In 2006, my book The High Performance Entrepreneur broke new ground as a must read for would-be entrepreneurs. It became immensely popular among an entire generation of young Indians who dreamt beyond getting a job to building businesses and creating jobs for others. The book was built on my failed experience of starting a company when I was 28 and then that of successfully co-founding Mindtree when I was 42. Through these two experiences and my observation of many great entrepreneurs, I posited that start-ups must be designed for high-performance and it is possible to do so.
It has now been seven long years since The High Performance Entrepreneur appeared. In these intervening years, as a professional and an entrepreneur, a lot has changed in my life. After the arrival of the book, sometime in 2007, Mindtree’s Initial Public Listing (IPO) happened. Listing a company at the stock exchange is the ultimate dream of every start-up. But taking a company public brings along the obligation of growth. Therefore and quite naturally, after 2007, our struggle, and along the way, the transformative experiences had a lot to do with the challenge of building growth and scale.
For many leaders, the ability to scale brings significant challenge. In some ways, starting something is easier than scaling it. That is why people and their businesses hit the proverbial glass ceiling after a successful start. Based on my own experience and that of others, I wanted to write a book that addressed this theme. The Elephant Catchers is that book. It synthesizes my learning of the last few years as a collection of hard-earned lessons on a spectrum of issues around the core idea of scaling it up.
The book is arranged in six Parts. In Part I, I present the need to build comfort with the idea of scale. Part II is about scaling your business by getting large deals, about the need to stay away from certain customer engagements and business models that could prevent growth and the subject of mergers and acquisitions that invariably engages everyone at some time or the other. In Part III, the conversation shifts to scaling your intellect; after all, the enterprise is an intellect game. The capacity to get to the next level often depends on a leader’s ability to augment the organizational intellect by tapping into external expertise. Not everyone knows how to do it. Part IV deals with the idea of scaling reputation. Reputation is a form of capital and growing it right, beyond just good public relations (PR), helps an organization get to the next level. In part V, we focus on scaling your people because the modern enterprise is all about people. Part VI deals with the aspect of scaling adversity. Here we talk about the need to focus on doing ordinary things extraordinarily well when extraordinary events overtake the enterprise.
The core idea of scale, its associated attributes and challenges are not unique to for-profit businesses. These are equally applicable to any institution, and I can even say, individual. After all, our lives are enterprises and each one of us is the CEO of Me Inc. That is why some very promising individuals fall short of the summit; a few scale. In this book, I hope that you will be able to see your organization, whether it is a business or a not-for-profit and even see your own self.
The Elephant Catchers is due to make its debut on August 24th 2013, published by Hachette India. I would love to hear your comments after you had a chance to read it.
Watch an exclusive interview wherein Subroto Bagchi discusses the core theme of his new book – ‘The Elephant catchers’.