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!!!!!

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 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.

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

Ubuntu – I am because we are

The Disney movie #lionking opens with the mesmerizing song #Circleof life with its first few lines sung in Zulu. The powerful vocals and African drum heralding the new born lion cub! The circle of life – we go back to where we come from, and within and around this circle we encounter love, despair, success, failure, happiness, sadness, unexpected pathways and obstacles and back we come to where we began.- in one big circle – the circle of our lives.

Also, not so surprisingly, each of our circles are interconnected – crossing paths and intersecting at workplaces, homes, subway stations, online and god knows where else!!

#Ubuntu is a beautiful Zulu word that stands for this #interconnectedness. Ubuntu essential means #humanity but has gone on to have a more widespread meaning emphasizing on spreading kindness to connect people.

It is the understanding that we cannot exist in isolation and so Ubuntu is more commonly interpreted as “I am because we are”

#Ubuntu promotes the following:

  • #Interconnectedness of everyone to each other and to their surroundings
  • No one exists in isolation. We are all part of a larger circle, a #largesystem that effects us and that we are affected by
  • It is every person’s duty to #share and #contribute to the system/ community/society
  • Promote fairness and brotherhood. Spread love, integrity and acceptance

Africa’s, Ubuntu philosophy pervades almost all parts of the African continent. It is integrated into all aspects of day-to-day life and is a concept shared by all almost tribes.

The #Ubuntu philosophy has powerful lessons for all of us today-as individuals, managers of teams, leaders of organizations and most importantly members of society.

Our actions-good, bad and indifferent affect all those in the ecosystem. If we could truly internalize this important concept, our world would be a happier place!!!!

Categorized as Media

Finding your Inner Goddess – Leadership Lessons from Athena

The Greek Goddess #Athena has left a legacy that is immortal and timeless. The lessons from 7000 BC are valid, even today for all #womeninLeadership positions. According to legend, the Athenian King Cecrops decided to have a contest amongst the Gods of the Acropolis, the winner of which will lend their name to the glorious city. The two most prominent Gods of that time, Poseidon and Athena, were the fiercest contenders.

The contest between them was so intense, they nearly went to #war with each other. Then, Athena had an idea. She #proposed that she and Poseidon present the city with a gift and the best gift would become the patron. King Cecrops and the people
of the city would decide the winner.

#Poseidon was the God of the Sea and gave the gift of #water, in the form of a massive foamy stream. This excited the people. But they found out quickly, the water was sea water and unfit for human consumption.

Athena, presented the city with an #olivetree. The olive seed bore fruit and proved to be a wonderful gift. It provided the people with sustenance, fuel, wood and a crop that was trade able. Athena was proclaimed the winner.

Thus #Athens got its name and Athena’s wisdom was immortalised.

Athena is considered the #GoddessofWisdom and a #War. She was a #prudent and #wise battle strategist.

1. She #creatively turned what could have been a destructive war into a gift for the people.
2. She ensured irrespective of who won the contest, the city and people won and #benefitted by default.
3. Athena is also considered the #Goddessofstrength, leadership, crafts (specially spinning and weaving) and was known for her generosity and kindness.

As women, in leadership roles much can be imbibed from these myths and legends of Athena. She embodied courage, wisdom as well as kindness and domesticity.

For us women striving to balance the home and workplace, we could, like Athena, embrace our feminity and yet, fiercely lead from the front line.

Categorized as Media

Do you stop at Diversity or Are You Inclusive Too?

A beautiful example to bring out the difference between #diversity and #inclusion. “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance”. There lies a vast #difference between diversity and inclusion, terms that are used interchangeably quite often.

Focus on diversity will ensure your organization has a #Mix, policies and focus on inclusion will ensure that this #Mix works in a way that is #meaningful to both the employees as well as the company.

While various hiring and retention #manifestoes can help companies achieve diversity, focused policy and #mindset changes are required for the purpose of inclusion.

#GodrejIndia Culture Lab has been working on a project that specifically makes the case for corporate India to embrace the 4.9 lakh documented #transpeople in India, 92% of whom are still unable to participate in the formal economy, according to
the #National Human Rights Commission.

