Published on June 15, 2017
Tata Business Excellence Group (TBExG) organised the Mentor’s Meet on June 12, 2017, at Vivanta by Taj President, Mumbai. A total of 75 participants, consisting of CEOs and senior leaders from Tata companies attended the session, most of them in person and others through audio call. The Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran also addressed the participants during the session. This session marked the official beginning of the TBEM Assessment cycle for 2017. With 30 Tata companies in the assessment cycle this year, the Mentor’s Meet brought together Mentors and Team Leaders involved in the process and helped set the stage to deliver strategically significant assessments.
S Padmanabhan, Chairman of the Governing Council, TBExG, initiated the meet by highlighting significant improvements and changes in the TBEM process. According to him, a significant achievement in the past year was that the average score for the Tata group crossed the 500-mark, which is the BEBP norm. In addition, the assessment process has been broadbased, to create a steady pipeline of Mentors and Team Leaders, which allows TBExG to institutionalise the process. The assessment process now also covers companies which contribute to 95% of the group revenues. Mr. Padmanabhan threw light on the new BEBP compliance statement, explaining that Tata companies are increasingly showing interest in taking part in TBEM assessments, rising from 25 companies last year to 30 this year. He also thanked the mentors for their courage in volunteering for this effort intensive process and their support and feedback.
MK Nagabhushan, Vice President, TBExG, then took to the stage to explain the changes that have been made in the TBEM assessment process over the last 20 years. He explained that the TBEM process is like a train journey, where we have important stations or milestones to reach to deliver the expected outcomes. The changes in the process make the process more transparent and accordingly, the assessment team will share the score immediately after the final feedback.
Narendra Ghate, Chief Designer, Tata Elxsi, then spoke about the concept of Design Thinking. He discussed that Design Thinking is not just a frame of mind and attitude, but also a habit that needs to be practiced. Mr. Ghate also listed four elements for organisations that can help in inculcating design thinking culture:
a) Applicability of design thinking in every domain
b) Focus on end customers experience at every stage
c) Creation of teams with diverse members
d) Comfort with uncertainty and risk
R Mukundan, MD and CEO, Tata Chemicals, and Tarun Daga, MD, Tinplate Company of India, who have both played the role of a Mentor in many assessment cycles, then spoke about their perspective. Mr. Mukundan explained how the Mentor must ask the team how they can be useful. It is about getting the ‘big picture’ right and building a strong climate for the process to be successful and asking leading strategic questions. Mr. Daga talked about the investment and commitment of time and also how being fact based helps the team in providing meaningful inputs to the company. He reiterated that the Team Leader owns the process and as the quality of teams have improved over the years, the Mentor is being challenged to do more.
Anil Menghrajani, AVP, TBExG, then spoke about explained how mentors play a critical role in the process and can raise the quality of the outputs by paying special attention to the quality of applicant’s strategy in the Mentor’s Note, which is one of the key deliverables of the TBEM assessment process.
There were also sessions by Applicant CEOs on what their expectations from the assessment process are. S Nagarajan, CEO of Metahelix Life Science and long-time participant in the TBEM process, emphasised that teams should understand the Applicant’s business model, value levers and risks in the business. They must focus on practical feedback, based on the life stage of the company and help find solutions.
Naveen Tahilyani, MD and CEO, Tata AIA Life Insurance Company, then explained his expectations from the assessment team in the concept of appreciative inquiry using a framework of 4Ds – Discover, Dream, Design and Deliver. To discover, it is important to understand the industry – the team needs to spend time to understand the strengths of the company, as leveraging of these strengths is what will give it sustainable advantage. The team must also challenge the Applicant’s vision – is the dream big enough, specific enough, clear and well deployed? For design, the right questions to be asked are – is the company building on its strengths, is it looking ahead, beyond plugging gaps. For deliver, the teams should look at a few key functional areas to go deep and check that the initiatives undertaken are being driven well, there are no deployment gaps and be honest in terms of the feedback.
The most awaited session of the day was the one by the Group Chairman Mr. Chandrasekaran, who said that the benefits of the TBEM process was immense in driving excellence in a structured fashion. He shared his experience as an Applicant CEO (TCS) and stated that the transformation over the years has been phenomenal. Group Chairman spoke about how the TBEM platform can be used to bind the Tata group and set group behaviour. He spoke at length for the need of data maturity, as this field will grow fast. Hence, the climb required by companies will be high, not because the systems are not in place, but the mindset needs to change. The best processes need to be based on the right insight, he said. The session was then opened up for questions.
The Mentor’s Meet came to an end with an open house session during which CEOs, team leaders and mentors alike voiced their queries and thoughts, leading to an enriching discussion for all.