Cover Story : HR Leadership & Millennial Employees

Know it all from three top-notch corporate leaders of Anand Group India, Manoj Sharma, Vice President Human Resource, Gabriel India; Vinod Razdan, Head HR of MAHLE ANAND Thermal Systems; Maruti Nandan, HeadHR, Spicer India

Six decades back, Anand Group India started its journey as a shock absorber manufacturer. Today, nearly every vehicle on Indian roads and several globally, carry within them a part of Anand. With a conglomerate of several companies and 15 Joint Ventures and eight technical collaborations in India and overseas too, the company stands tall as a world-class automotive player.

Corporate Citizen interviews its three top-notch corporate leaders who being HR experts have seen the changing mindset and aspirations of young employees who set foot in the corporate world in the earlier decades and the present ones who are termed as ‘Millennials.’

We bring a perspective through the eyes of Manoj Sharma, Vice President Human Resource, Gabriel India; Vinod Razdan, Head HR of Mahle Behr; and Maruti Nandan, Head-HR, Spicer India on the changing role of HR, with a generous sprinkling of advice for the new corporate managers.

It would be apt, to sum up, the pearls of wisdom given by Nandan, when he states in the interview, “The three things that have shaped me as a person are the ‘Three A’s of Awesome’ as quoted by Neil Pasricha, a Canadian author and public speaker. First and foremost is ‘Awareness’—be inquisitive. Second is your ‘Attitude’ which defines what you are made up of. And the third is to stay ‘Authentic’ and be who you are.’’ Read on for more gems…

HR:The Business Leaders of Tomorrow

An expert in Human Resource Management, Employee Relations and Talent Management, Manoj Sharma, Vice President Human Resource, Gabriel India, believes that HR plays a key role in setting up an organization and developing the company culture; it is not a mere support system anymore. His advice to students is that they should focus on the work experience they receive while interning in an organization and not merely on credits. In an interview with Corporate Citizen, Sharma shares his corporate journey, how he changed track from Commerce to Management and excelled at it…

Tell us about how you started your career journey…

I did my graduation in Commerce. Post which, I completed my Personnel Management in HR from Pune University. At that time, the MBA was not so well known. I started my career in the hotel industry at Hotel Regency. I worked there for two years. After my stint in the hotel industry, I switched to manufacturing, because I strongly believed that people practices will be more in focus in manufacturing setups. My first company was Mahle Behr, which manufactures air conditioners. I was part of the initial 20 employee team in that company when it was just formed. We had not even started the production and that’s how I grew with the company. I spent 12 years with them.

All recruitments for Mahle Behr were carried out by me and the people who had joined the company at that time, including me, were from the same age group. We had developed a good camaraderie with each other. As an organization, we used to celebrate a lot of events and festivals together. In order to motivate people, everybody used to go to movies every couple of months. At that time, the company strength was about 200 employees. Going to movies, celebrating festivals and attending events was a way we used to engage with the employees. Since the organization had just formed, there were many instances where the company achieved some records every couple of months. After Mahle Behr, I moved to Spicer as Head HR, designated as General Manager, and spent three years with them.

Tell us about your stint in Japan.

The Anand group had sent me to Japan on deputation. It is very uncommon for an HR professional to be sent overseas on deputation. As far as India is concerned, deputation mostly happens if you are going overseas to learn some technology and bring it back to India. In my case, I was invited by the Japanese company, Takata, to help them set up international HR practices. The Anand group had a joint venture with Takata which has a presence across the globe. They are headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

That being said, most of the management practices usually come from the West. All the theories and ideas regarding Human Resource Management comes from the West. But technical gurus or shop floor gurus are primarily from the East. That’s how the world is divided. People in the East are not so much into people practices.

They wanted to learn, they were growing, and they had their setups in the USA, Germany, and China. They didn’t have any standardized people practices and that’s where I came into the picture. I helped them set up global HR practices which could be implemented across their setups around the globe. They understood the fact that since each country was different and along with that the cultures were different, you cannot copy-paste HR practices of one country over other - you require tailor-made HR practices. ‘Think global, act local’ was the mantra followed. They didn’t have MIS in place, they didn’t have any structures needed for an organization to function in place. I helped them to develop talent retention and talent development practices. Every six months the top leaders of the Takata Group used to get together with the leadership team, where we used to groom the leaders, integrate them with the culture of Japan. I was with Takata for two years.

