English with Dehati Madam

Ownership and accountability is an oft repeated corporate mantra. Recently came across this story in the TOI that embodies these principles. Not set in corporate corridors, it’s the story of 29 year old Yashoda Lodhi, a Youtuber with nearly 2.9 lakh subscribers and 2.6 crore views.

Her USP: Teaching spoken English

Her Background: A resident of Sirathu Kaushambi in rural Uttar Pradesh. Broken education till class 12, married to a daily wage earner, who was robbed temporarily of his earning capacity by an accident, family saddled with a bank loan that paid for her husband’s medical care.

Her Skills: No English speaking that a city private school would hire her for

Her earnings today: Rs. 25,000 a month (which is a large sum in her village)

How she did it:
A great sense of branding. Embracing her social reality and using it as a pull, she calls her YouTube channel “EnglishwithdehatiMadam ”.

Madam has a key understanding of pedagogic fundamentals. Her videos have titles like “how to create an English speaking environment ”, “is grammar important?”, mistake-having a fear of making mistakes. Often her lessons are from a slice of life-conversation between 2 neighbours.

Her journey:
She started with the channels on desi cooking, embroidery and decoration. None worked out. Next, she spent hours on the Internet learning about content creation video editing and ways to gain online traction.

After listening to several motivational speakers fluent in English, she decided to become a motivational dehati speaker who can communicate in English, in May 2022. She says, “I taught herself English and used my dehati identity to gain viewership.”


Categorized as Media

How Do You Test If You Are An Empathetic Interviewer?

Ask yourself these 3 questions to check if you are an empathetic interviewer? A recent conversation with a young lawyer, about a job interview led to an insight on how interviewers can add to the “interview experience”

The interviewee had an upcoming interview with a Tier 1 law firm. Despite having the necessary qualifications and experience, he had been unable to clear his last 3 interviews.

He reached out to me before his interview and revealed he was a nervous interviewee. His ask: “what should I say/not say during the interview so that I have a better chance of being selected?”

Over the years ShradhaHRD has been involved with several interventions on hashtag#effectiveinterviewing and I did share my perspective on what an interviewee needs to do to showcase his/her profile.

A thought stayed with me for a couple of days-what can interviewers do to improve the process, beyond the general hygiene factors:

The solution:

  1. Do I do enough to make the interviewee comfortable? (this will vary based on nervousness levels)
  2. Do I ask the interviewee the right questions to showcase his/her profile? (will need to be customized)
  3. And FINALLY…did I give the interviewee feedback on their profile/interview? (if this is done, it genuinely helps interviewees and demonstrates empathy)

Companies Hunt for CEO’s with High EQ and Humility

What do companies look for while hiring CEO’s? Statistics from the top recruiters in India tell us-70% of organizations in India were looking for a CEO who is humble, has a high EQ with good people skills. This was clearly called out when they received the hiring mandate from their clients. I read an article a while ago where a senior executive being considered for the position of a CEO was turned down because he was extremely rude to the driver that had come to pick him up for the job interview. The prospective CEO was running late and passed his anxiety and frustration onto the driver who had come to pick him up.

Several companies may overlook senior leaders riding roughshod over the emotions of team members, however we see this trend changing. Slowly but surely, the value of control over one’s emotions, demonstrating emotional intelligence and being empathetic are slowly competencies that people hire for.

Way back in 2008, when ShradhaHRD was conducting an intervention on Conducting appraisals for a Global Bank, it was interesting that the only thing that managers scored their team members on were hard skills. Even though there was a detailed matrix describing expected behaviors to be demonstrated, these were largely overlooked. Less than an hour in an entire year was spent talking about these competencies!!!!!!!!

Thankfully change , ushered in by the growing Millennial population in the workforce and other factors has brought emotional intelligence to the forefront.

Categorized as Media

The Great Indian ‘Jugaad’ Rescue

A million dollar rescue machine or “semi-skilled” resources? Most of us would choose the first option for a rescue mission. The rescue of 41 miners by “rat miners” turns conventional wisdom on its head. The learnings are immense:

We often need a multi-pronged approach, that will get the job done. The heavy duty technology, created the path; manpower with relevant skills completed the job.

