Top positive review
9 March 2019
A good business starts with a clear vision of winning with aspirational goals. The leader needs to have a broad and clear view of the business landscape as birds have when they fly high. Meanwhile the actual success of the business lies in achieving the goals on the ground, with the perfect 360-degree vision of the housefly with agility and speed. Connecting these two aspects, keeping both views in perspective is the unique ability of the business leader to build a business with a growing top-line and a solid bottom-line.
Sangeeta has done a splendid job in capturing her rich corporate professional cross functional experience covering Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, and Leadership through real business situations and cases.
Sangeeta emerges as a role model for all women managers in India. She was the first career management professional to join Nestle India in June 1979 in Marketing. Those were the days without basic amenities like packaged drinking water, connectivity and ubiquitous transportation that we take for granted today. The story of her travel to militant infested North East India, staying alone, driving to emote areas even when she falls sick, is a great example of personal courage and commitment.
Thousands of companies exist today. Yet, only a very few are ‘Built to Last’ – the unique DNA of not only to stay alive, but to thrive and grow globally for more than a century. Sangeeta explains the recipe of the secret sauce that keeps these companies going and growing. In these companies, ‘it’s different’, as with Maggi hot and sweet sauce!!
The customer comes first and foremost in whatever a great business does. Sangeeta’s own obsession for customer centric approach in business is evident in her thoughts, words and deeds in every chapter and case study, the most exciting and illustrative being her journey with Maggi 2-minute noodles in India. With the customer as its soul, a great product to delight, a clear strategy to guide, best in class processes to follow, attention to the minutest details on the ground, sums up the birth of great brands that customers keep coming for again and again. It is this relentless focus, constant improvement, and consistent delivery with utmost integrity and uncompromising adherence to core values that makes a company great. Brands matter, at every point of customer interface.
Great companies groom great leaders, and this book is an essential read on leadership, as much it is on marketing and business.
Throughout the book, Sangeeta never complains of having had any disadvantage of being a woman in the Indian corporate world. In fact, her professionalism and courage are at times lessons for men. No man would have braved the fury of flood and rains as she did in Mumbai in 1981 (launch of Maggi noodles) to reach a distributors office, wading in large swirling mass of dirty muddy waters, running well above the knee, her bag slung on one shoulder and slippers on the other, with the grave risk of slipping into dangerous ‘manholes’. She was the first to reach the place, while others from her company simply could not make it. She quotes Mark Twain: ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in spite of it.’ She goes on to say: ‘That day I knew I had it in me to stay determined and committed to the task at hand, despite the odds stacked against me.’ For those who could not make it, I can only say ‘JAAGO RE…’, taking cue from another great brand story in the book.
This book is a must read of all aspiring business leaders, especially those pursuing their MBAs and other young professionals who shall not cease to dare and fly high in their careers. Simple to read, highly informative, incisive and insightful. This is your fly vision.
This review is written on and dedicated to International World Women’s Day, Friday, 8 March, 2019.