Creativity needs chaos. Structure constrains lateral thinking. And so, many professions have no option but to think inside the box. Or do they? The “creative professions,” such as advertising, art, music, entertainment, writing believe they have the corner on creativity, relegating many professions to the doom and gloom of Boring. Is it their ego that perpetuates this condescension or is their disdain justified? “Doomed to be deemed boring: Not every profession can be creative. ”That’s the norm our hosts Anisha and Narayan explore in this episode of #StormTheNorm. And IP Lawyer and strategist Safir Anand decided to light a grenade under this norm to explode it, not just storm it. For the GT Insights module, we have our expert Ashish Chhawchharia, Partner - Recovery and Re-organisation at GT Bharat, giving a focused take on how businesses can build creativity into their routine, regardless of what industry or function they are in.
Narayan: Welcome to Episode 23 of storm the norm, the fortnightly podcast where we pick up norms that come in the way of businesses succeeding in a disruptive world. I'm Narayan,
Anisha: and I'm Anisha Motwani
Narayan: Storm the norm is now brought to you in association with Grant Thornton Bharat and includes GT insights, a special capsule from a GT expert. Onto today's episode now, Anisha, there's an inside joke in the advertising business, that every single person in an ad agency must be creative at all times, except for those in finance.
Anisha: I can see how that can become a problem.
Narayan: Yeah, we don't want creative accounting. Well. And that might seem flippant, but it hints at the norm. We are here to storm today. There are some professions accounting and finance being a couple of them, the law being another, that seems to be doomed to be deemed boring. I mean, repeat that right? There are some professions that seem to be doomed to be deemed boring, and that there is no room for creativity in such professions.
Anisha: It's such a stereotype, isn't it? Only that the traditional creative businesses like marketing and advertising, like the arts, design, architecture, storytelling, entertainment, whether in written or audio visual form can be creative? For me, I think that's a big stereotype.
Narayan: Exactly Anisha, and it makes me think, a little harder and question and in a more structured way, exactly what defines whether there is room for creativity in a profession or not. For example, you know, there's a certain dismissiveness, almost an ego driven action on the part of the traditional creative businesses, that some professions just cannot be creative. Now, I've heard this many times, and I may have been guilty of saying this myself, if you just wanted to do a repetitive job, don't join advertising, join accounting. Because if you come to advertising, make sure you bring passion to it.
Anisha: Oh, when you put it like that, that does seem so unfair to accounting, I think passion can and must be brought to any profession. Being in a profession of your choice, making your passion your profession is such an elitist thinking that's so far removed from the practicality of life and circumstances. You know, not every hobby or passion can generate income. And we all know that.
Narayan: So let me push this line of questioning a little more.
Anisha: You're refusing to give up
Narayan: You have boost the creative ego now, I'm just kidding. But beyond the ego of creative businesses, a second constraint and it's almost prerequisite for creativity is chaos, and unregulated environment rather than strictures and structures, but the structured processes and thinking that's what typically defines professions like accounting and law. In fact, without such structure, without such standardization, those might descend into chaos, and not necessarily the kind of chaos that spawns creativity, though,
Anisha: You seem to be intent on making the case for the norm rather than storming it, Narayan, but go on.
Narayan: But I'll go back to a fundamental question then, right. So what does creativity do? It pushes for solutions that are out of the ordinary, it enables exponential outcomes. And as structured professions aim for repeatable, almost metronomic efficiency, and optimization and compliance. And unpredictability, that's a no, no over there, infact the elimination of uncertainty, the assurance of sameness and the mitigation of risks these are what define success in these fields.
Anisha: I can't help thinking these fields like any field of human endeavor, have to do with human interactions as well. Which means there's inbuilt unpredictability, which is as I said before, can allow for creativity inducing chaos and other thing about these involving human interactions is there's room for passion, for curiosity, for questioning, for pushing beyond the here and now. So why should these fields be doomed to be deemed as boring?
