Sunday, June 23, 2024

Navigating Change and Challenging Norms: The Trailblazing Journey of Practus towards Consulting Excellence

Practus is a homegrown consulting company that started up in 2007. Back then, the idea was to help overseas companies get a foothold in the Indian market, which was growing at a rapid pace but was marred by complex regulatory landscape that was hard to understand and harder to navigate.

Today, 5-million man hours of work later, the company counts around 1000 clients, delivering an ROI of more than $200 million to them. The contrast is stark between the original premise of helping businesses navigate regulations, to today’s performance oriented, implementation focused multinational consultancy firm with its headquarters in Mumbai. Deepak Narayanan, founder and CEO, shares the why and what of Practus’ journey to be the first Indian consultancy firm going global.

A Journey of Evolution

Practus started life as Wealth Tree Advisors with the aim to assist overseas companies in navigating the complexities of setting up operations in India. Deepak Narayanan and SVenkat, both had experience with big global consultancy firms, and felt there was a gap in the market. A pivotal realization dawned upon the leadership in 2010-11, prompting a strategic shift towards aiding Indian businesses with performance improvement solutions to enable exponential growth. This is how WealthTree adapted and evolved to become Practus, Today, Practus stands as a beacon of transformative consulting, catalyzing business evolution and enabling growth.

Leadership Insights: The Ethos of Equitable Leadership

Deepak reflects on a defining moment in his career that shaped his leadership ethos. Drawing from his early professional experiences, he recognized the importance of equitable treatment and accessibility within organizational hierarchies. This revelation laid the foundation for a leadership style centered on openness, inclusivity, and a flat organizational structure. At Practus, every individual is empowered to engage in meaningful discourse, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation. Deepak practices the principles of equity, integrity, and inspiration, encapsulating the essence of effective leadership in today’s dynamic landscape.

“Success is not measured by the destination alone, but by the journey’s resilience, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to purpose.” – Deepak Narayanan, Founder & CEO of Practus

Innovating for Impact: Pioneering a Results-Driven Approach

Practus exists because the consulting industry has worked on the same model for almost 100 years now, says Deepak. The company differentiates itself on this front by committing to a Return on Investment with its clients, and bringing its own skin in the game by linking a part of its fees to delivering on this commitment. This operating model transcends traditional consulting paradigms. By pioneering the concept of Return on Investment (ROI) as a cornerstone of client engagements, Practus ensures a tangible linkage between its interventions and business outcomes. This results-oriented methodology incentivizes value creation and necessitates continuous innovation in service delivery. Leveraging technology as an enabler, Practus empowers its workforce to drive impactful transformation across diverse business domains, thus redefining the consultancy landscape with a focus on measurable results.

Leadership in a VUCA World: Navigating Complexity with Clarity

In an era characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), Deepak feels that business leaders need to embrace change for effective leadership. For him, modern leadership goes beyond strategic foresight and analytical acumen, integrity emerges as a foundational attribute, anchoring trust and credibility in leadership interactions. Furthermore, inspirational leadership transcends mere proclamation, and needs to be lived in daily actions that motivate and empower teams. Practus embodies these leadership tenets, navigating the intricacies of a dynamic business landscape with clarity of purpose and a steadfast commitment to ethical conduct.

A Balancing Act: Harmonizing Short-Term Goals with Long-Term Vision

Balancing short-term imperatives with long-term strategic objectives necessitates a nuanced approach to decision-making. Deepak firmly believes that all long-term goals must adhere to the founding principles of the organization. By aligning short-term tactical initiatives with overarching strategic goals, Practus maintains a trajectory of sustained growth while preserving its core values. This equilibrium fosters agility and resilience, enabling the company to navigate evolving market dynamics with resilience and foresight.

Overcoming Challenges: Reinventing Amidst Adversity

Reflecting on recent challenges, Mr. Narayanan expounds on Practus’ adaptive resilience in repositioning its value proposition amidst shifting market dynamics. The company focuses on the growth and well-being of its people before anything else. By prioritizing investments in talent development and reskilling initiatives, Practus reinforces its commitment to empowering its workforce as the primary driver of client impact. In a way, it’s a strategy of keeping your most important customers – the employees, satisfied. This in turn enables them to deliver world-class services to the end customer, creating the client delight that is so important in consultancy. This strategy also underscores the company’s agility and responsiveness in navigating adversity, epitomizing its ethos of continuous evolution and innovation.

