Sometime in 2002, Bajaj noticed that his son, four years old then, would fall ill every two or three months. So would the son’s friends. That set Bajaj thinking. “Our childhood was not so long ago. But I do not remember us falling ill so frequently.” Some of it could, of course, be ascribed to pollution, junk food, the changed lifestyle, and the accompanying stress. But what was the solution? The usual prescription of paracetamol, antihistamine, antiobiotics and, in acute cases, cortisone could not be sustained for long.
As is his usual approach, when Bajaj thought of homeopathy as the possible solution he dived deep into it, right down to the Organon of medicine written in 1810 by the father of homeopathy, German physician Samuel Hahnemann. He approached the subject devoid of the scepticism that can at times afflict practitioners, and understood more than he read.
“Rajiv tends to relate everything to homeopathy these days, so much so that his son says he suffers from ‘homeopathy ke side effects’. Sometimes he overdoes it. His dogs are on homeopathy. I treat them,” says Sunil Anand, Bajaj’s doctor, who is based in Pune, the same city as Bajaj and his company, motorcycle and threewheeler maker Bajaj Auto.
Today, everyone in Bajaj’s immediate family, extended family, friends and colleagues is on homeopathy. So is his company, albeit with a twist. It is said of homeopathy that it does not benefit those who do not have faith in it. But with Bajaj the benefits came first, then the faith. And the faith, once entrenched, segued into management philosophy.
Here is how. All branches of medicine have the concepts of wellness and the immune system. Cough or cancer, if pushed hard all doctors will tell you the cause is that your immune system has gone awry. Only, a homeopath approaches it differently.
If cold weather gives you the flu, prawns allergy, or playing squash aches and pains, it does not mean that cold, prawns and squash are bad. They cause no harm to scores of other people. They are exogenous, exciting causes that disturb your wellness because of endogenous factors that are specific to you.
“That is true of businesses as well. The information technology industry has rumblings, but TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) shines bright. Sun Pharmaceuticals goes from strength to strength, but not the others in that industry. IndiGo can do no wrong, but that cannot be said of many others in aviation,” says Bajaj. That can be put down to the individual constitution of the companies.
Everyone in Bajaj’s immediate family, extended family, friends and colleagues is on homeopathy. So is his company, albeit with a twist
The homeopath deals not with symptoms but with the endogenous cause so that you are no longer susceptible to exciting factors from the outside. The manager’s job, in the same way, is to work from the inside to clarify, correct or strengthen the strategy to remove any susceptibility in the organisation.
“As a manager, my job is to work not on the system but in the system. Within the same system and environment why should I not be more like TCS, Sun and IndiGo? I must be less concerned with the exciting causes that lie outside of me and be more aware of the fundamental causes that lie inside me. The homeopathic equivalent of individualisation in the corporate world is specialisation. Every company should be specialised in certain important aspects. In homeopathic terms, every individual has a constitution; the analogy in the corporate world is a business model,” says Bajaj.
Listening to Bajaj-the voice coming out of his mouth but so rich in timbre it seems to originate from some place deeper – the application of homeopathy in corporate strategy sounds deceptively simple. But, of course, it isn’t. And therefore Bajaj has no hesitation in giving it out.
A person’s immune system is intangible. It cannot be captured on X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound. Nor can it be operated on. The same is true of a company’s strategy. Unlike its material assets like land, manpower, capital, and machinery, its strategy is impalpable. “I can show you all the material aspects of Bajaj Auto, but if you say please show me your strategy, I cannot,” says Bajaj.
There is safety in that, just as there is in his adoption of Jack Trout’s ideas. But we will come to that later. For now, there is yoga.
This is an excerpt from the article that appeared on Business Times. The full article is here