Team work in a concert
Jayashri talks about what it takes to perform with other artists on stage and discusses the notion of emptying oneself and a levelling attitude with oneself for the music to take over. She talks about creating a space inside her from which the music could flow freely.
Building culture – Lessons from the Army
Numbers occupy a large part of our mind space when we think of organizations- sales figures, trend lines, market share – the list is endless and often clinical. But what about the stories behind the companies? These legends, usually ignored, are crucial for culture building. Hear Raghu talk about how the army utilizes this powerful tool to build its cultural identity and motivate its people.
Z-KITBAG: Communication lessons from the Army
Become privy to one of the army’s most efficient framework approaches: the Z-KITBAG! Raghu elaborates on this acronym and talks about how this structured approach can be used in any scenario- whether you are preparing for a talk or mobilizing your team for a launch.
What Corporates could learn from Stand-Up
A stand up comedian is also a brand that provides services worldwide. So what can the world of business learn from the world of stand up comedy? Papa CJ draws parallels between these two seemingly starkly different realms. Watch out for the anecdote on heckling and its comparison with dealing with feedback.
Understanding the processor inside
In this nugget, Vishy talks about how he harnesses the potential of his mind in being a chess player at the very top over a prolonged period. He talks about how the human mind is like a wild horse that needs to be harnessed carefully. He shares some of his insights on how he tries to get the best of his conscious and his sub-conscious mind in preparing for big games. He also discusses some of his rituals in ensuring that he brings the best of himself to bear in various match situations.
Parallels between Chess and Business
Vishy talks about his take on the parallels between the Chess board and the world of business. He mentions that in both contexts, the notion of “what got you here won’t get you there” might apply if you are not willing to take a fresh look at yourself and your approach to sport or business. He talks about the importance of tracking what changes in you when you encounter success or failure and ensuring that we cope effectively with the ups and downs whether it is running a company or playing a sport.
Lessons for business from politics
Jay discusses how the risk appetite is different in politics is different from that in the corporate world largely because, in politics, unlike in the business world, one has to secure loyalty first before going after performance and that can lead to a very different view on the kind of risks a politician might end up taking.
Delivering good judgments
Vinay talks about how the same judgment can have a different journey of implementation depending on the ecosystem in which the judgment is pronounced. He talks about the distinction between barking and biting when he looks at a Judgment. He urges the leaders (Judges, Lawyers, CEOs) to think hard about the ecosystem they are in and the control they have over implementation before they go for a certain verdict.
Sir Ang Lee and Excellence
Jayashri talks about her collaboration with Sir Ang Lee where when she collaborated with him to sing for the movie – Life of Pi. The song was eventually nominated for the Oscars for the Best Original Song (first Tamil song to be nominated). She talks about how Sir Ang Lee brought out the best in her during the five days that she spent recording the 5 odd lines of the song.
Role of Vulnerability in building Trust
Why is vulnerability one of the key elements in building any relationship? Why is it especially so important now when our world seems to be awash with picture perfect Facebook posts? Hear Papa CJ tackle this question. Hint: Watch out for an amazing tip about finding that fountain of confidence that we all seek!
Becoming a Trusted Advisor
Becoming a Trusted Advisor is often the holy grail for every Consultant, Lawyer, Banker, Doctor etc. who are providing advice to the client. Zia talks about what it takes to become a Trusted Advisor with a client.
Becoming a solo-advisor
Rama talks about her attempts to work at the intersection of consumer and business understanding and discusses how she ended up going solo after a long stint in the corporate world. She also talks about how her role models (CK Prahalad, P. Chidambaram and Bhimsen Joshi) influenced her choice to go solo.
Becoming a trusted advisor
Rama talks about the various elements that go into the personal brand beyond the pure technical capability that one brings to the table. She describes the notion of "balance tilters" which has an implication on how the bundled proposition is perceived by the customer.
Relationship between Co-founders and Company
Dheeraj talks about how the relationship between him, the co-founders and the company has evolved over a period of time. He also talks about 4As (Antifragility, Authenticity, Ambition, Attention to detail) which are at the core of how he looks at himself and others he works with.
Suresh talks about the journey of rebuilding trust using the example of what happened with Maggi in India. He provides an insight into what it takes to rebuild trust by talking about the various elements that go into it – not compromising on the pillars on which trust is built and navigating the path with dignity, respect and transparency (something recently demonstrated by Dara Khosrowshahi – CEO of Uber – in the context of the litigation with Waymo).
Three pieces of advice that stand out
Jay talks about some of the advice he has received that has helped him in his political career. This includes being cautious about taking people at face value and in watching what you say in a public domain. He also speaks at length about the importance of listening to the voter needs and not getting swayed just by the voices of the party workers.
