Ashish Pal Part 2 - Managing Director - MSD Singapore & Malaysia

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Intro  0:13  
Many aspire to reach the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, but few are able to successfully navigate the corporate ladder. As Asia becomes the world epicenter of the healthcare industry, C-Suite Partners sits down with international healthcare executives asking the tough questions and unpacking the personalities of the top industry leaders.

Welcome to the boardroom.

Michael Murray  0:51  
I think what a lot of executives look to people in your position to is advice on as you progress through to say, a budget, initially of 10 million when you first start, you might have 1.2 billion at the end of your career. Is there a framework that you use each and every time or as that gets bigger you have to add another skill set onto that or you just amplifying that framework from that 10 million to 1.5?

Ashish Pal  1:19  
That’s a great question. I think the way we look at it, or the way I think I look at it, is you start with establishing a common vision. Right, for your business. Where are you today? Where do you see yourself in the next five years? What are the enabling factors? from a business standpoint? What are the enabling and concerning elements from an environment or policy standpoint? Because one of the things that we need to, as leaders or enterprise-wide leaders in markets need to be constantly aware of, is the changing policy environment? to your question, I think it comes back to identifying it comes back again to talent. You want to basically recruit for talent that is capable of moving at least two levels up, when you look at people from that lens, you start to get very selective in the choices you make. But you also are then bringing people in, that are capable of looking into the future. So I think it’s not necessarily a question of adding capabilities, as much as it’s a question of utilising certain facets of capabilities that are resident in people. But the environment, the need, the culture you build as a leader, and the culture they build with it with their teams unleashes it.

Michael Murray  2:44  
What about your management style from then to now, has it changed?

Ashish Pal  2:47
One of the things that I’ve learned having functioned in some very significant emerging markets is don’t take anything for granted. There’s nothing you should assume, till you have really concrete reason to believe you can assume or you can be safe to assume. The other thing that I’ve learned is that the war for talent is constant. You know, you can never ever rest looking for the right people, and the need to build a strong talent pipeline. Coming back specifically to your question on my management style. I think my management style has evolved to really look at the enterprise in entirety, has evolved to a greater focus on not just the financials, but looking at the details, while continuingly focusing on the big picture. Right, so the ability to zoom in and zoom out with relative ease. And situationally, I think, as evolved consistent relative to what it was, and I think I’ve grown with these experiences, where I’ve been had the opportunity, literally, every couple of years, resetting in a completely different market, in a completely different environment, with a completely different leadership team. And from my personal perspective, the environment, which I know I thrive in, and the environment I know my teams have thrived in is an environment where people are constantly challenged, but also where people are constantly learning, and they feel very nurtured and valued. Right. And I think, to inculcate those values, and that culture within an organisation is critical to long term success.

Michael Murray  4:43  
And you are obviously a very, very busy man. On planes, meetings, dinners with clients, whatever it might be. One of the key, I suppose issues that executives are talking about is executive burnout.

Ashish Pal  4:58

Michael Murray  4:59
The amount of time that spent on the phone access 24/7 – Yes. Have you experienced executive burnout in your career? Can you talk us through that if you have?

Ashish Pal  5:09  
So I think I wouldn’t say I had experienced executive burnout. But I would say that one of the things I struggle with is doing a much better job than I know I do on work-life balance. Okay. That’s something which we talk about as a leadership team. That’s something I talk about with my family. Right, and I don’t think I do a good enough job of work-life balance and I think that’s something that I think it’s critical, you know, as we continue to really stay very passionately involved in what we do, trying to find that time to kind of tune out and make space for white noise, for lack of a better way of describing it, I think is critical, not just from a rejuvenation standpoint, but even in terms of being able to think more innovatively. Right. 

Michael Murray  6:03
I agree

Ashish Pal  6:05
Right? And so that’s one of the things that I’m very consciously working on, I think have a long ways to go, to be honest. But I recognise that within myself.

Michael Murray  6:14  
Do you remember a piece of feedback that was very hard to take on early in your career?

Ashish Pal  6:20
Yes, I do. 

Michael Murray  6:21

Ashish Pal  6:24
And it was tough feedback to get, I will say, but I think as I internalized it, I realized, and I recognize the feedback, one of the feedbacks that I got was that sometimes I am too passionate. And when sometimes you’re too passionate, and you’re so driven on what you need to accomplish, you sometimes may not pay closer attention to certain other elements, right? I know when that feedback was first shared with me, I really struggled with it. Because passion to me was a good thing. Yes, right. It was a fundamental tenet of who I am. But what I’ve learned from that feedback is, and I continue to work on it, is how to manage and fuel that passion while not losing other elements, you know, in the journey, and I think I’m becoming better and better at it, but I’m always learning and always growing.

Michael Murray  7:25  
And what about your career in one word, what would it be?

Ashish Pal  7:27  

Michael Murray  7:29  
Ashish, thank you very much for spending time with C-Suite Partners In the Boardroom.

Ashish Pal  7:32
Thank you Michael. It’s been a real honor.

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