Leading with Clear Vision & Human-Centeredness
Creating a vision for the easy part – getting people on board is trickier than most think. The key is to have the right conversations that communicate the vision in a crystal-clear manner that increases commitment and devotion to the bigger picture. Only when people and goals align then will businesses achieve results.
In Episode 15 of Agile Leaders Conversations, hear Kiran Mann, Founder of M2M Business Solutions, a people-centric business advisory company. Located in Canada, Kiran’s futuristic approach and the ability to use unconventional tools and techniques that drive results enabled her to play a critical role in enhancing the overall value created by several organizations and making them highly profitable and efficient.
Connect with Kiran Mann at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kiranmann23/
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Kiran Mann: I had a passion that I should start my firm and be able to touch more companies, more people than I can if I was working in one place.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Welcome to agile leaders conversations where executives, business leaders and experts from all sectors come together and share leadership insights around leading in today’s workplaces. They will be sharing some tips on how they use the agile mindset to make sense of the complexity, and lead with authenticity and ease.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Hi everyone. My name is Chuen Chuen, and I specialize in growing the agile mindsets in global leaders around the world so that they can be successful in the businesses and personal lives. I’m also the author of eight paradoxes of leadership agility. And in this episode of agile leaders conversations, I have the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Kiran. Kiran is the founder of M2M business solutions, a people-centric business advisory company with a vision of growing people, growing business. She found M2M business solutions in 2017. Since its inception, the company has closely worked with over all the hundred businesses across Canada, helping them transform their operat.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: And optimized returns on the investments in people, processes and technology. Welcome to the show Kiran.
Kiran Mann: Hi, Chuen. Thank you for having me pleasure to be here with you today.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: I’m so happy to have you on my show. Would you tell us in a little bit a little bit more about what you.
Kiran Mann: I think you did a fair, good justice by describing what I do so appreciate for your kind words as you mentioned, yes, I am based in Canada Toronto to be more specific.
Kiran Mann: My background is automotive manufacturing worked on the other side of the world. For, I started my own firm almost three and a half years ago. And the reason of that was I was very passionate to fulfill the gaps that I always noticed in my manufacturing time, which was over 20 years.
Kiran Mann: And I had a passion that I should start my firm and be able to touch more companies, more people than I can if I was working in one place. So that is what was the cause of birth of M Tom business solution. And given that the focus has been completely on transforming businesses, identifying the.
Kiran Mann: In the foundation of the businesses so that further I can support them in the growth phase. So that the sustainability is much more feasible. Once the foundation is laid out between the proper planning people and processes itself, what cannot be ignored at any time in this business as people.
Kiran Mann: So I work very closely with the people via leadership programs and also through special professional development based on what is happening in the market. Usually the programs that I have launched under M Tom belt has been. Derived from what is going on with my clients at the moment. They came as a request, this is what we go, what is going on and what can you do in this case and how you can help us.
Kiran Mann: And that has been an innovative way to bring in new programs over the time. So between people and businesses is what my day looks like. And I love what I. Awesome.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Absolutely. I can see the light and the passion as you talk about it fully alive with you. And, especially I think a us of sustainability, how sustainable, can the businesses be, can the leadership be, and that people is something that we cannot ignore in the whole process.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: So important just. Quick slide note. I’m curious about this background in automotive manufacturing. Was there an area that, where females are
Kiran Mann: quite rare? Very rare. To tell you in short my, my upbringing has been in the world of army. My dad was in army, hence I grew up in army campuses. So coming from army to automotive, Pretty stable.
Kiran Mann: I would say it was like flowing in right in similar setup, similar, very organized structures and so on and very confined industry. You have every supplier within automotive. You’re not as dependent on other industries. Like I see now once I came out of automotive but yes, definitely female.
Kiran Mann: Not in, in management probably is a rare site. Female itself in offices is a rare site. You would see more female in engineering or administration or buyers. Few I’ve met buyers, but when, once you’re sitting in the boardroom, I. I’ve been more used to sitting with 40 guys and me in their room.