Narayan: All excellent questions Anisha. And I think it's a fantastic place to introduce our guest experts today. Safir Anand is an unusual personality in what would otherwise be deemed a straitjacketed profession. An IP lawyer by training and vocation, Safir specialty is in using the law as a spearhead for innovation, especially disruptive innovation. His outlook is that the law is typically seen as a safeguard there is a protection against disruption, but in fact, it has the opportunity to be seen as a license to fly and fall safely. Safir, It is a pleasure to have you here on this episode of Storm the norm.
Anisha: Welcome, Safir, good to have you.
Safir Anand: Well Thank you for having me over. It's an honor to be part of storm the norm and your entirety. Yes, traditionally, law has been a lot about interpretation of statutes. and about precedents. But in a true nature of things the world progresses, and you know how much of importance we attach today to disruption and innovation, and new business models. And I believe that as a consequence of that, the traditional thought process that you know, law is boring is undergoing a huge change. Just to give you an example, when I am in office, and I talk to my team, I use a very simple analogy, and I will just share this with you, I tell them that let's assume that you were in the business of managing money, and you add 100 rupees at the start of the year. And you were to book a fixed deposit andyou already know that at the end of the 365day, or if it's a leap year 366 days, you will probably make five or five and a half rupees net of taxes, and therefore your life would be extremely boring. In contrast to that businesses do not want that kind of returns, they have to maximize the return. And in the endeavor to maximize the return, they have to delicately balance, right from risk to opportunity. Sometimes you don't take innovation that may not reward at that certain time. And as a consequence of that, they look on a very interesting field called intangibles, and touch upon my field. So I feel that every single day, my journey is the journey of an entrepreneur, who's, you know, going to encounter issues from everything around the world, business disruption, competitor analysis, government policies, consumer behavior to even things like COVID and other things. And therefore strategy plays a very, very critical and fun role in this entire thing. And then there's no textbook. So therefore, it's not boring, because when you don't have a textbook, it's like, it may be very boring, but extremely disciplined to be on a diet, on a fixed diet. But you want to experiment because that's the nature of human beings. And I think this entire field opens up a lot of experimentation within the controls of both risk and reward.
Anisha: So Safir, the question that comes to my mind is strategy, you touched upon that word strategy? How can you make strategy exciting?
Safir Anand: Yeah, so you know, the traditional lawyer would be approached by a client with a problem, I mean, the only time you typically think of a doctor and a lawyer is when you or a dentist is when you have a problem, then you move on. And I said that I will take preventive steps and I will go to my doctor for annual checkups or periodic checkups. And similarly, you may do that with your dentist. Now, the issue is that law is getting at least, the legal profession is getting embedded very deeply into business. A lawyer is not meant to solve a problem, he is also meant to avert a problem, he's also meant to capitalize an opportunity, because in economics, we use a term economic modes. And if law is not adding to the economic mode, then it is quite disconnected with the entire objective of the management. So the other thing that, you know, becomes important from a strategic perspective. And I'll just touch on how it's getting there is the fact that initially a lawyer was a standalone unit. So the business had a problem, the problem was legal, they would go to a lawyer, lawyer would solve a legal problem, everybody was comforted by the fact that you know, things take time and they could afford the luxury of time and you were back to normal working today, you cannot afford time because business uncertainty is very high. The lawyer has to also match your expectations with finance, with marketing, with budgets, with with corporate governance, with innovative thinking, etc. So, the issue is become that law has to now factor in the requirements of business and therefore strategize in a way that is not only strategic advice, but optimum strategic advice. And to that extent, I think the bringing together of disciplines like economic behavioral science, risk management, etc become a very critical part of the legal management.
Anisha: Safir bring it alive with an example for our audience.
