Episode 1 · 1 year ago

#1 Resilience & Business Excellence - Episode guest: Mr. Sunil Thawani


 Mr. Sunil Thawani is an author & fellow at the American Society for Quality (ASQ). He is CEO of Quality Indeed Consulting Ltd and champions UN SDGs. Mr. Sunil Thawani is recipient of prestigious ASQ Lancaster medal. He currently serves as Member, Board of Directors, Dubai Quality Group. Lives in Dubai, U.A.E.

Mr. Sunil Thawani is known for providing leadership to people, delivering excellence, with a clear focus on results, and ability to effectively deal with complex situations. He has a successful track record of creating organizations which are highly customer-focused, continually improving and are differentiated in the market place for their operational and service excellence. 

Talking points:

1. Need and importance of resilience in current VUCA business context

2. Role of leadership in creating resilience

3. How to build agile & resilient organizational strategy?

4. Real life examples of implementation

5. Learning lessons 

Welcome to another episode of Yelena Consulting podcast on resilience, and today we have another steam guest, Mr Sunil Tavani. and Mr Sunil Tavani is an engineer with MBA and he has almost thirty years right experience, so of general management experience in diverse functions, namely total quality management, strategy, deployment, corporate governance, industrial engineering, marketing, materials, business excellence, performance management in various industries like banking, right real estate development, consulting, steel, oil, portal operations. and Mr Sunil Tavani is known for providing leadership to people, for delivering excellence with a clear focus on results and ability to effectively deal with complex situations. He has a successful track record of creating organizations which are highly customer focused, continually improving and differentiated in the marketplace for their operational and service excellence. So, Mr Tevanni, what would you say your specialties are? Firstly, many tanks to use Jelena and Jenna and Jelena concertain company. Is such a pleasure to connect with you in this virtual meeting methods. I wish we meet some days soon get to know but still it's a great to know you connect with you and the great work you do around the process management. On the human and psychological side. My specialties essentially help organizations and and performance and transform, become more agile, customer focused, and the last for ten years I've been focusing a lot of the passion and interest and energy on the social sectors, organizations which are supporting vulnerable people of the society, like children without parental care or social housing. So I'm very happy to be here with you in your podcast talking about resilience, agility and things like that. Thank you, and I also wanted to thank you for agreeing to be our guest, and I also wanted to emphasize that you're also author and the fellow at the American Society for Quality and you are also CEO of quality in Teed, indeed, consounting right, and you also want the prestigious says kill Lancaster mental and right now you are, if I'm correct, a member of the board of directors at the BIE Quality Group. Yes, that's right. Thank you for such beautiful introduction, Yelena. Thank you, and I also wanted to ask, perhaps it's interesting for the listeners, you're currently in Toronto with your family, but you reside in Dubuy and when we talked last time you were in Dallas, Texas. Right, let's say, yes, that's right. Yeah, you know, travel is my passion and I love to travel. So it's been one year I was not traveling anywhere. I thought let me take a chance and be with my children and Dallas and Toronto. It's important in these days. Yeah, and if you want, perhaps we could start with your personal story on resilience. You have such an interesting story, if you wish to share with the listeners those have made to travel right. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. You know, this was in one thousand...