Kiran Mann: And pretty much if I see two, three females entering the room, I get cautious. Okay. What is happening? What, what changed? so you’re completely right. I’m sure the world will evolve by the next generation coming up in the workforce. But I can see now some new faces.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Yeah. Yeah. Very inspiring.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: I think it is not easy for a woman leader. To assert influence in the boardroom in a male dominator environment. Yeah. Looking forward to your sharing and as shed light in this area on woman leadership as well. Great. So Kiron have read my book, the eight paradoxes of leadership agility. So I’m wondering Kira, what are your general thoughts of the book after reading it?
Kiran Mann: I would say that out of the numerous books I’ve read on leadership, this one was definitely a standout very different. I love the concept that you have utilized of turning the real time experiences into the pages of your book, where people can actually relate to different incidents.
Kiran Mann: I would say. If an individual can note down every example that you have utilized, if they’re adapted and implemented in their professional workplace. Would make a huge difference. Huge difference. As I was reading through, in my mind, I was thinking of situations and having a smile on my face of how you had related those stories and also then converted, right?
Kiran Mann: What did they do? And what process did you use in the background for them to have a change? And lot of these are like real behavior change. So that they stick around, it’s not a one time transactional change but real time behavioral change. So definitely a book that I would suggest a easy to read and understand and apply upon.
Kiran Mann: Yeah.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Yeah. Yeah. I think you’ll hit the nail on that. I wrote the book with exactly that purpose, really for busy leaders, something easy. Yeah. Immediately actionable implementable. So you talk, you said that you were reading it, there were some parts where you smile, I guess there were some stories that resonated with you.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: So what was that paradox that specifically resonated
Kiran Mann: with you? I think there was one story where there was a guy pre. That, that you have used the name as, and it’s I believe it’s in enforcing and empowering. Where we are, he’s a team leader and he’s trying to work on a project of making change in customer experience.
Kiran Mann: And his mission is that will impact the business overall in a positive way. And I couldn’t have a resist to having a laugh and. Thinking out in the background, I would say in my past where customer experience is actually a very dear topic to me even today. I always believe I think it’s a it’s a habit of mine.
Kiran Mann: If I wanna use that word, that anytime I meet a new prospect, I will somehow find out what terminology they’d use. Do they call customer service? Do they call customer satisfaction or do they call it? Customer experience really tells me of where they are in their journey when it comes to customers and their internal customers as well.
Kiran Mann: Listening to that story where he’s actually. Going through whole resistance and change management in a way of how to empower everybody and empower himself in bringing that change which I feel is a big project as good as doing an E R P system in the company. so that one was really good. There was a, another story for.
Kiran Mann: If I remember correct it was from your principle and adapt adaptability. And that one is again a very great story of how people sometimes become a bit rigid when they talk about principles. Like principles are a must have, but always a open mind. Is important to assess the situation and understand how to keep your principles in check yet, have that ability to adapt to what is going on around you at that moment.
Kiran Mann: And every situation is gonna differ. So that means every time your adaptability behavior is going to differ as well. But being conscious about that and knowing about that, that yes, principles are principles, but. When needed, you need to have that. Adaptability is I think one of the finest skill people can have in them
Chuen Chuen Yeo: being principal doesn’t mean that you are rigid.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: How do you be principal and have that open mind as well? How do you see, changes in leadership right now in the pandemic and how is any one of these.
Kiran Mann: Applicable. First of all, I, if we touch upon the word pandemic or COVID, I would say it’s not the first or the last time that is happening, every decade has a story of its own. So if leaders, first of all are aware of that means they’re constantly learning and developing themselves, their teens and their businesses to be prepared for this or any other challenge that comes. Challenge is always going to impact that’s given. But it does minimize it, it minimize.
Kiran Mann: And it also on the positive side, it allows you to, reflect, look into how you’re running your business and make. The make the changes that you need for the future. On a negative side, yes, it can be painful for people, but on the positive side, there are a lot of positive pieces. If we look at pandemics that way, I think in given time agility, obviously very important leadership where where leaders are they’re able to lead.
Kiran Mann: But they hold oneself in the background. They’re allowing their team to they’re empowering them and not controlling them and where people, individuals, and teamwork and team players can be more productive and be open to share their creativity, their ideas, and brainstorm as a team. I think one of the finest thing that is required is the leader having a clear.
Kiran Mann: and not keeping their eye off that. And vision is always constantly changing as well. The vision we have for our lives when we are 20 year old is something we wanna do by 25. And by 25 we look back and we’re like, ill, what was I thinking? So it’s no different. When you talk about business is just a bigger landscape of yourself, an individual.
