Tata's Leadership Experiment :
The Story of the Tata Administrative Service
by - Mukund Rajan
The Untold Story of the Tata Group's Most Ambitious Leadership Development Programme
In the mid-1950s, JRD Tata envisioned the creation of an exclusive management cadre for the Tata Group, christened the Tata Administrative Service (TAS). His vision was to create future leaders who would perpetuate the Tata values such as integrity, excellence, unity and responsibility throughout the Group. At the core of all these values was the agenda of nation building. Understanding fully well that leadership development is a dynamic phenomenon and continues to change over time, JRD was looking at leaders who would be constantly groomed for roles across Tata companies.
What led to the TAS becoming a natural choice among aspirants over the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), which, at any point of time, would give them the assurance of a stable government job? How did the TAS fare with creating leaders? Who were some of the brightest leaders that it created? Where is the TAS today and how does the future look?
In Tata's Leadership Experiment, three former TAS officers, Bharat Wakhlu, Mukund Rajan and Sonu Bhasin, come together to find answers to these and many other pertinent questions. Based on extensive research and detailed interviews with former and current TAS officers, this book presents a fascinating account of an ambitious leadership experiment.
About the Author
Dr Mukund Rajan chairs a pioneering investment firm focused on catalysing Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) improvements. Previously, in a twenty-three-year career with India's largest corporate house, the Tata Group, he served as the Group's first Brand Custodian, Chief Ethics Officer, Chairman of the Tata Global Sustainability Council and Member of the Group Executive Council.
A graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, Dr Rajan completed a Doctorate in International Relations on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University. His previous books include Global Environmental Politics (1996) and The Brand Custodian: My Years with the Tatas (2019).
SONU BHASINis one of the early women professionals in the corporate world. She has led various businesses in senior leadership positions during her career, including when she was a part of the TAS (Tata Administrative Service), ING Barings, Axis Bank, Yes Bank and Tata Capital Limited.
Bhasin is an independent director on boards of well-known and reputed domestic and multinational companies. As part of her work now, she focuses on family businesses, and is the founder of FAB – Families and Business.
She is a family business historian, a business author and the editor-in-chief of Families & Business magazine. She has been named one of the Global 100 Most Influential Individuals for family enterprises in 2020. Sonu has a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in mathematics from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University, and an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University.
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