There are some truly remarkable instances of how Indian companies have dreamt big dreams and then gone on to make them happen in real life. Who would have thought truck maker Tata Motors would one day stun the world by making the cheapest car ever? Or emerge as the favourite in the race to acquire a car marque as iconic and rarefied as Jaguar? Even as recently as five years back, tobacco giant ITC's dreams of transforming itself into an FMCG giant would probably have been considered laughable; today, ITC has emerged as one of India's biggest FMCG players, challenging well-entrenched players.
Being able to dream big and then convert it into reality is but one trait that many well-managed and successful companies share. Our knowledge partner for the Best Managed Companies study has found nine other mantras that are common to such companies. Like focussing on what a company does best. The story of Reliance Industries and how it leveraged its competencies throughout the value chain from oil & gas exploration to petrochemicals, plastics and polyester, is one example of single-minded focus on what a company does best. So is Larsen & Toubro, this year's overall winner in the Best Managed Companies' list.
After flirting with diversification in past decades, L&T is today focussed sharply on its skills as an engineering company and its balance sheets and order books speak volumes about how successful that strategy has been.
Devinder Chawla, Bharat Gulia and Noor Chawla, all consultants at E&Y who played a lead role in this year's study, reveal the secrets that make companies "best managed" in Mantras of Management Success. It would be difficult to find another corporate chieftain who is as self-effacing and low profile as Anji Reddy, Chairman of Dr Reddy's Laboratories, one of the biggest Indian pharmaceuticals company. Reddy, 67, is also one of corporate India's few committed philanthropists who spends more than half his time on activities related to giving. BT's Assistant Editor E. Kumar Sharma's feature on Reddy and the institutions that he funds appears in Meet Anji Reddy, the philanthropist.
Readers will no doubt recall BT's Best Banks issue, where HDFC Bank had topped our annual ranking. Now the bank is back in the news after announcing its merger with Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP). The biggest upside for HDFC Bank will be CBoP's top class management bandwidth. Read Anand Adhikari's feature, Merging to Grow, on this latest merger in the banking industry.