A story of how Kumar Mangalam Birla balanced the new and old

Life is all about creating a balance. If you observe closely, you constantly balance, expectations and reality, conflicts and camaraderie, hopes and disappointments, old and modern. Creating a balance is a vital skill of life. The more adept you are at this, the better is your progress. Let us learn more about this with an example of Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group (ABG).  

Honored with the Padma Bhushan in January 2023, Kumar Mangalam Birla’s success story is inspirational on many levels. But in this article, we will only explore how he created a BALANCE.

Kumar Mangalam Birla assumed leadership at the young age of 28, after the death of his father Mr. Aditya Birla.

He inherited a successful business, being run in a closed traditional Marwari setup. A mark of the system was that positions were naturally filled by the children of the older employees, irrespective of their abilities. Kumar Birla recognized the inadequacy of this system, and embarked upon the arduous journey of developing a system based on meritocracy.

Do you think it was an easy task for him?

It is difficult to explain the need for professionalism when the business is already well-established. But being a visionary, Kumar Birla had gauged that he had to bring about this change. He hired managers from multinational companies, putting an end to the tradition of employing ageing staff.

A retirement age of 60 was set. The group explained it in detail and made sure that it was not sprung as a surprise, with those close to retirement getting a two-year grace period and some extra cash.

He infused fresh blood into the group, but also retained many seniors such as Askaran Agarwala and Dwarka Das Rathi, who continued to lead group companies.

One of the key roles created by Kumar Birla was that of people who would determine strategy and today ABG is a multinational conglomerate with presence in 36 nations and a combined annual revenue of $65 billion, over 50% of which is derived from its overseas operations

Kumar Birla says: “Very often people get so caught up in running the businesses that they have no time left for spotting opportunities.”

Have you been postponing an important change in your personal or professional life for the fear of IMBALANCE?

The Manipur incident – An act of riot or an act of ego?

I started my day on a positive note. Mild workout followed by meditating on my manifestations. I thought I had filled my cup for the day and was looking forward to working on my task list. I opened the newspaper and on the front page, I read about the Manipur incident where 3 women were made to parade naked. I read it twice because I could not believe what I read.

I was disappointed and scared all at the same time. I tried reading the Speaking Tree, with a hope that it will discuss some virtue which will take my mind off the heinous incident, but I tried in vain. I did not wish to read any further, I shut the paper.

As I started my chores, I kept thinking that if by mere reading, I am so severely affected, what would be the plight of those who witnessed it and what would be the mental state of the victims who lived that incident.

There were questions in my head. Where are the virtues? Can anyone ever be so wrong for her to go through this? What paralyzed the onlookers? What kept the assaulters going, were they even human?

No, they were not human. Why? Because they did not hold any of the human values. They were not empathetic, not kind, not respectful and most importantly they had a big ego.

Ego is a silent killer and it has the power to steer you away from the path of righteousness. Your ego overshadows all the good that you possibly hold. How? Because in your quest to be right in your judgements and decisions, you resort to inappropriate thinking patters. Your ego makes everyone else look smaller, insignificant and not worthy of winning.

On a daily basis, we experience ego – sometimes we are egoistic and some other times we are negatively affected by the ego of others. But the latter is almost always, clearly visible and criticized. We fail to understand that what is more dangerous is self-ego because it makes us lose control of our mind. What are the early signs of self-ego?

1. You think you are intellectually superior to a large group of people

2. You believe your way of working is the ideal way

3. You don’t appreciate the individual interests of others if they don’t match yours

4. You cannot see others go ahead (small or big win, you feel the same)

5. You easily distance and disconnect from people

These incidents are a call to humanity to put a check on their egos. Knowingly and unknowingly, we tamper the peace of many, by fueling our self-ego. If you think you have even the slightest trace of any of the above 5 thinking patterns, self -realize and control it from growing bigger, else by the time you will act, the damage will be done.

What are your thoughts on the same?

#ego #behuman #behumble #humanity #humanvalues #valuesmatter

The daily dose of news..

What does a newspaper carry these days
A lot on politicians and their maligning ways
A little more on the same as experts say

Something on progress and its effects
A little on why and whom the PM has met

Probing a high profile death- suicide or crime
Cornering all except the suspects prime

Reports on Minority clashes of varying degrees
Making one wonder is the world really free??

Exciting is the sports section that they run
But fixing and doping make the win an illusion

Lifestyle and travel pages are glamorously affluent
For a common man nothing much is meant

The smallest section is for positive teachers
Rape and murder is a mandatory feature

Vague insignificant news follows next in line
Transparent washrooms and capsule dines

Reading a paper is an endless search in the woods
For something hopeful, encouraging and good

P V Sindhu’s Conquest

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, has become a household name after she won the gold at the 2019 World Badminton Championship. At the age of 24, she has made the nation proud. Currently ranked world No.5, she has been a top 10 player for the last three years and has lost a few finals by feather-thin margins.

She hails from a family of athletes as both her parents were national level volley ball players. I always believed that fitness as a way of life transcends from one generation to next, and PV Sindhu’s success story reiterates the same.

There are many articles all over digital and print media that are trying to capture the essence of her achievement. I have identified 3 reasons why she could accomplish her long set target.


It has been 11 years since she turned professional, seven years since her international debut. Handling both triumph and defeat objectively is the key to any sportsperson’s victory. Sindhu epitomized that victory is not necessarily defined by wins alone but by consistent form and temperament.

To me it feels, she never let the fear of losing overpower her. She altered her approach and played smart. “If you are consistently in that space and knocking that door, it will break eventually,” coach Pullela Gopi Chand said in a December 2017 interview to Mint.

Digital detox

Today we are living in a world dominated by social media and the worst fear is losing out on updates; with an impending need to ‘Stay live’ even if it partially costs us the moment itself. Sindhu fought the fever just like she hits the shuttle. I was swooped after I read that she did not use her mobile phone for about 80 days before the Championship and also changed her contact number. What did she lose? Nothing but what she gained? More time to build her internal stamina.

Inside out

After her win at the World Championship, her lifestyle and physical routine came to limelight. All were amazed when she achieved this remarkable feat, which drove journalists to cover her training schedule in detail. She owes her win to a strict diet and a rigorous practice regime.

“She has clearly done a lot of core work,” analysed 2008 Olympian Anup Sridhar in The Indian Express. “That power is definitely core and her legs, arms and back are all a lot stronger, that’s where all the power is coming from.”

She travelled 60 kms (to and fro) for specific strength training through the heavy Hyderabad traffic every day for about 45 days before her Championship.  Parupalli Kashyap, a former top 10 player and fellow trainee at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad. “You need to peak at the right time. She has been able to keep her mind and body in a state where she has figured how to do that and get over fatigue at the right time.”

No tactics or strategies can substitute a toned body and a state of mental well- being – a thorough inside out approach.

Kudos to PV Sindhu and heartfelt gratitude for putting India first on the World Badminton Arena!!!