A paper titled, ‘A #Manifesto for Trans Inclusion in the Indian Workplace’ was presented by Shahani, head of Godrej India Culture Lab.

This manifesto, makes a case on why #hiring and inclusion of LGTBQ community into mainstream corporate world can have many #financial and other #benefits for an organization.

Yet, the process of including and #integrating them into the workforce is one that can pose many challenges and obstacles.

The Manifesto also has #guidelines for companies to adopt #inclusivehiringpractices
sensitizing current employees, widening the scope of health insurance and medical benefits, rethinking restroom infrastructures…..

There are real cost implications in the short term; in the long term companies which
demonstrated a clear focus on inclusion have reaped many #benefits:

1. Coveted employer #credibility
2. More wide spread #revenue streams
3. Greater #employeeengagement and retention

Categorized as Media

Manager as a Coach: A Learning intervention for a Leading Multi-Business Chemicals Conglomerate on Helping Managers Put on a Coaching Hat

The Landscape: Our client has a large amount of age diversity in their workforce. A mix of Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z.

The management style of the legacy and tenured managers is very command and control. Gen Z is looking at a more participative, empathetic and engaged leadership style. They are eager to learn and want their managers to actively work with them on this journey.

The Solution: Through a simulation-based approach, managers identified specific issues their team members needed to be coached on. A structured coaching plan was prepared and implemented, first in the training room and then real-time at the workplace.

The themes that were covered:
1. Fundamentals of coaching
2. Prepare for a coaching conversation
3. Use the GROW model to coach
4. Drive productivity through coaching conversations

Program Impact: Participants were sensitized to the fundamental principles on using coaching as a tool, to drive productivity and engage with teams. They used this knowledge and awareness to initiate coaching conversations with members and drive growth.

Overcoming Unconscious Biases

The Landscape:
A global alcohol and beverage company had a clear vision to improve their gender ratio, especially in their sales teams. The first step was to make their teams aware of their biases and manage them, so decision making is objective. Building awareness on unconscious biases is critical not just to increase diversity in organizations, it has a compelling business case too. It directly impacts the bottom line of businesses and has significant implications for hiring, promotions, getting key assignments, building networks and general morale of the workforce.

The Solution:
An interactive discussion-based workshop, where the methodology was largely self-reflection and insight into personal biases was conducted. This was followed up by a structured personal action plan on managing the biases identified and moving towards more objective decision making in all spheres of work. The themes covered during the program were:

1. The business case for gender diversity
2. Origins of unconscious biases
3. Different kinds of biases and how they manifest
4. Techniques for building awareness of biases and managing them
5. Personal action plan

STRIVE: A First Time Manager Program

The Landscape:
The transition from an individual contributor to a First Time Manager is considered the most challenging one in an executive’s career. The endeavour is to empower managers to manage their individual KRA’s and to engage/manage/grow teams and drive results. Shradha HRD just completed a learning journey for 392 first time managers for a global IT/ITES company.

The Solution:
Through extensive consultations with stakeholders and participants, we identified the critical themes for the group. The program was contextualized and a robust mechanism to assess effectiveness incorporated This was a 7 part intervention, spread across 3 months.

The areas that were identified as challenging and we particularly focused on were:

1. Engaging with team members
2. Nurturing talent
3. Conducting performance appraisals
4. Giving feedback that leads to growth
5. Difficult conversation
6. Creating a psychologically safe environment
7. Coaching and mentoring

Our experience  across different industries has thrown up similar data. First time managers struggle, not so much with achieving targets or completion of individual work assigned to them. Their main challenges stem from their inabilities to engage and communicate with team members, manage teams and influence stakeholders.

A Diversity and Inclusion initiative: Interviewing skills for the Talent Acquisition team of a Global Tech Company to help hire People with Disabilities

The Landscape: A global tech company has a unique diversity and inclusion program where they are hiring, training and integrating people with disabilities into the organization.

A need was felt to make the hiring process easier and more humane for people with disabilities.

