Leading a team amid disruption and chaos is a challenge that leaders constantly go through in the face of ever-changing markets and environments. Here to help you navigate that is Tanvir Bhangoo. Tanvir is the author and creator of The P.R.O. Business Mindset – How to Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos. In this episode, he joins host Alicia Dunams to break down the concepts behind his football-inspired framework and shares the similarities he found between leadership in business and sports. Join as they discuss course corrective strategies that can guide leaders and their teams to success. The two also discuss the prospect of A.I. in business and its impacts on workplace culture and leadership. Stay tuned!
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The P.R.O. Business Mindset – How To Lead Amid Disruption And Chaos With Tanvir Bhangoo
I’m introducing Tanvir Bhangoo. We are excited to jump into the interview but first of all, I want to tell you a little bit about Tanvir. He is an acclaimed speaker, best-selling author, and team coach. He helps leaders worldwide build championship teams in a disruptive and uncertain environment. Tanvir’s book, which we will be talking about, is called THE P.R.O Business Mindset: How To Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos, which breaks down his unique leadership framework.
This framework helped Tanvir win championships in the boardroom based on what he had learned on the football field. He is a former digital executive and college football national champion. Tanvir is regularly quoted in major media outlets, including Forbes and CEO World, and is often a guest lecturer at leading business schools.
Tanvir, it is great to have you here.
Alicia, it is great to be here.
I love to ask the following question of authors when they come on the show. Why did you write a book?
It is the most popular question that I have been getting for the past few months. I was working corporate. I did my MBA then I went into the corporate life. I worked for a Fortune 500 company. I worked at the third largest restaurant company in the world. I was working for one of the fastest public traded companies in the world. Every single time I was in these environments, different industries, and companies, I saw something unique.
How I led these companies was very similar to what I have learned on the football field. When I was at McMaster University, we won a national championship. When I was active in leading digital transformation projects, they were very similar to what our coach had been teaching us, which was investing in your foundations, preparing beforehand, and how do you work with teams.
A few years ago, I realized that a lot of the successes, whether it is my team or the team I was a part of, were never about the right technology, strategy or balance sheets. It all actually came down to leadership and how do you actually execute a vision. I started reverse engineering these concepts right around the pandemic. I said, “If there is something more to this framework, why is it that this stuff works?” I came up with a methodology, which is the PRO business mindset, where the P is the Post-season, R is the Regular season, O is the Off-season.
I said, “This is pretty cool,” because what I have been doing is investing in the off-season in business for a few years when everybody thinks, “Where is the Tanvir’s team? Where is this business?” We are working away building the foundations, and then we execute on those foundations for a few years. Finally, you start to come out as this overnight success story, which was never an overnight success story. It was the years of work that went into that beforehand. To bring it all together, I wrote a book.
The only way to actually learn is by making mistakes.
At that time, I wanted to share the message with the leaders of the world and say, “Here is a framework that you can use, whether you are leading in disruptive times, in chaotic times, whether you are an executive, even if you are a cross-functional leader or if you are somebody that is starting their career. Principles that you can take from sports teams that I have applied personally to now lead in this environment.” As I have seen business now is similar to the environment of a sports team. It is chaotic, fast, and uncertain changes. At halftime, you have to make adjustments, which in business, we are adjusting almost every 2nd or 3rd week. That was the story behind why the book came to life.
Repeat what PRO stands for again.
PRO is a methodology. It is the acronym for P is, the Post-season, the playoffs. R is the Regular season. O is the Off-season. Every sports team has these three distinct seasons where every year, they first have the off-season such now, NFL is in the off-season. There are no games happening but people are working out stuff that we do not see. Regular season, you try to win as many games as you can. Those lucky or fortunate few that win enough games are now in the playoffs to compete for the championship.
This is a fantastic framework. I’m sure that when you share it with organizations, it makes sense. When you talk specifically about the halftime, this course correction that needs to happen, can you share with us an actual business case study where you have taken this PRO framework and shared it with one of your clients and what the results were?
I share a story from my personal, corporate experiences of one of the stories in the book. It was a digital transmission project. I had spent about 4 or 5 months. I built a brand-new team. We spent over six figures on this new technology platform. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, one day, we’ve got this news that the strategy that we were working on, the reason this entire team came to follow me into this new role, left their jobs.
We are all on this journey together. The entire reason now has to go out the window. We can’t do what we are here doing anymore. At that point, I remember after 5:00 PM, in an empty office, I’m sitting there with my head in my hands and saying, “What am I going to do? This is bad. My team was disappointed. I do not know what to do here.”
I’m trying to feel sorry for myself. Long story short, I asked myself a question like, “If you were on the football field and somebody blindsided you, and you were lying there on the turf, what would you do?” Would you just lie there and complain? Would you get up, drag back into the huddle and say, ‘Bring it on. Let’s go next play?’” That one question really changed my perspective.
The next day I came into the office, I’ve got my team together and said, “Guys, what happened, happened. I do not want to be here. You do not want to be in the situation but there are two things we can do here. We can either continue to groan and moan and not be happy about this or we know that what matters is us, the team here. If we only focus on what we can control and look at the new direction we have to go in and work towards that, we are going to be fine.”
