Monday 8am

Be your whole self

Master your emotions

Master your emotions

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them…” ~ Oscar Wilde With several of our leaders, I find that their emotions get the better of them. While most of us have the occasional “bad moment”, left unchecked, wayward emotions can lead to dysfunctional behaviours…

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Being transparent

Being transparent

In theory, complete transparency in the workplace sounds like a great idea. If everything is out in the open, there are no ambiguities, no unfair surprises, and no skeletons in the closet. However, transparency can be a double-edged sword. Taken to an extreme, it can make people fearful, mistrustful, and less productive – ironically, all the things it is…

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Own your learning

Own your learning (Co-authored by Dhruv Talwar)

Last week, my message focused on the importance of becoming a better learner and why, in today’s ever-changing business landscape, learning isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Following on from that, this week, I’m going to share a great example of how you can actually put your learning journey into action. I am very pleased that Dhruv…

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Become a better learner

Become a better learner

Gianpiero Petriglieri, professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD, puts it well: “learning is the most celebrated neglected activity in the workplace.” Oh sure, we all agree it’s important to keep learning, especially for leaders. But when was the last time you actually invested time and effort into picking up a new skill or deepening your…

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Strive to be a thought leader

Strive to be a thought leader

In my conversations with various leaders, I’ve noticed a recurring theme. Despite their impressive track record and professional success, many leaders have a deep desire to do more – to stand out, to wield greater influence in solving the big problems of our time, and to build a lasting legacy. At Godrej, we are also increasingly…

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Nudge to change behaviour
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Nudge to change behaviour

As you know, getting people to change their behaviour is a big challenge. Nudging can be a great way through the use of small interventions, clever prompts or little incentives to encourage people to make better decisions. Developed and popularised by Professor Richard Thaler, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics last year, this method is…

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Seeking a sponsor (Co-authored by Tessa Tysome)

Seeking a sponsor (Co-authored by Tessa Tysome)

Many of us have benefited from mentors in our lives – who listen and provide great advice. Mentors can be very helpful in bouncing off things that you might not feel comfortable discussing with your boss or colleagues.  While having mentors can be very useful, having a sponsor can also greatly help you achieve your career…

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Being mindful
1

Being mindful

Let’s admit it – most of us get distracted quite easily. Our minds keep on drifting. We worry needlessly about seemingly unimportant things. And even though we might be working longer hours, we feel that we are not being productive enough. In fact, research shows that people spend at least 47 per cent of their…

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Being civil at work

Being civil at work

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou Across the globe, rudeness seems to be on the rise – be it in politics, on social media, or even on news panels. At such a time, is…

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Dealing with a bully at work

Dealing with a bully at work

We mostly associate “bullying” with playgrounds and high schools – but this is an issue that continues well into adulthood. In fact, it is pervasive in the corporate world. You know that leader who manipulates his team using fear and intimidation? Or the rude colleague who constantly puts down other people? These are classic workplace bullies,…

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Measuring your "soft" side
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Measuring your “soft” side

We are generally quite good at measuring sales, profits, return on investment, and other such metrics. But what about interpersonal skills like empathy, teamwork, and relationship-building? All too often, we overlook the crucial “soft” side of leadership in the numbers game. So, this week, my message focuses on measuring soft skills, how to go about it,…

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Learning to be charismatic
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Learning to be charismatic

Most of us see charisma as that indescribable something, which makes a person engaging and magnetic. While it might be hard to pin down and describe, charisma is pretty easy to recognise – it is about enthusiasm, passion, energy and spirit – and making others feel the same. Charisma is what allows leaders to paint a visionary picture…

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Try the five-hour rule
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Try the five-hour rule

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ~ Alvin Toffler, writer and futurist Pretty much everyone agrees on the importance of ongoing learning. But how do you really go about it? Do you attend a workshop every few months, when…

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Humble narcissism can make leaders effective

Humble narcissism can make leaders effective

When I first heard about it, “humble narcissism” sounded like an oxymoron – after all, the two qualities are diametrically opposed to each other. But as it turns out, humility and narcissism can go together. In fact, this unexpected combination is found in many of the best leaders across cultures. So, this week my message focuses on why…

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Strive to be an above-the-line leader
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Strive to be an above-the-line leader