The rescue effort was a multi-agency collaboration-National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the Indian Army, local authorities, experts most notably, Chris Cooper (Micro-tunnelling expert), Tunnelling expert Arnold Dix, Retired Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain. Completely different approaches, yet worked together to achieve success.

In an effort that took over 24 hours, the miners worked in two teams of three each, with one person drilling, the second collecting the debris and the third pushing it out of the pipe. It was boiling hot and there were no special suits for protection. Yet the teams worked non-stop till the miners were rescued. Ownership of the task, without considering personal benefits.

A fantastic example of leadership, collaboration and working with a solutions mindset, to achieve a difficult goal.

Categorized as Media

A Unique Program on Spirituality for Business Leadership at an Oil and Gas Company – Achieving External Success and Internal Evolution

The Landscape:
Business Leaders at an Oil and Gas company felt the need for a formula that would help them drive growth and productivity at the workplace. Additionally they felt the need to help them discover inner peace and maintain an equilibrium, even during difficult, turbulent times and challenging situations.

The Challenge:
Leaders that lead departments and divisions are expected, not only to drive results; they need to be able to take a long term view, think holistically, create robust systems and fire fight when there are unexpected challenges that come up. Everyday pressures to perform, grow and maintain your inner calm is a tall ask, from any one person. This requires a slightly unconventional approach, a transformation of the inner self, to lead and grow.

The Solution:
We conducted a 2 day program for the leaders which had thought provoking themes like-Why is #Spirituality becoming the cornerstone for success in #businessleadership? How can we achieve inner #happiness and external #success at the same time?

The program tackled the complex subject of #Spirituality and why it is paramount and essential today for #business leaders who lead big corporations that impact people’s lives in multifarious ways.

Delineating from #religion, the program opened up vistas of #selfempowerment and purposive working in today’s world.

Some themes we explored during the program were:

1.     What is the importance and benefits of #spirituality for leaders that sit at the head of organizations?
2.     How can we find inner #peace and yet gain external #success?
3.     How do we discover our true #purpose in life, work towards our goals with passion and discipline

Using the book #Cipher as a guide, we reflected and discussed laws that govern our lives and help us become more creative, more objective and above all more aware.

The Impact:
By the end of the program, participants had a clear roadmap on how to reconcile these tangential objectives-inner evolution and outward success- Both equally critical for all of us to be truly #HAPPY.

A personal blueprint for happiness and success!!!!!

Breaking Biases, Breaking Barriers

It’s always a pleasure to work on events like breaking biases and breaking barriers with the Thought Leadership team at CII-IWN. Truly women supporting women.

The key note speakers and panelists were a diverse group with hugely interesting perspectives-the high commissioner of Rwanda, Deputy country rep United Nations India…

A panel of women from completely different walks of lives…what they have in common…breaking the glass ceiling in male dominated environments

And a group of individuals-performers, filmmaker’s, journalists that had shattered stereotypes and broken the mould.

My take away’s

The positives:

  1. India has a very progressive constitution with respect to gender equality and a robust legal framework to support.
  2. 4,200 women directors in over 3200 companies. A lot of these numbers have come about in the last 10 years
  3. Women shattering the glass ceiling and moving into domains where they were  never present before – the Armed Forces, on assembly lines in heavy manufacturing, as heads of multinational organizations and agencies

Work still to be done:

  1. 13% of the world’s land is owned by women
  2. In India, only 24% of women participate in the workforce
  3. 40% women in IT at the entry level, moves to 3% at top management levels

Above all, if women support women…we can create magic. I see it everyday, at Shradha HRD, where we are 90% women dominated and at platforms like CII-IWN where women truly support women!!!!!!!

Categorized as Media

Is your Heart at Peace or at War?

Is your Heart at Peace or at War? Resolving the Heart of the Conflict

During a recent Webinar that I co-facilitated, a participant asked me a question most of us have grappled with at some point in our careers:

How do I deal with a stakeholder that is nasty and argumentative?

My mind immediately went to: “Is your heart at Peace or at War”?