I came back to India in 2016 and I joined Gabriel. Gabriel is the flagship company of the Anand Group. It is a homegrown company. Working with Gabriel was a different experience because, in the other four companies where I had worked earlier, the technology was coming from JV partners. The real challenge was how we groom our talent so that they can carry on what we are doing.

"In the future, HR will be focusingon value addition - how do you build an organization, how do you build the culture of an organization, what are the softer aspects that have to be looked at, because with AI and Chat box, human connect will become less and less day by day, but still there are emotions that need to be dealt with"

Why did you transition from a commerce background into management?

Many a time, people are not clear about their career choices. In those days we didn’t have many options, there was no Google to look up and then decide which stream to choose. The options which were available were CA or Engineering-you would be a CA after opting for B.Com or be an engineer after opting for Science. My uncle was a Personnel Manager in a company and that’s how I got influenced to work in this field. When I was doing my B.Com, I was also working part-time so that I could earn while studying. The company I was working for belonged to my uncle’s friend. There, I was handling people related matters like payroll, employee-related schemes and recruitment. Also, I used to interact with the labour consultants of that company. I liked what I was doing there, I was doing something related to administration and management and that’s how I got attracted to the personnel management field.

What significant changes have you witnessed with regard to earlier HR practices and today’s HR practices?

Over the years, HR has evolved tremendously. I have witnessed a change in the thought process of the HR department. Earlier, the function of HR was to identify discipline breakers in an organization and punish them. They were acting like gatekeepers. Today, to understand why people make mistakes is the new age concept of the HR function, because nobody makes mistakes intentionally. Nowadays HR tries to understand the root cause—what has forced people to make mistakes? People by heart are good, they want to grow, they want to perform, they want to be praised for their job, and nobody wants to get fired from their job. Due to some circumstances, they might have acted differently.

How will HR practices change once AI and Robotics come into the picture?

There will be heaps of changes. The way things are changing currently, there will be new sets of skills which HR people will need to inculcate. Most of the time HR is engaged in data management, they are responsible for appraisals and recruitments, etc. Over the years all this will go away. HR personnel will become key members in framing the cultures and policies of an organization. They will be among the business leaders of tomorrow. Today, very few HR professionals are looked at as business leaders. But moving forward, HR will be playing a crucial role because, firstly, the way governance is changing, as a result, you need to have strong systems and strong values in place. Secondly, the demography is changing, the world is getting smaller day by day; people are migrating from country to country; one needs to have an organization which will be able to implement the working of different cultures together under one roof. HR will be focusingon value addition-how do you build an organization, how do you build the culture of an organization, what are the softer aspects that have to be looked at, because with AI and Chat box, human connect will reduce day by day, but still there are emotions that need to be dealt with. AI will play a big role in transforming HR and the workforce such as, reducing human bias, increasing efficiency in candidate assessment, improving relationships with employees, improving compliance, increasing the adoption of metrics, and improving workplace learning. HR will be playing a huge role in handling these emotions. HR will be the major player in creating employee experience, which works with an organization's culture and growth and ensures that employees feel valued and supported along every step of their workplace journey. HR will be more integrated and stronger as you move forward, it will bring in more value in an organization. AI and robotics will take care of transactional activities, but HR will be there...skill sets always need to change according to the time.

"Students should understand why there is a need for internships, what is it that they are going to learn. It is very simple for students to prepare the reports and get the credits. If the institute starts assessing the experience the students have had in those two months and then give credit on the basis of their experience and what they have learnt, then there will not be any skillset gap"

Is there any gap between what colleges are grooming students for, and what the industry requires?

There is a skillset gap because students should know what an industry is and how it works. Each industry is different, you cannot compare Google and Anand. Every organization is different from the other and employees have to adapt themselves with the culture of an organization. The initiative most businesses have adopted is to have frequent industry institute interactions. That is going to play a major role in two aspects, one is to support academics in current management practices and expose students to learn practical skills. The focus of students should not be just to prepare a project report and submit to the institute. Many a time, I feel that students do their projects or internships only because institutes want them. Students should understand why there is a need for internships, what is it that they are going to learn. It is very simple for students to prepare the reports and get the credits. If the institute starts assessing the experience the students have had in those two months and then give credit on the basis of their experience and what they have learnt, there will not be any skillset gap. Students will be more dedicated, focussed and willing to spend some extra time at the organizations. This is should be a joint activity between institutes, industry and students. The industry should also try and give such an experience. Institutes should demand such experiences from students and students should keep in their mind the purpose behind internships is not just credits but to gather work experience which will assist them when they join.