...nine hundred and eighty four. We go back about thirty five plus years. Me and a friend of mine, we travel around the world on a motorcycle, covering twenty five countries through Fiftyzero kilomeides, and you lend those days we didn't have Google maps or directions or internet and email, so we were just starving and hungry for information. We used to live in a small industrial town and we didn't even have telephone systems there to connect to the world. So when we prepared for it, we look at a lot of uncertainties. We considered weather uncertainties, we money shortages, what kind of food? Driving on other side of the road, Viz ours, and even a motorcycle has a passport kind of thing. You know, once you drive into a country, you can just sell the bike and settle there. So so there's a passport. How to get that passport is a human mind, in my view, is always occupied with the uncertainties of the future and we then try to visualize, imagine the uncertainties and challenges, threats and opportunities and adapt ourselves. Let me give you an example. In our plan was that we will cover the northern part of we traveled through Europe and then to us and then Mexico and then Japan, and all what we were doing is we thought we will cover the northern border of United States first and when winter sets in, will be in southern part of us. In Mexico, we had come out of Mexico and we're in Texas, El Paso, and we started our journey and it started snowing and we had a temperatures of minus five, minus ten, extreme cold. We were we knew will experience, but not this kind of winter. So now we will drive about seventy eight kilometers, will stop on the highways on the restroom and use the toilet in in toilet they have heaters, you know that hotel to blow it on our faces and hands to warm up, and the ice will gather between the wheel and the mud guard or between the clutches. So will use true driver or hot water to remove ice get going, and that is a kind of, you know, uncertainty. We experienced, and this weird snowfall was once after eighty years, and then finally we reached Phoenix, Arizona. It was zero degrees and we were feeling warm. We came from fifty zero. So businesses love. Linking this to businesses is the same thing. Businesses are experiencing lot of uncertainty due to a pandemic now and, as usual, also they do that. So this really taught me a lot. But when I read management, I'm able to relate to my personal life experiences on resilience and risk management and agility. So we knew are opinion and how would you define resuliens? Because people have difference views of this very important topic. Now, absolutely, I mean very well said Yelman. It is one of the most relevant subjects today and businesses need it. But it's not new. I'm in. Resilience has been there in one shape...

...of the form, but in the last five years it has gained a lot of importance. Now Does William Origin, actually because of the covid situation. So that's a good point you started with. So let me start with the definition is. Basically it is an organization's ability to see the change is happening in the external business environment and internal business environment and then adapt to it, quickly, adapt to it not. These changes can be gradual or sudden, can be incremental or highly destructive actually. So there's also standard I is two, two, three, one six. It was released in two thousand and seventeen. So it defines Resili as the ability of an organization to absorb and adapt in a changing environment to enable it to blue its striategic objectives, survive, Prosper and sustain give value to the customers. So it's a very simple, straight, beautiful definition, but each word has a lot of depth and meaning into that. Yes, yes, and I appreciate that you brought up this systemic view. How this is important as well as internal factors. Yes, yeah, through system, psychodynamic we also look at the boat, because bold are important. Are always in some kind of interaction with our environment, whether we are individuals or at work, or whether we are companies. Yes, absolute, very well said the yeah, I would like to give an example. You know a couple of examples around that hm one can I can take the current one. You depend on whe we a lot of you can relate to it and people are seeing it is when this pendimic happen schools in many parts of the world they didn't have a learning so well, I mean they could have been a situation that millions of children would have lost on education learning and may have lost one full year academic year. So a lot of countries they quickly adapted to e learning. As a result, the schools had to purchase laptops, computers, provide Internet facilities to the teachers and teachers had to learn how to teach electronically, how to observe and all that. So I visited a person in Dallas recently, Amanda. She had a black board at her home and which was teacher Ya and she school. She teaches government and constitution geography to the students. So she had one full room set up as a teaching room. Always good to use some part of your house or your pet to have an extra office in case of me, absolutely another organization. They I know. They are my customers. There's a free zone authority and government of Dubai. They took quickly adapt. They got hundreds of employees and thousands of customers. Every day they are coming into their premises. So customers had to learn doing e business, or anyone has to come there to procure all these thermometers to take the temperature within a few days. Yes, this is all organization. I've been quickly adapting to it. But if you look at the normal business environment, visionary leaders like Jeff Bezos or Microsoft,...

