Story for corporate training: leading from the front

Larks insight: Leadership is not just commanding, it is guidance and helping so that the work gets done. “ The story goes that sometime, close to a battlefield over 200 years ago, a man in civilian clothes rode past a small group of exhausted battle-weary soldiers digging an obviously important defensive position. The section leader, …

Personal Leadership: Leading self before leading others

Personal leadership is to apply the principles of leadership that make a business a success … to yourself. It is so critical that the renowned management guru, Peter Drucker once called it “the only leadership that’s going to matter in the 21st century.” The current VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex & ambiguous) environment amplifies the need …

#SuccessBytes : How I get more done in less time?

If you are like most people 24 hours seem less in a day. The pressure of getting more done is ever increasing and so we decided to get the inside story of how senior professionals are managing to get more done in the same 24 hours that we all have.

Lovely Kumar, Director Larks Learning & Co-Founder WomenLead

As an entrepreneur with a thriving #corporate training & psychometric assessments consultancy and a co-founder of WomenLead, what has worked for me is to focus my energies on a couple of areas at a time.

I set goals for every year and keep a goal sheet in my purse. Every month I review if there needs to be any course correction.

At work, I respect momentum and creative bursts and do the maximum during these times.

I focus on deliberately learning something new regularly. Read a book, learn from each training session I facilitate, Video’s etc.

I delegate at work and at home. Actually even more at home. And I try to never do for others what they can do for themselves. It helps them stretch, increases their confidence and saves my time. Also I teach deliberately what I know intuitively.

I am careful who I collaborate with. I invest time in relationship building upfront. Collaborations can be a great source of synergy or a quagmire of wasted time.

Most importantly, I make it a point to celebrate. Movies, good food and travel all keep the mojo up.

Madhvi Goyal, Vice President and Head – Human Resources

Time has never been a scarce resource for me!

I claim this not because there is any less for me to accomplish than other fraternity colleagues of mine, but because over the years one has learnt the art and the skill to control the numerous ‘time wasters’ that one gets bombarded with on an everyday basis.

Traditional management strategies teach you ways to eliminate common workplace time wasters that usually occur due to ineffective communication – better e-mail management / in-person conversations as opposed to mail exchanges / meeting etiquettes / careful planning & organising etc. Having consciously worked towards making these learnings become a part of my natural work approach, my endeavour additionally has been on keeping an uncluttered mind space.

In my experience, the wasteful thoughts that we pile-up in our mind is the biggest impediment to leveraging our productive potential.

Imbibing higher spiritual discipline has helped me build superior personal relationships, improved decision making, better self-control & management of emotions and gain a higher perspective to life. All of this has helped me overcome the challenge of inefficiencies building up, both at work and in my personal life.

Ritu Arora, Director Engineering, Aricent

Life is all about learning and improving. And this stands true in personal and professional space. I would rather leave “more” and “less” words out. Focus on quality and #productivity.

Being mindful. Productivity and quality can never be achieved if we do not practice mindfulness. Being present and focus on the goal you want to achieve, Try and turn the goal from “Have” to “Want to”.

Do set the goal for your life. And everyday morning, prioritise your tasks based on the goal set by you. Achieving “100% Action Items DONE” is not possible. Hence ensure prioritisation is done.

Meditation really helps and increases over all productivity in every phase of life.

Spend time on taking care of your fitness.

Always spend time with people from whom you learn. “Keep Learning” is the key.

Take challenges. Don’t be afraid to fail. Pamper yourself when you fail and learn out of the overall experience.

Few basic Hygiene stuff can help

  • Keeping focused email time and following email etiquette. Emails can eat up our productive time
  • Take up the most complex and challenging work when you are most motivated. Get it DONE and enjoy the achievement
  • Social networking is important but needs to be limited.
  • Always have a prioritised TO-DO list
Gita Saksena, Director Sage Solutions & Co-Founder WomenLead

“Do three things well, not ten things badly.” – David Segrove

There were times when life seemed to be a chain of endless activity; home to work to market and so on. The mind wanted a break which seemed to be an elusive thing. I took pride in my ability to handle multiple things, with each being done perfectly to the best of my abilities in the minimum possible time – The Queen of Efficiency. The consequences:

  1. Stress and Irritability; impacting people you loved the most
  2. Missing out on important things in life; Neglecting yourself in the process
  3. Adversely slowing down my own Growth; Focusing on the ‘now and here’, rather than ‘why, what and how’ of my aspirations

I am a much more relaxed person now. What has helped me are some very simple things:

  1. Deciding what I want to do. If I have an option between cleaning and playing a game with my 6-year-old, I would much rather play that game. And remember the golden words that my first boss told me ‘no one is indispensable’ – this has been true for me in both professional and personal contexts.
  2. Going back to the quote I started with; not focus on more than three things at a time. I read this article about the Power of 3 about 5 years back and I follow this religiously. This rule applies when I am offering solutions, making presentations and more importantly, deciding what should I pay attention to on a given day
  3. Reconnecting with my dreams and what I would like to reflect on when I am saying Goodbye to this world: I have a vision board which emerged for me when I was doing my coaching certification. When I feel confused, overwhelmed – I go back to it and see whether what I am doing is connected to my vision or is it something I will be proud of on my deathbed. These reflections have provided perspectives which shake me up, re-energize me and sometimes are so overwhelming that I go into a state of limbo.

