Tag Archives: Pragati Leadership

Exit: Managers Enter: Intrapreneurs

Circa recent past: You’re an efficient Manager at a reputed enterprise. You enter office at 9a.m in full corporate armoury. You fasten your seat belt, focus on deliverables and get cracking. Before you know it, the clock has struck 5p.m. You shut shop and ride back home. This happens sometimes. Most other times, you’re clocking 10 to 12 hrs a day. And yet you hear the one thing you don’t want to hear your boss say – Give me newer ideas and innovations. You feel like chucking it all away and wish like hell that you were an entrepreneur.

Cut to the near future: You’re an Intrapreneur at a reputed enterprise. You enter office at a time of your convenience. You have two-three ideas for new products/ services. You’ve been given the financial backing, the tools and the team. More importantly, you’ve been given the freedom and autonomy to see your ideas through to fruition as though you were your own boss. And yet, you’re still an employee at a reputed enterprise and happily so.

Wondering what this is all about? Well, you just read about the latest phenomenon that is promising to revolutionize the way India Inc functions. We’re talking about Intra-Entrepreneurs, stylishly called Intrapreneurs. Who are they? An intrapreneur is any enterprising, passionate and driven employee who is full of ideas and result-oriented innovation. But that’s just the cake. The icing is the fact that this entrepreneurial employee is backed and supported by his employers to innovate and realise ideas for the enterprise.

Think that this a fantastic development? We think so too. Now take a moment and imagine the happy repercussions of this welcome change. Attrition rates will probably fall to negligible levels. Innovation will no longer remain on the wish-list of companies but become a way of life. Hierarchies will be dismantled to usher in open work-systems and banish that dreaded word –Silo from corporate jargon. And not to forget, the utopian idea of a work-life balance will become an enjoyable truth. The list of course is endless.

Why did we choose this topic as our very first blogpost? That is because at Pragati Leadership, it is our mission to transform organizations through wholesome leadership. It has been so for the past 25 years during which time some of the biggest Leaders have come to us for developing leaders within the organisation. Not because they’re in positions of power by circumstance or default but because they are there to lead by example. And they believe in what we’ve believed all this while – that every individual, team, organisation, society and civilization has infinite potential. Our purpose is to help in the expansion of that very potential in order to create a wholesome world.

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The Yoga Marga to Freedom

The western world has made the word “Yoga” very fashionable.  Since lot of celebrities now endorse as an essential part of their lifestyle,  it seems that this path is really popular.  But contrary to what one labels as Yoga, the principles and practices as described by Sage Patanjali are very profound.

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How does this Marga work in our quest for liberation, freedom?  And freedom from what?   The ancient philosophers had already worked out that the self is Supreme and all the other things which bond us, restrict us is Maya.  But the stranglehood of Maya deludes us from the truth. The prescription to transcend this is called Yoga.   The Sanskrit meaning for Yoga is Union. Is it Union with the self?  But aren’t we united already?   Yes, in the broader sense, we are.  But somewhere the disconnection arises because of the delusions cast by Maya.

Ignorance of that brings darkness.  Moving from the darkness to light that we are is Yoga.  The self is illuminated, powerful and yet we suffer.

So let’s begin on this path of Yoga. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called Ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life, directed at the ultimate bliss of the self.. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one’s health; and they help us to connect with the ultimate reality of self.  The eight limbs are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

The eight fold approach need not be sequential. In fact, they are supporting processes.  For eg. Practicising Niyama helps in Asanas, and practicing Asanas helps in Dhyana.   The ultimate goal is Samadhi – being one without any effort, in bliss and with complete transcendence, united with the Self.

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The description sounds exotic, but in reality, we do attain Samadhi, albeit for a very small period of time.  The pleasure of Samadhi has been described as 1000 times more than that of a sexual orgasm.  Osho, in his book from Sambhog to Samadhi, describes how man seeks sexual pleasure not knowing that he is seeking Samadhi!!!

Where does one start?  Just imagine your journey has eight options. Which one would you choose? It can get confusing.   The physical plane is the easiest one to relate to.   Start with practicing Hatha Yoga and learn a few Pranayama’s. With gradual practice, one starts observing the other principles also.