...they had created this technologies and operating models to serve the customers electronically. You know, a lot of people don't know, Microsoft put a six thousand kilometer underwater cable from us to Europe. That's where the data is traveling over the Internet right yeah, from east coast of us to Spain. So there are visionary leaders. They are preparing the Organization for the future. They're able to see how the world is changing, and that's so they become resilient and the giant. Yes, it's always very important to look into the future, but at these these turbulent times since the pandemic started. There's seems to be a special needs to experience, to express resilience, but also to talk about it. And why do you think it's? Why do you need? When do you think we needed some Marchpi things? Yeah, very well said. It's a good question. You know, everything has to start with why. That's the main driver or motivation for that. If you step back and look at it, the organization is interconnected through processes, through people, through roles and responsibilities, through organization structure, through technology, let's say R P system. So your bag system will have people, their roles will go in, laws will go in, regulations will go in and it will deliver in value. Since we are interconnected very strongly, it delivers an output consistently, seamlessly, efficiently. Let's say Uber for example, by dealing company. So behind it's all interconnected. I don't see that as a customer right now. All these components have to work very smoothly, all this disciplines have to work smoothly. Now is if we have been used to having a processes which are efficient and well defined. Now, with this pandemic or any uncertainty, let's earthquake or there is some situation, natural disaster, and it is rough Shanna, heavy disruption. It, you know, disrupts processes, people, mindsets, authorities and so on and so forth. It is this disruption happens now. We cannot allow disruptions to take over. So now organizations need to continuously being prepared for this disruption. They need to have scenarios of different disruptions and prepare back ups. Let's say, cyber attacks, not of organizations today. No data is on the clouds. So organizations are always already doing a lot of scenarios and they keep on say how can we prevent the next cyber attack? So the more prepared they are, they can deal with the disruption better. If I remember, there was one bank in Turkey, you know, they had some bomb or some terrorist attack many years before, I understand, within twelve hours the bank came back to serve the customers because they are all the data. They were doing backups in a server located in a different continent or a country. So now disruptions have become a way of life. Some are severe, some are extended period of time, but they are there. So so...

...organization needs to be in a state of preparedness to deal with it and then it'll be foolish not to be prepared. Let me just put it that way. So resilience has become an integral part of business today, and yet there is so, so much that you can prepare not not. You can't prepare people for everything, and we are witnessing that. I think. Yes, it's a very good point you're raising, is it? Leadership has a very important role today to prepare its people how to work in times of uncertainties. It is better to be seventy percent right now and prepare for it, rather than wait for a hundred percent and then it is too late. MMM. We're always relating to that with this concept of good enough from the psychodynamic theory. Interesting. Just yeah, they'll hope to learn this from you in some other session, yes, but I wanted to ask you as well. You mentioned the leadership, and how do you think you can feel the resilient leadership? What's your take on this? Top and it's a very good point actually. I mean it has to start with the leadership. There are few characteristics on at beutes which are very important to see in a resilient organization. Leadership needs to believe in the core purpose of the organization, as Dr Deming says, constancy of purpose. So leadership needs to believe in the purpose, in the values. They have wide organization values. The need to be role models for that and they have to enable a culture where it's okay to deal with uncertainties, it's okay to empower people to take decisions which are not the regular laws of the rules of the company. They for example, one of the rule can be we will not invest in projects beyond ten percent. For example, ois we tend person but one the tendering has come, all the sales numbers have fallen apart. Now you we may relax that rule. You don't need a committee to do that. You should empower your people. Should you see an opportunity, if roy is even seven percent, go ahead and want so. Speed is very important. Actually, flexibility is very important. Trusting people to take decisions is very important. Yes, no, microman yeah, and a lot of communication is needed because in these times and certain times a lot of decisions are being made. Imagine the organization which is spread over in ten countries, for example, so many countries, like two Tine hundred and fifty sixty countries. So leadership needs to ensure the communication and the rationale of all the changes and decision makings are communicated to the people, employees on a regular basis. Drive out fear from the mind of the people and so be more trustworthy, be more tolerant, be more, you know, adaptable, flexible. To deal with this that is more and more becoming a norm. Easy on one side, you know, we have been used to precision and accuracy and consistency, having structures and processes and rules and policies and procedures. Now we are moving to flexibility, adaptability, speed, agility. So processes,...

