Refyne Spectrum ‘23 dubs Agile Culture the way forward for business success – an expert cohort concurs12 min read

Jan 22, 2024

An insights-forward conclave – What a way to cap off another year of milestone employee wellness delivered to our partner businesses! Refyne Spectrum blazed the thought leadership trail to improve India’s workplaces!

Refyne’s yearly offshore sojourn – Spectrum – concluded in style on the shores of Phuket with sailing and beach fun.

On the front of domain expertise and wisdom exchange, the Conference Day was the D-day for the business and enterprise executives congregating from 8-11th December 2023.

Refyne has conceived these annual events on a theme. In 2022, it was ESG. For 2023, it was Agile Culture – Navigating Change in a Rapidly Evolving World.
Surrounding the chosen theme, Refyne Spectrum encourages networking beyond saying hellos by creating thought-provoking solo and group presentations, debates, and freewheeling conversations. Thanks to this format, the invite-only, hand-picked cohort of each Spectrum emerges as a proper team and a force to reckon with in the business world. They share wisdom, compare notes, stay in touch, and, most importantly, have each other’s backs.

Refyne’s co-founder & CEO, Mr. Chitresh Sharma, combined his life lessons and findings as a serial entrepreneur into his address, touching upon what moved him to make Refyne the complete financial wellness package it is. Dr. Sanjay Muthal, advisor to the Refyne board, set up the context for agile culture by speaking about it from conceptual and execution points of view. Touching upon luminary examples from India’s corporate landscape, he talked about the different shades of ‘Agile Culture on the go’, against a backdrop of a worldwide health emergency, economic uncertainty, and the evolving meaning of ‘business success’. He cast a light on how to make employees feel ‘seen’ and ways of gauging ‘how they really are’. With these foundational processes, he said, businesses can etch success in meaningful ways despite the winds of change.

Adjourning for a fireside chat with Mr. Susir Kumar, CMO of Refyne, Ms. Pushkina Nautiyal brought out angles of agility that can help start-ups and growing businesses through their journey. Seasoned entrepreneur and changemaker Susir Kumar gave wide-ranging examples of what makes a business’s journey worth traversing, what pitfalls it can avoid, and which are essential to go through because of the growth they lead to – the true meaning of agile culture. Passion can supply purpose, Susir Kumar said, with an example of one of his businesses – KOOH Sports. Leadership that resonates with that purpose is very important for the business to flourish. Investors with a gamut of goals and vision can urge organisations forward, Susir said, as he closed his broad spectrum of revelations for the benefit of businesses trying to make headway in their vision.

The highlight was the keynote address by Mr. Sonam Wangchuk – India’s globally-recognised innovator, social entrepreneur, and humanitarian from the bottom of his heart. His pictorial journey-themed presentation was paced with absorbing anecdotes about how simple scientific concepts were built into utilitarian innovations. Sonam’s stories and the people he alluded to are paradigms of agility in real-time. They learned from adversity and persevered nonetheless, often beating staggering administrative opposition, harsh weather conditions, and the wrath of public opinion. Their conviction and progress lay in converting pitfalls into opportunities for growth. Life-affirming stories housed indomitable, remarkable tales of agility. Presenting them to Refyne Spectrum ‘23’s cohort, Sonam talked about how people were moved to change and the definitive role storytelling played when his young pupils set out into the world. Working ground up, his movement switched an entire government’s focus towards education. He put new perspectives in place for how enterprises view resources and their ‘cost’. He stressed the importance of generational value and not borrowing resources from future generations. A real-time example of this was pared-back recruitment and lateral hiring, which created space for fresh young talent to be brought in with time.

A strong follow-on to the thought-provoking keynote, right after the lunch spread, was the panel discussion with three HR bigwigs. Mr. Amit Das of Bennett Coleman Co. Ltd (Times of India Group) started the discussion when asked how agile the media giant views culture. He observed how the pace of change has taken over and accelerated unprecedentedly. Leadership pipeline development, a pet talking point of Moderator Dr. Sanjay Muthal’s, was posed to Ms. Kavita Kurup of UST Group. She homed in on tenure and a nimble business sense being key conduits for achieving agility. Leaders in digital, IT, and IT-ES domains count these as the building blocks for a high-achieving corporate career. She said agile culture allows both individuals and organisations to have audacious goals. Kavita set out several notable formats of agile practices, such as interdepartmental feedback, continuous feedback, and change management practices that set up the people to handle and thrive using this rapid pace of change. The operational standpoint of Agile Culture for Mr. Haneesh Nambiar of Apollo Pharmacies stood out to be the speed and empathy with which a customer is serviced – and this is against the background of meeting over 10 lakh customers a day across the outlets of Apollo Pharmacies. Making the right product available and serving it quickly with the right attitude is how Mr. Nambiar summed it up. To make this all possible, understanding the ‘customer’ and ‘consumer’ was a distinction that Amit made. His insight helped the audience understand the tightrope the TOI walks in terms of staying profitable while keeping their readers informed. Building competencies as an organisational framework is Amit’s conviction, but he urged attendees to clarify which competencies are for building organisations. Taking a step back to consider the climate, taking feedback, and formulating practices that sit well with a multigenerational workforce are the roles of the HR professional, Amit said. Agility building is as much about practice and skills as it is about attitude. Every hiring decision would be crucial in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

After the sizzling exchange of business practice ideas and policy ingenuity, healthy debate, Q&A, and small knots of discussions on the big topics ensued during the recesses. The attendees of Spectrum ‘23 refreshed themselves with a veritable feast punctuated by something for everyone to learn. The networking deepened into an exchange of contact information and spirited sharing of present projects and future plans. Thailand’s mesmerising local talent kept the group regaled. Over the next day, a sailing party, loads of relaxation, water sports, and island-hopping kept the Spectrum guests occupied. With plenty of time to explore the island and enjoy the natural beauty of the white sands, the sojourn that was Spectrum 23 concluded. Business frontrunners formed an enthusiastic, like-minded community, lasting on the strength of a shared business outlook and ethos. Spectrum’s goal of having each other’s backs to form a progress-oriented business fraternity is amply set forth for the coming years.

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