“Oftentimes people try to demonstrate how hard they have worked, so they try and show activity. You are expected to do that activity! If you didn’t do the hard work, don’t keep telling me “I met so many people” and so on. That’s at a very Senior level. Which is why, when you’re talking to people at a very senior level in Consulting like CEOs and others, their time is very precious. They don't want to know all the activity you have done or if your numbers are right, because they have to be right; because you can’t make stupid mistakes. You will be fired if you make those errors. All of that is assumed. Tell me what YOU really think. Which is why even when it comes to investing, the great founders have great stories.”
Today we speak with Toshan Tamhane
, currently Chief Strategy Officer at UPL and ex-Senior Partner at Mckinsey and Co.
In storytelling, clarity of communication is a key goal. And one firm which has exemplified that in business communication is Mckinsey. After all, this is the firm that gave birth to the Pyramid Principle (through Barbara Minto), which is something I teach regularly as a part of my courses.
Now, I was always keen to speak to a senior leader from Mckinsey about how they view the art and craft of storytelling – and was I lucky to have the opportunity to interview Toshan Tamhane.
Toshan spent 18+ years at Mckinsey across 55+ countries advising leading companies and individuals. Currently, apart from his role as CSO at UPL Ltd, he is also an active angel investor and avid adventure enthusiast.
Across these years, Toshan has had a ringside view of several high-stakes communication events with senior stakeholders. Earlier it would have been as a presenter and now, increasingly as a reviewer. I thought it would be great to tap into his vast experience and get his insights on the best practices for storytelling at work.
In the conversation, we go through a wide range of topics - Toshan’s reflections from his IIM-Ahmedabad years, the lessons from Mckinsey, how he would solve business review meetings, his use of relatable analogies and his insane curiosity for deep conversations.
I should reveal here that Toshan happens to be a batchmate from my graduation college – the Podar College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai.
He was always a prodigious talent since early days – the rest of us at college would be in awe of his drive and clarity. It was great reconnecting with him after almost 2 decades… and I learnt a lot from this conversation. I’m sure you will too.