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Team Leaders reflect, deliberate, and strategise in the Advanced Programme for Leaders (APL2022)

Published on February 10, 2022

90+ Tata leaders, including Mentors, Team Leaders from the Business Excellence (BE) assessment process, met at the two-day virtual Advanced Programme for Leaders 2022 (APL2022) on February 7-8, 2022. The participants were also joined by Team leaders from the recently-concluded Data Excellence assessments. APL, organised by Tata Business Excellence Group (TBExG), is a key annual programme for collaboration in which leaders reflect on the past BE assessment process and identify priorities and opportunities for the next cycle. In addition to leaders sharing their experiences and expectations from the assessment process, special sessions on assessing corporate governance, changes in reference manual 2022-23, and assessing cyber security were facilitated. Sayantan Roy, DGM, TBExG, moderated the event. Here are glimpses of the sessions that took place over two days.

Day 1

Opening Address by Sanjeev Singh, VP, TBExG

Mr. Singh shared the progress of Tata companies on the business excellence journey and how they are moving up the maturity scale collectively. He mentioned that TBExG had chosen a balanced approach between customisation and templatisation. He said that different formats are being used to ensure that the assessment process adds value to Tata companies. These include customisation for large and mature companies, Enterprise + BU assessment, customised application structure for new companies, and a synchronised assessment of both business excellence and data excellence. Adding that the Tata Business Excellence Model has evolved from criteria-led to purpose-led now, Mr. Singh mentioned that the model includes future-focused themes like future-readiness, digital, and sustainability. He also introduced the concept of a perfect assessment and its enablers.

‘Reflections 2021 and Imperatives’ by Subhrajit Basu, GM, TBExG

In this session, Mr. Basu presented the qualitative and quantitative outcomes of the BE assessment process of 2021. He deliberated on areas that went well during the assessment and those that needed enhancement. He defined the enablers and KPIs of a perfect assessment, including understanding expectations, forming a winning team, understanding the company, creating a celebrated experience, impactful feedback, and engaging in collective discovery. Mr. Basu also spoke about the Imperatives for BE assessment 2022 and how the leaders can support achieving the same.

‘Evolving Expectations of Company Boards from BE assessment Feedback’ by Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons

As a member of several Boards and a Mentor in the BE assessment process, Mr. Bhat provided a unique perspective of the Board’s expectations from the assessment feedback. According to Mr. Bhat, Board members are usually pressed for time and look for brief, sharp, and actionable areas for improvement. He said that in all assessment feedback presentations, boards expect inputs mostly in 5 areas: Progress of Key Initiatives, Adequately Addressing Key Challenges, Business Sustainability, Future Readiness, Prescriptive Observations. He mentioned that a good feedback presentation should be structured around key themes with data, evidence, and analysis. The key themes should be aligned to the Tata Group themes such as 4S (Simplification, Synergy, Scale & Speed) and future-facing areas such as digital transformation, embedding environment-related sustainability, supply chain readiness, and the talent architecture model.

‘Changes in Reference Manual 2022-23’ by Deepak Deshpande, VP, TBExG

Mr. Deshpande took the participants through the key changes made to the TBEM reference manual of 2022-23. The details related to the changes were deliberated to enable the leaders to keep the key aspects in mind when they participate in the next BE assessment cycle. Mr. Deshpande highlighted the key thematic changes in the TBEM reference manual 2022-23, which includes Resilience, Equity & Inclusion, Digitisation & the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Innovation and Social Contribution.

‘Assessing Corporate Governance’ by Amit Tandon, Founder & MD, and Hetal Dalal, COO, Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS)

The experts on corporate governance threw light on the Indian Corporate Governance Scorecard, which set the context on how the effectiveness of corporate governance may be measured. They presented the measures of the Corporate Governance Scorecard derived from a framework developed by IIAS. Ms. Dalal then presented the 2021 Corporate Governance assessment findings and compared the performance of a few Tata group companies to the S&P BSE 100 companies. The session ended with best practices on corporate governance from within and outside Tata companies.

‘Introduction to Data Excellence Journey' by Vinod Kumar, AVP, TBExG

Mr. Kumar talked about the fundamentals of Data Excellence and the construct of the DATOM framework (a proprietary model of TCS) that is leveraged for facilitating Data Excellence assessments. Mr. Kumar covered various aspects of data within companies, including Core Data, Data Availability, and Data Analytics for Insights. In addition to talking about the building blocks of DATOM, which includes Data, Technology, Processes, and People, he took participants through the maturity scale of the framework. He concluded his session by introducing the synchronised assessments piloted in 2021, in which BE assessment using the TBEM framework and Data Excellence assessment using the DATOM framework was facilitated simultaneously.

