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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson, Biocon

Image: Biocon

Leadership Insights Challenging the status quo!

Mar 2, 2018

"One is bound to have products that do not work, markets that do not accept them and technologies that fail. But one just has to analyse these failures and work to fix them." — Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson, Biocon

A major stalwart in the Indian entrepreneur industry, Kiran Majumdar Shaw has been certainly exponential in nailing herself as a mythbreaker with a sense of purpose, commitment, passion and belief in her undertakings. Under her spear-headed leadership, Biocon has developed itself as one of the foremost Indian biopharmaceutical companies across the globe.

Making several industries switch from using polluting chemicals to eco-friendly enzymes, the accidental entrepreneur, as she claims her to be, has achieved unbelievable magnitude in the biopharmaceutical world. Role modeling the management mantras of GE, Infosys and the Tata Group; Shaw wanted to study medicine, but ended up studying Zoology from the Bangalore University. After getting certified with a Master Brewer from the Ballarat University in Melbourne, she got her first job and started working as a trainee brewer with CUB.

Soon in 1978, the medicine-enthusiast joined Biocon Biochemicals Limited, Ireland, as a trainee manager. No sooner after joining them, she started the Indian arm of the company in the same year for which she rented a garage space in Bangaluru with an initial investment of Rs 10,000. Initially, she did face issues like distrust of banks as well as issues in terms of credit loans, but her firm trust on affordable innovation for the Indian market made her focus on building an organisation, based on a strategy of differentiation and challenging the status quo. “I have used this approach in my entrepreneurial journey—Leaders own responsibilities, delegate and set objectives. They set an example, and share success with their teams!”

Shaw defines her leadership style to that of a scientist. “It is about getting people excited about science. It’s also about making sure I go out and practice what I preach—the strategy, the philosophy and the value systems that I believe. I have always spoken to my colleagues about how different we can be—and should be—in the marketplace and how I don’t want to be imitated, nor should we imitate what others are doing. So, leading from the front is about facing challenges and failures, and making sure you are part of that problem-solving team!”

In addition, her leadership pie comprises of dedication, ready-to-fight-criticism, overcoming entrepreneur barriers, risk-taking ability and hardworking capabilities. As a leader, she has always been open to new ideas, experimentation and innovation. She believes in empowering, trusting, enabling and mentoring leaders at multiple levels in her team - “By providing ample opportunities to others to develop their leadership potential, I have instilled a sense of ownership among my team members to take forward my vision and mission!”

Recently, Biocon and Sandoz have announced a global partnership to develop, multiple biosimilars in immunology and oncology for patients worldwide.

The feature compiles the leadership lessons from industry experts analyzing their journey towards success

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