Safir Anand: So, I will give you a very simple obscure example that you can just as an observer, I used to look at the size of the Indian wedding market. And I would see that the Indian wedding market every year was running into 1000s of crores as per data that was coming out in the financial papers. And then I looked at some of the top designers in the fashion industry and I found that not even one designer in India at that point of time, has scaled even up to even amount of 500 crores, for example, in say, let's take an example of pharmaceuticals or IT if you see TCS and Infosys lead, and then there are many others who are innovating, in fashion they will like, there was no leader and there was no innovation and yet each person had a name, which was very large, we will treat them in you know the equivalent of film stars in the in a certain proxy sense. And yet, if you saw the panache or the aura of the designer was much more than the commercial value. So I started going to the fashion weeks, I was not a participant in the Fashion Week, because I'm not a designer, but I would go to the fashion weeks to observe and initially, nobody would invite me. So I would just, you know, get one of those, as the pass would say FS, which meant free seating and you would stand right at the bottom, at the end of the entire queue and there were lots of people there mostly, you know, glamorous people looking at fashion and I would see these models walking up and down the ramp and then the designer would come in, take a bow, and then there was a choreographer, and there was music and other things. It did not fascinate me so much what they were making or what models they were using. What fascinated me was the ability to start thinking, why is this guy not multiplying this business and taking it to the next level. And as a consequence of this exercise, I started observing more and more and more and started giving inputs to the designers, saying that, you know, once the reason why you do not expand is because you don't firstly, you don't have any mode, your mode today continues to be, the only thing you understand is your brand. And see a good brand may not cause a good result if the goods are not good. I mean, I can't go to Selfridges for example, and find that everything there is not my taste, then I won't buy it, they have to therefore cater to multiple tastes, you have to cater to different generations, we have to cater to different price points, etc. So I told the designers as a starting point that they need to have beyond one mode, which is beyond their brands. So the level of innovation that will brought in fabrics, the level of innovation brought in customer experience and I read about a concept called shoptimization, which is optimizing the experience in retail or shopping and I shared that with them and similarly for examples, customer database, bringing in a personal experience, etc, are all missing traits. And when my participation with the fashion industry kept growing, my movement also moved from the last row to the second last row to the second row to now the first row and then to a board position and I started advising a lot of designers on how to become institutions, how to think like corporates. There's no reason why, for example, designer brands who is an individual does not think like a company. They also were not happy to take risks, because their risk was, they would believe that, you know, we have to just sell this particular product and we have good margins and that's fine and I said what if tomorrow, you're not there or tomorrow your entire skills are outstayed. So they started taking risk and they started expanding and they raise capital and the result was that the industry has now grown and you know, become a proxy for you know, one of the, they're working in a way like a corporate works. And some of the designers now, particularly brands like Anita Dongre, Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, etc are now, you know, in significantly high turnovers. But yet, if you compare them to in Armani, they're nowhere. So the gap is real, the demand is real. I also tell them look at this, the business that you cater to, is not a business that is being that is highly competitive in the rest of the world. Because for example, you're not making jeans or t shirts, where they will be too many price points and too much of fight and too much of you know, inventory, etc. So how do you capitalize the interest of the entire Indian population or the Middle East population or, you know, some of this our country's population around the world is strategic advice that you have to take. Now, as a derivative of this strategic advice, you will need legal advice because you're going to create intellectual property that must be protected, you must be able to exploit that intellectual property because if you create it, and you just put it in your trunk, then it's of no value, you similarly, you should be able to showcase it to a venture capitalist or to the equity market. I did worked on an IPO of a company called TCNS clothing. And I remember in the initial days, the banker was not finding it convincing the valuation convincing he use to think that no, you know, there's nothing happening there. We own a brand called W and then the stock did exceedingly well post listing and you know, gave very good returns to its investors.
Anisha: Interesting, really interesting.
Narayan: Wow. It is not about bringing creativity into the business of law. It is infusing the strategy of law into creative domains, and therefore expanding the scope for creativity.