Panel discussion on ‘Synchronised Assessments using TBEM & DATOM Frameworks’
Team Leaders of the two synchronised assessments piloted in two companies last year came together for a panel discussion to share their knowledge. The panel comprised Sridhar Sarathy, SVP, Tata Capital; Sonie Saran, Head - Business Excellence, Tata Consultacy Services; Pankaj Jhunja, Head - Mobility Services, Tata Motors; and Jashbir Morzaria, Head - Business Systems, Trent Hypermarket. Siddharth Bhatt, DGM, TBExG, moderated the session. The panelists deliberated on how they planned, structured, and executed such an assessment for the first time. One of the significant benefits of the assessment was the synergy between the two teams, as each team shared valuable insights to strengthen the findings of the other. For the assessee company, synchronised assessment ensured that repeat meetings with the same functions were eliminated to a large extent, reducing efforts while receiving in-depth feedback from both these assessments. The panelists also deliberated on cross-training assessors for business excellence and data excellence, which can enhance the assessors’ competency.

‘Experience of Enterprise + BU Assessment’ by Abhijeet Kumar Mishra, Head – Business Excellence Forum and Head PAI Global Business Tata International

Tata International participated in an Enterprise + BU assessment in 2021. Mr. Mishra, in his session, provided details about the approach, planning, and facilitation of the assessment process. He also spoke about how the Enterprise and BU level feedback has helped the company and about the collaborative efforts between TBExG and Tata International throughout the assessment cycle, which helped meet the company expectations. At the end of his session, he also deliberated on the improvement areas that may be considered in an Enterprise + BU Assessment.

Day 2

‘Cyber Security by Santha Subramoni, Global Head - Cybersecurity Solutions, TCS

Considering that cyber security is increasingly becoming a critical area of focus for companies in all business areas, Ms. Subhamoni, an expert from TCS, took an interesting session on the topic. She highlighted cyber security industry trends of 2022 and the demand drivers for cyber security. She also spoke about the key business outcomes of end-to-end cybersecurity implementation, including end-to-end visibility, simplification of business, security assurance & compliance, security posture management, enabling business transformation, and ransomware readiness. After deliberating the importance of cyber risk categorisation, cyber risk assessment, and cyber posture tracking, Ms. Subhamoni concluded her session with an insight into what senior management stakeholders like CISO, CIO, CEO, CFO expect from a well-deployed cyber security programme in any organisation.

‘Assessment of New Companies with a Customised Application Structure’ by Jaldeep Virani, General Manager - Oman Operations, Voltas

Mr. Virani shared his experience of assessing a company that participated in the BE assessment process for the first time. He spoke about the team’s experience during the assessment, the challenges faced, and the mitigation plan that was successfully implemented. Mr. Virani took the participants through the critical process steps of objective-oriented understanding calls and the periodic communication of the Mentor, Team Leader, and Process Consultant with the company CEO and BE Head, which helped the assessment team. He also deliberated on improvement areas both before and during the assessment cycle that may help an organisation participating in the BE assessment for the first time.

Panel discussion on ‘Assessing Large, Complex and Matured Companies’

The panel consisted of leaders who had played a vital role in the Tata Steel assessment. The panelists included Ganesh Srinivasan, CEO, Tata Power-DDL; P Anand, CCO, The Tinplate Company of India Limited; Dr. Pankaj Kumar, Chief - Total Quality Management & Corporate Quality Assurance, Tata Steel; and S Sambasivam, Managing Partner, Consulting and Service Integration Unit, TCS. Subhrajit Basu moderated the session. The panelists provided different perspectives from their experience of assessing a company as large, complex, and matured as Tata Steel. While Mr. Kumar shared how understanding company expectations before the assessment is critical in getting the assessment right and shapes how the team goes about providing the deliverables, Mr. Srinivasan detailed how an approach note helped in the early calibration of thoughts and acted as an ice breaker between the Team Leader and the BE Head. Mr. Anand shared his experience as an internal assessor and his role in the assessment process. Mr. Sambasivam threw light on the key process steps of enhanced engagement among the assessment team and periodic engagement with the company. The session concluded with all panelists speaking about their ‘wow’ moments during the assessment and enhancement opportunities.

Breakout session outcome presentations

Every year, TBExG seeks inputs from key stakeholders and participants of the BE assessment process to identify key improvement areas for the upcoming cycle. This year, three breakout teams were provided with the Imperatives for the coming year. Samir Banerjee, Principal Consultant, TCS, and team presented recommendations on ‘Communication of Insights Through Better Articulation of NERDs.’ Later, Nidhi Basu, Head - Corporate Quality Assurance (CQA) and Total Quality Management, Tata Steel and team, shared suggestions on ‘Sharpening Results Assessments. In the last session, T V Srinivas Shenoy - Chief Commercial Officer (Long Products), Tata Steel, and team presented the recommendations on ‘Designing and Executing a Hybrid Assessment.’ The APL participants highly appreciated the inputs provided by the three teams.

At the end of the day, S Padmanabhan, Chairman – Governing Council, TBExG, addressed the participants briefly, mentioning expectations and plans for the coming year. Highlighting that many new companies are starting their business excellence journey, he asked the leaders to help and support this journey by nominating domain experts who can actively participate in the assessment process. He also reaffirmed that the Business Excellence Model has transformed into a performance excellence model over the years, and companies are rightfully leveraging it to realise business outcomes. APL2022 ended with an interesting Open House with Mr. Padmanabhan. At the end, Sanjay Rajasekharan, Senior Manager, TBExG, summarised the key learnings from the two days.