This is the foundational principle of the Anatomy of Peace, a book which is the story of Yusuf al-Falah, an Arab, and Avi Rozen, a Jew, each lost his father in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

When we approach a conflict, most often we do it with a heart that is full of anger and a mind that says “I am right”. This comes in the way of us being able to see the other person’s perspective, leading to a far deeper conflict.

The solution is really simple, when you walk into a conflict situation, you need to ask yourself, “do I really want to find a solution or do I want to be proven right”?

When you approach a conflict situation, ask yourself the following questions:
1.    What is it that I really want from this situation? What is my best case scenario?
2.    What could the other person be thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing?
3.    What can I do that could move the situations towards a resolution?

The next time you walk into a conflict, just ask yourself “Is my heart at peace or is at war”?

Read on & Try it…the results may surprise you !!!!!!!!!!!!

Categorized as Media

An Intervention on Strategic Thinking and Looking at the Big Picture for a Real Estate Asset Management Company

The Landscape:
Our client is one of the largest real estate asset management companies in the world. They are set to double their Assets under Management (AUM) in the next 3 years. This program was for middle managers from across functions, in the organization.

There was a clear need identified, for managers to be able to move away from a transactional approach to a more strategic approach. Step away from everyday execution and look at the Bigger Picture.

The Challenge:
The organization was growing very fast, in an ever-changing landscape. This required managers to be able to look at the bigger picture and then take their decisions. There was a tendency with managers, to remain bogged down
at the execution stage and not be able to move to step back and look at the situation holistically.

The Solution:
The focus of the program was to give participants the necessary tools to look at the situation strategically, view the big picture and not get stuck in the fine print, the details. Using these tools, apply them to everyday situations at the workplace. We worked not just at the concept level but at the execution too.

The Impact:
Participants were able to apply “Big Picture Thinking” tools to challenging situations at their work. It allowed them to step back, reflect and map out a clear action plan for implementation. The program gave participants a safe space to review mindsets and strategize on how to implement the actual change on thinking strategically and looking at the big picture before taking decisions.

A Journey towards Self-Empowerment

We started a learning journey at hashtag#IIMLucknow, a couple of days ago. Amul S. Bahl, the founder of  Shradha HRD facilitated the session on “Building Capabilities to Realize Potential”. Based on 2 sutras from the Cipher, this session was a starting point, with endless possibilities to delve deep in one’s own self and broaden learning.

Conscious leadership and leadership with a conscience is critical today for a more humane and productive workplace. This is the over-arching theme for the learning journey.

The key session objectives were:

  1. To bring greater clarity to participants with respect to their own self
  2. Empowering self
  3. Understanding the karma matrix of essential and non-essential actions
  4. Tackling adverse results

The session focused on the linkages between the inner self, evolution and external achievements. Appreciating these linkages resulted in the cohort feeling more enlightened and confident of their inner selves.

We would like to thank Prof. Anita Goyal for organizing this session flawlessly. It was a fantastic start to the journey of inner evolution and external success!!!!!

Categorized as Media

A Learning Journey to Empower Women for the Next Level

The Landscape:
As part of their #DEI initiatives, our client who is a global 2 wheeler manufacturing company wanted to encourage, support and facilitate the growth of the women managers. The company has a global mandate to improve the gender ratio, especially at middle and senior management positions. The vision was to provide support to women internally, instead of hiring external resources, to meet the mandate.

#Womenempowerment, in every sphere of life, is a passion and a priority for us at #ShradhaHRD. We are a women dominated organization.

Our Solution:
To create a #learningjourney to #engage, #support and #empowerwomen from across functions.

This began with a detailed learning needs analysis, which threw up the following themes

1.   Drive to excel
2.   Propensity to lead
3.   Taking initiatives
4.   Stakeholder Management

The learning journey was spread across a 9 month period, which includes classroom learning, group coaching, a structured mentoring program and an internal project to immediately implement learnings at the workplace.

Program Impact:

Participants and their managers felt they had more confidence in their abilities to perform. They were able to delegate more efficiently. A key change that was noticed- increased skills to manage teams better and ask stakeholders for what they required, clearly and with confidence.