The obstacles in this path can be many.  The worldly pleasures are likely to sway one’s mind back and away from the path.  It takes continuous remembrance and patience to stay on this path.   The ultimate treasure of freedom is not at the end of the path but the very path itself.    But one stops walking, and the treasure is gone.

Yoga in a sense – is the knowledge of Oneness in everything.  As Patanjali says in one Verse,

Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam

Living through this stage of Yoga, reveals the Seer or the Self, in its most brilliant form.

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A way to understand Yoga is the analogy of a sculptor working through the stone.  It is the removal of the unwanted material which brings out the statue.  The sculptor doesn’t add anything!  Similarly, the practice of Yoga removes the unwanted materials (read the Samskara’s or the impressions of the mind) which block the Self.

You are the diamond which needs to be cut and polished!! That’s this path about…Are you yet ready to shine?

By Vikas Bhatia

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Synopsis of Carpe Diem Mumbai 2013, August 9

Theme: Wholesome Leadership – A paradigm shift in leading change

Venue: Sofitel Hotel, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai

Date and Time: 9th August 2013, 6.30pm onwards

Panel:

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Participant Profile: Top Leadership (Non-HR), Top HR and L&D leaders; Sectors represented included Banking & Finance, Telecom, FMCG, IT/ITES, Manufacturing, Insurance, Realty, Pharma, Engineering, Designing, Real estate etc. with a mix of Small, Mid-Cap & Large scale industries.

Sequence Index of events:

  1. Welcoming the guests at Carpe Diem 2013
  2. Introduction and context setting by the host Mr Vivek Yatnalkar
  3. Introduction to the panelists (CLICK HERE to view their profiles)
  4. First panelist, Mr Anil Swarup’s sharing on ‘Self-Mastery
  5. Second panelist, Mr R Mukundan’s sharing on ‘Relating to & Developing People’
  6. Third panelist, Mr Shrikant Joshi’s sharing on ‘Delivering Value’
  7. Q&A with the audience
  8. Felicitation of panelists
  9. Closing comments by the moderator & host
  10. Dinner & networking

Synopsis:

The stage was set for a ‘Wholesome’ evening at Sofitel Hotel as the first of the guests trooped in for Carpe Diem Mumbai 2013. It was a drizzly Friday evening and a festive holiday on account of Eid at that! Yet, the steady in flow of guests continued and by 7pm the Salon Louvre was packed.

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The host for the evening, Vivek Yatnalkar – the COO of Pragati Leadership, took stage and started proceedings by welcoming the guests. He touched upon the current state of affairs vis-à-vis Business, Social, Political and Economic at a local and global level to lay the foundation for the discussion.

  • ‘What is the prevalent style of leadership today?
  • Is this giving us the results we want/ seek?
  • Are we going in the direction we want to go?’

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These were some questions he asked the audience to ponder upon. Vivek, then went on to introduce Wholesome Leadership and suggested this new approach as the way to lead sustainable change.

He explained the three facets of Wholesome Leadership, namely: Self-Mastery, Relating to & Developing people AND Delivering Value. Explaining briefly the manifestations of these three facets, Vivek justified the What-Why-How of this new approach and its relevance. He used the analogy of the see-saw versus Lift.

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While one shows the current dilemma facing businesses in balancing people development with business growth, the other simply shows that both can happen in parallel. He suggested that Wholesome Leadership can serve to ‘lift’ people and carry them forward towards sustainable change!

Vivek then introduced the three distinguished panelists to the audience before handing over the baton to Arun Wakhlu, our Executive Chairman, who was the moderator for the panel discussion. Taking cue from where Vivek left off, Arun urged the audience to think long-term and sustainable. To hammer in the point, he narrated a little anecdote from the Apache Indian community where elders would place all children and sit in a concentric circle around them while taking all collective decisions. This was done, he said, to ensure that they’re always aware that the effects need to be positively experienced for the next seven generations! As leaders, we need to have a similar ‘Wholesome’ approach, Arun reiterated.

