ji was amongst the few people who could link strategy and on ground execution. He realized the power of building connections with dealers, vendors, employees and was able to inspire and motivate all stakeholders to play a pivotal role in Hero Cycles becoming a global leader. My interactions with him have always been a great learning experience of how to run a business and build long term partnerships.
- Mr Sunil Munjal practiced the value system of his father Brijmohan Ji, besides he is a wonderful strategic thinker, takes a holistic view, has amongst the best networking abilities, is well-travelled and exposed to diverse fields. He believed in my capabilities and trusted me, put his faith in me to deliver outcomes and I believe his trust helped me in exceeding the desired outcomes. During my tenure with him I handled some of the most complex and large transactions and was his go to man.
The learnings in my professional journey helped in handling and delivering great outcomes some of which are:
- Quick Turnaround of loss-making company
- Buyout of Honda stake by Hero in Hero Honda JV at significant discount to the listed price
- Amicable realignment amongst the family members
- Explored JVs with large MNC, unwound because of Lehman Crisis
- Multibagger returns on sale of a company in the UK and unlisted entities like Nykaa , Oyo amongst others
- Explored large diversification opportunities in using evaluation of group entry in sunrise industry i.e. renewable energy space.
- Creating the foundations of family office, Investment office and managing wealth.
- Great returns on investments both for the Promoter and the Company
- Handling GDR issue and largest ECB transaction
- Rated as one of the best treasuries in India
- Creating an innovative process for outstation check collection and creating a loan product for suppliers of Escorts and almost half the interest rate
Version 2.0 Managing Partner Sarcha Advisors:
- I am blessed to have my daughter, Ishani Chanana join me as a partner in this journey. Ishani has ensured I stay disciplined to asset allocation, shares a very different perspective and holds a veto on my decision
- Defined higher purpose – Be happy and spread happiness all around while being a 21 year old student of Psychology, Philosophy and Digital Technologies
- Faced a few challenges in the early part of the journey
- Core areas as angel investing and interacting with some family members. Mentored a few founders based on a very differentiated philosophy as a Dost
- Created ‘Dil-Se’ connect and ‘Dil-Se’ investment philosophy
- Empathize with founders and followed founders’ first philosophy to the core
- One advice to founders to create moonshots, have engaged guru and be driven by profit with purpose
- Have thoroughly enjoyed my time being a part of the start-up ecosystem. My interactions with my founder friends consistently provide me with intellectual stimulation
- Have interacted with over 400+ founders, invested in 50+ start-ups and written close to 100 short blogs for founders and family offices based on learnings relevant for both founders and family offices
Will continue to share more learnings and stories.
Hope you enjoy the reading and watching the video.