Safir Anand: Now, when you go to a festival, let's assume a music festival, you go there and there is a certain band that plays in every year, the band changes and there is a venue that usually is fixated. And there is a sort of food flavor and then this ticketing and sometimes some shops, etc. that pop up there. The question is that if you go there, let's forget about the legal requirement. The legal requirement would have been initially to clear the site, get police approval, security approval, etc, fire approval, etc. Let's take an example if you go to the site, now let's do a mental mapping and say that I've entered from the gate and this festival is here and this festival is likely to recur every year. The question to put to yourself first, assuming the thoughts you will start thinking like an entrepreneur is that what is so unique about this festival is that my competitor who may have greater muscles, may have greater resources, be better organized may be more nifty because of you know, a startup sort of attitude of being very fast moving, or blitzscaling, as the book calls it, the question is what is going to be the the trigger point. And then you discover that there isn't much of trigger point except when you start analyzing it and you say, okay, I have the ability to choose a music brand and therefore I may have greater skills in finding talent. So then you put it down on a sheet that you have talents, skills, which may be attributed to your management or your committee or your whatever things. The second is, the same experience can be positioned in a way that if I shift the food from one location to another location, maybe the experience goes up. For example, the smell of food does not disturb the connoisseurs of music, or there's not too much of sound impact there. Now, can I give the entire food festival a title? which is different from the title of the music festival? and will it be plausible? The question is that the same logic was applied by ITC, when they created an entire miracle daal called daal bukhara isolated it from you know, kaali daal or Black Daal, and they created a branding around it so much so that they were able to monetize it and send it all over the world. So like this, when you start, can I do an exclusive tie up with a place where I'm hosting the event in order to bring in greater value? And if so, will they give a privilege to me, which is not they will extend to my competitor, then a legal analysis starts and says does this be in the realm of competition law? Can I make my agreement more tight, etc. So you've actually combined business now with law, and then you've executed and you've created certain modes. The next question is going to be can you test these modes? Can you pick up this entire brick and mortar model and take it to another location and still get success and get the equivalent of franchise? If the answer is yes, then you've cracked the great business model, because then your cost of capital is going to be limited and your returns will go up. In fact, you might even get royalties if you outsource it.
Anisha: So Safir, I can completely connect with what you're just saying. As a last question, what's your advice to, there are so many not so exciting professions, people think that only creativity is the domain of only creative professions, whether it's accounting, finance, polity, people think that some of these are very monotonous kind of professions where you do the same stuff day in and day out. What's your advice? If you were to give them three success hacks? You know, just summarize them, What would they be?
Safir Anand: First of all, I don't find anything that I do monotonous for the simple reason that there is a huge diversity of industries to begin with, if I treat my job purely as drafting of an agreement, then it will become monotonous because I will be looking within the contours, for an example, the Indian Contract Act and the sections then maybe a little bit of Competition Act. But what if I start understanding the business? What if I start imagining how the entire business is going to be transacted and start embedding the risk to the business that you know are very likely to destroy that business or give it the actual tools that will augment it? So let me assume that I go to say a, let's take a boring business like fertilizers. And I tell the gentleman in the fertilizer company, please explain to me what is so unique about your fertilizer? How do you make it? How do you store it? How do you distribute it? Why do you get this operating profit margin? etc. and then having understood that, if I am able to identify the risks that are associated with them, then it's a challenge. It's like playing a new video game every single day, except that in a video game, if you lose a life, you still have a second life and a third life, in business if you lose a life, you're gone. So now having looked at the problem, you bring in a little bit of lateral thinking, and I say that okay, I have now one problem, and I have a solution, let me better the solution in option 1 2 3, based upon returns on investment, so I started working on the concept called return on legal expenses or ROLE and said, How does a lawyer maximize ROLE? and then your mindset becomes a student. So first of all, when you become a student, you know, you're very hungry, you want to read more, you want to understand more, you're also blessed, because if you start understanding the businesses you are taught right from the top, the top businesses will come and start explaining something to you, and you will understand you know, deep rooted experts, you will get that benefit, and then you will all put it together. And second reason why it does not become boring is if you get into this habit, you become part of a club, and I use the word club in a creative sense, where