Given the numerous strategic and tactical decisions to be made on daily basis for his businesses, Sukanto Tanoto always rely on certain set of business philosophies to guide him. Here are some of the philosophies that he believes in:
1) Build businesses that have Sustainable Competitive Advantage, and not rely on subsidies and protections. A business should not rely solely and thrive on special relationships or network with certain people or organisation. In order to have a stable and sustainable business, one needs to ensure that the business leverages on proper competitive advantage that is always adjusted according to the market changes and needs.
2) Local knowledge is important – Understand Local Environment, Culture, Practices and Communicate in local language. This is especially true when a business is expanding regionally and globally. Every place in the world has their special unique characteristics and culture that distinguish them from others. Sometimes a business can thrive in one country but not another. Take for example, the success of a food business franchise depends on the food preferences of the community. Besides the demand and supply, laws and regulations are also different from community to community, lack of understanding of local practices can result in lots of problems in the future!
3) Avoid “Russian Doll Syndrome (hiring people smarter than yourself)” – Human nature tends to elevate oneself and push others down especially when we talk about climbing the corporate ladder in the organisation. This is a very ugly scenario and eventually, the ultimate victim of such practice will be the company itself because of the lack in talents. A good mentor and superior will help their subordinates to realise their potential and perform to the best of their abilities, not forgetting to acknowledge and reward their hardwork.
4) Management of Subordinates – Assignment and Delegation, as well as proper coaching and mentoring to develop each individual to realise their potential and ability!