TataLog By Harish Bhat – Book Review
TataLog a small storybook that tells you bedtime stories from the Tata Kingdom, a corporate estate that is as perfect as one can get and where everyone is more often than not, good and happy. There are villains inside or outside the kingdom. But in the end, good always wins over evil. Sometimes there is a hidden treasure to be discovered. And there are hurdles that the hero has to cross. Sometimes it is the higher mountains that have to be conquered and flag to be hoisted there. Sometimes it is the pride that is at stake, sometimes the plight of a section of society has to be taken care of. Like a perfect kingdom everyone is working with each other and for each other.
Now we do know that there is nothing like a perfect world, the author also agrees. But he somewhere makes you feel so as you read his short and sweet stories about eight different Tata companies.
For each of the story, Bhat tries to showcase a different aspect of the DNA of Tata companies. Tata Motors story showcases working on the first Indian car. And an angle of national pride. Tata Chemicals work on community building in Gujarat demonstrates community engagement of the company. Tata Finance’s dealing with the fraud says all is not well always, but intentions are always well. Tanishq story talks about building up a brand in a space that was pretty much unorganized. And difficult to break into. Global mindset and ambition are displayed through Tata Tea story. Eye for diversity and concern for women is projected through Second Career for Intelligent women initiative. Focus on quality talks through the story of Tata Steel and its run up to Deming prize. A well-rounded book that highlights some trait of the Tata companies mentioned in the book.
At another level, the book highlights people behind the success of each of these companies and initiatives. The author lets their voices speak for themselves. While he takes the role of a Sutradhar, setting the stage for their voices. Giving perspectives that may not be common knowledge, sharing small nuggets like the name of the Jewellery brand Tanishq that reads Tan Ishq when split. At this level, he is giving the message that no matter what, it is always the people who make or break a success story. Including the people who play the role of a solid support in the roles of mentors, visionaries or just senior managers.
I see a lot of books coming out of the Tata fold recently. All focusing or diplomatically put celebrating the Tata culture. There are enough people who have spent all their working lives in the Tata companies, which is a credible thing and probably one of the key reasons for its success. And a lot of them are writing their stories. Total dedication is evident in the narrator’s voice across these books. Though at times there is a hint of fanaticism when they refuse to acknowledge others in their domain, who may deserve more credit as they achieved success without the backing of an established business group and cross promotion.
TataLog is a quick delightful book overall.