Build Talent & Trust, Lead With Tenacity

As the world goes through its tumultuous cycles, startups are no longer all successful; the older multi-generational ones are not invincible anymore. It is now even more about the 3Ts: #Talent, #Tenacity and #Trust.


Every organisation needs to take a brutally honest view of its talent bench. Does it have the breadth and the depth it needs for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow? This is where most leadership teams fail. The misplaced belief, that what worked thus far will remain the secret algorithm, is suicidal.

More than ignorance, it is often arrogance that fails leadership. Leaders low on talent mindset are conservative in defining their emergent talent needs and lazy to even secure it. They often hire and promote followers, not challengers. Short on their own brand pull, they don’t hire people better than themselves — in pedigree, experience or potential. Even if they deliver the demands of today, such leaders then must become the first warning signs for firms to address.

It is not just about hiring a fresh crop or weeding. Every talent, who secures the future, needs to be tended to. Annual increments and bonuses are no longer enough. Time to have meaningful conversations, understand their teams beyond tasks, emotionally blend with skip levels and in the process move from being a boss to a coach is what keeps great talent. Leaders cannot be so busy that these remain a low-order check box item. The risk to the enterprise can be deadly!

Talent must be spotted early. The best must be allowed to progress much faster, in a variety of roles and with different leaders. They must be put in the most value-impacting roles. They must be given visibility to the senior leadership. Talent has a capitalistic bias; socialism can destroy it.


Building teams and corporations today is even more a call for tenacity. Not every business model will click; not every top talent will deliver always. Not every growing firm will stay clear of its share of swamps and deserts. One of the big virtues of leadership in the VUCA reality of today is tenacity of purpose and effort.

It finally comes down to the culture that one creates for the institution. Contrary to myths, culture is not a static set of moral science principles. Culture flows from business imperatives and supports the organisation’s business landscape. Culture seems a soft fuzzy thing that can always be done by HR later. This is the mistake of most left-brained leadership teams. Just because it is difficult to quantify, they make the mistake of leaving it diffused. Hence, a small hiccup can bring the firm crashing badly.

Defining a firm’s belief system, ensuring all organisational sub-systems are aligned to ensure every stakeholder understands and behaves consistently is key to building organisational tenacity. The exercise is one of making choices. This must be done with due deliberation but reinforced substantively. Companies often drift along, and each person then interprets and resolves to behave as one chooses. This may be in good faith but it creates fissiparous tendencies within the system, sharpening fault lines and impacting organisational tenacity.

At the same time, it is important to step back and reflect whether an espoused culture and belief system has outlived its relevance. Even if it seems heretic, organisations must never atrophy to become a prisoner of its past when the future is so different. Cultures must get revisited, refined and, if needed, repudiated. The old order must give way to the new, irrespective of political sensitivities and emotional outpourings. This itself then becomes a strong cultural pillar of a corporation. It builds, protects and sustains, beyond personalities and business cycles.


Every business or institution survives and thrives when it secures and retains the trust of its various stakeholders. Does it deliver its promise as perceived by the different constituencies? Does it evolve its value proposition over time? Does it read changes in the environment to still deliver an experience of trust and goodwill?

Some corporations have invested in years of delivering a promise that makes them more trustworthy. Others may have been successful but still struggle to be trusted. In many ways, trust is a bigger sustainable success than profits. How do leadership teams ensure their firms do the right thing to enhance their Trust Quotient?

One of the principle jobs of leadership is to ensure trust in their outfits. They must communicate proactively to the various stakeholder groups. They must respond to questions, honestly allay misgivings and humbly admit errors of judgment. No one expects a leader to always have all the answers. Unfortunately, positional leaders struggle to express their vulnerability. To seek help and not seem all-knowing are commonplace leadership traps. This is a recipe for trust disruption one day.

