Sid Pednekar: Going from strength to strength at Symphony
Sid was working in Talent and Development for the Linde Group when we first met. The initial work they did together focused on team development at executive level for BOC Gases, with Sid and the BOC Talent team collaborating with our team to deliver a solution to drive up engagement and build leadership capability. Sid takes up the story.
As an engineering company, BOC naturally focused first on risk and deficiency. But the Talent team wanted to move the Exec away from deficiency-based thinking when it came to their leadership approach.
We engaged Paul and his team to deliver a team effectiveness programme, combined with executive coaching, which drove up team effectiveness by enabling leaders to have tough conversations, to become more accountable and to transition from management to leadership.
In the fifteen months following the project, we saw the business delivering its strongest year financially, through increased engagement and productivity.
But this was only the start of the story. In working with Paul’s team, Sid had discovered a new methodology that was to give him an understanding and a language to help shift others’ mindsets towards the positive…building on what works rather than solely trying to fix what doesn’t.
Sid moved to Groupon and took up a role as Head of Talent Development and Diversity. And he partly attributes his successful appointment to the new approach he’d learned about at BOC with Paul, with its focus on strengths.
I had become aware of my strengths through the training I’d got through Paul’s company: Strategic mindedness, Compassion, Empathy, Leading and Self-improvement. And this new knowledge helped me to see where my talents could best be used in a new role, as well as shaping the approach I took at interview. I spoke about my strengths and how they help me build teams quickly. I could also talk about my non-strengths, like Detail orientation, but I could describe how I would actively manage these risk areas.
This new role gave me an insight into working in a fast-paced, high growth, US business. Very quickly, I established a development solution for first line managers and senior leaders; I could see that the strengths approach I had learned from Paul and his team had enough versatility to work for leaders, for teams, and now for high-growth technology/e-commerce company . I really felt I could trust the method.
“I could see that the strengths approach I had learned from Paul and his team had enough versatility to work for leaders, for teams, and now for high-growth technology/e-commerce company. I really felt I could trust the method.”
Sid Pednekar — Symphony
Through his moves to different types of business, Sid felt that transitioning from traditional corporate role to traditional corporate role wasn’t necessarily a path he wanted to continue on, at least not without exploring alternatives. He approached Paul for some one-to-one coaching and career development input, with a view to decide whether to move into freelance consulting or to stay on the corporate path.
Paul reminded me of the strengths areas I could leverage in both corporate and consulting contexts. And he showed me that it was okay not to follow either path. I opted for a route where I could open my own consultancy and take short gigs, while leaving open the possibility of moving back into corporate if the right opportunity arose.
I worked for xe.com and hostmaker.com on short-term contracts and the strengths approach helped me to gain credibility and make an impact fast. Through my work as an associate with other consultancies, I did gigs with No 1 Lounges, WeWork, the NHS, Fleishman Hillard and RS Components, applying the strengths approach in different contexts to help me build my consulting career.
Return to corporate with a new-found purpose
Most recently, Sid has taken on the role of Global Organisation Effectiveness Leader at fintech company Symphony, working with the CHRO, the HR Leadership team and business leaders and functions on issues of engagement strategy execution, change, M&As, restructuring, organisation and work design, culture, performance, talent, people policies, reputation, and workforce planning.
I now know my sweet spot of organisations that I flourish in – they tend to be young Millennial businesses experiencing fast growth, often fintech. Having a clear view of my Strength drivers, I am able to deal with ambiguity and bring an agile mindset to the the businesses I work with. I also know the methods that always work for me, including strengths.
At Symphony, my starting position is to look at what works well already that can be built on, what capabilities and skills can people bring to the table. As I look back, I can see that wherever I have been since Linde Group, I have built mini ecosystems of strengths. I love that now I am involved in a strengths consultancy in a non-exec advisory capacity, providing input on the strategy and approach that has helped me so much. I feel that now I am even more in the driving seat.
“At Symphony, my starting position is to look at what works well already that can be built on, what capabilities and skills can people bring to the table.”
Sid Pednekar — Symphony
Sid is clear on the learnings he has taken from this chapter of his career, and how these learnings can potentially help others too.
I have a self-improvement strength and I am always intellectually curious. I think it’s important to keep yourself in this curious, learning space. I am always open to new experiences. As well as my constant curiosity, I also spend a lot of time now in reflection and introspection. Following spiritual teachers like Sahdguru, I know that to achieve greatness, you need to delve deeper into your own consciousness, and work out what does ‘self’ even mean? I am looking to start a PhD in the near future, which no doubt will continue to stretch my Self-improvement strength and my curiosity.
We wish Sid well on the next chapter of his career and personal development journey. We’re excited to see what he does next!