Next thing you know, a few months later, we are back on track and ended up doing better than we were doing before. It is because the perspective was, “This stuff was going to happen. Let’s do what we can do. Get back up, get back to the drawing board, control what we can control, and execute. Do not get distracted.” That is a story that I still remember very well. It is in the book as well.
That is very applicable. A lot of people can understand that. It sounds like part of the PRO strategy is the mindset. How does mindset attribute to success in business?
A lot of times, it is not the strategy. Everybody will give you a nice deck. Consulting organizations are notorious for saying, “Here is a strategy. Follow this strategy.” If that was true, we would be in a different world now. The hard part is, how do you show up to work every single day when things are not going your way, when you have noise, when there is leadership pressure on you, when your customers are not happy, when some competitors are entering your market with a product, and they are chipping away at your market share? How do you now take the strategy and stay on course? It is the mindset and believing in your vision and your team and investing in the right actions.
The 20% of the actions that you believe will take you to the end. That is the same thing as a football team. They do not worry about, “We have got to win the Super Bowl every single time.” No, it is about, “What can we do now? What can you practice on now? What can we review today? What can we work out now, so every single day we get better and continue moving forward?” That is a mindset that you have to build in business as well.
For the readers, I would love for you to share maybe another leadership lesson on your favorites that you feature in your book.
This is part of one of the keynote examples that I do share. It is a lot more in-depth but I will give you a very brief story here. It is called rebounding from failure, what we call having a short memory. In sports, everybody once in a while misses a catch. You go out there and try to win the game but you let your team down. Brady gets sacked in the final minutes. He can’t go to the next round of the playoffs. It happens. What great athletes do is they know how to rebound from failure, learn from it, and then focus on the next play, as we were having a short memory. In business, it is the exact same thing. We can’t be worried about failing because if we are worried about failing, we are not going to try and take risks.
Championships are won in the off-season.
In nowadays environment, unless you are taking risks, you are not going to win because everything is changing so fast. If you keep the same strategy as a few years ago and try to play it safe, somebody will disrupt you. The only way to learn is by making mistakes. It means there are two types of failures, which I always tell our clients. There is a missed play failure, which is a small failure, and there is a missed season failure, a big failure.
If you encourage missed play failures, you are more likely to avoid a missed season failure. For example, if your goal is to hit a 20% increase in digital sales in the next twelve months, that is my major goal. To hit our goal, I might have these small little projects such as introduce a new product, do research on our consumer base, enter a new market or any other source of projects that will help us get to that 20% goal. Failing in the execution of some of these small goals are missed plays but a lot of times, these missed plays teach you something new that you can now use in your execution.
Unless you are failing and making these small mistakes, you are not going to learn what is working in this environment that is changing so fast. If you are not feeling and learning quickly, you are going to be closer to hitting that macro goal, which means you are going to avoid a missed season failure. If you wait and play it safe, you do not know whether or not you are any closer to the 20%. It is okay to take risks and make some mistakes because that is what is going to allow you now to conquer this new business that we are in.
I love that strategy. It makes me feel like what is so important is taking risks because if we go out and we do not do anything, and we do not make any changes, we will never know 100% of our shots that we do not shoot or miss. What else can you share with us that is in your book? First of all, I want to tell everyone that you can get Tanvir’s book called THE P.R.O. Business Mindset: How to Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos. You can find it on Amazon. Anywhere else you can find it, Tanvir?
You can go on Amazon. If you are in Canada, Indigo Chapters. If you are in the US, all the major retailers, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and the others. One more concept that I would share is something called the Death Chart. This is something that we try to teach a lot of our clients. It is because of turnover. Nowadays, we know that turnover is a hot topic. Fifty-five percent of employees plan to leave their jobs in the next twelve months, which is the stat that we know is true from a study.
That is going to shift all industries.
Some more than less. The key is that the pandemic has accelerated this shift because now the talent pool is open to working for companies that once were never part of their scope. I can be in Canada working for a company in England. I can be living in Italy in a small city, enjoying my cappuccino every single day, and working remotely for a company back home.
It’s because of technology, you can have talent from anywhere in the world, whereas it was localized. What about robots and artificial intelligence?
There is a stat that 60% of people in the US are okay with AI as long as it makes our jobs more convenient, which means that we like AI as long as it gives us better service, let’s say, at a restaurant or a store. Also, you are seeing companies are finding cost savings with AI. The moral is that in the next 5 to 10 years, most of the repetitive jobs that we are seeing will become automated by AI, which means that there is more change coming. If we do not accept it, there will be more chaos coming for some people.
There is a lot of uncertainty out there as well that we all have to shift our mindset but at the same time, know that we also have to adapt with the times. This isn’t something new. Things have been changing for the past several years, just that when we always realize it when it is too late. The one thing that we have to do that we teach a lot of our clients is that I do not wait until it is too late, adapt now, and start thinking, “How can you work with robots versus against them?”