Kiran Mann: So if you consider it that way, it’s always changing, but whatever it is at that moment, the eye has to be on it. The more that clarity is there, the team, the processes, the plannings, the strategies, everything will start coming together and then more you’re together. Obviously you’re working better and whatever it is coming in the way, you’ll figure it out, how to tackle it and get better.
Kiran Mann: So I think that unity comes from the clarity and the businesses and the leader, giving that kind of environment where your team can develop a culture of excellence.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Yes. Yes. Want to highlight some of the key points that Kirin has mentioned, the importance of having clarity? What is the vision. What is the culture and that in every stage of life for a human being and the same for businesses, we want different things at different times.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: So it could be principle versus adaptable coming in, perhaps the overarching vision or. The purpose that we have as a business is still the same, but the manner in which we do it, be it pandemic or next one who knows, the method may be different. So we gotta reserve the adaptability at the same time.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: And I think another key point that you mentioned I see know empowering visitors enforcing, and if we have a clear vision, then we know how. Empower on people because they have different perspectives. They bring in different things and we bring teams together to find better
Kiran Mann: solutions. I would say vision is so clear.
Kiran Mann: The more your vision is clear. The strategies will be clear and strategies are clear. You can put down the measurables at your departmental level at your team level as individual level. And not even Staining and being competitive in today’s constantly changing market, but it also, these same pieces are very much related with all of the threats that are going in the market.
Kiran Mann: They all play some sort of key, important role while business leaders are dealing with some other market threats that we have this decade. Yeah, that’s a
Chuen Chuen Yeo: great viewpoint. And vision is always evolving. So I think good for all listeners, viewers to take note of that and crosscheck am I pursu?
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Relevant vision right now, or does something need to change? Now? I want to look at this concept of leadership agility. I defined it as the ability to navigate complexities and uncertainties with a sense of ease and authenticity. Some of my clients describe it as having that feeling of peace of mind.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Being able to sleep well at night with the clear conscience, instead of being torn between two sides, they are correct. Or in other words, the paradox. So how do you see leadership agility through the work that you do?
Kiran Mann: The way I would say I define that is with three keywords lead open-mindedness and just being.
Kiran Mann: Being there for your team. And as we talked about the vision, once that clarity is there at times, you probably may have noticed sometime you talk to different people in a business and you ask them what their vision is. And people will point down to a frame on a wall, or they will define vision based on what they understand the vision is.
Kiran Mann: And the story may change from one person to another. The more that clarity is there, the more everybody’s focused on what they’re doing? One of the simple example that I pretty much use all the time is that given that I’m in Canada, I always say from Toronto to Montreal, which is three plus hours drive.
Kiran Mann: And I always say that if five of us are going to Montreal, we may take different path. Depending on what our GPS is telling us, but if we know the exact address need to reach there, we will reach the same destination. It’s as simple as that. And if that destination and the timing wasn’t given to us with full clarity, we may reach there and be in that area.
Kiran Mann: But not at that Destin. And that’s where, that’s how the vision comes in perspective when we look at businesses. So once that clarity is there, then the more important thing is being agile means, bring your teams together, bring the teams together and bring right people, the right team members.
Kiran Mann: I personally believe that the smart team. Is not a word that I probably use personally. I always say right team. I could be smart, but I’m smart for this company and may not be smart fit for another company, but am I a right person for this job, this company then I am the right person. So identify the right team members and put them in the places they belong.
Kiran Mann: So if, as the leaders in today’s world, if these are some of the keys things, very small things, but play a huge role in the dynamics of a business world bringing them and placing them in the right places and then hiring same way of right people, the right talent for your company. And then once you have given them the clarity step back, Ask them allow them to empower them, to bring their ideas and bring solution and give you a process, right?