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Thereafter, Arun invited Mr Anil Swarup – IAS, Member of the Cabinet Secratariat, Govt. of India, to take the podium as the first speaker. Mr Swarup spoke on Self-Mastery and livened up the atmosphere with some pointed observations, funny anecdotes and witticisms in the bureaucratic context.

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His inspiring talk for the next fifteen minutes urged the rapt audience to start this journey of transformation with oneself. He laid down some fundamental attributes to Self-Mastery, starting with a belief in a larger purpose and in the potential of self.

  • Mr Swarup stressed that this was crucial to delivering lasting value.
  • To achieve that, he urged leaders to be unwaveringly passionate about the work they do.
  • As leaders, they need to be seen as uncompromisingly honest and transparent, keeping promises they make.
  • They also need to be free to dream BIG and have a vision that is inclusive, he urged.
  • Finally, Wholesome Leaders need to be Efficient in delivering results to ensure that they become the change that they want to see in the world.

(You can watch the full presentation HERE)

A thunderous applause greeted Mr Swarup has he made his way back to the stage. Next in line was Mr R Mukundan, MD of Tata Chemicals, who was speaking on the topic of ‘Relating to & Developing People’.

Mr Mukundan started off the interaction by showing the audience a short video clip of an interview with the late Steve Jobs, chief of Apple. In the interview, Steve explains his mantra of ‘TRUSTING’ his colleagues completely to deliver. He explains how Apple functioned as the world’s largest ‘Start-up’ because it allows leaders to make decisions without any overseeing. (You can watch the video HERE)

Using this as a basis for his talk, Mr Mukundan shared that every year he showed this clip to his team for inspiration and guidance. He then went on to explain that it all began with the right value systems being put in place. If the team had the right values, their actions would facilitate better people relations and development, he justified.

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Mr Mukundan suggested that leaders need to build trust and commitment in their teams by treating their members as people and not just professional entities. To this end, he offered some simple pointers to follow:

  • Get to know key people as persons!!!
  • Set the context – the situation, direction etc
  • Delegate more – Work Levels
  • Stretch Projects
  • Development Dialogue (IDP)
  • Encouraging learning and Sharing
  • Performance Dialogue (PMS)
  • Career Counselling
  • Coaching

(You can watch the full presentation HERE)

The audience seemed to agree wholeheartedly with his take on Mr Mukundan and applauded him generously as he took his seat, making way for Mr Shrikant Joshi to take the podium.

Mr Shrikant Joshi, Chief Executive of L&T Realty, was the third panelist, speaking on ‘Delivering Value’ to all stakeholders, as a crucial facet of Wholesome Leadership.

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Mr Joshi’s presentation was replete with inspiring examples of the wonderful slum rehab work undertaken by L&T Realty in Mumbai, through their initiative, incidentally titled ‘Pragati’! Through this initiative, Mr Joshi explained, over 5000 modern apartment units were handed over to slum-land owners who were now living a comfortable life.

He also explained about how L&T Realty, contrary to industry practices, had pledged to have a 30% women workforce, which it has achieved! Through the many pictorial slides that followed, he threw light on a number of social initiatives undertaken across the country by the team to deliver value to all stakeholders.

(You can watch the full presentation HERE)

The floor was then thrown open to Questions from the audience.

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An invigorated group then sought more clarity on how to implement the simple practices of Wholesome Leadership in their day-to-day lives.

Thereafter, the host, Vivek Yatnalkar, once again took stage. He thanked the panelists for their insights and sharing. Arun then proceeded to hand over mementos to the three eminent panelists, as a token of appreciation and gratitude.

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Finally, Vivek summarized the evening’s learning and prodded the audience to begin this journey of Wholesome Leadership and leading change by ‘taking ownership’. He got the guests to remind themselves of the mantra ‘ If it is to be, it is up to me’ and with that, the evening of learning and sharing drew to a close.

But there was a surprise addition to the flow that no one anticipated. The Sous Chef at Sofitel was welcomed on to the stage by Vivek to share his ‘Special’ creation for the night, keeping the theme in mind. Chef Angad, explained that he had especially prepared ‘Wholesome food’ for Wholesome Leaders’ by a creative use of Wholesome ingredients, much to the delight and laughter of the audience.

