The business saga of the’ party of brothers’ who resist challenges right from the instability of Partition is well captured in the book, The Making of Hero: Four Friends, Two Wheels and a Revolution that Shaped India. It substantiates the tour of the Hero Group, written by Chairman Sunil Kant Munjal.
The 12 assemblies span 220 pages and are a compelling blend of storytelling, home story, and business history. There existed 20 sheets of pictures, reflecting key identities and milestones( watch my book review here ).
Sunil Kant Munjal is the Chairman of Hero Enterprise, and the youngest son of Brijmohan Lall Munjal, Founder of the Hero Group. He is also the Co-founder of BML Munjal University, as well as sits on members of the board of IIM Ahmedabad, International School of Business, University of Tokyo, Escorts, Indian Angels Network Fund, and LIC.
Sunil’s other journal is All the World is a Stage; he is also Founder of the Serendipity Arts Foundation. The foundation launched the annual Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa in 2016( read YourStory’s six-part coverage of the 2019 publication here ).
The Making of Hero has been shortlisted for the annual Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, which honors generators who recount the spirit of entrepreneurship in India. With a prize money of Rs 15 lakh, the award is regarded as the biggest business book award in India( view my allotments writeup here ).
Sunil Kant Munjal joins us in this interview on the outing of authoring a diary, business storytelling, and the role played by leadership.
YourStory[ YS ]: What was the most fulfilling part of writing your volume?
Sunil Munjal[ SM ]: I certainly enjoyed talking to numerous parties from various ages and of all ages, assembling knowledge, happens, and anecdotes. I discovered many facets of my elders: I got to know about the people who impacted them and who they affected in turn. I learnt much more about the epoch in which they lived, succeeded, contended, and attained.
There is a saying that life can only be lived forward but merely understood downwards. Submerge myself in my family’s seeds, and those of Independent India during the research was the most fulfilling part of writing this book.
YS: And, what was the challenging portion?
SM: My father and uncles were born in undivided India, and the first Hero Enterprise itself came up more than six a few decades ago. So, substantiating and showing the many details and affairs of that epoch was a huge challenge.
Also, visualising a picture of India just before and after Independence was dicey and seldom flustering. With epoch, members of the elder generation had passed on, and remembers of those who remained had faded.
This constituted an issue initially, but I managed to sort it out by having as many discussions as I could, to allow a credible narrative to be stitched together.
YS: What makes a good business legend different from a case study or chronology? How did you are to be able to weave different topics even though your book is not in strict chronological order?
SM: A case study involves a depth dive into details to gain insight, understanding, and teach. A business fib is a narrative with a strong human element, has plenty of stories, and showcases pilgrimage milestones.
A case study aims to inform while a business story seeks to provide an experience. Both case studies and business fibs is dependent upon points to arrive at insights, but in case studies, reads are instructed down, while in the latter, then there guzzled and experienced.
I deliberately employed a mixture of chronological chapters, interspersing them with chapters on ethics, beliefs, and best rehearses. Our family has been following them for decades, and they have become second nature to the organisations founded by us. I decided to amplify some of these.
The periods on spiritual beginnings, family life, and the’ Making of Brand Hero, ’ cut across the chronological sequence to give books a better idea of what we stand for as their own families, as well as an organisation.
YS: Were you able to say everything you demanded in the book? What would you compute now if you could?
SM: Unfortunately , no. There were strict era and infinite constraints imposed by my publishers who had their reasons. There were hundreds of incidents that I could have added that would have done the book even more fascinating, and weightier!
I would have liked to have added more occurrences on how Hero Cycles germinated in immensity, about the struggles in the restrictive 1950 s, 1960 s, 1970 s; on escapades with traders and vendors, and provision more insights into what went on behind the scenes as our repetitions and motorcycle professions transitioned.
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YS: What is your next bible going to be about?
SM: I have not yet settled my subconsciou to it! Maybe in a couple of years, I will give it some suppose, term permitting.
YS: What are your favourite journals about Indian business?
SM: I have enjoyed the book on the Tatas, The living standards and Times of GD Birla, Connecting the Dot, The Tech Whisperer, and Business Maharajas.