These have helped me in doing things that I enjoy doing in the precious moments that are at my disposal. I wander, cause heartburn to myself and my close ones, but I come back………

Anila Rattan, Director Larks Learning & Co-Founder WomenLead

I practice the following and it works for me.

  1. Have a strategy: a plan: I am a firm believer of having a strategy to handle any assignment personal or professional. The efficiency of a task can increase if you are mindful of what has to be done and why. Planning also gives you an opportunity to prepare for contingency or a disaster which is bound to happen cause life is not a smooth run and things do not happen as planned. When you plan your brain helps you to find solutions.
  1. Always have a plan B– remember life does not happen as you plan it. Not have plan B wastes a lot of time.
  2. Delegate delegate delegate: Learn how to delegate effectively. That’s the only way to increase your work exponentially.
Lucky Daftuar, CEO

With small kids, in-laws, trainings, full-fledged training consulting business and a highly active trainer’s portal to manage, it becomes really demanding and difficult to keep up with the overload of work and expectations from all direction.

I have devised my own methodologies to handle these. I would like to share some here.

  1. Start work early
    • I start my work at 8 and finish off all my important and time taking tasks by afternoon. That way my big rocks are taken care of by the time my kids are free from school and my clients start calling me.
    • My second half is usually filled with other urgent activities which are smaller in size and the unexpected or new demands from the market.
  2. Take care of yourself
    • I spend at least one hour daily on yoga and meditation. This keeps me fresh and energetic throughout the day.
  3. Take advantage of the apps and tools of this generation rather than getting used by them
    • I have made a messenger group for myself consisting of only me. J Yes… it sounds weird, but this is a very handy way to manage my thoughts and ideas throughout the day. I jot down all my ideas in this and refer to it during my early work hours. I get a lot of inputs for my important tasks or when I am strategising or framing certain new service or a proposal for my clients.

Hope you got some inspiration from the perspectives shared.

Keep Learning!

2016: An impactful year?

When I look back at 2016 I see a couple of events that have really impacted me… my mom’s demise in late 2015, WomenLead initiative, Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and of course DeMo aka demonetisation.

So what did I learn from these events?

2016 was a year where my world shook, dramatically. It was a year where many givens became un-givens.

  • My mom’s demise taught me that nothing is forever. That the gap between intellectually knowing the “reality of life” and its experience is deep, dark and lonely. I was amazed at how I responded to the profound loss of losing my mom. I understood how she led me and poured her self into me. She tried not only to provide me with what to do but also the why to do that… Like a true leader, she was building my ability to go one after she was gone.
    Women Lead initiative (the workshops both public & in-house & the research) taught me how we shield ourselves from unpleasant truths. The amazing women I met during the research taught me how they catalyzed all the discrimination they faced into resolve to succeed. They also shared the toll it took on them.
  • The US presidential elections which caught my attention because of Hillary Clinton staking a claim for the “Top Job” and the implications of the same for me as a person, a woman and as a founder of Women Lead taught me that perception is reality. I thought I learnt it in my post graduation but obviously I still thought facts mattered. However, in a “post truth” world I realized that “facts” are expendable. And that there is no position high enough after which a woman would not face sexual harassment. “Trump the Bitch” makes me shudder.
  • “DeMo” took away the biggest of my rupaiya’s (goodbye Rs 500 & Rs 1000). Such a shocker for me who had grown up on sayings such as “Baap bada na Bhaiyya, sabse bada rupaiya”. However, DeMo is a once in a lifetime experience (hopefully). Bill Gates has suggested that some of success is luck: Just being in the right place at the right time. PayTM would exemplify that. It has laughed its way to the bank…in fact, they opened a bank. I observed the reaction speed of some organisations : Big Bazaar had already sent SMS’s to clients by 10 pm on 8th Nov that they will stay open till 12 am. Big lesson as an entrepreneur. I also experienced that everyone had an opinion on DeMo without any knowledge whatsoever. When I was studying advertising the joke was everyone had an opinion on advertising even the client’s dog. Now major monetary decisions are in the same league. This really disturbs me cause for years my mantra was McCann’s “Truth well told”. However, that is so 20th century. We truly are in a “post truth” world.

With the learning from 2016 firmly under my belt… I look forward to 2017 for growth, prosperity and happiness.

Keep Learning!

P.S Feel free to share what did 2016 teach you.


A conclave on #change management, “Parivartan Ek Nayi Disha”. A confluence of ideas, perspectives and experiences and many luminaries & the unenviable role of giving a vote of thanks. My first thought was, “OMG! I will have to really listen.” The fact is that many conclaves have nothing really exciting to listen to. But then …

Whatsapp Best Practices or Drama…Your Choice!

Today I once again witnessed “Whatsapp drama” in a professional group I am part of…Interestingly a group of L&D professionals because that it my community. Someone posted a post that was deemed frivolous… it was followed by public censure…followed by some members quitting and some being asked to leave. The rest of the members were …