In their own words

“Thinking Partners is unlike any other consultants that we have hired because they did not occur as an external party clocking-in clocking-out. They felt like a part of the team, constantly engaging with us and reviewing the impact and relevance of the intervention. Thinking Partners felt so much like a part of Healthians that the team would often refer to them as part of the Healthians’ family. I feel engaging with Thinking partners right at the early stage of the business was one of the sensible investment with clearly visible ROI’s today. We have not just aligned our thoughts but have been able to create a strong foundation to build a column large business. Every module and learning session at Healthians is created after keeping Healthians as unique business in mind and that is what makes them true thinking partners.”

— Deepak Sahni, Founder & CEO, Healthians.com

 

 

Most startups operate under uncertain, ambiguous, complex and often conflicting realities

They are often trying to find their feet and their place in the world –
within and outside. Thinking Partners has helped one such startup connect with its purpose; helped create actionable business values, align the core team and assist them in creatively navigating through the chaos and complexity.

Thinking Partners’ expertise lies in creating powerful transformative conversations and work creatively with the emergent reality of the organization without imposing an external agenda.

Healthians – a health startup was incubated by Healthstart in November 2014, followed by a seed round investment in 2015 by YouWeCan, the investment arm of the cricket legend Yuvraj Singh.

Healthians engaged Thinking Partners as their change management partners. Although the founders’ immediate focus rested on creating effective business processes and strategy; they felt Thinking Partners could engage and affect a more performance oriented culture. Instead being in a conversation with Thinking Partners led them to inquire into fundamental questions that would shape the business and its purpose.

 

A sense of purpose and values

 

Thinking Partners worked with the Founders to draw out their own unique personal purpose and values for the organisation. This wasn’t some exercise in idealism that had them create vision statements that sounded good. It was an exercise that made them reflect about and create what they really cherished about their own selves and the real guiding principles they wanted to bring to the workplace.

Through various challenging conversations they articulated, “learning”, “dialogue”, “courage”, “generosity” and “being warriors”, as their core values. These values were supported by a simple and organic purpose of ‘making a mark in the industry’.

Their values further became the cornerstone of their performance management system. The leadership team in reflecting on the values, created a range of behaviours and skills associated with the values that were translated to a performance criterion for all the levels within the organisation.

This innate sense of purpose and values, became a guiding philosophy at Healthians; positively informing and influencing various aspects of the business ranging from strategy, business systems and processes to recruitment.

 

“It usually takes employees about a year or so to form a connect with the company, it’s purpose and values; but working with Thinking Partners week in and week out, that connect got formed within three to four months.”

Deepak Sahni – Founder, CEO

 

Alignment and Connect

Post the second round of funding in mid 2016, a new leadership team at the level of department heads was inducted to lead the organisation to the next level of growth.

Thinking Partners was the link between the Founders, the new leadership team and the mid management team that was handling the various departments earlier.

During this phase of change and transition Thinking Partners helped facilitate the changeover between the new and old leadership teams. They helped create an environment where people had the freedom to express themselves, especially their fears and concerns.

Thinking Partners became a space that held the inherent uncertainty and helped people to be resilient in the face of this change and remain stable and on purpose.

 

“My leadership style has changed to being of a more participative nature. I listen to people and co-create solutions with them… much better than my previous slightly aggressive approach.”

Head of Operations

 

Leadership Development

Today the leadership team believes that the emergent sessions with Thinking Partners inadvertently encouraged them to reflect on who they are and who they need to be as leaders.

Everyone – from the founders to the core team and the middle management, were consistently encouraged and challenged to reflect on their values and bring them into existence through their leadership behaviours.

Founders, in regular conversations with Thinking Partners self-reflected on their own motivations and purpose and the specific leadership style they were bringing to bear to their everyday interactions and decisions.

The core leadership team sessions provided for opportunities for the team to develop their competence to collaborate, form a deeper understanding of each others’ perspective and make a positive contribution to the collective issues confronting the organisation.

The mid management team worked extensively on understanding their emotions and developing coping skills to manage difficult emotional states. They specifically worked on building inner resilience needed to withstand pressure for performance and delivery.

Ultimately, Thinking Partners helped raise the collective and individual conversational competence of the leadership at Healthians.

 

Discussing the ‘undiscussables’

The ‘elephants-in-the-room’ were creatively brought to the fore addressed by discussing issues that weren’t normally discussed in internal meetings and reviews. Thinking Partners gave the Leadership team a platform to express; a platform where they were not scared to bring up difficult issues as everyone was encouraged to participate; everyone’s views were solicited. A leader said that although, at times, he wasn’t directly related to the matters being discussed, he could still contribute with his perspective in a meaningful way and not just remain a bystander

What allowed issues to be surfaced were the potent questions that Thinking Partners would bring to the session that compelled people to think deeply. “What is it that you know today but you will actually find out in a year’s time?” is one such question that sparked a poignant conversation on business aspects that were perhaps being ignored and brushed aside. The question, “For which of your challenges do you not have an answer right now?” gave the team the space, away from the frantic every day thinking, to think through their most pertinent challenges. The CTO fondly remembered a pertinent session, when Thinking Partners encouraged them to think about the various paradoxes at play. This conversation made it possible to expose safely the tension between espoused strategies and on-the-ground circumstances and to discover the valuable strategies that lie deeply hidden in paradoxical waters.

In another session facilitated between the founders and the leadership team, the question “what can you do to make sure that you achieve the worst result imaginable with respect to your top strategy or objective?” created room for team to think about what they need to stop doing so they can make progress on their deepest purpose.

It is in these challenging and potent conversations that the founders and the team got the opportunity to bring a deeper and fresher thinking to their everyday execution of strategy.

It is in these conversations that both the present and the future of the organisation were being positively impacted.

 

 

 

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