Perspectives from ISB

Soon after Takshay Bansal completed PGPMAX in 2019 from the Indian School of Business (ISB), he used a self-assessment tool for DORSET, his family business, a high-quality security hardware solutions provider for home and office. The purpose was to check if inclusivity and diversity, the values that are the pillars of his family business, indeed held the business in good stead. The self-assessment was a precursor to the contest for Great Places to Work award. Lo and behold, DORSET walked away with the honour of a place among the top 30 best workplaces in manufacturing across the country.

‘ISB gave me the confidence to attempt the contest. Inclusivity and diversity are critical to me as a leader. They are among the foremost core values our business embraces, and that helped us secure the award.’ Takshay says ISB helped him structure his thinking and shaped concepts that were in abstract form. ‘While these terms were in my mind, before ISB I wouldn’t have been able to even describe them.’

Takshay is the Jt Managing Director at DORSET, and heads the strategic operations group and chairs its manufacturing, development and sustainability initiative across business functions and markets. Founded by his father Mr Rajesh Bansal in 1996, the company is a leading global manufacturer of door-ware, locking mechanism, glass fixtures and fittings with footprints in 29 countries.

‘A growth mindset and lessons in handling problems with a smile are among the several virtues he inculcated at ISB. These aspects help you in your daily life.’ Hard skills come with any higher education, he says, but at ISB one gets equipped with softer aspects too. Guest speakers, peer learning, developing a growth mindset, leadership development, etc. are unique opportunities that are key to self-development.

Having had several years under his belt as a professional, Takshay wanted to consolidate experience and expertise with education. A world-class curriculum, distinguished faculty, and inspiring diversity of the class were the perfect reasons to tilt the scales in favour of PGPMAX. The peer group was highly experienced and mature and splendidly connected. ‘Deep understanding of the Indian industry and global academia experience make ISB unique among the B-schools. The programme design offers students the flexibility to take out time for self-development from their busy business schedules. It addresses the uncertainties of the 21st century be it in strategy, marketing, organisational behaviour, or leadership.’ Relevant case studies stirred up deliberations and debates in the class, he says. ‘The professors are so well equipped to handle unique sets of experiences. The way they channelise the thought process to arrive at a common solution to the problem was awe-inspiring.’ While at Kellogg School of Management during his international immersion, a critical takeaway in dealing with decision making was the phrase karna kya hai (abbreviated to KKH) coined by Professor Khosla. ‘When you have a problem, think KKH because it all boils down to action if you must resolve a problem. This brings positivity in action and resolve to move ahead, and encourages a growth mindset.’

There were 67 students in the Co’2019, from different segments and multiple senior management roles. The cumulative experience was over 1000 years. ‘I learnt that people from unique backgrounds and unique experiences have unique approaches to dealing with similar problems. I learnt that life has so many different aspects to it and that it’s important to listen to all points of views before making a decision. Apart from time management, this was another valuable learning for me.’

In preparation for his business and leadership role baptism, a long-drawn and rigorous process of about five years, Takshay was exposed to every aspect of the business operation of his family business. Understanding the nitty-gritty of each business function—sales, material or marketing, accounts, finance—and each department helped him to be pragmatic and be able to connect with ground realities, and execution. ‘Starting from the bottom of the pyramid and working the way up helped me understand the organisational values we live by.’

Building meaningful organisations, being committed, consistent, and ethical, are some crucial leadership lessons Takshay passionately practises. ‘To me, leadership is not about merely managing people nor is it about driving an organisation for profits. It’s about designing your actions with a higher purpose,’ he recalls Professor Ram Nidumolu’s session on “Leadership and You”.

‘Inclusivity, trust, diversity and customer satisfaction are the values our family business cherishes.’ These were also the attributes that were included in the ISB curriculum, he adds. ‘I want to ensure a positive contribution to the environment and society and keep working for the higher and larger purpose of life as a leader.’ The COVID19 pandemic that has had a devastating fallout resulting in pay cuts at many organisations, DORSET rolled out the We-Care programme, that had multiple aspects for its employees ensuring employees’ interests are protected and an environment of positivity is created in the organisation. All creditors were paid on time. A stakeholder connect programme was also rolled out to connect senior leadership with all employees, vendors, and customers to assure support and business continuity.

‘As a class, we have learnt to be responsible towards society, environment, to our businesses, and keep the flag of ISB brand flying high. I have experienced the benefits of the vast alumni network connections for solving problems for my business.’

Takshay’s advice to the current class is that one must be strong and resilient. ‘Think about positive ideas and execute. Build teams and keep investing in self-development endlessly and incessantly. Do your best in studies but don’t forget to have fun.’ Success, he says, is an outcome of sustained efforts and for that, one must focus on ground realities, and on learning.

– Takshay Bansal, PGPMAX Co’2019

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