Whether it is with internal teams or with external groups, great leaders of today ensure their circle of influence is strong and credible. In the world of social media, they have reinvented themselves to connect, communicate and clarify. There can be no power distance from anyone today. It is about influence, not command. It is about relevance, not experience. Those who understand this and work at it are better placed to create relationships of trust, not handcuffs of business might or hierarchical prowess.

The world seems more complex today. But the leadership mantras for survival and success do not need complex algorithms or obtuse models. Get your 3 Ts — Talent, Tenacity and Trust — right first. The tumult will pass and you will be stronger the morning after the storm.

-Prabir Jha

This article was published in the Times of India, 5 July 2017.

CFO Perspectives: In Conversation With Kedar Upadhye

1. Indian healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors, with an increase in the size of middle-class households coupled with the improvement in medical infrastructure and increasing penetration of health insurance in the country. What are the opportunities you foresee for the industry?
The Pharmaceutical industry has grown rapidly over the last decade and has been instrumental in driving generics penetration globally. Over the last 15 years, Indian companies have done well in the generic business and India remains an attractive destination for generic R&D and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals owing to its strong capabilities across the value chain.

While pharmaceutical industry has been impacted by several challenges like patents issues, significant price erosion, increasing competition and increased regulatory scrutiny in global markets. However, we believe that Indian pharma industry owing to its strong fundamentals, can overcome these challenges and can turn to the trajectory of strong growth.

As an organization, we have a positive outlook on domestic markets. The profile of diseases is changing in India from communicable diseases like malaria, diarrhoea to lifestyle diseases like heart diseases, diabetes and metabolic disorder problems. There are lot of opportunities for pharma companies in this newer space where the growth will be promising and margins will be better. But affordability would still remain as the key theme for India market. The pharma companies need to be cognizant of the cost and would need to focus on cost optimization to grow margins.

2. What would be your key drivers for growth in the next three years?
Our key drivers for growth in the next three years would be:

  • Expanding domestic markets and specialty products: Our company has been focusing on expanding its reach and recall in respiratory diseases. The company engages directly with patients, addresses social stigma and environmental concerns to expand the brand footprint in respiratory diseases. As part of our growth plan, we plan to increase our investments in this high margin segment. Efforts are aligned on improving profitability driven by greater share of high margin SKUs and country rationalization.
  • Focus on US markets: The Company has started to focus on the US markets to grow revenues and improve overall margins. The Company has launched multiple new products and has a cumulative annualized sales run-rate of about $400M. In the coming quarters, the company will continue to build on these launches and introduce new products with a focus on differentiated products.
  • Exploring the alternative channels: Our Company has started to partner with the innovative companies like MEDRx for various categories under specialty products in US. In addition, for domestic market, we are also collaborating with companies like Novartis and Roche to build a product portfolio and at the same time leverage existing opportunities available in the market.

3. The company has increasingly been making investments in the US markets—will this be a refocus on strategy from domestic to international business? Do you expect an improvement in margins as a result of effective execution of your US strategy?
There is no shift of focus from domestic to international markets. Instead of a shift in focus, the investments in US markets are part of our overall global strategy.

Cipla is utilizing selective licensing opportunities for driving sales, in addition to its own pipeline, while our domestic and other key markets, such as Africa continue to grow at a healthy pace. Given our small scale in the US market currently, US is offering the biggest opportunity for us, despite pricing pressures and regulatory compliance. In the longer run, our efforts on specialty products like respiratory, CNS (neurology) and oncology drugs should also yield good results. Currently, our pipeline is strong and evolving and would remain in focus. In terms of margins, domestic market India and South Africa are at peak margins whereas the US markets have not yet started generating margins post R&D and manufacturing costs. Unlocking value in US markets will help improve our margins. We are careful in evaluating our investments, markets and portfolio to drive efficiency and reduce complexity. We are looking at all these investments with a clear focus on high margin, high return expectations.

4. Given the volatility and uncertainty (especially w.r.t, the US policies) how would you, as a CFO, balance growth expectations and margins?