...structure, technology, everything has to be adaptable. Here I'm glad we are learning how to appreciate things. Yes, more and more absolutely. I mean it's not different at home, you know, we are very adaptable, isn't so? Yeah, at the individual level, you know, but now, once we go to corporates, you know there are rules and processing mindsets. Yeah, that is also important as well. Yeah, so how they think it is or we are being able to build a driyal and resilient organizational strategies. Yeah, this is a very good question, Yelena. Firstly, you touched it that strategy. Organization needs to have a strategy to become a Gilet and Brasilian without strategy to not happen. It will not accidentally become a jailor resilient. So in that organization can set up strategic goals to become resilient. It's one of the most important strategy these days. Know How to become it has got many components to that. A lot of things are linked to risk management. Organization needs to do a holistic, comprehensive enterprice level risk assessment. You know I'll share you. Do I have working with a very large company on identifying emerging risks for twenty twenty, twenty two. No, interestingly, it calls a lot of vision actually to see what kind of this which can impact achieving the goals and objectives at the same time. This organization is not too a child, is it? They had said their annual business plan, Kepis and targets for twenty twenty two or twenty twenty in December of last year, December twenty nineteen, the setup KPI is, sales targate and revenues targets et C for Twenty twenty. Now all that is not relevant or not apprigal anymore. But instead of changing them, quickly. Still people are reporting on the old numbers which are all read now. Right. Yeah, we have a completely different situation. Yes, the context change. Context change absolutely. So how do we come Resilian is you need to review your processes strategy quickly. See. Now, let me give you an example. Customers were, let's say, submitting invices by paper. Now we are in a contactless environment, so everything has to be done, E. Invoices. Now the procedure says each in ours has to be stand hard copy and then processed manually. Now that's not possible. You need to help doctu sign kind of Tauchnology to accept and do that. So that needs to bring in quickly and process behind this will change. Yeah, so you know, bond, that we need to have adaptable processes, adaptable structures. We open to change our policies and procedures. So it's a combination of many things. Actually, all the disciplines and systems need to be reviewed, and reviewed quickly and adapted. So process management is very important to ensure organization remains a Gile and resilient becomes fusiliant.

And where do you think your expertise could help best? With the LYN six methodology. Yeah, it's a different question. Sorry, you want to say something? No, no, I just wanted to to make it easier for you. Okay, well, thank you too. Paraphrase it a bit. How can we use what we or what you know from lean six sigma methodology to help your organizations? Now? Yeah, very good. I mean, is it? There is no at the moment, to the best of a knowledge, there's no well defined path or of the methodology or a technique to become resilient. It's a combination of various factors. One is the mindsets at the leadership level. They need to let go centralized, autocratic career of working. They need to let empower people. To do that, they need to let go you know, their you know controls, you know decision making control. They have to let go committees and so on and so forth. Right. Secondly, I'd like to, you know, radically review and understand the external business context. Yeah, I was working for one healthcare company as a consultant. They did not identify all their stakeholders, they had no at some information about changes in the external business environment, but not in a plant, systematic, structured manner. So what I would really like to establish a system so that they're able to continuously read and understand the external business environment and connect the dots. What's happening actually and now is it impacting my internal business operations? Second I like to set up systems and capability to continuously see what's happening internally. MM. And then with the changes in the external environment and internal instead of forecasting, I'll prefer to have a scenario planning. Now, m the earlier we had forecast plan by year three, west and now. These forecasts were based on the past numbers and some Horizon Future. But now these you can't take this year's numbers to put a business plan for two thousand and Twenty One, Tony Twenty three. Yeah, there are no numbers for two thousand and twenty as well. Not Exactly. Yeah, not yet. So Thoma shorts, you know, he was the one who developed scenario planning at Shell many years before, thirty years before. So this started from military, you know, warfare, different scenario planning. So Mr Thomas Developed this capability and used it at Shell. What will happen to the crude oil prices if solar energy comes in, alternate energy comes in, war happens or there's a crash in the demand and so on and so forth. Right. So going back to your question. So, having done that, we'd like to have a scenario planning the signal for let me take a real simple example. Let's say take a price of crude. All the crude all is forty a barrel. What kind of investments I will have? What can of initiative I'll have? What kind of KPI is I have? Second Scenarios, the crudel becomes sixty or seventy. Optimistic, are on the same numbers. Right, then prepare for the right then thirdly, the pessimistic scenario. Some of it...