Picture this: you are in a meeting and last month’s numbers are a disaster. Things just didn’t work out the way you wanted or expected. Feeling flustered and angry, you start blaming other people for the failure. You complain about the lack of resources and the market situation. You insist that it was the circumstances…

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Optimistic leadership
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Optimistic leadership

One of the remarkable traits of Mr. Adi Godrej is that no matter how difficult the situation might be, he is always optimistic. Even when things are looking down, he always encourages to explore what opportunities might emerge out of adversity. This is quite unique. Many leaders that I have worked with generally caution teams…

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Have the right arguments at work and have them the right way
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Have the right arguments at work and have them the right way

Recently, a colleague was exasperated with the highly argumentative nature of a peer. This person loved to argue for the sake of arguing and was very abrasive. Peers were finding it hard to work with this leader. Few things create more tension and unpleasantness at the workplace than an ugly argument. After a shouting match,…

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Be a human leader

Be a human leader

“Leadership today is about unlearning management and relearning being human.” – Javier Pladevall, CEO of Volkswagen Audi Retail, Spain Recently, while I was speaking to some team members, they mentioned that their boss was efficient. He ran robust reviews and had clear dashboards. However, when he was in the office, he spent large chunks of his…

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How about carving out some "untouchable" time?

How about carving out some “untouchable” time?

Perhaps the most common complaint in today’s professional world is that there’s too much to do – and too little time. Most of us race breathlessly from one task to another, trying to somehow get it all done. In this rush and clutter, what’s getting pushed aside? What’s falling through the cracks? Often, deep thought and strategic…

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Find meaning in your work
3

Find meaning in your work

There is a well-known story of American president John F. Kennedy, who was on a visit to the NASA headquarters in 1961. He met a janitor who was busy mopping the floor. Kennedy went over and introduced himself to the janitor and asked him what he was doing at NASA. Without skipping a beat, the…

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Identify, develop and hire for results intelligence
1

Identifying results-getters

Identify, develop and hire for results intelligence It is increasingly important for us to become more agile to deal with the uncertain and volatile environment. Acting nimbly and consistently delivering results are key elements of agility. In general, our team members have a strong bias for action and a “doer” mentality. However, have you struggled with or…

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Monday-8Am-19Mar2018

Create moments that matter

Each of us has unforgettable life moments – a special holiday, the recognition of a big achievement, your wedding, the first time you held your baby’s hand, and so on. At a smaller scale, a single meaningful moment can change the tenor of your day or shift your opinion. A word of insightful praise can…

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Monday-8Am-12Mar2018
2

Double-click for purposeful conversations

Have you been in discussions where one or two individuals are taking up most of the air time – telling and not really asking? With team members talking past each other, focused on just articulating their point of view and engaging in monologues? Or people making assumptions and jumping to conclusions? Unfortunately, this happens too often,…

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The magic ratio in relationships
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The magic ratio in relationships

What is the secret to building and maintaining strong relationships? This is a question that applies to all of us – be it with our spouses, family members or colleagues. It has also drawn the attention of hundreds of psychologists and scientists. Is there a formula for successful partnerships – or is it simply a…

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Monday-8Am-26Feb2018

How to support an overwhelmed team

Our team members are working hard to try to finish the year strong, along with building the plans for next year. It is great to see how many of you are charged up and energised. As leaders, we need to ensure that we are giving our team members the enabling space and our full support….

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Experience learning cycles

Experience learning cycles

The general expectation that most managers have is to seek a new role (and in many cases, even push for a promotion) every 3 years or so. The HR approach in many companies also perpetuates this mind set. The ostensible thinking behind this philosophy is that the 3-year-movement cycle is necessary to provide a breadth…

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Stop using the feedback sandwich

Stop using the feedback sandwich

You are probably familiar with the feedback sandwich. The concept is simple: put the criticism between two slices of praise in order to make it more acceptable to the receiver. This may even be your favoured method of giving feedback! To be sure, the feedback sandwich is well intentioned: it is meant to ease a…

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Strive beyond fine
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Strive beyond “fine”

Recently, when describing the performance in one of our business lines, a business leader mentioned it was fine, considering some of the challenges in the environment. In reality though, the performance was sub-par. And he was couching it in a way that he thought seemed more palatable. Come to think of it, “fine” is probably…