they will start aging you and saying now we are going to so you know the you know the cause of that problem, you know, the thought of the management. Now you start looking at advertising and saying that it's not giving the same benefit. For example, if I look at a certain ad and I say but this is not aligned to the vision of the brand, this is only doing a purpose, then how do I, can I work with the ad agency in order to increase the return on advertising and sometimes ask the client do you have return on advertising? They say no, we only know our sales goes up, we get a celebrity endorser or we get some PR sales goes up. I said what if you want the brand value to go up? So they say we have not thought of brand value. And today brand value is obviously far more than sales. So then you Start working with more creative people like the advertising guys or the branding guys and say let's align this also together. And then it's like the release of a film on Friday, you know the collection, you know what has gone right and wrong. So if you live with this thought every single day you were highly excited. The second thing is you have to have the mindset, absolute mindset to be willing to learn, because every day new things keep coming, like what is blockchain? What is artificial intelligence? What is robotic science? If I don't read this, there was no use of the word disruptive innovation? Why should innovation be disruptive? It would be you know, typically, we would think of disruption as more like some, you know, atomic sort of reaction, etc. The question is, how do you do this? And the third is that, you know, learn from many, many leaders across, learn from philosophies run from religion, learn from I once did a presentation, I think to CNBC, in which I said that my role not as a lawyer, but as an investor is guided by learning from the Ramayn. So for example, Laxman rekha tells me that I should not cross the threshold limit of what I can invest. And if I will, I will be hijacked into sins. Similarly, how good becomes bad, and sometimes you cannot distinguish between Sugriv and Bali, then how do you stand out? Now there are lessons of branding in that. Now where you you give somebody a garland and say that he looks different from a distance, and therefore you can use your arrow to hit him is a branding exercise that a small amount of garnishing on the packaging can make a huge difference. And you see that that's what has happened in many industries where they wanted certain colors to dominate, and to stand out. So if you have that mindset, and then it's like tap dancing, at the end of the day, you will whistle because no matter what you'd have the stratification that you learned in the day, and the human brain gets a lot of satisfaction from learning.
Anisha: This is amazing. Safir, thank you so much.
Safir Anand: Thank you. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
Anisha: So Narayan what did you take away from everything Safir said?
Narayan: There were so many insights Anisha, I'm finding it difficult to pick the top ones. But here are two that I particularly loved. Law and civilised structured professions need not only be a means to mitigate risk, but to actually increase a business's risk appetite, and therefore the ability to be disruptive and innovative. The second is the notion of ROLE, or return on legal expertise, to see legal resources not as sunk costs, but as investments and therefore, to approach it from the point of view of what returns it can provide. I think that's brilliant. Because we often relegate finance, human resources, it and law transactional roles as business functions that only feature in the cost line of a balance sheet. But Safir is showing us how they can actually be growth drivers and contribute to both top and bottom lines. What about you Anisha? How would you storm this norm? And what hacks do you have for our audience?
Anisha: I want to take up an individual's perspective in addition to the institutional perspective that Saphir spoke about when it comes to storming this norm. According to a recent survey, more than 80% people are in the job of not their choice and I said that earlier upfront as well. They have to join a mundane career because the talent doesn't produce a livable income. And for a vast majority of the working force, it is money that drives the profession they choose. This mundane career and tails doing repetative work day in and day out with very little room for creativity and flexibility. And often that leads to boredom and frustration.
Narayan: And we all know that disengaged employees lacks motivation and are unlikely to invest discretionary effort in self growth. And that in turn leads to career stagnation for them.
Anisha: Exactly. So here are some hacks that can help you not just break the monotony of your routine, but also an opportunity to fast track your career and lead by example.
Narayan: I'm all ears.
Anisha: So the first one is actually about getting greedy and setting ambitious goals. One of the best ways to break up the monotony of your day is to set self initiated aspirational goals. By setting goals you'll challenge yourself and give yourself something to accomplish. Instead of seeing your work or activity as something to simply get to. You'll see it as something to excel at. Challenge always brings in an element of stretch in your thought and action. That leaves little room for boredom. So try it and see the difference.
Narayan: The idea of challenges is such a timeless one Anisha and to put it in a contemporary context. Most of the greatest hits in the age of social media have come from the notion of challenges including the success of Tik tok, but it's also age lift, I mean legend has it it's why Sir Edmund Hillary said he wanted to climb the world's highest mountain peak, because it's there.