We are #committed to being a part of this fabulous journey, with these super talented women and helping them reach their #potential.

Transitioning from Campus to Corporate

Its always refreshing to train new entrants to the workspace. ShradhaHRD ran learning interventions for executives joining Automobiles, Pharma, Alco-bev, electronic goods, IT and ITES. This year, we covered the entire gamut.

What is refreshing about these programs is, often an hashtag#unconventional way of looking at things and a fresh and everchanging perspective to life.

Some themes that we see prominently reflected in GenZ:

1. A growing confidence to speak about what is on their mind and ask for what they need
2. An expectation of super-fast growth, coupled with ongoing learning
3. A need for constant newness/stimulation and some resistance to perform repetitive, everyday, mundane task
4. The need to belong (to a team, an organization)
5. Time to pursue their own interests (beyond work), often travel

While some of these hashtag#expectations might seem at odds with each other; we need to acknowledge the existing mindset. Only when we know and understand, can we work effectively.

For me, the one point that stood out was the strong need to belong and feel a part of a larger structure. This becomes tougher in a hybrid environment.

Categorized as Media

Hijacked by Your Emotions?

If you regret having lost your temper and acted in a manner you later regret, this post is for you….Some of us that are die-hard Football lovers, might remember the 2006 World Cup Final game. In front of 28.8 million viewers in 213 countries Zinedine Zidane, a world-wide soccer role model, lost his self-control and head butted Marco Materazzi. Zidane was kicked out of the game. France lost the World Cup to Italy and Zidane’s career ended in disgrace and wonderment

“What was he thinking?” Again, he wasn’t.

When faced with danger, the primitive flight, fight or freeze response kicks in. Even though we are not faced with physical danger, anything we perceive as a threat, our mind views as danger. This releases a flood of hormones and hijacks our better sense.

Examples of threatening situations in our daily work life:

  1. An angry email from a key stakeholder
  2. Being put on the spot to answer an uncomfortable question in front of your team
  3. A crisis that came out of the blue

This phenomenon is known as the Amygdala Hijack!!!!!

Dealing with the Amygdala Hijack

  1. Become aware of your “hot buttons”: Recognize the situations that cause you to lose your cool. This will help you respond effectively as opposed to react
  2. Name the emotion: When faced with threatening situations, research has shown that naming/labelling the emotion helps calm you down
  3. Practice using this technique regularly until it becomes a part of your mental routine
Categorized as Media

The Conjunction Fallacy – The Brain Sometimes Makes Connections Where None Exist

#AmosTversky and #DanielKahneman in their landmark work in 1983 asked participants to solve this problem. 80% of those that answered, gave a response that clearly proved they have a clear bias. How much have things changed in the last 40 years? The problem is given below….

Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable?

1. Linda is a bank teller
2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement

More than 80% participants chose option 2, regardless of whether they were novice, intermediate or expert statisticians, even though the mathematical probability of Linda being both a bank teller and a feminist activist is much lower than the probability of her being a bank teller alone.

This example demonstrates how our brain makes connections where none exist: the #conjunctionfallacy.

We also have an inherent bias that detailed statements are more likely than general ones.

There has been criticism on this problem. It remains one of the earliest & most well-known examples of the way our brain interprets information, makes connections & deduces things about people.

Categorized as Media

How a Leader Builds a Culture: Aditya Vikram Birla

A brilliant example of leaders supporting their employees, even when there has been a huge loss. This happened with the Late Mr. Aditya Vikram Birla and is often held up as a benchmark on treating employees at the Aditya Birla group

A senior employee at the Aditya Birla group had made a mistake that cost the company a lot of money. The incident was brought to the notice of the late Aditya Vikram Birla. He had to decide what to do with the employee.

He followed an unusual approach. He made a list of all the positives and the negatives of the employee, including the money the employee had made for the company. He then reviewed the lists carefully. The decision was clear. He decided to retain the employee. After due consideration and careful thought, Mr Birla decided that the gains the employee brought the company were much more than the losses that the company incurred due to the incident.

A leader sets the tone and molds the culture of the organization. By taking a decision like this, a clear message is sent out-the leadership has your back!!!!

Categorized as Media