Are Indian HR practices in sync with global practices?

Yes, they are in sync with global HR practices. We in India may not be able to put forth those HR practices in theories and present to the world because we don’t document it and represent it to the world, but HR practices in India are much stronger than in any other country. Now is the time that India can teach those HR practices to others. If you look at the Anand group, most HR practices at Anand are shared by its JV partners. We did not have a single incidence where we witnessed a split, that is the trust the organization has been able to maintain and the belief the JV has on its HR practices. At Anand, we don’t have any standard HR practice, our HR practices are unique in nature, like our shop floor related OE model, people development practice of Human Capital.

Everyone speaks about an employee being their biggest value. However, who has till now thought of how to measure the value of an employee? We have a unique way of measuring the value of an employee. It is said that employees are assets, but do you know if the value of your asset is increasing day by day, is it getting appreciated? We have a concept called Human Capital. We have various talent development programs. We have divided Talent into five categories, first is Corporate Induction. We induct students from various B schools. We identify institutes from where we hire the students/talent. Second is our in-house talent development programme. Thirdly, our high performers; fourth are the ones with critical skills i.e. our subject matter experts from the organization and the last one, are the people coming in from the shop floor. The talent development programs are fine-tuned to serve these different categories

For all these categories, there are some scores that we give. For example, a student from an Anand empanelled B School we have enrolled comes with a score of 10 points the day he joins. But a student from any other institute will not get a score of 10. The reason, the studnet from Anand empanelled B School gets a score of 10 is because as an organization, I have empanelled this B School as an institute to hire my talent from, the other institute is not listed, therefore, that student will not get a score of 10. After that students undergo various programs, each programme has a value. If he performs well he is rated accordingly. If you do the courses, your value will increase. If you participate in these courses which Anand is offering, you will earn extra credits and this is how we value a student. And the company also thinks as to how the company can increase the value of the talent, that’s how you appreciate your assets.

By Vineet Kapshikar

Leading from the front

What does it take to be a good HR Leader? Perhaps no one can answer this better than Vinod Razdan, who experienced a meteoric rise in the HR field from his humble beginnings in Kashmir to becoming the Head HR of MAHLE ANAND Thermal Systems. Razdan chats with Corporate Citizen about his fascinating journey, his key achievements and why he feels it is crucial for young HR professionals to get their hands dirty to be truly good at their jobs

"I also have some experience with unions. I have done two settlements and one VRS. IR has always been my strength. Working with unions and ensuring that there is no misbehaviour on the shop floor is my forte. I have always been seen as someone who can work with even the strongest unions"

Tell us about your journey.

I did my schooling from Kashmir. I grew up in Kashmir and we lived there till my 12th board exam. As you might be aware, a lot of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave the valley in 1989. I and several of my friends suffered the most, as we were on the brink of starting our careers when we were uprooted. Even before we left, my studies suffered due to the tense atmosphere in the valley around that time. Once we shifted to Jammu, it was another big challenge. We were living in tents and makeshift housing, which was a refugee camp then. I did my graduation from Kashmir University in this turbulent period. It took me five years because classes were not regular, and the examinations were not getting scheduled. There was absolutely no clarity about our educational careers during that time period. Finally, I along with a few other people decided to do something about it. I enrolled in a part-time post-graduation course from Bharti Vidyapeeth, in New Delhi. After graduating, I joined a company called ‘Roop Automotives Ltd’ as a Management Trainee. This was a small company and it was a good learning experience for me. I worked with them for 10 years. When I had started, I was part of their team and by the time I left, I was heading HR for the company. They had four plants at that time. But my main interest was always to be on the shop floor. I enjoyed keeping people motivated.

What was your next career move post your stint at Roop Automotives?

I then moved to a company called Visteon Corporation. This was a US based Multinational giant. I joined one of their plants in Bhiwandi, Rajasthan, as Head HR for that plant. Later on, I was the Head HR for a few additional plants as well. I also led Learning & Development along with organizational Development for India and Thailand region, consisting of around seven plants. After a successful term at Visteon, I joined MAHLE in October 2015 and I have been leading the HR team here, since.

How do you see automation impacting jobs going forward?

