Mumbai: The book ‘Making the Elephant Dance: The Tata Way to Innovate, Transform and Globalize’ (Penguin India, 2015) was released today in Mumbai alongside a conversation with Dr. Mukund Rajan, Member – Group Executive Council and Brand Custodian, Tata Sons, Mr. S. Padmanabhan, Executive Chairman, Tata Quality Management Services (TQMS), Tata Sons, and author of the book, Dr. Sunil Mithas, Professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. The book carries a foreword from Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons.
The story of the Tata group’s transformation is a story of persistence in its journey of business excellence. The book, Making the Elephant Dance, provides a roadmap for corporate transformation and renewal using the levers of business excellence, innovation and globalisation by documenting the Tata group’s transformational journey from a $5.8 billion Indian firm in 1992 to a $103 billion global powerhouse in 2014. What does it take to transform a large and complex organisation? The book provides a formula using Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM), a framework used by the Tata group to help companies achieve global competitiveness and excellence in their business performance. The methodology of TBEM is modeled on the US-based quality initiative, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
The book explains the sequence of leadership and management interventions that Tata used following the liberalisation of the Indian economy in the 1990s to become the largest private-sector employer in both India and the United Kingdom, and acquire iconic brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover and Tetley. It profiles the transformational journey of incumbents such as Tata Steel, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Consultancy Services, Titan, Indian Hotels, Tata Power and Tata Chemicals to provide a framework for almost any organisation to rediscover its potential and charge ahead.
It argues that one key factor for the group’s giant success has been the relentless focus on tracking and improving every measurable attribute of corporate excellence, from customer satisfaction to employee morale to strategy development and implementation. The book further elaborates on lessons of Leadership, Execution, Analytics, Disciplined autonomy and Serving society from Tata that other organisations and incumbents can follow to transform themselves (Annexure 1 – Detailed note on the book).
Addressing the audience, Dr. Mithas said, “Tata group’s success, due in part to its commitment to business excellence, globalization and innovation, demonstrates that even giants can dance, if they combine the discipline of consistent processes with autonomy needed for innovation. The book provides concrete ideas for executives to set and achieve an agenda for transformation based on lessons that apply to virtually all companies around the world.”
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Rajan said, “We are humbled by this body of work of Dr. Mithas and are grateful to him for his remarkable illustration of the business excellence journey of the Tata group. This book, with a foreword by Mr. Ratan Tata, is particularly timely as on July 29th, the birth anniversary of J.R.D Tata, we celebrate 21 successful years of the business excellence movement in the Tata group. We expect this focus on business excellence to play a critical role in helping us to achieve the Tata group’s Vision for 2025, namely that “By 2025, 25% of the world’s population will experience the Tata commitment to improving the quality of life of customers and communities.”
Mr. Padmanabhan said, “The core purpose of TBEM is to enable performance enhancement through the business excellence journey. It has become the glue that binds Tata companies, bringing them together in their quest for excellence. It helps the Tata group at different levels: for Tata Sons, it enables leveraging of synergies; for the company Boards, it brings a balanced view of the company; for Tata companies, it represents an opportunity to learn from others and become an industry leader; and for all Tata employees, it is a leadership development movement.”
Excerpt from the book:
It is fairly uncommon in developed economies for companies to consistently apply the same models or methodologies for long periods of time, partly due to the pursuit of “management fads” and partly due to a lack of continuity of executives at the top. This persistence and consistency in implementing a philosophy and program for business excellence has given Tata companies a common identity and a competitive edge in the areas of globalization, innovation, customer and employee focus, leadership, and strategic planning, and this has led to improved financial performance. Many Tata companies have deployed the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) and related initiatives tirelessly for many years, some going as far back as 20 years.
The Tata group’s business excellence journey should be viewed as a way to focus the efforts of senior leaders and other managers on holistic stakeholder management (and not exclusively on shareholder management), something that appears to have concerned the founder of the Tata group when he specifically drew attention to “society” as a critical stakeholder.
The Tata Business Excellence Model
Tata Business Excellence Model is a framework which helps companies to achieve excellence in their business performance. This is the chosen model by the Tata group to help in building globally competitive organisations across Tata group companies, and was adopted in 1994 following the liberalisation of the Indian economy. TBEM is based on the Malcolm Balridge National Quality Award Model of the U.S. and plays three important roles in strengthening competitiveness:
· To help improve organisational performance practices, capabilities, and results
· To facilitate communication and sharing of best practices information among all organisations within Tata group
· To help in guiding organisational planning and opportunities for learning
TBEM Criteria is designed to help organisations use an integrated approach to organisational performance management. It embodies seven categories of the business realm – Leadership; Strategic Planning; Customer and Market Focus; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Work force Focus; Process Management; and Business Results. The TBEM model is at par with business excellence models across the world. Over past two decades, TBEM assessments have helped Tata companies’ progress on their business excellence journey and have become the glue that binds Tata companies, bringing them together in their quest for excellence.
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