We talked to Sunil Narang of WDHB about Expeditions, events and programs that empower people to shift perspective and embrace change.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sunil Narang: Hello! First of all, thank you so much for this opportunity. Like many people, we entered 2020 with high expectations and excitement, and the reality has been that it’s been a year of unprecedented challenges. Most importantly, though, my family is healthy and making the most of the additional time we have had together during this time of COVID-19 restrictions.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded WDHB?
Sunil Narang: My corporate career entails 25 years working for French, Japanese, and American companies worldwide in the Oil & Gas and Telecommunication industries. With this expertise in tow, I started re-evaluating my core purpose and changed directions professionally. In 2010, I established an independent firm that provided advice and solutions in business transformation and process reengineering. That same year, I acquired WDHB. This year, I gained Experience to Lead and expanded our robust portfolio of experiential learning solutions that we can provide to clients worldwide.
How does WDHB innovate?
Sunil Narang: We deliver on our promise of innovation in the way we partner with our clients and world-class experts in a wide variety of subjects to co-create, design, and deliver our programs. Delving fully customized programs and meeting customer needs requires a laser focus on understanding the customers’ challenges in detail and a great deal of passion and commitment to achieving collaborative solutions. Additionally, our work out of WDHB Lab, the hub for L&D innovators, is continuously finding ways to challenge established theories to understand the future of learning further. Finally, the acquisition of Experience to Lead furthers our ability to innovate. We added a tremendous portfolio of programs focused on how the lessons from elite athletes, astronauts, and others are relevant to today’s business leaders and organizations.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Sunil Narang: The pandemic significantly impacted our business. We were a business that heavily relied on international travel and face-to-face interaction. I would like to change the word “coping” to “adapting,” if you’ll allow me. We have gone virtual – delivering a wide variety of programs on virtual platforms while ensuring that we still provide the quality and innovation that our clients expect. We have been able to leverage the need to be virtual as an opportunity to expand what we can offer clients. For example, while our in-person Learning Expeditions included a local company visit within an innovative ecosystem, we can now virtually offer a more diverse and global experience because we don’t have regional access restrictions.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Sunil Narang: Yes, we have certainly had to make difficult choices, and we are still making difficult choices today. The lessons truly boil down to finding the fine line between being realistic and optimistic, ensuring company morale is high but transparent, and keeping your eye on the big picture (the organization’s future) without letting the minor details fall through the cracks.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and WDHB in the future?
Sunil Narang: You might have to ask my wife that question! All jokes aside, I picture myself dealing with stress as you see a duck on a surface of water – calm and collected on top but vigorously kicking underneath. I feel privileged to work with a powerhouse team of wicked-smart professionals passionate about what we do. They keep me grounded. And when times get tough and may get more challenging, this team helps mitigate anxiety and stress. However, a little pressure is good. It keeps us on our toes!
As an organization, we have certainly had to pivot, like most. With a great sense of optimism, we project the future of the organization in a strong light. This pandemic is the first experience for many, but it has shown society’s ability to navigate hardship in a multitude of creative ways. Through constant adaptation and change, we are all finding ways to navigate this situation. I am excited to see the myriad of ways that the experiential learning solutions we offer are helping organizations seek to create employee and cultural alignment at all levels.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sunil Narang: While it’s essential to have a competitor landscape, it is even more important to understand your customer landscape. As an organization, we put our customers first. We do what we do for them. By coming together with Experience to Lead to offer a more diverse product portfolio, we are your go-to partner for thought-leadership, bespoke solutions, people development, and strategic insights. Our biggest competitor is ourselves. It would be foolish of us to get complacent, and constant evolution is key to staying ahead of changes in demand and the competitive landscape.
Your final thoughts?
Sunil Narang: I’m extremely grateful and hopeful about the future of WDHB. The unique privilege of impact we have on businesses and society at large is something we don’t take for granted. By partnering with Fortune 500 companies, we are positioning them to not only transform their industry or region but have an impact on a global scale. This wouldn’t be possible without our fearless team. Whether it’s partnering with your competitors, acquiring a complimentary company, or developing a brand new custom program for a new client, by coming together, anything is possible. I love the African Proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”
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