S1,Finale : Tell it like it is | What have you done today?
Have you heard Heather Small’s iconic number “Proud”? I heard this song for the first time in 2000 at a packed auditorium under dazzling lights, great acoustics and mesmerizing visuals followed by a loud roar of applause as Glaxo and SmithKline announced their merger. Half a dozen or so corporate executives gathered on stage to unveil the newly formed entity’s vision, mission, values, and strategic priorities. Do more, feel better, live longer — powerful words that make up GlaxoSmithKline’s purpose statement. As an impressionable young executive in her first job, I was gob smacked and filled with pride in the work I was doing and love for the company.
Fast forward a few decades and those words and Heather Small’s song still stay with me and guide my work and life.
In my work with startups and SMEs, advice revolves around 3Ps — purpose, performance, and pay.
- Start with “purpose” to define the talent strategy, values, a robust organization structure and a strategic workforce plan tied in with business milestones. All the hard wiring of the soft stuff and the key pillars of a great recruiting machine.
- Put in place a coaching culture to deliver extraordinary results.
- Finally, craft a meaningful reward strategy that links purpose driven performance.
In my work with more established firms, it is about moving from process to impact.
At a time when corporations around the world are moving beyond the narrow definition of maximizing shareholder value, and expanding their scope to include the well-being of the larger community and all stakeholders, a purpose led goal and culture are at the heart of everything they wish to accomplish. Purpose statements are democratic in that they apply to companies big and small, communities and individuals.
Are well-crafted purpose statements the purview of large corporations with smart copywriters? How does purpose guide the entrepreneur and the small business owner? To find out, I started interviewing some remarkable people who have gone on to do great things in their lives and put those interviews out in my podcast, Tell it like it is.
Season 1 covered some great stories including some smash hits like Lessons from the Special Forces featuring Abhay Sapru and Help Thy Neighbour featuring the residents’ association of a large condo. Others that I thought had tremendous potential are the Beer Geek featuring Navin Mittal and Feeding Fellow Indians featuring a bunch of volunteer professionals who went on to provide 5MM meals during the lockdown.
I’ve had great fun listening to and telling their stories and in the process, I learnt something new from each interview.
Here are some of the things I learnt:
- Interviewing is an art, it involves tremendous research and even after 21 years spent in interviewing people in my day job, there is still something new to learn each time.
- Building a narrative is key to storytelling.
- Editing is tough, ruthless and I have tremendous respect for editors who literally polish rough stories into shimmering diamonds.
- Once an episode is published, it no longer remains “my story”. It belongs to the listeners. They react to it in ways known and unknown and I don’t think I will ever be able to predict or program audience response.
As Season 1 comes to an end, and I take some time to recharge and research new stories, I thank you for listening and sending me your love, criticism and feedback.
Season 2 will be out soon with new stories, tighter edits and some fantastic people. Do check in. Stay well, stay safe.