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.
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.
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.
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.
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 good judgment
Sound judgment is a must have for any leader in any domain. Having a sense of what makes sense all things considered is hard and critical. Zia provides her perspective on what it takes to have good Judgment from a Lawyer's perspective.
Building good business judgment
Suresh talks about the trade-off between long-term considerations like consumer trust and the short-term cash flow pressures. He specifically talks about the considerations that went into them proactively destroying about 35000 tonnes of food (that was arguably of good quality). He also breaks down what it takes create a climate where the people under the take the right decisions even when under duress.
Focus vs Perspective
Devdutt talks about the distinction between Focus (Rana-bhoomi) and Perspective (Ranga-bhoomi). He talks about how when you adopt focus, you see the world from your perspective while when you have perspective you see it as a whole without boundaries. He links this to the business context and talks about the distinction between the healthy side and the dark side of capitalism where companies often over-emphasizing adding value to shareholders (often at the exlusion of some of the other stakeholders that could be impacted).
Building perspective and judgment
Devdutt talks about the distinction between sarpa drishti (focus, short-term) and garuda drishti (perspective, long-term). He talks about how there is merit in having a certain rhythm with which one wears each lens. He talks about the churn that happens between the two when you toggle between them rather than looking at them sequentially. He also talks about the merits of having clarity of the role you are in (CEO, Board, Owner –etc.). He mentions that often, a lot of confusion ensues because people aren’t clear about the role they have been entrusted with.
Balancing the macro and micro views
Jay talks about how he thinks about the macro discussions he has when he is in Delhi or with an international delegation (which is often about solving for the future) and balances it with the concerns of the here and now that people in his constituency are facing. He talks about he manages to combine the bird’s eye view and the worm’s eye view.
Perspectives on Prioritization
Jay talks about the criticality of creating the leverage as a leader to find a mechanism to process the volumes the data that comes to you to be thoughtful about your decisions. He goes on to talk about how he has to balance the need to go after legislative priorities with crises that might erupt in your constituency from time to time.
Building better business judgment
Amit discusses how people get better at judgment calls over time. In an industry where the lead time to feedback is long, this is a significant differentiator over the long-term. He also discusses how, in order to drive disproportionate returns, it is critical to walk the tight-rope between seeking all the inputs required for a decision but at the same time have the courage of conviction to stick your neck out to avoid a consensus evaluation.
Developing a sense of judgment
Roopa talks about she developed a sense of judgment in the new context when she moved to Omidyar Network. She talks about the fact that she now has to exercise judgment on entrepreneurs who in turn will exercise judgment on several topics that are relevant to them. She discusses how she went about acquiring that nuanced sense of judgment by understanding the world of the start-up entrepreneur and the world of technology.
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.
Making/Not making key decisions
Vinay talks about how Narasimha Rao made decisions or chose not to make decisions strategically depending on the political context. He mentions that often people think of Narasimha Rao as an intellectual but Vinay argues that he was a man of action but also somebody who was acutely aware of his political ability to drive through change.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Vinay talks about how Narasimha Rao was a fusion of Don Quixote (somebody who acted without too much thinking) and Hamlet (somebody who thought a lot but didn’t act as much) and how he brought the various shades of gray in his personality to bear as a leader. He talk about how we need to be cognizant of our environment when we think about what we do and how we implement it.
Judgment and values
Arun talks about how values play an important role in how we build a sense of judgment on situations. He specifically presents the opposing perspectives of two views. 1) Utilitarian view 2) Individual rights view. He goes on to talk about the importance of tailoring our approach to the specific context rather than being binary about it.
Listening & "Thinking fast and slow"
Arun talks how we might not be feeding our “thinking slow” part of the brain enough (using the phrase made popular by Nobel Prize winning Economist - Daniel Kahneman). He talks about how people now have greater reach in connections but with often diminishing levels of richness. He quotes some recent studies where brains of children have shown to be influenced by this and how this is impacting several areas including how we feel about ourselves, our attitudes and empathy. He re-emphasizes the power of having reading as a habit to further build the muscle of “Thinking Slow”.
Judgment - Balancing head and heart
Ambi discusses how some of the leaders he has worked with combine science and art in making good judgments. He talks about how some of these leaders walk the fine line between following process and using well-informed gut to make superior decisions over time. This is specifically relevant in the world of Marketing and Advertising where the production values can vary by orders of magnitude.
Making good Board decisions
Mr OP Bhatt talks about the role of a Chairperson in ensuring that good decisions are made. He talks about the situations where sometimes not making a decision and seeking more information is better than suboptimal decisions. He also discusses how he would handle divergent opinions on the Board by facilitating a more nuanced conversation that embellishes the issue and the nuances come out.
How Gandhiji made decisions
Dr. Guha speaks about Gandhiji went about making complex decisions. He talks about how he was able to combine the need to be democratic and to listen to the various people around him with the ability to be decisive and back his instincts given the overall context.
CEO connect with end consumer
Ambi talks about how leaders like Karsanbhai Patel of Nirma have an intuitive understanding of the customer need. He specifically talks about the “chaiwalla test”, a concept he discusses in his book, to talk about how some leaders find smart ways of getting a quick pulse from the real demographic rather than making misleading assumptions.
Leadership under extreme constraints - Lion, Fox and Mouse
Vinay talks about how Narasimha Rao combined the notion of intellectual agility (ability to fundamentally shift one’s beliefs when new data presents itself) and implementation agility (knowing how to drive change through a complex system). He talks about how Narasimha Rao could play Lion, Fox or Mouse and the criticality of timing in these situations.
Unanticipated consequences and "Cobra effect"
Kartik speaks about how, if we are not watchful, algorithms might end up creating outcomes that we hadn’t really pictured when we started using them. He speaks about one particular example of an instance with Amazon where using algorithms to screen resumes led to the gender bias being further amplified before Amazon noticed it and addressed it.
Exercising consumer choice - balancing efficiency and diversity
Kartik uses the example of music (Pandora, Last.FM and Spotify) and speaks about the different approaches to algorithm design and the implications on the kind of content we are likely to see as consumers. He also speaks about how the designers of algorithms need to have a holistic approach to developing metrics to evaluate the efficacy of the algorithms.