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INTdirector | AUTUMN 2015

If you can win in India, you can win everywhere:

Recipes for winning over diverse challenges!

Praveen Gupta MAICD

Managing Director
Raheja QBE General Insurance
Company Ltd
Member since 2010

A slowing Chinese economy

makes it imminent for Australian
businesses to engage with India
more closely. Ravi Venkatesans
book (Win in India, Win
Everywhere Conquering the
Chaos) is a rst-hand guide
to successfully dealing with
India, winning here and thereby
succeeding in all emerging
markets. Here is a book full of
nuggets and insights into those
who made it big and those who
could not.

The challenges:
India is on the minds of business
leaders everywhere. Within a
few decades, India will be the
worlds most populous nation
and one of its largest economies.
But it is also a complex and
challenging market, with a
reputation for corruption,
uncertainty, and stultifying
The initial infatuation with
India is over and reality has set
in. But India is not a market that
can be ignored. So why take a
chance in this extraordinary and
complex region? What does it
take to win in India? How do
you deal with the chaos and
even prosper from it?
Ravi Venkatesan, the former
Chairman of Microsoft India,
offers inside advice on how
your rm can overcome the
unique challenges of the Indian
market. He argues that chaotic

India is in fact an archetype

for most emerging markets,
many of which present similar
challenges but not the same
potential. Succeeding in India
therefore becomes a litmus test
for your ability to succeed in
other emerging markets. If you
can win in India, you can win
Hard as these markets are,
Venkatesan says, for most
multinational rms the bigger
challenge to success in emerging
markets may well be the
internal culture and mind-sets at
headquarters. The unwillingness
to make a long-term
commitment to the new market
or to adequately trust local
leadership, combined with the
propensity to rigidly replicate
the products, business models,
and operating systems that have
worked at home drives many
companies to a midway trap
that results in India remaining
an irrelevantly small contributor
to global growth and prots.

The prescriptions:
CEO commitment is the
starting point. The single
most important determinant
of success over time is the
choice of country manager.
What is the role of the
country manager in India?
Why is it different from that
of say in Germany? Requires
a different organisational
structure or model, where
India is managed like a
geographic prot centre,
willingness to make long-term
investments in developing
capabilities on the ground
and the willingness to sustain
these through inevitable
vicissitudes. Therefore,
escaping the midway trap
requires commitment of
the entire leadership of the
company to pull multiple
levers before the whole
organization ips to a new
high-growth trajectory.
What kind of an operating

model do you need to be

successful in India? How
do you achieve speed
without taking undue risks?
What is the new role of
headquarters? Are there any
principles for strategy that
are common across industries
and companies? How do you
get the whole organization
aligned behind a strategy for
How to build the leadership
and organisational capabilities
to succeed, and why that is
so hard for most companies?
Illustrates with some best
India as a lab for innovation.
Why is that critical? How
hard is it? What is doing well?
What can we learn from these
Questions about joint
ventures and acquisitions.
Why they have bad
reputation, what is it one can
learn from companies that are
good at JVs and acquisitions?
Developing the resilience to
deal with corruption and cope
with chaos.

Role of the global CEO. Why

do you need a globaliser and
how do you identify this
archetype? What do the most
successful globalisers do to
ensure leadership in India and
How companies that are
winning in India are learning
to use the capabilities they
have developed there to
break into several emerging
markets. For instance how
JCB created and dominates
the construction equipment
industry in India? What did
Microsoft do to escape the
midway trap? Where did
McDonalds, Samsung, John
Deere, Unilever, Dell, Volvo,
Cummins, GE and IBM depart
from what they did before
coming to India?
Not a very long list but certainly
inspiring ways to making it
happen in India and other
emerging markets despite all their
pitfalls! Must go through this
very readable book which could
be your handbook for succeeding
in India, if you so wish.