Business is always run in an uncertain environment which stems sometime from external environment and other times from internal environment. As a modern day CFO, there are three key things I focus on to support growth of our businesses:

  • Always have a clear governance agenda: Governance principles serve as our safeguards against the uncertainty in the environment. The CFO, besides acting as a strategic partner to the CEO, plays a vital role in presenting the public face of the company to investors, regulators and policy makers. The CFO plays the lead role in keeping the stakeholders well informed about the company. He should ensure that the company maintains an open and transparent communication with its stakeholders in order to build and enhance confidence.
  • Reinventing the Finance function: While the changes are inevitable with the emerging trends in businesses, as a CFO, I feel it is equally or more important for the finance function to be radical. Not just the access to information but speed of information along with the analytics would be key for the business to make the right decisions at the right time. Reinventing the finance function from a support function to a business partnering function would be the key.
  • Partnering for growth: As a CFO, I feel it is important to own growth. CFOs are becoming increasingly involved in business strategy, and need to fully understand company’s operations. It is critical for a CFO to work with business to deliver growth and improve our margins. CFOs should help business to use leveraging data and provide insights to make more knowledgeable business decisions and increase the bottom line.

This article originally appeared in Deloitte Newsletter.

For more such blogs follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Cipla Receives Final USFDA Approval for Generic Depo-Testosterone® (Testosterone Cypionate for Injection 100mg/ml and 200mg/ml)

Press Release

Cipla Limited, today announced that it has received final approval for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Testosterone Cypionate Injection 100mg/ml and 200mg/ml from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).

Cipla’s Testosterone Cypionate Injection 100mg/ml and 200mg/ml is AO-rated generic therapeutic equivalent version of Pharmacia and Upjohn’s Depo-Testosterone®. It is indicated for replacement therapy in males in conditions associated with symptoms of deficiency or absence of endogenous testosterone.

According to IQVIA (IMS Health), Depo-Testosterone® and its generic equivalents had US sales of approximately $191M for the 12-month period ending April 2018.

The product is available for shipping immediately.

For more such blogs follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn.

Cipla Receives Final Approval for Generic Sustiva® (Efavirenz Tablets 600mg)

Press Release

Cipla Limited, today announced that it has received final approval for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Efavirenz Tablets 600mg from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).
Cipla’s Efavirenz Tablets 600mg is AB-rated generic therapeutic equivalent version of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharma Company’s, Sustiva®. It is indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection in adults and in pediatric patients at least 3 months old and weighing at least 3.5 kg.

According to IQVIA (IMS Health), Sustiva® and its generic equivalents had US sales of approximately $105M for the 12-month period ending April 2018.

The product is available for shipping immediately.

For more such blogs follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Cipla Receives Final Approval for Generic Isuprel® (Isoproterenol Hydrochloride Injection USP, 0.2mg/mL)

Press Release

Cipla Limited (“Cipla”), today announced that it has received final approval for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Isoproterenol Hydrochloride Injection USP, 0.2mg/mL, single-use sterile Ampoule from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).

  • Cipla’s Isoproterenol Hydrochloride Injection USP, 0.2mg/mL, ampoule is AP-rated generic therapeutic equivalent version of Hospira Inc’s Isuprel® Injection, 0.2mg/ml and is indicated for the treatment of…
  • Mild or transient episodes of heart. block that do not require electric shock or pacemaker therapy.
    Serious episodes of heart block and Adams-Stokes attacks (except when caused by ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation).
  • Use in cardiac arrest until electric shock or pacemaker therapy, the treatments of choice, is available.
    Bronchospasm occurring during anesthesia.
  • As an adjunct to fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy and the use of other drugs and procedures in the treatment of hypovolemic and septic shock, low cardiac output (hypoperfusion) states, congestive heart failure, and cardiogenic shock.

According to IQVIA (IMS Health), Isuprel Injection and its generic equivalents had US sales of approximately $148M for the 12-month period ending April 2018.

For more such blogs follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.