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As the guests made their way to a sumptuous spread, the panelists were swarmed by some of them eager to continue the Q&A and to seek some more wisdom from the three stalwarts. At about 10 pm, some good food, banter and networking later, curtains were drawn on a stupendous evening at Carpe Diem Mumbai 2013.

(You can watch the full set of images from the event HERE)

The entire Pragati Leadership Team would like to thank the guests who attended this learning and networking event, despite other pressing engagements. We would also like to thank the staff and support team at Sofitel Hotel for making the event a well-organized and enjoyable experience. Last, but not the least, many thanks go out to our esteemed panelists for taking time out from their busy schedules and gracing the occasion.

 

We look forward to hosting you/ your colleagues at the next edition of Carpe Diem 2013 at Delhi-NCR on October 4th. To register for the event, please send an email to myneed@pragatileadership.com

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On a treasure hunt of Self

Yes….I Know it now….The power of my being resides in myself.    There is nowhere else to go.  I and I alone can access it.   For years I believed that the keys to this treasure were somewhere far, in some distant exotic land and inaccessible unless one crosses the towering mountain cliffs and battles the devilish seas.   Now I know the journey is simpler, maybe there is no journey at all.   And the treasure awaits me.

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So what is this treasure?  Why is still hidden?  And where are the keys? 

An ancient saying goes that God was often heckled by Man and his incessant requests.   Then God approached a wise Saint and wanted to know if there was someplace he could hide and be away from these constant demands.   Apparently wherever God went, Man would chase him and find him.  The saint advised God to take refuge in Man’s own heart.   That is one place he will never search for God!!

Aaah, so this treasure called Self or God is just there. In your heart and my heart…And so beautifully concealed that even with eyes wide open we just fail to notice.  And if and when we do, we might just dismiss is as irrational exalted state.   And then once again the doors shut and we wonder what next.

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Just like for any treasure hunt, Man has been looking for the clues to this treasure.  Many have found it, and some have come very close.  It is time millions find it too.   But unlike the treasures for which the kings explored lands, this one is endless and limitless.   This treasure is something everyone can have and yet it will grow.   So what are the clues?

First of all just know that it is just there waiting for you.   Recognize that.  And you are that treasure.  So it is not removed from you.  It is part of you and you are part of it.    And all that you require is to remember this!!  So simple!!   Yet the myriad schemes the mind will come up with will take you away from this.  That’s the fake treasure called Maya.   Remembrance of the real treasure was always there, and yet the wily mind made it sound unreal.

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Sage Ashtavakra told King Janaka in the Ashtawakra Gita –

muktabhimani mukto hi

baddho baddhabhimany api .

“You are what you think.”

If you think you are bound you are bound.

If you think you are free you are free.

The biggest fallacy is that the treasure is bound.  It is not.   Even the layers are illusionary.  The master sword of awareness of the supreme consciousness is all it takes to reach to this treasure.  The highest knowledge is the knowledge of the self.  And that is the treasure.

Jesus, Buddha and other enlightened Masters have shown the way to this treasure.

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Bhagwad Gita describes the four keys or ways to this treasure.   Gyan Marga,  Bhakti Marga,  Karma Marga and  Yoga Marga.   All Margas lead to the ultimate treasure of Kaivalya, freedom.  You can start anywhere and you are guaranteed this treasure.   Amazing isn’t it.    Where do you want to start?

By Vikas Bhatia 

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The Perfectionist Mind-set

I am sometimes accused by colleagues and family of being a perfectionist.

Specifically, I am accused of being perennially dissatisfied about training scores. Even though this isn’t wholly accurate, I plead guilty.

I do tend to stay focused on what could’ve been done better. I agree that this is an opportunity area for me. I realise that I need to lighten up a little & learn to celebrate good scores, but I am convinced of the need to focus on the opportunity areas even in good programmes.

Here’s why.

Take Ashutosh Gowarikar. After he tasted success with the excellent but long Lagaan, he attempted the excellent but again rather long Swades. All this while, he was being hailed as a director who was making different, meaningful, grand cinema. Encouraged by the response he was getting he went on to make Jodhaa Akbar, yet another really long film, but again one that the audiences enjoyed.

