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Member Spotlight: Sanjay Naik

Sanjay Naik has been a member of the OD Network for six years, and has served on the board for the past three years. Based in Dubai, he is leading the effort to expand global OD Network membership. The goal of this work is to provide members with global connectivity to share and learn in an increasingly competitive and connected environment.

As Vice President – Performance Development of Emirates Airline & Group, Sanjay is responsible for enterprise transformation of global divisions & corporate functions. Emirates is a US$27 Billion corporation with a 70+ brand portfolio and employs over 100,000 staff from 180+ nationalities. 

Beginning his career with the Colgate Palmolive Company, Sanjay has practised and lived OD concepts and methodologies to ensure that all organisational systems and change programs keep people at the heart of change. Over the course of his career, he has learned that an understanding of human dynamics and psychology are crucial to the OD profession. Practitioners need to understand what drives individuals to excel and what motivates people adapt or resist change. Understanding the dynamics of change and its impact on human emotions and its response in the age of social media is critical for success of OD professionals, because OD is not an isolated practice. Business leaders view OD practitioners as Project/Program Managers who drive significant change in their businesses, and impact all aspects of an organization, from human resources to management to customer experience.

In global organizations, where employees have little contact with each other, building processes and systems that work for everyone becomes a challenge. Sanjay thrives when working with organisational systems that include absentee employees, and exploring the question, “how do you engage a large mobile workforce to live the brand and imbibe the desired behaviors?” 

These skills will be key to the OD Network’s Global Growth initiative. The work will require volunteers researching other regions to determine the demand for OD professionals, as well as the existing capacity – are there organizations in affiliated fields that could serve as entry points into those markets? Do the target markets have current educational programs in OD? Based on the findings, the Global Growth team would develop a strategy for each region. If you are interested in participating in this effort, complete the Volunteer Interest Form on our website.

The growth of social media and its impact on organizations makes the OD practitioner’s job much more challenging. Sanjay points out the recent customer incidents in April as an example of a company’s reputation being affected in minutes by a single video going viral. These events happen so fast that traditional organisations, methods and hierarchies for handling communications just don’t work – there’s no time to assess a situation and develop a response, and an organization can be dramatically affected by the actions of a single person. Sanjay’s interest in social media, digital transformation, and user experience is founded in a desire to find ways for organizations to adapt to industry disruption and transformational change brought about by new technology.

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