"I feel if one door closes then ten doors open in their place. India is a huge country and it is on the verge of development. There are a lot of opportunities. If automation will eat up jobs, new jobs will certainly be created in their place. Having said that, I don’t think this change will happen too fast. India is still considered to be a labour centric country. Labour in India is still not that expensive. Automation requires a huge initial investment, and this kind of investment is only feasible for very large companies. Small and medium scale industries will not be able to invest such a large amount in automation. Nor is it advisable, when readily available labour is in plenty.

Also, automation can create new jobs. Recently, it was reported in the news that there will not be just one, but 10 new bullet train corridors in India. If there are 10 corridors, there will be a lot of employment generated. Tremendous infrastructure needs to be developed and Labour will be required for that. That's not all. Once these projects are up and running, their maintenance will also generate employment. The ‘Make in India’ concept has been a huge success. You will see a lot of people who have started their own startups.

But these are white collar jobs we are talking about. Automation will impact blue collar jobs the most.

At the end of the day, automation will also require back-support. It needs to be maintained, operated and upgraded.

You mentioned that you grew up in Kashmir at a very turbulent time. Do you think that experience has impacted your perspective of HR?

I think so. When we shifted to Jammu, I became part of a student union, called the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). I had led a number of agitations and movements. I think that energy, the desire to work with people and to co-ordinate with and mobilise them came from that experience. It gave me the strength to realise that my potential lies in a role which is connected to people.

What are some initiatives you are really proud of?

There are quite a few initiatives that I feel proud of. In my first job, when there was a slowdown in the year 2002-03, there was an incentive scheme in place for the shop floor employees to boost performance. This incentive was going to be put on hold. There was a concern as sales volumes had gone down but expenditure had gone up. There was a potential for some IR issues at that time. I really worked hard with people at that time to convince them that we will ensure that their earnings will not reduce provided that we figure out a way to bring down costs. It took me a month or so to identify areas of waste which could be curbed, and we took initiatives to bring the waste down. Just in the cutting tools, we were able to reduce three crores a year. We offered to the management that 50% of this amount will go to the Management and the rest would be disbursed amongst the engineers on the shop floor. At the end of the day, everyone went home with a smile.

I also have some experience with unions. I have done two settlements and one VRS. IR has always been my strength. Working with unions and ensuring that there is no misbehaviour on the shop floor is my forte. I have always been seen as someone who can work with even the strongest unions and turn them around, in order to produce quantitative and qualitative outputs.

You interact with a lot of students from across India as an HR. Do you think there is a gap between what the industry expects and the output of the Indian educational system?

I think there used to be a gap which has been more or less bridged now. When I used to visit institutes in Delhi, earlier there was a gap, as an MBA at that time used to be more about Personnel Management than HR. The only challenge I see today with HR students, and this is applicable to HR professionals as well, is that they need to be more connected to the shop floor. They need to understand the business and the process intricately. I really see very few students going for shop floor visits and industry visits. They only go for projects, which is not enough in my opinion. HR students need to take an interest in things like how many products does a business manufacture? What are the nitty-gritty’s associated with it? I feel HR students don’t t care to learn much about the business. Even the internships that they undertake, focus on generic things like an employee satisfaction survey, which is very basic and barely scratches the surface. They should do projects where they can actually propose to the Management some changes, which they feel should be implemented. They need to identify lacunas in the existing process and suggest solutions. This will show that the student has actually understood the issues and have the potential to correct them.

"I feel if one door closes then ten doors open in their place. India is a huge country and it is on the verge of development. There are a lot of opportunities. If automation will eat up jobs, new jobs will certainly be created in their place. Having said that, I don’t think this change will happen too fast. India is still considered to be a labour centric country"

Do you think women are adequately represented in your organization?

I believe the government has done a lot in this regard. Earlier, women were not allowed to work beyond 7. Now, the government has approved for them to work in night shifts as well. However, girls and their parents still feel that it is a concern for women to work at night. I can assure them that we are taking every precautionary measure possible to ensure their safety. I was planning to introduce a third shift in my plant and was going to introduce women in it. There was some resistance from them and their families, and I had a one-on-one interaction with their representatives and I told them very clearly that if we want to have 50% women in the company, then we all have to work together and support each other. I told them that I am taking the personal guarantee for the safety of the women. It is the mindset that needs to change for women to be able to fully participate in the workforce and increase their representation in the Indian industry.

Do you think there should be a demarcation between work life and personal life?