By this time, as reactions showed, his fans were  beginning to wonder whether his movies couldn’t be made just a little crisper, a little shorter in length. Encouraged by the success of his style of filmmaking, Gowarikar went on to make another two long films, both of which bombed at the box office. Gowarikar was possibly not paying attention to which elements were making his films work, and which elements his audience didn’t agree with. He seemingly stayed with the belief that he was succeeding & carried on as he knew best.

Similarly Imtiaz Ali. His first few films established him as a director to reckon with. His latest has evoked mixed reactions but has also been declared successful. If he too shrugs off the flaws in his latest product, focusing only on the fact that it was successful, he too may end up in the same trap that Gowarikar finds himself in.

On the other end of the spectrum is a company like Flipkart. Here’s a team that isn’t satisfied with customers being merely happy with its 3 business days delivery proposal.They raise their benchmarks even higher and start delivering in 2 sometimes 1 business day. They’re making customers talk about them. They’re not going for satisfaction. They’re not satisfied with satisfaction. They’re chasing customer delight. Each and every time.

And that is what accused perfectionists like me enjoy chasing too!

Therefore, it is not that I or people like me are being perfectionists or a nit-pickers. We don’t consider being focused on improvement as being negative. And it’s not like we’ll be disheartened with an average performance.

It’s just that we keep looking forward to going one better. That to me is a positive attitude.

Our founder Mr Arun Wakhlu often says, “Everything is perfect. Everything can be improved”.

I believe that this kind of an attitude is central to raising the bar for what we deliver to customers.

Allow me one last example before I rest my case. Braking systems -When does one decide that the advancement made is enough? We thought so when they moved from wooden brakes to drum brakes, didn’t we?  Didn’t we say enough work on brakes had been done when we went hydraulic? What about Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)? Surely after that we could’ve said, this much perfection was enough to chase? Are we going to stop now that we’ve got Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)?

The truth of the matter is that going one better than yesterday feels great! It represents the “Pragati” in Pragati Leadership. More so, it is a sign of our moving towards our fullest potential. And in the process we deliver to our clients what they need in order to move towards the destiny they have visualised for themselves.

By Aman Zaidi

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The AHA Moment

A few days back, I had the privilege of being hosted at the Taj Vivanta. By now, it has become a common perception that Taj properties take service to a different level and benchmark the same. With Vivanta, that wasn’t the case. They went one better.

The team takes pride in what is defined as the ‘Vivanta moment’ – a unique, often unforgettable experience for the guest that is a signature to the particular property. As a guest these experiential ‘Moments’ have stayed with me long after I checked out.

They ensured quite a few of these moments during my short stay! From personalized name-tags ready before guests arrived to spectacle/ lens-cleaners given on arrival, one feels special right from the start! A wall-décor made using only spices to uniquely flavoured ‘breath-freshener’ sorbets at their restaurants… the experiences wowed me.

I gathered that all of their properties try and create new moments regularly. Imagine the enthusiasm, drive, creativity, collaboration and passionate ownership required to do this!

At Pragati Leadership, we often refer to this as creating and delivering the ‘AHA moment’ to our participants during our interventions. When the audience profile, needs and expectations are understood and catered to in the design and delivery of the program, such moments tend to happen in the natural flow. As a measure of our own effectiveness, we try and create one ‘AHA moment’ in each program. The idea is to not ‘play to the gallery’ and get momentary wows but to actually catalyze a change in attitudes, skills and knowledge. That is when there is a far-reaching impact for both people and business perspectives and it becomes an AHA – Moment for all!

However, the Vivanta experience got me thinking about what it takes to continuously create such impactful moments that become cherished memories in every walk of life. How can we create such moments in our daily lives for families, our children and our spouses? Can we do this on the spur of the moment, for guests or for complete strangers? Can we create such moments at work for our colleagues and customers? The key, I believe, is to create such moments for ourselves first, as often as possible, so that it becomes a habit… and that’s when memories get created!

By Vivek Yatnalkar

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