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Monday-8Am-29Jan2018
1

Try the rule of 3 to be more productive

“Is your day by design or by default?” – J.D. Meier Have you ever noticed how much of your time at the workplace is spent reacting to outside forces and events? Be it responding to emails as they arrive or firefighting day-to-day “emergencies”, too many people are swept along by ad-hoc waves and currents –…

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Monday-8Am-22Jan2018
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Too much optionality can be a bad thing

A few days back, I was chatting with a young entrepreneur about his new venture. When I probed about what his company was focusing on, he mentioned in the same breath that it was trying to be a software company, a service provider and a platform. And cater to multiple customer segments. After all, it…

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Monday-8Am-15Jan2018

Eat your way to better productivity

We are a couple of weeks into 2018 and I’m guessing that many of you have crafted your resolutions for the year. Unsurprisingly, eating healthy usually ranks as one of the most common resolutions that people make. It is obvious to most of us that what we eat plays a crucial role in our physical…

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To knock on wood or not
2

To knock on wood or not?

Don’t walk under a ladder to avoid bad luck, change the spelling of your name to attract good fortune, don’t begin a journey right after sneezing, use the power of lemons and chillies to ward off the evil eye….one could go on and on about the daily superstitions that fill everyday life – not just…

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Listen with 'ting'

Listen with ‘Ting’

Listening seems relatively easy, doesn’t it? In reality though, to truly listen is an art – one that is practiced by too few of us. If you are really honest with yourself, you will realise that while “listening” to other people talk, you are mostly preoccupied with your inner voice. Whether it’s recalling similar incidents…

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Avoid getting sidetracked
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Avoid getting sidetracked

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” – Robert Burns Be it securing the desired outcome from a professional negotiation, strengthening an important relationship or meeting a personal growth goal, we often deviate from our carefully crafted plans. Why? What causes our inability to stick to a course of action? Why…

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Monday8am-18-12-2017
2

Supporting team members through grief and loss (Co-authored by Vandana Scolt)

About 2 weeks ago, my father passed away quite suddenly. A few weeks prior to that, two other members of our senior leadership team lost one of their parents as well. Coping with a big personal loss or comforting colleagues who may be grieving can be quite difficult. Although we may want to be supportive,…

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Treat your colleagues like sisters and brothers

Treat your colleagues like sisters and brothers

In business, we have colleagues and co-workers. In the military, they call each other brothers and sisters. This observation, pointed out by noted author, Simon Sinek, really resonated with me. One of the things that struck me over the last few months, as we have been talking to our teams about The Godrej Way, is…

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Monday-8Am-04Dec2017

Think forward, plan backward

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.” – Stephen Covey  You may have heard that the most important…

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Monday-8Am-27Nov2017
3

Finding your ikigai

Over the last few weeks, we have been sharing some perspectives around the different aspects of our purpose and values, as a company. Today, I want to bring that conversation of purpose to an individual level and ask you to think about what each of us can do to instill a deeper sense of personal…

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Monday-8Am-20Nov2017
1

Create Delight (Co-authored by Prashant Chacko)

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton Simply put, we love to delight our consumers. This is integral to who we are as a company. It is also what inspires us to…

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Monday-8Am-13Nov2017
1

The 10,000 Experiment, not the 10,000 Hours Rule!

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better” – Ralph Waldo Emerson How does a chess player go from good to great? What sets an extraordinary classical musician apart from the crowd? Why do some cricketers achieve legendary status, while others lag behind? According to author Malcolm Gladwell, the clinching factor…

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Monday-8Am-06Nov2017
2

Don’t get trapped in your echo-chamber

Remember the first time you discovered an echo? And you were fascinated by how when you shouted out something, it came bouncing back at you from all directions? And if you did it again and again, trying out new combinations and each time, it came back. It was exactly what you said, just a bit…

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monday-8a-30-10-2017
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The power of recognition

It probably is obvious to you that people who feel valued perform at much higher levels than those who don’t. And team members also naturally tend to look for tangible proof that they are valued. Just like in any relationship, you want to know when things are working and when they aren’t. Recognition does that….