YS: What makes a good business storey different from a case study or chronology?
SM: A good business fib must have a strong human element. Homes and people must be well drawn out so that books can relate to them.
The book must be rich in stories, occurrences, and interesting discussions. Finally, the reader should be free to come to his or her own conclusions.
YS: What makes a business book different from a series of long articles about the subject?
SM: Most long clauses inform and acquaint, but they have a relatively lower experiential quotient. A book cures an scribe depict a much more accurate and reasonable picture of his or her attributes; there is much greater scope to create atmosphere and build credibility. In this lane, the reader starts empathising and becomes part of the pilgrimage. Packing all this within the confines of an commodity is challenging.
YS: What is the importance of business leadership in the post-pandemic era, and how do diaries install hope leadership in that regard?
SM: To refute the first part of the question: chairmen are expected to become messengers of hope in these difficult times through their names, demeanour, and appreciation of purpose. What they say, when they say it, and how they say it — gets amplified. When spoken words are collected for posterity in accordance with the arrangements of a journal, they carry even more weight.
To answer the second part: when a leader develops expertise and sentiments and can express these thinkings in a manner that strikes a chord and resonates with others, s/ he becomes an influencer. If scribes are somehow able to transform attentions, convert views, and clarify rulings, they become thought leaders.
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YS: If your journal was to be used in a business course, what suggestion would you give the teacher on how to leverage the material?
SM: I would advise the professor to read the book objectively without any preconceived notions, sip, and then transfer the different exercises to students. I have said this in my author’s note as well — The Making of Hero could be interpreted as a business book, a autobiography notebook, or a family saga.
However, if a business school teacher is still looking for specific takeaways, it might be useful to read the assembly on the Munjal School of Management; it contains many of the best rehearses that have worked well for us over the decades.
YS: When you write a book about your own company, what are the challenges with convincing readers “that its not” a one-sided narrative? How do you share internal mistakes and vulnerabilities?
SM: I was writing about towering personalities and a successful organisation- both have been an integral part of my life and upbringing. Hence, being objective was certainly significant challenges. The hassle was, very few people spoke ill of my father and uncles; they only such self-effacing and humble people.
I have tried to overcome this by getting independent goals from several persons who encountered the organisation, as well as employees who worked for decades with us. S K Rai, who took part in us in the early 1980 s and remains today as the Managing Director of Hero Cycles, has been of huge help. These independent ideas were critical in helping condition the narrative of the book.
As to the second part of the question, my father and uncles were not omniscient, but they were always quick to introspect and learn lessons from their mistakes and missteps in arbitration. The brethren were remarkably close and always contributed each other feedback, both good and bad. They occasionally dissented, but once a decision was made, it became cast in stone.
Sunil Kant Munjal( R) at the Serendipity Arts Festival, 2019
YS: What are your thoughts on using digits/ planneds/ counters in business diaries? Why did you choose not to, though you have photos?
SM: Digits, maps, and tables are all available on Google! The figures part of the Hero story is available on the public domain; it offset little sense to replicate the same thing.
What I did instead, was to select videos from their own families archives to buttress the tale( there were thousands, and it wasn’t easy ). If you notice, each picture comes with a caption, which itself tells a little story and places different contexts.
Photos, I trust, are worth a thousand terms. Think about the effects that Life Magazine, National Geographic, and even Amar Chitra Katha have had on us during the earlier decades!
YS: What are your words of suggestion for the aspiring industrialists in our public?
SM: I would pick only one underlying doctrine: what you are and who you want to be, will depend on what you do.
Entrepreneurs must invest in talent and in like-minded people who share their vision. They must be willing to unlearn, relearn, and be open-minded about the future.
Before that, they must be true to themselves, and those whom they are responsible for. They must never get used to success since good-for-nothing ever grows in the ease zone.
YS: What would earn the book prize and award “ve been meaning to” you?
SM: Should an bestow come my course, I would humbly admit it on behalf of all those people who met Hero what it is today. It “wouldve been” their award!
Edited by Suman Singh
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