Business Today

Learn to Attach, Detach

Print Edition: Sep 16, 2012

My father, inspired by the Bhagwad Gita, suggests a theory of attachment and detachment in business. I have been hearing the advice for about 10 years or so, and this has also helped us during crises.

You need to attach yourself to certain things to go deeper, develop a passion and get work done. But you need to get detached after achieving certain milestones. If you remain attached to a certain thing, you cannot professionalise and grow it. Detachment makes it easier to professionalise and monitor the work from a distance.

That is the way we have grown our business in the last 10 years. In the initial stage of any project, we get deeper into it, understand it, set up a team around it, and then start detaching from it.

My father repeated this advice when Havells went through a tough time during the global economic crisis in 2008 and 2009. When we acquired Sylvania (in November 2007) we were very detached from the business for the first one-and-a-half years and we let the existing management team to run the company. But when Sylvania fell deeper into the red, the management team of Havells got fully involved. For one year there was close coordination between Sylvania and Havells. Sylvania became profitable (in 2011/12) and now we again run it from a distance.

The advice has helped me balance my work and personal life as well. We have put professional systems in place, so I don't need to rack my brains 24 hours a day and work 16 hours a day. This has helped me in growing the business and leading my life far more comfortably.

As told to Anand J.

 WORDS OF WISDOM: Personal accounts by 50 of India's corporate leaders
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 Deep Kalra
Sachin Bansal

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