...goes to eighteen dollars a Banton. So what initiatives will be canceled and what will you doing it? So these kind of things are needed. It calls for the numbers and also visualization. Imagine these scenarios. Four thing would like to do is around people, build people capabilities. It's okay to fail, is okay to disagree. Is he there is a mindset the boss knows the best or I cannot challenge him. That mindset needs to be changed. If you give me a minute, I like to share a real life story of Mr Akai Morito. He was a founder in the founder of Sony Corporation. So one day I think it will be interesting for further releasement. Yeah, thank you. One day chairman of the Board of Sony Corporation called him. He said, I really don't and I don't like you. You know, you're always challenging me, you're always disagreeing with me on the ideas and approaches, whereas otherwise president and leaders agree with me. You know what a kind of is? The told him if both of us think same, one of us is not needed. Is that is that is the culture where we disagree to come out with the richer decision. We are minimizing the risk of taking a wrong decision. Actually not. This kind of thing has to permit in many organizations right down the level, and or it is or it can go grass root, grassroot level. Yeah, you know, these days personal biases and preferences and politics comes in so the employee doesn't speak of actually, same thing, Dr Deming said. Drive out fear is if fear is the biggest challenge and detrimine to the performance of organization. And here I hear these days a lot of leaders that I quote talking about fears that they are expressing and they are often projecting it into the employees like yeah, me, that is fearful. But they are. They fear of this so called of will the business continue to grow? What will happen next year? So and it's and it's also the fear inside them, exactly sense of insecurity, fear of failure, fear of living, losing control, fear of grooming their successors that their position becomes untenable, fear of reporting accurate numbers, honest numbers. So it's deeply, you know, impacting the organization. So doesn't really important role for the organization. And also even the recognition reward system has to be read done. If we are used to stability in the business environment, I could clearly say I'll complete these five projects, I'll report hundred personal get a bonus. Those days are gone. So we saw a lot of a lot of CEOS, you know, taking the lowest level salaries right passing down salaries these days to show support, to show solidarity, to show that we are all together in this with the employees. Yes, absolutely. Other thing also, is it resilience comes through using multiple systems. Actually, take, for example,...

...organization has, you know, inventory management system, asset management system, fraud control system, winder payment system, human resource management system, health and safety management system, quality management system that supports in the whole thing. One of my system let's say on inventory management, is weak and so I don't have raw material because supply chains have broken down in covid so resilience comes down. Or I don't have effective fraud control system, so maybe there is some fraud happening which people don't organization leaders don't know, and suddenly you find we are exposed to huge debt. Right if you find our inner information security management system is not adequate or effective, so you suddenly find the customers records are gone. Another very important thing is to have best practices and international standards and, E. W holistic management system which is working and well integrated, to work with each system seamlessly, effortlessly, even outside the organization, because a lot of business suss outsource today, you know. So you can't allow disruption to happen at the boundaries of the organization. Like, yeah, yeah, like a bank cash is collected and this bust and the ATM machine by a Third Party. A lot of airlines have third party doing security checks. So you can't let that happen. Fall little. We had a similar situation with the freelancer community, a lot of them in Serbia. Serbia's top top, I think, not only in Europe but in world, by the number of freelancers, and people are often using this payoneer platform. And then what happened in I think I April or March. It just, you know, the bank accounts just throws. So some one hundredzero people in Serbia, their credit cards were frozen, they couldn't get salaries, nothing. So it's a huge, huge thing for for individual absolutely working from home as well. Absolutely that this is a good example of not being prepared and not being fully resilient. Yes, but I heard. I'm trying to resume what we were discussing today. You said that vision is in foreign yes, yeah, but then also to manage this fear or the anxiety, to contain the anxiety in the company that normally arises with sudden and disrupt changes. Correct, and also with procedures and structures. Yeah, put them into place, try to foresee as much as possible or, as you said, instead of making forecasts, to make all did you call them strategics, scenario planning? Scenario planning? Yes, yes, other thing I mused to didn't emphasizing of his the importance of sharing information and knowledge. Communication is very, very important. M and second is the collaboration with the you know, external community. Collaboration for knowledge, collaboration for resources. Is it? This cold vaccine is an outstanding example of global collaboration.

