February 24, 2013

There are books that talk and there are few books that make you sit up and listen. “Doing what is right: The Crisil Story” falls in the latter category. It is a great story of a remarkable organization that has played a significant role in development of financial market in India.
The book deftly takes the reader through the journey that Crisil undertook to become an awe inspiring and respected organization from scratch. It started with a leap of faith when there was hardly a financial market worth mentioning in India. The foundation of Crisil was based on the vision and potential of India. Long before “India Story” became fashionable, few visionaries like N Vaghul and Pradip Shah perhaps saw it 10 years in advance and had the courage and conviction to create a world class organization in India which played a critical role in post liberalized India to develop a robust financial market and environment that fueled the growth story of India.
The book has efficiently documented various stages of Crisil’s development and its rise to glory. This story will definitely find a place in the business history of India. However, the book does something much more significant than documenting the story of Crisil. It teaches the basic ingredients of building a world class organization that’s known as much for its work as for its upright corporate character and integrity.
After reading the book, the process of building a remarkable organization becomes crystal clear. The starting point is always a vision and a right leader. The right leader gets the right people on board. The leader and the chosen few people build a culture of excellence where facts and logic reign supreme even to hierarchy. The obsession for excellence builds the character of the organization. The business model is developed in such a way that the integrity of the organization never gets compromised while making sure that the organization keeps growing far and wide. A robust leadership pipeline is created to ensure that the organization never becomes a shadow of an individual. And lastly, the organization keeps evolving itself relative to the changing environment to identify new opportunities to grow. It is as simple as this!
For anyone interested in business, management, or business history of India, this book is a must read. While on one hand it lucidly tells the story of one of India’s best known homegrown business organization, on the other hand it teaches some good lessons in management to a discerning reader.
Overall, the book is highly readable, fast paced, and a page turner. You can finish it during a 2 hour flight and then wonder - “It is so amazing. I want more of it!”