"Loka samastha sukhino bhavanthu" - May all beings everywhere be happy and free; and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
Interview with Sudheer Valappil
We caught up with Sudheer, our founder on the story behind Mindful Solutions.
You are positioning Mindful Solutions as a very unique business advisory with a global reach, can you share with us what would be your elevator pitch?
In simple terms, we help business leaders to overcome their limitations and help prioritise their focus on scaling rapidly to their full potential. We do this by helping them to holistically review their present, recognise their potential and identify the path to get there by fully utilising their resources and modern technology.
Can you share more about your motivation behind leaving a corporate life and launching Mindful Solutions? What is the story here?
Good advice is extremely powerful and hard to come by. In the corporate world, with good budgets it was relatively easy to identify and contract some of the best consultants in the world. We have spent 8 figure budgets on consultants over the last five years alone. I am concerned that most business leaders cannot have access to proven management methodologies and will be forced to go through a very expensive route of trial and errors or worse avoid changing at all.
Having seen the transformative power of good business coaching early in my life, when I was able to significantly expand revenue of a small business by giving what seemed like a simple advice from my business management lessons at university. I was keen on starting my consulting journey then, however, I knew that I had to learn a lot more about business to be really helpful to business leaders. Hence, I decided to build expertise across different domains of business so that I can offer more holistic advice to business leaders than my 17-year-old self could.
Since starting my studies in business, I consciously chose roles in different facets of business to build a comprehensive view of business world. Now with over 22 years in multiple domains, regions, industries and a network of thought leaders, I believe I am ready to share my learning with high potential business leaders to help them succeed. While sharing the concept with some like minded leaders, I could see many others who wanted to contribute in similar lines to coach and mentor business leaders outside of corporate world. And that is the story of how Mindful Solutions was born.
You mentioned about your experience and learnings, can you expand more?
From an academic standpoint, I am a management professional who has been really lucky to undergo studies at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world such as Stanford University, London Business School, HEC Paris and other executive education programs.
I started my career in the advertising field working for one of the most creative ad agencies I have come across. Later on, I worked with one of the largest banks in India where I experienced the inner workings of a bank first hand. I moved on to the global stage working with Hewlett Packard with their finance operations as a stepping stone and went on to lead teams around the world in multiple business verticals. Over the last two decades, I was fortunate to work in varied domains such as global strategy, resource planning, supply chain, procurement, human resources, telecom, software licensing, sales operations, sales strategy and others. I was also fortunate to be a consultant for many enterprise customers on best practices used by my organisation during this period. Most recently I have been responsible for leading shared services in Europe for Becton Dickinson where I led growth of operations from about 100 persons to over 500 in less than two years.
I have seen large (US$10B+)mergers, divestitures, technology transformations, geopolitical evolution and many other interesting changes in the business world during this period. I also had the privilege of working closely with talents around the world and spending extended time in countries such as US, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, China, Singapore, Romania, Mexico, Poland and India. This experience helped me build a deep appreciation for cultural norms, underlying human behaviours and insights into what unites us as humanity.
My coaching philosophy is born out of the learning I gained working with these companies and the amazing minds I interacted with from different corners of the world.
'Focus' is the most valuable human trait; we want to ensure the focus of the leader is invested in the most essential success factors of the business.
And what is your coaching philosophy?
It is a simple philosophy, people often tend to underestimate their potential and seem to get overwhelmed by details, resulting in a significant amount of time and resources wasted.
As a coach, when we (Mindful Solutions) help them to recognise their potential, inspire them to invest in sharpening their leadership skills and help them to focus on a few critical fundamentals, we see that the results can be mind-boggling. ‘
‘Focus’ is the most valuable human trait, we want to ensure the focus of the leader is invested in the most essential success factors of the business.
What is the business model behind Mindful Solutions?
We want to provide a end to end coaching services for a business owners who are facing challenges in their business. We help them by a) sharing proven best practices from highly successful companies (who normally spend millions to fine tune their practices to perfection), b) helping them adapt best practices to their ecosystem and c) guiding them to adopt latest technology solutions to modernise their business.
Towards this, we provide leadership coaching and business consulting services. We have specialist coaches who are thought leaders in the field of finance, supply chain, banking, technology, and others who can step in to provide domain specific coaching. All our coaches are experienced executives (Director and above) from Fortune 500 companies.
Our approach is to work short term with our clients to strengthen their business fundamentals and practices, thereby to initiate them into a sustainable growth path. We want them to build a habit of being successful.
Up-selling and long-term contracts are the key profitability enablers in consulting business, your approach on working short term seems radical. Why change an established model?
Having worked with many consultants through my life, up-selling is the part which I really did not enjoy while working with consulting firms. Almost every consultant had an upselling target and at times their focus was more on finding opportunities to stay longer versus to solve the problem for good.
At Mindful Solutions, our approach will be more focused on customer referrals. If our clients like our services, we want them to recommend us to their network and that way we want to reach a lot more clients rather than have a few highly profitable clients. In some ways, we want to be like a doctor who gives high-quality care to help you be healthy fast and you will in turn recommend that doctor to your family and friends because you want your dear ones to have equally good care.
And the last question, the vision statement where you speak of addressing the global 'quality of life' gap, that sounds very much a stretch goal. Can you share some context behind?
I am highly inspired by the ancient prayer, “May all beings everywhere be happy and free; and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all”.