Amit talks about how he has benefited from mentors along the way starting from Hemendra Kothari at DSP Merrill Lynch. He also goes on to talk about how mentors need not be from within the company and how clients could sometimes be great mentors. He talks about how the circle of mentors (which includes KV Kamath, Kalpana Morparia and KM Birla) has evolved organically over time than him going out in an explicit, conscious way to build a group of mentors around him.
Cultivating "Lodestar" values
Mouli talks about the notion of Values as something that has a significant upside over the long run and challenges the current narrative which is often around showcasing the downside of people who display poor values and are punished. He also talks about the need for us to have an absolute view of this versus a relative view.
Role clarity with co-founders
Dasra was co-founded by Neera Nundy and Deval Sanghavi in 1999\. They discuss how they have evolved their roles as the organization has grown over time. She talks about how they have gravitated to playing roles that are in line with their sources of energy and strength.
Art of asking good questions
Arun talks about how we could potentially move from understanding the data that somebody presents to us to going deeper in our understanding around why that data is important to the other person and how their experiences have led them to value what they value. He suggests that moving from the What to the Why and the How enables us to get to the next level of insight and intimacy with another person, especially if they are unlike us.
Smoke Signals in a relationship
Ambi talks about what it takes to develop and maintain an account over a period of several years. He speaks about the criticality of having tentacles across the organization to get a pulse on the relationship. He also underscores the criticality of the role of the CEO in ensuring that he/she sets the right climate for the troops to share any potential cracks that are appearing in the relationship.
Influencing without authority
Ambi talks about his key insight around what it takes to influence clients. Given Advertising is a domain where there is arguably a lot of possible subjectivity, it is an interesting canvas to see how advisors influence clients. Ambi shares that it is often more about the intent and then followed by the content.
Building a trusted relationship
Ambi talks about his first interaction with Pradipto Mohapatra (a legend in the retail industry with the RPG group and ex Chairman of Coaching Foundation of India) and how he had a very unusual client meeting where everything except the “work on hand” was discussed. He talks about the notion of what it takes to develop and build trust with individuals.
Trusting the expert
In the book – Sponge – Ambi shares an illustration. Let us say, you have an architect who designs a house for you with 5 pillars. You feel that this doesn’t look good aesthetically and you want her to design it with 3 pillars. She does so and builds a house for you. A few months later, the house collapses. Whose fault is it? Architect’s or yours? Ambi talks about how clients with varying styles (ranging from Dr Varghese Kurien to Mr Rohintan Aga) work effectively with experts to get the most out of them.
Building deeper relationships
Indranil talks about how we can apply the concept of Story-listening in the context of understanding another human being. He also discusses the power of stories in a home context. He says that stories make things real. Very often we are busy communicating abstract concepts without giving our children an insight into where the opinion comes from.
Creating the conditions to create
Tarun makes the case for why it is critical for entrepreneurs in developing economies to build trust in their local economies. He contrasts the differences between a start up in Boston and its counterpart in Bangalore, Bogota or Beijing. Given the relative differences in maturity of institutions that provide support and the depth of talent in some of the associated areas, entrepreneurs starting up in emerging economies might have to deal with a lot of friction and Tarun makes the case for building trust for it to act as a lubricant in those circumstances.
Framing the Strategy question
Tarun talks about how entrepreneurs (keen on having impact at scale) in developing economies should think slightly differently from their counterparts in more developed ecosystems like Silicon Valley. He urges them to include trust-building as part of the objective function in addition to the business metrics they are going after in building out their enterprise.
Tarun talks about the realities of building and measuring trust. He shares some of his thoughts on how entrepreneurs could take his central idea of creating the conditions to create and bring it to life when they work with multiple stakeholders. He urges the entrepreneurs to pick one stakeholder group and build trust with them as a starting point before looking to build trust with the entire system which can seem like a daunting task.
Transitioning across cultures
Rajat speaks about what it takes to build trust at the highest level with clients. He talks about how sometimes, it takes several years to cultivate a client and how the door opens at the right time if there is adequate trust that has been built with the client.
Predictability Resilience paradox
Kartik speaks about how AI has moved from being expert systems (where humans input a certain set of rules that machines follow) to machine learning systems (where human expose the machine to tonnes of data with the relevant input and output parameters) and how that leads to situations where the machines often come up with actions that are beyond our comprehension. He also takes the example of US Constitution and the Code of Hammurabi to make the distinction between the two types of systems and the trade-offs therein.