The Solution:
Shradha HRD ran a series of programs for the talent acquisition team where we focused on the following themes:

1. How to make the process comfortable for the candidate, given the nature of disabilities
2. Managing our biases and focusing on the candidates’ ability, instead of their biases
3. Being a champion of candidates with disabilities within the organization

A touching story that a recruiter shared during the program, summarized #beinginclusive.

At a career fair, this recruiter was interviewing people with disabilities. He said he was very impressed with one of the candidates with Orthopedic disabilities. She was bright, cheerful and well spoken. The candidate however, was not a fit in the Tech industry, but was extremely passionate about baking. This came out in the half an hour long conversation the recruiter had with the candidate even though he knew he was not going to hire her.

He said, people with disabilities have been through so many rejections, that is important to listen to their stories. They really need that. The passion of this candidate stayed with the recruiter. He began reaching out with in his network, to find someone that was looking for talent in the baking space. Someone did emerge. And there was a happy fit-both for the organization and for the candidate. Being inclusive is going beyond the buzz words, its truly reaching out. The pleasure of having helped, the pleasure of giving, is special and a reward in itself.

IWN Mentorship Program

The Landscape:
CII, the largest industry body in India, has a women’s network with professionals from different domains, entrepreneurs, and home makers. The objective of the mentorship program was to leverage the experience within the member base and help younger women upskill, upgrade and have a support structure through a senior member in their line of work.

We worked with the Thought Leadership team at CII-IWN on the Second Mentorship Program for Women. This was a group of talented women, from extremely varied domains (entrepreneurs, professionals, homemakers starting ventures and leaders in their domain), who are committed to their growth and the growth of others.

The Solution:
This was a six-month long journey conducted, based on mutually agreed on goals by the mentor and the mentee. A clear structure for the journey was provided and overseen through regular check-ins with both mentors and mentees. The clearly defined structure and regular touch points with the experienced support team helps mentors that have the domain knowledge but not the expertise of running mentorship programs, conduct the program with ease and realize the set objectives and goals for the program.

This program is one of the best examples of women supporting women and creating an ecosystem for growth.

Program on Communicating with Impact for a Pharma Giant: In person sessions across India

Over the last 20 years, #communication is a theme we have run in so many different sizes, shapes, forms and for participants ranging from fresh entrants to the workplace to senior leaders. It’s a critical competency that is needed, across levels. The forms may change, from communicating with peers to coaching direct reports; the relevance remains unchanged

Shraddha HRD recently concluded a program series on #Communicating with Impact for a Pharma giant. Over the last 2 years, a bulk of our interventions has been conducted virtually. However, our personal experience has been, for topics that require reflection, learning by doing and group work, nothing beats an in-person event.

Post the program, some thoughts the participants shared, was the real-life relevance of the case studies, exercises and simulations that we conducted.

Our experience of having trained on the “communication” competency over 25 years helps us add value to participants across sectors and levels, by contextualizing the learning material and sharing best practices from a cross section of industries.

A Unique Immersive Experience on “Understanding Luxury” for a Global Liquor Manufacture

The Landscape: Luxury is an #experience. How do you give participants an experience of #luxury, sitting in a training room? It was an interesting challenge for us, as learning partners to a leading #AlchoholBeverage company. The end result was an #experientialprogram that provided participants a wholly #immersive experience of the luxury Universe.

The #keyasks for the program were
1. To get key account managers to sell an #experience and not a product. While selling luxury goods, you cant really sell on price, it’s the entire experience the consumer buys. This is often a challenging mind-set for sales people to move to.
2. Move to #meaningfulengagement with consumers; ultra high net-worth consumers. This can be done by reflection on the mind-set, preferences and buying behaviors of HNI consumers
3. A transformation from transactional selling to #consultativeselling: being trend setters instead of just followers.

It was a fabulous experience putting the program together & executing it. The faculty for the program were industry stalwarts & were able to curate two fabulous #immersive experiences on luxury, which went beyond, just classroom learning. This added the extra bit required to move learning to an #experience

When participants stay on, much beyond designated training hours, asking questions on how to perfect their art, you know you the learning experience has been #successful

Using Business Storytelling to present data is a program we have conducted for five organizations from different sectors-Finance, Technology, Insurance and Manufacturing

This is a pressing need that is emerging, given the increasing digitization at work and the large amount of data that is generated. How do you help others make sense of this data.