These are important things. You need to adapt and be agile because times are changing right in front of us now. I love AI until I don’t. The biggest complaint is when you want to get someone on the phone. I’ve got a parking ticket, and they took pictures of my car leaving but I was dropping someone and circling around but they said that I had parked. I’m like, “I didn’t park. I’m not paying this bill.” This is when it has to do with checking out of the grocery store and stuff and it is like, “I need to talk to a human.” Let’s go to our speed round, where I’m going to ask you some questions, and you answer the first thing that comes to your mind. The first question is, what is going to be your legacy?
My legacy is somebody that makes a difference in people’s lives.
What is your favorite book?
P.R.O. Business Mindset. Now, I do like the book Extreme Ownership.
Invest time in the areas of your life that others can’t see.
That has been on the New York Times for quite a bit. Who is your favorite author?
I would have to say, David Goggins.
It is all about the mindset.
What are you reading next? What is on your bookshelf?
I’ve got a bunch of stuff from the bookshelf but I am reading a book called Good to Great. I have read it before. It has been a while. I was on a podcast, and somebody brought it up a few times. I’m like, “I’m going to revisit that book again.” I’m reading that now. I’m also reading Atomic Habits. I haven’t read it. I heard a lot of great stuff about it. I am almost always trying to find that edge. That is also on my nightstand.
Keep your knife sharpened. The final question is, what are you writing next?
I am trying to really take the content out of my book. I have seen a lot of great responses from the corporate executives that we are working with, and a lot of my keynotes and trying to take this content and see how we can further dive into some of these concepts and help some of these corporate leaders. I’m doing lots of media articles and also working on some videos. I’m writing the script for these videos that we can get out there for some of our clients. Hopefully, in a few years, another book. It will probably become the digital mindset and a few years from the business mindset because it has to evolve, but I’ve got a few ideas there as well.
It is constantly evolving. I always tell my clients, “With your book, you can repurpose the content,” just like what you are doing, take the chapters out to create Instagram and YouTube content. Keep on repurposing. The ideas will change. You will be coming up with writing another book because the world will change. We will need new tools and resources to support people with that evolution or change. Where can people find out more about you?
The best place to learn more about me to get in touch is my website. It is TanvirBhangoo.com. You can google my name. It will show up. Also, on LinkedIn. I do share a lot of content almost every day on LinkedIn. You can connect there with me and a lot of articles online and on our YouTube channel. We do have a podcast, which is an extension of this concept called Sports to Business, where I do interview executives that were once athletes. You can connect with me in all of these platforms.
I’m already thinking about a few people I can connect you with, actually one of my friends, Trevor Turnbull, who talks about sports and business performance. He is also a LinkedIn expert. Do you know Trevor?
I have heard the name but I do not know him personally.
He is a good friend of mine. I can make an introduction there. What I would love for you to do is leave with our audience one of your favorite lessons from the book, something that you want to leave everyone with.
I will leave you with a quote that my coach would always say, “Championships are won in the off-season,” which means in this world when everybody is trying to go super fast when we are all trying to do more with less, and the boundaries are blurring between personal lives and work, take a step back and go slow. It is because when you are slow, you are smooth. When you are smooth, you are fast. Invest time in the areas of your life that others can’t see. That is what allows you to move faster when you need to go a little fast. Invest in your foundations when nobody is watching.
Going slow is the fastest way to get anywhere. That is a great lesson to share with us all. Thank you so much for spending your time here with us.
It is my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Thank you, everyone, for reading this episode. We will see you next time. Take care.
- THE P.R.O Business Mindset: How To Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos
- Tanvir Bhangoo
- Amazon – THE P.R.O Mindset: How To Lead in Amid Disruption and Chaos
- Indigo Chapters – THE P.R.O. Business Mindset: How to Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos
- Barnes & Noble – THE P.R.O. Business Mindset: How to Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos
- Walmart – THE P.R.O Mindset: How To Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos
- Extreme Ownership
- Can’t Hurt Me
- Good to Great
- Atomic Habits
- LinkedIn – Tanvir Bhangoo
- Sports to Business
- @TanvirBhangoo – Twitter
- YouTube – Tanvir Bhangoo
About Tanvir Bhangoo
A BESTSELLING AUTHOR, ACCLAIMED SPEAKER & COACH, AND A FORMER EXECUTIVE AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPION.
He is a speaker and coach trusted by multinationals and high-growth companies to build championship teams and maximize performance in disruptive, uncertain environments.
Tanvir’s latest book, The P.R.O. Business Mindset: How to Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos, breaks down his unique leadership framework. This framework helped Tanvir win championships in the boardroom – based on what he had learned on the football field.
Formerly, in his 20s, Tanvir was the VP of Tech at Freshii (global fast casual and CPG company), and Director at RBI (one of the largest restaurant companies in the world).
Tanvir is featured regularly on leading media outlets for his thought leadership and commentary, including Forbes, CEOWorld, and Medium. He often gets asked to guest lecture at leading MBA and undergraduate programs on digital leadership and transformation.
Tanvir won a national championship and two conference championships about 90lbs ago, with the McMaster University Football Team.