Building culture in a company
Culture is contextual and non-transferrable. Know the culture of the organisation and industry you are planning to join. Amish talks about the Chandravanshi and Suryavanshi cultures and discusses how organizations could think about their culture?
Establishing a common language in the Army
What is common to radio, sonar and the internet? All these technological innovations, like many others, have their origin in war or conflict. Most have been researched and developed at military labs and then scaled up. Start-ups therefore, can benefit immensely from this experience. Hear Raghu talk about the need for a common vocabulary in order to achieve this. Hint: there is also a valuable tip about the ‘How’ question.
Building an entrepreneurial culture
Organizations love to grow yet want to retain the entrepreneurial culture that nurtures innovation. What is the one thing that Kartik looks at to figure out if an organization has an entrepreneurial culture or not? Find out in this nugget. Hint: Don’t miss the anecdote about a major competitive advantage that Pixar has cultivated and fine tuned which has led to its unprecedented success in the movie business.
Enlisting and empowering people in your team
In any profession, it is very easy to be treated as suppliers in the value chain. How does one elevate oneself to move beyond being perceived as a mere supplier? How does one engage and empower the team members so that they don’t feel like suppliers and have greater ownership of the end product? Atul talks about his views in this context. He also talks about his experiences while making the film Neerja and alludes to the role of authenticity in being able to enlist people in his journey.
Articulating culture and hiring for it
Articulating the organizational culture is often treated as one of those fuzzy things that large organizations like GE and HUL do. But it is arguably more critical in a young and small organization where the cost of a wrong hire hits the organization much harder than when you have 10,000 people. Karthik talks about how he thinks about culture and how he hires for it.
Building an anti-fragile culture
Dheeraj talks about the parallels across the fragility spectrum (that Nassim Nicholas Taleb refers to in his book Anti-Fragile) and the Honesty spectrum (that Mike Robbins refers to) and talks about the similarities across the two. He discusses how he has gone about building authenticity and anti-fragility in every aspect of the business.
Hiring senior leaders into Nutanix
One of the key challenges as one moves from a start-up to a scale up includes getting senior talent from the outside and setting them up for success. Dheeraj talks about how he looks for the "operating system" of a leader to see if that fits with Nutanix. He also underscores the importance of focusing on the HOW and not the WHAT in the first 6-9 months.
Institution building - Leading Type As
Amit discusses how he thinks about hiring and creating a nurturing climate for his team to deliver performance. He also shares how he invests time with each of his colleagues and help build their capability. He also talks about how he handles exits from Bain Capital. He talks about the realities of a corporate pyramid and stresses the importance of handling the people that don’t go up the pyramid with empathy.
Growing through the ranks at CRISIL
Roopa talks about how she drifted into CRISIL and how she was not necessarily career oriented in the early years of her professional life. She talks about the notion of focusing on excellence and on topics that are outside the realm of responsibility and how the culture at CRISIL ensured that her efforts were noticed and rewarded. She also talks about the transformative impact that one of her overseas stints had on her in terms of developing a “bird’s eye view”.
Leadership in an open system
Arun talks about his perspectives on Leading in an Open System where you do not have money, authority or power to wield as a source of influence. As we move towards a world where more and more value is being added by an ecosystem of players around a corporation (rather than value chains residing fully inside the company), how CEOs of today navigate this shift and create the right culture in the organization is critical.
Listening as a leader
Ambi talks about how effective CEOs set a climate so that their teams feel comfortable presenting risky ideas to them. He talks about how if you don’t set the right atmosphere in the organization, the team below you can hedge their bets and focus on managing their image with the CEO than really solving for what is right for the organization. He discusses how you can create a culture where the team focuses on “winning in the market” rather than “winning in the system”.
Demystifying Business storytelling
Indranil distinguishes business story telling from Storytelling (that we see in Ramayana, Harry Potter or in movies). Indranil speaks about the fact that brevity and story-telling are not contradictory and it is often a false trade-off that people have in mind. He actually goes onto say that business story-telling might even be a more time-efficient way of getting complex, nuanced messages across the organization.
Building a storytelling culture
Indranil talks about what it takes to build the habit of story-telling within an organization. He underscores the futility of one-off programmes that leave you with a high but don’t really move the needle when people come back to the rough and tumble of their daily life. He re-emphasizes the criticality of some sort of a deliberate practice programme for people to bake in the habit.
Onboarding a leader
Michael speaks about the criticality of assimilating into an organization without triggering the immune system that could easily start working against you. He goes on to say that even if you have been hired as a change agent, earn the right to drive change before you start moving things around (unless it is a turnaround and shock therapy is warranted) in the new organization.