Anisha: Just use the same example of climbing a mountain peak. Anybody who climbs a mountain peak knows what a tedious what a difficult, what a you know, honourours job it is, and he who's going through that hardship would realize it, why is it that one would want to put oneself through this hardship. But yet, when you reach the top is that whole thing about I want to just go down and do it all over again, you forget the grind.
Anisha: Repeat it because it's the challenge that drives you
Narayan: 100% yes.
Anisha: And here's my second hack. I think it's important that we always keep our options open. And it is not just with respect to our jobs and our choices of professions. Whether it's a problem and opportunity, or simply a daily routine, we tend to think there's only one way out and we fail to see any other option, and resist even considering other options without properly evaluating those alternatives. Being safe in your normal routine, fear of change and staying in your comfort zone is such a big enemy of creativity, we fall into the trap of being comfortable with doing the same routine over and over again, like the same load we take to work every day because we're so used to it. Sometimes you can just change your routine, follow a new route to work, and you never know what you will see, meet or hear that can simply spark up your brain and get your creative juices running. Flexibility, I think comes hand in hand with creativity. Do not fall in love with one way of doing things and fail to see anything else. spend enough time to fairly judge all other available options, even if it is experimenting with your route to work or something which is very mundane and routine.
Narayan: To paraphrase a popular saying, familiarity breeds risk aversion. And one way to up your risk appetite is to bring in variation in your routines in small and big ways. So well put Anisha. What's your third hack.
Anisha: The third hack is inspired by Mark Twain famously wrote, eat a live frog first thing in the morning, what will happen to you for the rest of the day. So my third hack is actually eat the frog, which simply means is don't just pop up a frog in your mouth. That is something difficult when your energy is the highest. So most human beings are rested and fresh in first thing in the morning and it's not just a cup of coffee that I'm talking about.
Anisha: This is a perfect time to build the habit of eating the film. And what this simply means is crossing off one of those nagging tasks that's been hanging over you while your energy flow is at its peak, we all know that there are peaks and troughs in energy flows through these difficult ones when your energy is at its peak. Maybe this means writing a difficult email or a document or something that's very mundane sitting heavy on your head, but knock it off. Purpose is simply to get it done. So you're not distracted by it and that pressure during the rest of the day. So one of the other tricks is to batch similar work together. So you can move fast almost mechanically and finish all the related tasks at the same point of time. I actually do have an email responding time. So I will keep a good two hours and you know, I will just mechanically just respond to all the emails, rather than spreading it through the day one email one email, then this also frees up a lot of time and energy. I think Lastly, all the enjoyable and exciting things we need to spread it out during the whole day okay, so it's almost like you pepper your day with these little interesting things that you find exciting. Don't bundle those just free them and paste them during the whole day.
Narayan: I can see why all the fairy tales had plots that involve kissing frogs. If you can get over the revulsion of doing that, I guess you'll be able to do anything. I'm not sure I'm ready to eat a frog yet, though. But I love this hack. Maybe the only suggestion I have is can we just say karela instead of the frog?
Anisha: Yes, I've turned vegetarian. So yes, absolutely.
Narayan: All right. What's the forefront.
Anisha: I think it's important to rotate our schedules to schedule more breaks. Make our break time as our creative time. According to a sleep research applies men, our minds naturally crave breaks after every 90 minutes of intense work. Even those working when your body resists, you know, our wanting to work uses our energy reserves and starts releasing stress hormones to cope up. If you want to maximize creativity and productivity it is important to work with your body's natural energy curves and not go against it. And in some way it is related to what I said in the previous hack. Answer is to actually take breaks when you need them. Listen to your body and schedule regular breaks away from the other team at least every 90 minutes and make sure you make your breaks your creative time. If the repetative work drains your creative drive, make sure you use these breaks to pick it up.
Narayan: I'm not just all for this, I live this Anisha, thank you for everything.