It's not just one lab or company is done it behind the scene. A lot of people have been working or working to make it happen, and collaboration is going to only further go up in the world because the clergy has enabled us to collaborate like you and me. Are Yes, I was going to stay that. Yes, so and information sharing and Peter Senate, who came over the concept of learning organization through his book. Fifth, discipline is play a very, very important role in especially in service and knowledge based organizations. Information is everything. So leadership also has to ensure the information flows quickly and it is we learn from it and quickly improve. M Is it? Continuous improvement and improvisation is the hallmark of a good, resilient organization. We have another, another characteristic of resilient organization. Correct. Yeah, and I wanted to ask you because this is becoming a thing in a few years, and perhaps it's a bit exascertated by this digital divide with people who can work from home and who cannot work from home. And we are expecting another huge divide in the next ten years or so with the organizations that's going to have different generations working together in the same yes, how do you think will do you think we will become more resilient with this, or will it hinder us in a way, making the collaboration that more difficult? Or do you think it's going to be productive? It's a very, very interesting, good visualized question. I must compliment you for that. The my initial immediate first thought came was the movie the intern. You know, you have Robert Deniro. Oh, yes, yes, Phase Join, Uh Huh, company, young guys are there and he comes to this suit, boot and tie looking for her proper office, when he sees the CEO on a cycle inside the office. So, going back to your question, is we as two things are very important which are happening. You know, the rapid changes in the technology and the way we work and think and collaborate is changing very, very fast. We need to remain relevant and beneficial in the changing business or work environment. Right even this generation which is in s and s now, in thirty years they will be feeling the same act me right. So we need to remain up to date. What is very important is can I give value to their stakeholders or the organization that should drive rather than the age or the gender or other demographics? Right? Having said that, it is easy to say that you know giving value, but we need to adapt to each other. Is it? Diversity will always bring a lot of benefit, a lot of research to support that. Diversity in thinking, diversity in age, diversity in management styles. A lot of startups also demand and expect and look towards people...

...who had twenty, thirty, forty years of experience. But at the same time, senior person should not think that I'm more experience. So I am right. Maybe the young guys have a lot of bright ideas which I'm not able to visualize or understand. All I have to adapt and adjust to make it happen. HMM, there's no straight answer to that, but I believe giving value and remaining relevant and beneficial to the society is very important that we need to adapt our working methods to suit that. I mean this code example. Now millions are working from home many people didn't know how to work from home. Yes, they never talk people. Be Possible? Possible, absolutely, but it's a good example how resilient tree people are. Yeah, Oh, yeah, absolutely, absolutely, and I think we are a bit, you know, talking a lot around the topic and we are starting to grow into to go into some other topics. But I was thinking about this learning organization that you mentioned then, how the learning in organizations will change as soon as the workforce is made of people who are now in their, you know, twenties and and the learning will become, the organization will possibly become even more resilient with these young people full of energy, having to learn quickly and to adapt. Yes, really, absolutely. I mean it can and I think is can lead to a big competitive advantage. You see, because information is running the whole it's the oil new while of the economy. You know, organizations of floating on information, all this big data analy takes and using algarothems to analyze, because will behaviors and performances. So all this data and thealy takes and all is leading to learning oranization and how quickly we adapt to that. It's a very powerful I love the work of Dr Senggay and I keep you know, reading or this knowledge forums and knowledge management is beautiful. Actually, you. We will share the links so that the listeners can weather. Yes, please. Yeah. Yeah, and and the links to your website as well, so that people can, yeah, see what more about it. Yeah, so do you? Yes, I think we can. We can help stop recording now and thank the listeners for or listening. Yes, yeah, I would with this. I thank you again, Yelena, and your organization, Yelena Consulting, in Belgrade, to feach to have this conversation on a very important topic, and also thank the listeners in advance for taking time and opportunity to listen to the podcast. Should they anyone like to connect with us more, they can reach out to Yelena consulting or me, or both. We both will together endeword and try to address or provide you any services you may need. Thanks. I thank you and ever lovely day and thank you for being our guest. Yeah, thank you.

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