An effective and time-tested strategy we use for this program:
1. What is your key message?
2. How do you drive home this key message?
3. Build a concise and compelling narrative using elements of business storytelling
The most important ingredient is to strategize, build and practice practice practice

We spent weeks and months putting the data together but how many minutes do we spend on structuring the narrative.

Data informs, stories persuade!!!!!!

How business leaders THRIVE and not merely survive in the VUCA world

In the VUCA world, companies adapt to the changes, survive. But few leaders thrive in this environment. They pull everyone forward along with them. What lessons could we learn from those leaders? BE THE CUSTOMER

a) Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, asked employees not to be representatives of customers but become customers themselves. She herself visited retail stores as a typical customer and experienced the business from a consumer’s mind. She encouraged everyone to do the same.

b) Amazon was so successful in selling books because Jeff Bezos was an avid reader. He himself is an extreme user. He knew the desires, needs of his targeted user segment.

c) iTunes store was an essential reason for iPod’s massive success. iTunes store solved a lot of problems and gave a wonderful experience to the music fans. One reason — Steve Jobs himself was a huge music fan -a hardcore Bob Dylan fan. Being an avid user, Steve knew what were the real needs of a music listener.

d) Harley Davidson promotes a culture where employees are encouraged to become riders so that they could understand the customers.

e) Nike’s founders Phil Knight and Billy Bowden were track athletes. They knew the problems faced by professional athletes with the shoes as they had experienced themselves.

How business leaders thrive and not merely survive in the VUCA world?

Source: Article by Shah Mohammed

Categorized as Media

6 Features of Hurry Sickness

If you are constantly racing to cross items off your to-do list, juggling several tasks at a time and easily agitated by small delays, you might be dealing with “hurry sickness”-a term coined by cardiologists Meyer Friedman & Ray Rosenman

6 Features of Hurry Sickness

1. You treat everything like a race

You find yourself treating even small, everyday tasks like shopping, eating or driving as a race; delays cause anxiety

2. You find it impossible to do just one task at a time

Focusing on just one task, feels unbearable to you. You’ll try to figure out what you can squeeze in while you brush your teeth

3. You get highly irritable with delays

Traffic, waiting at the doctor’s stresses you out. You’re the kind of person who presses the “close door” button in the elevator repeatedly

4. You feel perpetually behind schedule

There are never enough hours in a day to accomplish what you need to do. You always feel like you’re playing catch-up

5. You interrupt or talk over people

You may not intend to be rude, but you’ve been told you have a habit of cutting people off mid-conversation.

6. You’re obsessed with checking things off your to-do list

You love the burst of satisfaction you get when you complete a task and get to cross it off your list. But that high doesn’t last long, you quickly move to the next thing.

Categorized as Media

Working with Emotional Intelligence: a Program for 600 Managers in a Manufacturing Company

The Landscape: Vision 2025 for this leading Fibers manufacturer, included the critical competency of “Emotional Intelligence”. There was a need felt to move away from the “command and control” system to a more “collaborative” system. Behaving and Demonstrating Emotional Intelligence was regarded as critical, giving the constantly changing environment and the advent of the millennials and Generation Z, into the workforce

The Solution: Shraddha HRD designed a learning intervention, spread over 6 weeks. Participants went through a learning intervention covering the different aspects of emotional intelligence through virtual instructor led sessions. This was followed up with out of class reflection on demonstrating emotionally intelligent behaviors and implementing action plans.

Some themes that were covered:

What is the relevance of #emotionalintelligence in a manufacturing environment? Is it a competency that should really be top of the heap? Isn’t operational excellence far more important and if the command-and-control structure has worked well till now, why change?

There is a thought process that emotional intelligence is far more relevant for the services sector. A detailed learning needs analysis clearly showed that managers today, irrespective of the sectors they work in, need to display emotionally intelligent behavior, with their teams.

The Result: As this was an extended learning intervention, we heard powerful and heart-warming stories and anecdotes of participants applying the principles discussed during classroom learning, with their team members.

Truly gratifying