Setting Apart: Differentiation through Tangible Impact

Distinguishing itself from competitors, Practus champions a results-driven consultancy model, wherein measurable, tangible business outcomes serve as the success metric. Deepak highlights the company’s proprietary methodology, which emphasizes outcome-centric engagements and quantifiable value creation. By eschewing conventional billing models in favor of performance-linked fees, Practus ensures a vested alignment of interests with its clients, thereby fostering enduring partnerships grounded in mutual success.

Technology as an Enabler: Catalyzing Business Transformation

While technology plays a pivotal role in driving business growth, Deepak underscores human expertise and domain knowledge as paramount in addressing complex business challenges. At Practus, technology serves as an enabler rather than a panacea, augmenting the capabilities of its workforce in delivering impactful solutions. The secret sauce at Practus is a mix of technological innovation garnished with human ingenuity. Practus empowers organizations to navigate digital transformation with agility and efficacy, rather than sell it as the solution to all their problems.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility: Nurturing a Purpose-Driven Culture

Embracing sustainability as a core value, Practus embodies environmental stewardship through its paperless operational ethos that has been in place since its inception, when a paperless organization was not so commonplace. Deepak further underscores the company’s commitment to social responsibility, particularly in supporting initiatives aimed at alleviating hunger and promoting education among marginalized communities, especially children. By fostering a culture of compassion, Practus exemplifies the integration of purpose-driven practices into its business operations, thereby fostering positive societal impact.

Diversity and Inclusion: Fostering Equitable Workplaces

Practus’ commitment to diversity and inclusion is rooted in meritocracy and talent-centricity. While championing gender diversity with a workforce comprising over 38% women, Practus prioritizes competence and alignment with organizational values in its hiring practices. By cultivating an inclusive workplace culture, Practus empowers individuals from diverse backgrounds to thrive and contribute meaningfully, thereby enriching the fabric of its organizational tapestry.

Values in Action: Navigating by Guiding Principles

Practus’ operational ethos is anchored in a set of core values that guide its day-to-day business activities. From prioritizing teamwork and technological adaptation to fostering collaboration and data-driven decision-making, these values permeate every facet of the organization’s functioning. Mr. Narayanan underscores Practus’ unwavering commitment to creating an inclusive and safe workplace environment, wherein every individual is empowered to realize their full potential.

Milestones of Excellence: Paving the Path to Progress

Talking of recent achievements, Deepak mentions Practus’ accolades as a testament to its commitment to excellence and innovation. From being recognized as a Great Place to Work three times in a row to receiving accolades for its people-centric culture, Practus continues to garner acclaim for its unwavering dedication to employee empowerment and organizational growth. These milestones underscore Practus’ unwavering pursuit of its long-term strategic objectives, reaffirming its position as a trailblazer in the consulting landscape.

Lessons Learned: Navigating the Winds of Change

Reflecting on setbacks and failures, Mr. Narayanan shares invaluable insights gleaned from his entrepreneurial journey. Emphasizing the virtues of patience and persistence, he underscores the importance of resilience in overcoming adversities. By embracing the ebb and flow of life’s journey, Mr. Narayanan underscores the transformative power of perseverance and steadfast resolve in navigating the tumultuous waters of entrepreneurship.

Sage Advice: Charting a Course for Aspiring Leaders

In parting words of wisdom, Mr. Narayanan offers sage advice to aspiring business leaders embarking on their entrepreneurial odyssey. Encouraging patience, perseverance, and a focus on hard work, he underscores the importance of staying grounded amidst the allure of overnight success. In his experience, most overnight successes are backed by years of hard work. By tempering expectations and embracing the journey with resilience and determination, aspiring leaders can carve their path to success, one step at a time.

Towards a Visionary Future: Pioneering Consulting Excellence

Practus has ambitious goals and aspirations for the future. With a vision to become a billion-dollar consulting firm by 2030, Practus aims to spearhead India’s emergence as a global hub for consulting excellence. By fostering collaboration and innovation within the industry, Practus seeks to elevate the consulting landscape, thereby catalyzing transformative growth and prosperity for Indian businesses and beyond.


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