Dr. Shirish Thakre
Dr. Shirish Thakre is the Senior Vice President at the Aditya Birla Science and Technology Centre (ABSTC), the Corporate R&D of the Aditya Birla Group. He heads the Fibre, Textiles and Chemicals research group at ABSTC, that provides the research and technology solutions to the Aditya Birla Group businesses in the areas of Process Intensification, Sustainability, New products and Digitalization. Shirish has more than 22 years of experience in the Industrial R&D, at ABSTC he developed the research portfolio and team in the area of Fibres & Textiles, Chemicals, Copper and Alumina research. Prior to joining ABSTC, Shirish worked in the area of high performance polymer research in GE R&D. Shirish holds the doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering, has 15 Patents and 25 International Journal publications to his credit.
Biography Summary (focusing on your coaching skills, knowledge and experience)
Born as Shirish in the family of doctors, is married to Smita with two lovely kids Aryan and Sanvi. Enjoyed playing all outdoor games in my childhood. Graduated in Chem Engg. and went on to build a career in research with a Doctoral degree and an Industrial R&D career in General Electric and Aditya Birla Science & Technology Company Pvt. Ltd. (ABSTCPL).
Have interests in sports, music, and dance, readings classical and fiction novels, watching movies. Also, like to enjoy outdoor activities like visiting new places and meeting people. Have interests to get engaged in the social cause when time permits. Learnings style has been through the experiences, always looking for the new opportunity to learn new skills and gain experiences.
Mostly On Job -presently managing the research team of 35 scientists and engineers through On Job mentoring and coaching.
Professional Memberships /Affiliations- IIChE, PSI
Our Exclusive Interview:
1. How would you describe yourself in 5 or less sentences?
Versatile, hardworking, discipline and a caring person who believes in mutual trust and respect and the value system. Believe in leading than managing, prefer the coaching and inspiring leadership style and the Independent way of working. Also think that I am multifaceted individual with interests spanning from research, leadership, reading and watching movies, music and dance. I work through team and put the organization and team interest first.
2.What does work life balance mean to you?
Very important aspect of life with a rider that this has to be balanced well. In the professional environment, when working in the given time just focus and complete the work and when off the work spent time with family and friends as well on pursuing self interests.
3.What has been one of the biggest challenges as a leader?
As a leader, one of the biggest challenges is to excel in the scenario of changing business context and in managing the stakeholder expectation
4.Who do you look up to for inspiration?
My father has worked and effectively handled such dynamics so he is my role model for inspiration
5.What are the best ways that leaders can support other leaders, whether in the same organisation or a different organisation?
I believe that this can be achieved by building the mutual trust and respect, appreciating and leveraging the respective strengths and working in collaboration.
6.What was the last book you read and how did it impact you as an individual
I am impressed by the book Coaching by performance by John Whitmore and Trust & Inspire by Stephen Covey. These have helped me in the mindset change from Mentoring to Coaching style and from Controlling to trusting and from motivation to Inspiration.
7.What do you do to rejuvenate, to get back in touch with yourself?
I take a break from work and go to my native where I connect with my relatives, old friends and memories and also bond with nature by visiting my farm.
8. Your take on open door policy.
Critical in today’s rapidly changing work environment where Command & Control style of leadership is breaking down. I am a strong supporter and practice this with my team also through the Open forum sessions where they are encouraged to ask questions, raise concern
9. What is the next milestone you wish to achieve that keeps you driving forward.
Professionally, I would like to strengthen my and team’s niche capabilities for the differentiated offerings to the stakeholders. Personally, in the future, would like to start my own business venture in the area of my expertise.
10. In today’s day and age, how can leaders build a culture of employee wellbeing?
Leaders need to adopt the culture of trust and inspire and adopt more of a coaching way of leading people. Leaders should challenge their employees to stretch beyond the comfort zone and into the inspiring targets.
11. Your perspective on sustainability and how do you promote it?
Zero liquid discharge and Net zero carbon are the two key areas of sustainability that will drive the regulatory compliances and the aligned technology development and adoption by the Industries to sustain. My team is working on the technology assessment and adoption aligned to these areas.
12. If not a corporate leader, what would your professional identity be?
A businessmen in the area of new technology and innovations.
Know the Person
1. Loyalty to you is Trust
2. Fun and recreation to you is Rejuvenating
3. Experience vs Education – what would you give higher preference to Experience
4. Mountains or the beach: your ideal vacation spot would be Mountain
5. Horror, Action, Adventure, Romantic, Comedy – your favourite genre Comedy