Kiran Mann: The you focus because you cannot keep your eyes off the vision, but the process let the team define what that process and the journey is going, empower them to work together with a very interactive. Team, but also full of diversity around you. Yeah, it is about
Chuen Chuen Yeo: the vision. It is about outcomes. If you are clear, what is the vision and the milestones, the outcomes that will get the organization to meet, to reach the vision, then you will know what are the.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: All your talented people need to achieve. And when you are clear on that, then you will know how and who you need to get on board into your team. And then after that step back, just let them do their job, let them work their magic and things will happen. I’m also very interested in this piece on women leadership.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Just wondering, what advice do you have for leaders, especially women leaders. Male dominated environments
Kiran Mann: out there. I’ve had very positive experience in my work life. As I mentioned, coming from growing up in army world and being in manufacturing auto, and now working in different industries, I think working within engineers all the time or army individuals are pretty much male, female.
Kiran Mann: Makes no difference. It’s all about the talent that you have. And pretty much all people are very technical. So it’s about your technical knowhow and nothing more than that. But yes as the world runs there, there are challenges and obviously much more challenges for female. Not even to progress in positions, but also to sustain a day female in, in general have way more responsibilities in a given day than than guys.
Kiran Mann: Most of the time. And balancing between your family life and balancing between your family and work life and balancing between your kids once you have them. And then your coworkers or your employee teams is a work off its own. What has worked for me is I personally apply and I probably use this a lot in my own coaching as well is I apply every aspect of business to a house.
Kiran Mann: A house is a small version of what a business world is for. So if you have learned the art of managing your kids when they were teenager, or did you have your wow motive moment that, oh my God, they are, have turned 13. So I am going to have some wonderful years coming ahead. I think that’s the first test as parents, but also as a female being a mother of applying your skills and and polishing.
Kiran Mann: That’s the time. Once you have conquered that world, given that I’m a mother of three, I pretty much used every angle of skills that I learned from my father. Growing up in the army world applied that with my kids. It. Transformed on its own when I entered workforce applying the similar concepts, being stubborn is a negative word, but I would say stubborn in your mind with your ideas and your vision being constantly on it, but having the flexibility of allowing people to speak and allow them what to do.
Kiran Mann: And one of the biggest thing as a female or as a women leader that I probably believe between the houses and the business offices is if you’re asking somebody to do something always remember, you need to answer the question, what is in it for me. If you can answer that question, what is in it for me when you’re asking whether it’s a teenager or an employee of your business, you got them by your side, you got them by your side.
Kiran Mann: If if my employer is asking for a change what is in it for me? Why should I change? I did this every single day, the same way. Why should I do something different? But bringing these concept as a female using them between your daily life. Whether you’re dealing with your kids, whether you’re dealing with your spouse partner or you’re dealing with your colleagues.
Kiran Mann: So bringing some of these basic, I would say rules applying those rules to, to your life really helps bringing a balance as a woman. For sure. It’s
Chuen Chuen Yeo: been so consistent since the time we started this interview. It’s always about being principal one, your basic principles, and it is actually transferable applicable across all domains of your life.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Be with your kids, with your spouse at work with your business. Be stubborn in the vision. That’s my takeaway quote for today. Be stubborn in your vision, but be open mind. How other people are going to do it to be open minded about the approach to get there. And one key question that I also get reminded is what’s in it for me, for all women leaders, for all business leaders.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: I think we are all dealing with a lot of change. So answering that question, what’s in it for me is an essential question for all leaders these days, right? Yeah. I’m sure right now, viewers, you will be interested to find out how you can get in touch with Kira, especially if you are based in. Canada.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: I will also include clearance social media handles and company websites in the show notes
Kiran Mann: as my last piece, I would say that professional development given that this decade COVID is passed guys COVID is, was just one of the threat. We have lot of other things to deal with this decade starting from 65% workforce is going to be Lin.
Kiran Mann: And the generation gap, right? The skills gap. There are a lot of other pieces, digital transformation called industry 4.0, all these things in a way seem met multiple different pieces that we need to deal with. But at end of the day, they all are touched with a clear plan, having right people and then empowering them to take them.
Kiran Mann: To the Montreal that I always talk about. So find what is your Montreal, where your destination is, what time you wanna reach there and then empowered your team and guide them to walk there or drive there.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: Such a powerful story. I will have that story in my mind. for a long time. Thanks for that. All right.
Chuen Chuen Yeo: It’s been great. Connecting with you. I’m looking forward to more conversations. I believe there are many ways that we can collaborate, so I will touch base again and thank you everyone for listening to this episode of agile. Conversations, please check out the rest of the episodes on ass.com/block. I will also include the link in the show notes and see you again soon.