Changing and adapting to evolving times is the predominant trend that most leaders are striving to attain. It’s definitely not a new concept that organizations and their leaders need to adapt to industrial changes, however, with the massive disruptions introduced in the technological landscape, the very definition and methods to attain success have changed for good. Currently, attaining success is not just about fulfilling the desires of the customers but also satisfying the most prized assets of an organization, i.e., people. Businesses need efficient leaders who can assess the demands of the industry, analyze talents, and create a fusion that can enable them reach great heights. One such leader who is marvelously fulfilling these objectives is Divya Puri.
Divya Puri is the Director of Human Resource Development at Intertec Systems. She is currently heading a 700+ workforce for the company across GCC and India. She holds an Engineering, MBA-HR as her academic qualifications and Chartered CIPD and GPHR certified among other certified resources.
A Dynamic HR Leader at the Crossroad of Business and Tech
Divya Puri joined TCS as an HR Business Partner which gave her first-hand exposure to one of the biggest organizations in the technology space. She was fortunate to find her calling in human resource management, which has been a passion for her, given it comes with a unique set of challenges every day.
Divya’s journey with Intertec Systems gave her an opportunity to lead and grow people function at the company from 180 employees to 700. The opportunity and ability to put her learnings into the right strategy and action at the center of the nervous system of any organization i.e., people, under the leadership of its Managing Director Naresh Kothari and Board of Director Ahmed Al Awadhi gave her an unmatched learning experience.
Her learnings and quantum of success should be owed to the trust Intertec leadership put in her abilities to deliver the desired business objectives. Another dimension to Divya’s growth is driven by the dynamism of the technology industry, which not only gave her new challenges to overcome but also to constantly apply new strategies, actions and growth plans to face organizational and macro business environments.
The steep growth which Intertec and Divya have experienced together is a testimony to the acceptability and encouragement a woman leader in workplace can receive. As a woman leader, she believes to have brought a different perspective and intellect to the decision-making, both at the board level and at the level of team management and execution.
Changing the Focus from Problems to Solutions More
Empathy, culture and vision are something Divya lives by in her tasks and actions with business goals at the centre of our focus. All the large critical projects for Intertec Systems have taught her many things, most important being ‘a solution-driven approach towards work, keeping cool under pressure, and a team-first approach’. She strongly believes that with these three components, anybody can deliver results and achieve whatever they want to do. She remarks, “I am unable to see problems, I always concentrate on what action/solution we have.”
Divya was lucky to have some great inspiring bosses in her career. Although she was the only woman in most meetings, she must be assertive to put her point across. She is very career oriented and strongly believes in making it happen. For Divya, problems are opportunities. She states, “I have always looked at how problems can be converted into opportunities.”
Her focus has been on developing teams, in her department or otherwise, in-person or remotely and grooming them and developing a culture of respect, professionalism and constant growth.
Mastering the Art of ‘Balance’ between Professional and Personal Life
As the only woman in the leadership team for a long time, Divya feels that the life of a working woman is more demanding. She continues that trying to juggle between her newborn and long meetings, she stretched a lot, which taught her a great deal. Managing home, child, excelling at work and curiosity to learn did make things overwhelming for her sometimes.
Referring to the breakneck speed in which the tech industry is changing, Divya says it is not just the engineers, but also HRs who must be on top of their game to have a role on the decision tables. She adds that she did seven certifications in the last 10 years while managing the expectations at work and home.
In Divya’s opinion, to excel at job, home should be sorted, and she was able to manage it with the help of professional services for domestic chores or academic and extracurricular classes for her daughter. She highlights that the calendar has been her friend, be it managing professional or personal life. “I can’t do anything without planning. Whether it’s a day, week, month or year. The respect I give for my and others’ time is an important consideration, which helped me overcome a lot of challenges and potential chaos.”
The Keys to being a Good Leader
In Divya’s opinion, the greatest quality of any leader is the ability to see the big picture of where the organization or team they are working within is headed, what it’s capable of, and what it will take to get there. Equally important is the ability to convey the vision and inspire and motivate the team to work towards that vision.
She adds that another very important attribute of a great leader is the ability to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team and use the strengths at work and build a winning team. Divya thinks that demonstrating empathy, engaging in active listening, and building meaningful relationships is a mantra for a good leader. “I am very well aware of my strengths and flaws, and I feel being self-aware has helped me a lot in developing an authentic leadership style. I always believe that as a leader, you should always be open to new ideas, possibilities and perspectives and be adaptable and nimble. Many times, things don’t go as per plan. As a leader, we should be able to accept the same and determine a new course of action. One more thing the team looks at in a leader is the dependability and trust that you create with your team,” she claims.
‘Stepping Up the Game’ as a Strategy to Innovate
Divya feels that if people don’t move up, they are moved out. She adds that constantly stepping up the game is a key enabler for success and growth. For example, in an effort to forge ahead, she has started working on building skills to become an executive coach.
“Your learnings are of no use if you are not successfully implementing them to leverage results for your team, department, business, and overall industry with a tangible value add,” she claims. Divya continues that in the current business scenario, every move is under scrutiny and as an HR, employees are sitting on a plethora of opportunities to understand the business and align their goals and actions to directly benefit their clients and customers and overall business. Her focus has always been to understand the business requirements to develop her people strategy to support it and deliver results for the business. She keeps it as a top priority.
Addressing BANI Challenges with Tech
Divya presumes that it has never been so exciting, and at the same time, stressful to be in the Technology industry. Now from the VUCA world, she has moved to the BANI world (Brittle Anxious, Non-Linear, Incomprehensible). In this context of fragility, and susceptibility to catastrophe at any time, the only way to adapt and grow is by strengthening the teams. Building collaborative cultures well-distributed structures and investing in training are tools that can help make the organization more resilient. “We need to build empathy in the organization to manage these anxieties. I believe that the only way to lead teams through this BANI world is to adopt a coaching style that is characterized by collaboration, support and guidance,” she remarks.
Besides, she adds that the IT industry is transforming and so much is happening in the technology landscape. She advises leaders to ‘learn the art of balancing’.
A Piece of Advice for Emerging Women Leaders
The tech industry is changing at a breakneck speed and the landscape will change more rapidly in the next five years than perhaps it has been in the past ten years, claims Divya. So, for her and the company, survival and excellence are a function to be ahead of the curve. She adds that they should be ready and transform their approach, services, and culture accordingly all the time.
She opines, “As a woman myself with a bit of experience behind me, I think for a budding woman, there will always be a new and different set of challenges, given the business and social changes happening around. So, ‘balance’ is key when it comes to getting closer to success.”
By Balance, she means YES, they must go out and achieve what they are aiming at professionally, but equally important is not to miss important things in life which are health and family. So the balance between health, work, and family would ultimately be proved to be a greater barometer of success than anything else. Good News is that women have been known to be good at multitasking. However, on the same note, Divya wants to emphasize that commercial success is not an indicator of professional success, and women like men, must strive to realize their potential, irrespective of the chaos around them and they will succeed, and the law of attraction always works. She concludes, “It is important to surround yourself with people who believe in you, support you and remind you of your strengths.”
“We need to build empathy in the organization to manage anxiety. I believe that the only way to lead teams through this BANI world is to adopt a coaching style that is characterized by collaboration, support and guidance.”
- Divya Puri, Director- HR Development, Intertec Systems
Management: Divya Puri, Director- HR Development, Intertec Systems