One needs to be fit first in order to grow, said Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran, an avid marathon runner who has tried to bring long-distance running benefits to the business. Keeping in mind the learning of not trying to grow if not fit, he said the Tata group while strengthening the core is also transforming its companies towards the new future in terms of sustainability and digital.
“I am the one who believes that growth is the source of one’s energy. I go for growth but obviously, you can grow only if you’re fit. How do you bring the learning from a marathon into the business to drive growth is to first become fit. “Wherever you are not fit, don’t try to grow. It’s kind of a very interesting paradigm,” Chandrasekaran said on Tuesday while speaking at tech giant Microsoft’s annual flagship event Future Ready.
He was responding to a query on how he brings his growth and solution finding mindset into the broader Tata Sons and Tata group community.
“This group is an exciting place. While we are strengthening the core, we are also transforming our companies towards the new future in terms of sustainability, digital and all of it. “And then, we are also creating multiple businesses, which are future businesses. It’s a kind of three planks that we are working on. It’s pretty exciting,” Chandrasekaran said.
With a value system of more than 150 years, he further said the culture of solving problems not only for businesses but also for society is deeply embedded in the group. Commenting on his experience of marathon running, he said it has been one of the best things that has ever happened to him although he started late when he was in his early 40s.
“It has not been a mere sport for me but it has built my character. I have learned so many things from running marathons,” he said adding that long-distance running taught him the importance of perseverance, endurance, preparation and taking things in stride.
While one can prepare for six months for running a good race but on the race day, he said things could go bad and the weather could be bad, it may be raining or maybe too hot. “Things can happen. So, how do you work in your context is something that I’ve learned from running marathons because you have to run your race.
“You cannot get distracted by someone else’s race… We all compete but your strategy and execution is based on your context, not in someone else’s context,” he said. Also, contrary to the common belief that a marathon is an individual sport, he said it actually is not.
“When you run a marathon, you get the lift from all the people who run in the race. That’s how you do the race better, you complete without hitting the wall,” he said adding that “the last 10 kilometres you run because everybody runs”. Stating that he learns “from marathon every day”, Chandrasekaran said it “relates not only to the business but to all walks of life”