Anisha: And lastly, I think this will seem fairly intuitive, but perhaps because of that it's one of the most important hacks and hard to implement. While many of us can't change our circumstances, but we can change how we respond to them. Commit to learning and re learning what energizes and drains you. See, we are in a certain job because of certain circumstances. But while we are at it, and while we put in all our passion, and use all the hacks that we just spoke about, but if we are continuously dedicating ourselves to knowing what sparks our interests, and what doesn't, we can easily align with a successful career path that highlights our true talents, over a period of time. And maybe after a few years, we would exactly know what's our trigger for passion, what drives us, and make that switch. So by challenging yourself, altering your environment and breaking your routine, you will fight the monotony that you experience every day. Typically, there are obstacles that are in the way, such as self sabotaging behaviors, fears and limiting beliefs that need to be removed before we can actually get to where we want to go and not feel like we are in adapt anymore. If you have gaps or spaces for improvement, focus on not only what it is that needs to be added, but also look at what needs to be removed in order to create a cleaner pathway for change.
Narayan: Now I'm going to quote, this young woman I met in a village in Uttar Pradesh. And I'll say what she said in hindi first and then translate it, because I think this is such an important hack that you put out there. She said, 'woh kehte hain ki hum harenge, woh kehte hain hum harenge, hum kehte hain ya hum jeetenge ya hum seekhenge' right. They say we will lose. I said, we will either win, or we will learn. And I think that's the point you made so eloquently. So thank you again for those five hacks insightful as ever Anisha and that gives us a quick place to segue into our GT insights module, where GT expert Ashish Chhawchharia tells us how business can specifically help storm this norm, Ashish is partner recovery and reorganization and specializes in debt restructuring and insolvency at GT Bharat. Ashish what practical advice do you have for businesses in bridging the gap between boring and creative?
Ashish Chhawchharia: Hi, Narayan. Thank you, thank you for having me on this podcast and I'll give an example where I work very closely with a law firm and of course, they've have now become friends becuase we work so closely and this is pertaining to the restructuring practice that I am involved in. The laws there restrict certain kinds of transactions. And those restricted transactions meant that the stakeholders in that business were all suffering because we were trying to add some value into the business by bringing in some assets or getting ownership or some assets. But we needed to find the money to do that. And we are not permitted to liquidate anything, we are not permitted to raise any funds. So that was proven to be, whereas the value of assets that we were trying to bring in was substantially higher than what one had one would have to spend. Under those circumstances, one could have easily sort of given up and said, well, the laws, the regulations don't allow me to do that. But what did we do? We thought we created some solutions. We even, in fact, went to the legislature again, but not legislature, the judiciary, again, to kind of ratify what we were thinking as a pre thought rather than you know, getting stuck with it later. And ultimately, you know, we actually found a way whereby we added tremendous value into the business and this was done with the help of, within we were completely compliant mind you, we never get outside the box in terms of crossing any lines, but it was thinking outside the box.
Narayan: So I'm going to paraphrase something you said and I liked how you put it. It's only when you can help either individuals or institutions avoid bad mischief. Can you then enable good mystery, so to speak, and creativity in some sense is good mischief. But do you have any practical advice on how a business can institutionalize good michief.
Ashish Chhawchharia: probably my advice on that would be to encourage broader thinking, encourage brainstorming, you know, have the, we have session like within our firm as well within our practice where at least once a week, some of the people get together from you know, the senior team outside their day to day work. And they are only thinking and discussing about ideas or problems someone has faced, and then how to, what kind of solutions and ideas to encourage the younger people
Narayan: Brilliant. I think we've covered a lot of ground. So thank you so much for your inputs and we look forward to having longer conversation with you at some point Ashish.A norm that is urgently relevant today, a deeply insightful and expert guest perspective. Thanks to storm the norm and a business perspective. That's a full place to wrap up Episode 23 of storm the norm, now powered by Grant Thornton Bharat.
Anisha: As always, there are multiple places you can catch us on on Spotify, Apple podcasts, SoundCloud and jiosaavn by just searching for Storm the norm.
Narayan: and we're also on Saregama karwan 2.0 devices on channel 453. This is Narayan.
Anisha: And I am Anisha,
Narayan: signing off for now. We'll be back with a new episode shortly. Thank you and talk to you soon.
Anisha: Thank you