My experiences with life and my thoughts about Aditya Birla Group – Animesh Sabharwal, NMIMS Mumbai
Part A – Why Aditya Birla Group is big in my life
Aditya Birla Group is US $44.3 billion corporation and anchored by an extraordinary force of over 120,000 employees belonging to 42 nationalities. Since its inception in 1857, it has grown to become the third-largest Indian private sector conglomerate with operations in 34 countries across 5 continents. It has a plethora of businesses under it, notably Grasim (textiles), Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL), Birla Carbon (carbon black), Aditya Birla Chemicals (chemicals), Aditya Birla Insulators (insulators), Essel Mining (mining) amongst many others.
With a strong focus on stakeholder value creation, Aditya Birla Group has been big in people’s lives in many ways. The main areas of focus are education (Aditya Bal Vidya Mandirs, Balwadis for elementary education), livelihood (4,500 self-help groups created with an overall view to empower women, partnership with industrial training institutes, vocational training through Aditya Birla Rural Technology Parks, watershed development), social change (dowry-less marriage, widow remarriage, de-addiction programmes), Aditya Birla CSR Centre of Excellence and Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development and performance management (developing plans for the development of the marginalized).
Moving on to sustainability in the way they work, Novelis is the world’s largest recycler of used beverage cans and Idea Cellular launched the ‘Green Idea’ initiative with Aditya Birla Group aiming at reduction in carbon dioxide emission. There is also a continuous endeavor to reduce carbon footprint, reduce water consumption and conversion of waste to raw material.
Giving back to the society is a cause that has been close to my heart and hence I have grown to appreciate the initiatives taken by Aditya Birla Group, in particular, the focus on de-addiction programmes and dowry-less marriage. I also am a strong proponent of higher education, for it is a respectable way to rise out of poverty which is again a key focus area for the Aditya Birla Group.
With such a strong vision to contribute to the country, the group has built a strong image of being a caring corporate citizen and thus, it has struck a chord with people of all socio-economic groups. Acting on an ethos of generosity and compassion is the cornerstone of their CSR policy which shall work in maintaining their brand image for many years to come.
Part B – How I overcame challenges to achieve my ambitions in life so far
All of us have different views on what life means to them. Some people choose to be optimistic and focus on the bright side whereas some choose to indulge in constant grumbling about the adversities of their life. For me too, life has been a challenge yes, but it came with constant learnings and support from my loved ones to overcome the challenges.
A prominent obstacle that I have faced in my life and still face many times, is that of toxic people. Throughout the course of my academic life as well as professional life, I came across many such people who tried to prove that they were superior to me but for many of them, I soon realized that they did not have much substance in themselves. When at work I was faced with a few such people while competing for a promotion, I initially felt that I was getting affected by their behavior, but I confided in a few trustworthy colleagues who not only helped me keep my mind off my troubles but also motivated me to concentrate only on what was the need of the hour and give my best to what was expected out of me.
Another challenge was and continues to be change. We as humans tend to get accustomed to one setting and find hard to cope with change. I faced this situation when I changed jobs and realized that the work culture was very different from what I had left behind. It was very easy at that moment to look back fondly on what I had left behind, but after with the support of my manager and a few like-minded colleagues, I was able to soon integrate myself into the team and concentrate on the output required out of me.
Another challenge we all face is fear. The fear of being separated from our loved ones, the fear of not being accepted, the fear of not achieving professional success are all fears that continue to worry all of us. I understood soon that fear is the price of progress and decided to counter the foundation of my fear for I felt that fear came from our natural tendency to resist change. I could not eliminate fear as is true for all of us, but eventually learnt to not let it dominate.
I have come to realize, everyone gets discouraged, resists change, feels fear and experiences failure. Sometimes, what happens to us is not our choice, but how we use that to shape our life is our choice. I chose not to return empty handed but to learn invaluable lessons from these experiences and still remain open to learn from new experiences in life.