Formal technical education is only one side of the story. The other aspect is what you learn by doing. MBA from IIM Lucknow was a turning point in my life, however one thing that shaped my thought process was TBEM – Tata Business Excellence model which happened early in my career. While I am no longer in TATA group and not sure if the group follows the model with rigor as earlier, I am grateful to the continual education, experience and soft skills i was able to develop. In this post, I am elaborating personal attributes that I was able to build because I was part of the TBEM process.
Systems Thinking – You stop thinking organisation as one process or another. You think organisation as processes talking and interacting with each other and with the customers and stakeholders outside. The process teaches evaluation of different aspects e.g. Leadership, Customer from “Key Business Factors” as the ‘lens’.
Adaptability, Team work – Being a deputy team leader with no real authority over any one and dealing with people who have all together different experience but still following a process much dependent on the collective contribution of each one is an amazing experience.
Detail orientation / Planning– It requires you to follow a process where quality of the next step is dependent on the quality of preceding one. The process of deciding the “Site Visit Questions” from “Site Visit Issues” well before the site visit and deciding who will ask what (so that none of the questions remain un-clarified) is like a detective completing his research by careful examination.
Appreciative Inquiry – Assessors are trained on framing questions not as a problem but as an opportunity, a way that sparks rapid improvement and positive change. AI seeks out the best of what is to help ignite imagination of what might be.
Articulation – An important part of the process is writing “comments” for each criterion. The comments are structured in such a way that the applicant organisation is able to make sense of what is being conveyed without your availability. When you continuously convey multiple ideas in concise manner, ability to articulate improves.
The softer aspects are generally difficult to learn then the technical aspects. In my view, learning the softer aspects requires the awareness to start with and awareness comes from consciousness.