About Navin Muruga

Managing Director at Talenpac

3 Leadership Lessons from Volunteering Abroad

Four years ago, I took a break from the corporate rat race to volunteer abroad. I spent a few months working with communities in war torn villages across northeast Sri Lanka and in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. I partnered with local nonprofits, launched online fundraising campaigns and built clean drinking water solutions for over 4,000 people living in poverty.

As I look back, I realize I learnt more about leadership from my brief volunteer experience than I have from my corporate career. Here are my three biggest lessons on leadership from my volunteer experience in Sri Lanka and Kenya.


I […]

3 Leadership Lessons from Volunteering Abroad 2017-09-26T10:47:08+00:00

Drive Engagement with Better Goals and Check-Ins

Most organisation understand the importance of engagement and genuinely want to address the engagement gap. They start strong; typically with an annual engagement survey but once the results are out, they feel lost. It seems addressing employee engagement is akin to understanding Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Despite your best effort to understand the plot you can’t help but feel confused.

The best way to tackle engagement is to revisit the basics.

To start with, plenty of research by thought leaders like behavioural economist Dan Ariely and best selling author Daniel Pink have proven that employees are driven at work when they get […]

Drive Engagement with Better Goals and Check-Ins 2017-08-24T11:49:42+00:00

Informal Coaching – A Must Have Skill for Managers

This is what happens when you become a manager.

You get robbed.

“Do you have a minute?” When you’re a time-strapped manager, these 5 words become your nemesis. You give up all your time and end up with none for yourself.

You become a firefighter.

Each day is comparable to an episode of MacGyver. Employees seem to have the uncanny ability to present you new problems to solve.

You learn the phrase ‘herding cats’

You’re not just responsible for your personal KPIs, you’re responsible for the team’s KPIs. As hard as you try, it seems impossible to get everyone to work in sync towards achieving […]

Informal Coaching – A Must Have Skill for Managers 2017-08-24T08:43:15+00:00

Purpose Based Employer-Employee Relationships

There is a fascinating idea put forward by the authors of ‘The Alliance’ called the Tour of Duty. They make the case for a new type of employer-employee relationship that addresses the fact that today’s employee is likely to move jobs every few years. The Tour of Duty (like in the military) is a purpose based (often time bound) employment contract. Instead of hiring someone for a lifetime of employment, the authors propose organisations hire new employees for 2 to 4 year projects with specific deliverables. At the end of the specified employment term, the employer and […]

Purpose Based Employer-Employee Relationships 2017-08-11T15:56:24+00:00

Important vs. Urgent – Employee Coaching

There are two types of coaching conversations. The first and most common is the performance conversation. Here, managers coach employees to solve a problem. The conversation is about the task. The second type is the development conversation. Here, managers turn from the issue to the person. The conversation is about the employee’s development.

Performance conversations are more popular because they’re more urgent. A problem needs to be solved now! Development conversation are more important but happen less often. There’s always an urgent problem that needs attention!

This bring us back to the classic important vs. urgent conundrum. How do we prioritise […]

Important vs. Urgent – Employee Coaching 2017-08-17T06:50:11+00:00

Driving Passion (Paper)

Deloitte recently reported that up to 88% of employees globally are not passionate at work. Look around and you’ll see this to be true.

Our work at Talenpac is inspired by a TEDx talk I gave four years ago. I spoke about how we could find passion through purpose. Following the TEDx talk I began to realise that finding passionate work was a problem many of my colleagues and peers had as well. I started Talenpac to address this growing Passion Gap.

We’re keen to facilitate a conversation around what drives passion at work. Today, we publish our first paper on the topic […]

Driving Passion (Paper) 2017-08-08T20:18:09+00:00

Seth Godin’s Ship It

If you’re sitting on a project you want to bring to life but for some reason have not been able to, you need to listen to Seth Godin’s ‘Ship It’ audio and complete his ‘Ship It’ journal.

He provides a step by step framework to help bring your project to life.

If you’re struggling with describing your project, Seth even has a blog post to get you started.

Now that you know how to get started, you have one less excuse for not shipping!

Seth Godin’s Ship It 2017-07-31T22:01:06+00:00

The Range of Acceptable Disequilibrium

I had the opportunity to study adaptive leadership during my fellowship year with Acumen and the concept of ROAD stuck with me.

ROAD, an acronym for the Range of Acceptable Disequilibrium is based on the premise that leadership is essentially the activity of creating change. It suggests that we all have a range of acceptable disequilibrium. Disequilibrium here represents the imbalance we experience when we challenge the belief systems that govern our status quo. It’s the amount of change we’re willing to put up with.

By it’s very nature, the process of change attempts to challenge our current understanding or worldview. There […]

The Range of Acceptable Disequilibrium 2017-07-28T08:32:04+00:00

Motivating Employees: Numbers vs. Impact

Organisations typically set ambitious financial goals and then try to motivate their employees to reach them. For instance, a large utilities company may decide to double their market cap in 5 years. That’s an ambitious goal but honestly, why would employees care?

Sure, there’s an opportunity for career progression but they’d get the same opportunity by moving jobs. Maybe there’s a potential bonus? Most of us don’t care enough for maybes.

What we know is that we’re motivated by meaningful work. (Dan Ariely talks about this and so does Dan Pink). Each of us wants to do work that gives us purpose.

What if, instead […]

Motivating Employees: Numbers vs. Impact 2017-07-27T08:40:05+00:00


It’s essentially how we view the world.

We have a worldview about technology, millennials, terrorism, banks, sexuality and almost everything else. Your employees have a worldview too.

They have a worldview about their job, their career and their manager. They may view their job as a means to an end, their career as a forced choice and their manager as someone to be feared. Or they could view their job as their passion, their career as their journey and their manager as their coach.

Their worldview ultimately determines their thoughts, words and actions at work.

Understanding that your employee has a worldview is […]

Worldview 2017-07-26T15:28:59+00:00