Obviously, there should be one. I fully believe in that. I have tried to practice it diligently for myself and my function as well. If you are not able to do your job in 8 hours, then I believe you are never able to do your job. You have to understand yourself and you have to ask yourself, why you are unable to complete your tasks within working hours. You have to plan your work very well so that you are able to complete it within 8 hours and then spend the rest of your day with your family. This can easily be done, by planning your day effectively.

What is your idea of relaxation?

I like to travel, especially with my family. I also like to travel with my friends. I have friends from school, with whom I am in touch with even today. We meet once in 6-8 months, or whenever we get the opportunity. We spend a couple of days together on a trip or some other activity, without the family. I find that this is an ideal source of relaxation for me.

What advice would you give to budding HR professionals who are just about to start their careers?

I would like to tell them a couple of things. When they start in the corporate world, they really must get their hands dirty. It is not only the job of Engineers to do this, I feel it is the HR Professional’s job as well. They should go to the production line and understand the process. They must understand the product and even work on the machines for a few days. I myself have worked on machines while learning the ropes. Today, I can proudly say that I can run each and every machine on the shop floor. When you ask an HR Professional why they chose this profession, they say it is because they are people friendly. What does this mean? If you really want to be people friendly, you must understand the circumstances under which each and every one of your employees are working. What are the challenges he/she is facing? You need to show empathy and not sympathy. You must understand their jobs. This not only helps you in building a relationship with the employees but also it helps you to be able to discuss and debate even the smallest technical details of your business with your colleagues or your superiors. This gives you a high degree of credibility as a professional. If someone approaches me with a job requirement, I am able to identify the kind of person he needs, their educational qualifications, experience, etc., only because I know in depth what that job entails. That’s the hallmark of a good HR Professional. HR Professionals should aspire to become more of a support function rather than merely a facilitator.

By Neeraj Varty

Everybody is unique, be your own competitor

The world is becoming more uncertain and only if you are aware, self-structured and having the right attitude, you can produce better results, says Maruti Nandan, Head-HR, Spicer India, Anand Group. A science graduate, Nandan, says he chose a career in human resource, because working with people and for the people, has always been his real passion. With over a decade long experience in managing the human resource, Nandan talks to Corporate Citizen, on how his life until now has been a combination of destiny which comes to you and choices, you make out of it

Tell us about education and career journey—from being a BSc-Chemistry pass out to choosing HR as a career.

My life has been a tale of finding opportunities among adversities. I consider myself fortunate to encounter them early in my life because they were the real teachers, giving me ample opportunities to get all-round knowledge.

During my preliminary schooling days in Bihar, I was a bright student till Std. 4th and post which, I focused more on everything except studies. The turning point in my life came one fine morning when I was caught cheating in my Std. 7th mid-term exams and this was informed to my parents—that very evening my mother decided to take me to Calicut, in Kerala and put me in a boarding school. And that’s where my real transformation started.

When I joined the boarding school, English was a foreign subject to me. Whenever anyone used to talk to me in English, I would look at their facial expression and if I found them conducive, I would say “Yes” else my answer used to be “No” to them. I studied till 12th Std., in Kerala and got my moco back. My sincere efforts resulted in securing “Certificate of Merit” from CBSE in English-once an alien language for me. It was only possible because I took the challenge as my passion and was successful in converting my weakness into a strength.

After my 12th, I was passionate to study engineering, but I couldn’t afford it financially, so I chose to do BSc in Chemistry. I searched through India Today magazine for Top 3 colleges in India and zeroed on for Hindu College, Delhi from where I completed my graduation. During my college days, I was the college society president and competed in the college elections. This was when I realized working with people and for people, is my real passion. I was able to understand and connect with them—and hence wanted to pursue my further education in this field. To do this, I appeared for TISS entrance test—Tata Institute for Social Science (TISS) is considered to be one of the best colleges for studying Human and Societal Influences, which became my next destiny. I learnt from this college what it is renowned for—the stark realities and the inter-subject realities of social behaviour.

During campus placement at TISS, I was selected as Officer Trainee-HR, at Hindustan Zinc, Vedanta Group, in 2007 and I worked there for around five years at Vizag, Andhra Pradesh and Udaipur, Rajasthan. As part of knowledge enhancement, I also underwent a two year, Business Management Certificate course from IIM-Indore.

I joined Honeywell, Pune in 2012. During my tenure, I played various ascending roles, the last one being that of HR head for one of the business entities. Then in 2015, I joined Spicer India Pvt Ltd and now heading the HR function.

Your first job was a five-year long stint—what is your view on the millennials who expect fast results and go job-hopping for better prospects?

Something I strongly believe in and will encourage people to do is to stay grounded and open to learning. When you move out of college and step into an industry, there is no limit to gaining knowledge and knowing unexplored things. How industry works is what you need to understand, learn and display quickly. Where today’s generation fail is, they priorities comfort and money over credibility, learning and experience in the beginning. The issue is further aggravated when millennials learn but don’t deliver and start job-hopping. Learning doesn’t yield results until you execute yourself. Hence, I strongly feel four to five years is a good time to understand, learn and deliver back to the organization—it gives you time to mature.

The three companies that you worked in your career journey, how did you adjust to the challenge of the changing organizational culture?

The organizational culture at all three companies was very different. The three most essential elements to adapt to cultural changes are to understand WHO are your stakeholders, WHAT are their objectives and WHY is it being asked. In the absence of this, we can’t bring our knowledge and skill on the table—either your knowledge or your skill will not be appreciated or may not be taken in the right context. Whether it was Vedanta Group, an India grown MNC or Honeywell, a US MNC or Anand Group, a joint venture partnership champion in India, in all these three places I had to bring different skill sets for understanding the people and the customers and delivering them accordingly. Additionally, indepth process knowledge will surely give you an edge.

What is your experience with millennials as a workforce, with regards to their aspirations and expectations?

While working with millennials, I have seen them doing wonders when they are shown the big picture. As employers, we shouldn’t just assign them one portion of work without telling them how their work is contributing to overall organizational success. Rather than micro-managing, teach and empower them. When millennials are challenged, they stretch beyond their normal capabilities and that’s when their true potential comes out. So, for me, the mantra for working with them is, give them the complete carrom board rather than just black or white coins.

"What I have learnt over the years is to have humility, leave your ego behind and give the due respect to an individual. So, when I work with millennials, I show them the big picture and when I work with Gen X, I ensure that they feel they are in driving chair"

What about handling Gen X as compared to millennials, do you have a challenge of bringing them out of their comfort zone?

Yes, this is generally a difficult zone to handle for anybody and I was no exception. What I have learnt over the years is to have humility, leave your ego behind and give the due respect to an individual. So, when I work with millennials, I show them the big picture and when I work with Gen X, I ensure that they feel they are in driving chair. No work or experience is menial or big, every job has its own worth and so has the doer. Display this at a workplace and yes, you are there.

With digital HR coming and AI taking over most of the HR work, are we going to see the HR department shrinking and left with only a pertinent role of a business partner or a specialist?

What you are saying is very pertinent and AI is coming in a big way, in fact, it is already here. In my view, a good scope of HR field will soon become redundant. Earlier HR was all about talent acquisition and personnel management. Today for an example, whole recruitment can be done by AI—it involves a lot of predictive analysis and has gone to the extent that it is being used to shortlist, interview and select right candidates. Further, it can predict the likelihood of stay of a selected candidate based on past behaviour analysis. Another aspect of the HR domain, the payroll processing is totally automated and digitalized today. In the near future, what will likely remain with HR is Employee Value Proposition, organizational Development and risk mitigation of business processes (not the doing part but ensuring no repercussions).

The future of HR that you talked about will require new skills. Has the academia woken to this new reality and grooming the new talent to be future ready?

Sadly the truth is, we find it difficult to recruit good HR talent today. There is a dearth of good talent and surely a gap between the talent that is being groomed for HR versus what is desired by the industry. New talents from premium colleges, come with a lopsided mindset of doing specific roles right from the beginning. What they miss is to have horizontal skill-sets and attitude to learn basic skills like connecting with people, empathy and other softer aspects. The job roles are shrinking and the world is becoming more volatile. The best results can be expected only if you are self-structured and disciplined.

What are some of the astute lessons you learnt through your career journey till now?

The three things that have shaped me as a person are the ‘Three A’s of Awesome’ as quoted by Neil Pasricha, a Canadian author and public speaker. First and foremost is ‘Awareness’—be inquisitive, find out the truth around you, and explore the unexplored to keep your soul hungry for growth. Second is your ‘Attitude’ which defines what you are made up of. In life, you will have several ups and downs and you have to know how to sail through the tough times. And the last is to stay ‘Authentic’ and be who you are. Everybody is unique, be your own competitor. Be a better version of yourself every day. These three A’s are my astute lessons from my journey so far.

By Rajesh Rao