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Monday-8Am-23Nov2017

Be agile

“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.” – Bill Gates  It is no surprise that volatility is the new normal. Fast paced changes, new forms of competition, macroeconomic uncertainties, and technology enabled disruptions are making the terrain more complex and uncertain. This is creating unprecedented challenges as well…

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Be Humble
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Be humble

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” To be a successful leader, humility is becoming increasingly crucial. In today’s complex world, no one person has the answers. Leaders increasingly need help from their teams to thrive. And humble leaders inspire greater loyalty and higher productivity. Not surprisingly, people like working for leaders who are…

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Show Respect
2

Show respect

Have you ever belittled a team member in front of others? Or perhaps used inappropriate language? Or screamed during a meeting? Or do you brow-beat your team members? Such behaviour could point to a lack of treating others with respect. However, disrespect can take place in more subtle ways as well. For instance, do you constantly look…

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Monday-8Am-02Oct2017
2

Break the silence

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly” – Mahatma Gandhi Over the last few weeks, our HR team members have been hosting small group workshops across our businesses and geographies to discuss the Godrej Way – a refreshed version of our purpose and values. Through these sessions, we…

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Monday-8Am-25Sept2017
2

Losing the Way

Over the last few weeks, Nisa Godrej and I have been travelling across our different locations to discuss with our team members ‘The Godrej Way’ – our recently articulated purpose and values. This has been a great opportunity to have meaningful chats with many of our team members. While ‘The Godrej Way’ is resonating well…

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The Godrej Way_values

Living the Godrej Way

In my message last week, I shared our thoughts behind crafting ‘The Godrej Way’ – our refreshed purpose and values. The Godrej Way is fundamental to who we are. It is the cultural cornerstone that will guide our choices and actions. In the various sessions that we are having to share and discuss The Godrej Way,…

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The-Godrej-Way_main-blog-image
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The Godrej Way

We all have certain principles that we live by. These values are what shape our choices and experiences. They ground us. Think back to when you were a child. Much of the person who you are today has arguably been shaped by what happened back then. You too were probably taught by your parents to…

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Don't underestimate the power of incremental progress
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Don’t underestimate the power of incremental progress

More than eight months have passed in 2017. I wonder, how many of you have kept your last New Year’s resolutions? We begin the year full of ambitious ideas – be it shedding 5 kilos, mastering a new language, or implementing a path-breaking idea at work. But almost inevitably, motivation flags within a couple of…

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Monday-8Am-28Aug2017

Fuel creativity (Co-authored by Tom Dawes)

We all know how the speed of change and increasing volatility is creating significant challenges and providing new opportunities for many organisations. Apart from becoming more operationally efficient, in order to sustain performance, companies need to nourish creativity and drive innovation at a faster pace than ever before. However, ask most people in most organisations what…

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Monday-8Am-21Aug2017

Be an energetic leader

I was talking to one of our leaders recently and he was lamenting that after a few tough quarters he felt that he was “running out of steam”. This is not unusual. At one point or another, we all feel sapped out of our energy. Think about it. Most of your days are probably very…

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Dealing with boredom
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Dealing with boredom

In spite of how fulfilling and challenging our jobs might be, we all have to do things that are tedious or even boring! It could be the fifty emails that need to be answered or the power point presentation that needs to be polished or the documentation that needs to be completed. The list can…

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Curb-the-envy
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Curb the envy

Many of you in India probably remember the series of Onida television ads, which featured a horned devil and the tagline “neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride”. The campaign ran very successfully for many years. The novelty of the brand mascot played a role, but more importantly, the emotion at the heart of the ads touched a…

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Monday-8Am-31July2017
6

Working from home (Co-authored by Mahnaz Shaikh)

As most of you know, I usually try to work a couple of days from home every month. I have found that this is a great way to carve out some time to think through our longer term objectives. Telecommuting or flexible work options have been around in workplaces (especially the US) for a couple of decades…

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Monday-8Am-24July2017

The illusion of competence

We are in the midst of our 360 degree feedback process this year, which is a great tool for getting holistic feedback from multiple stakeholders. One of the things that I have found intriguing from the data of previous years, is that the self-assessment ratings that individuals give themselves tend to be much higher than…

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Micro-resilience (1)
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Micro-resilience

We all know the increasing importance of resilience, the ability to recover and bounce back. As Harvard Business School professor, Rosabeth Moss Canter puts it, resilience is no longer a good-to-have skill; in today’s world, it is a must-have, crucial to survival and success. Yet, resilience is hard. Author Steven Synder says it well, “[Resilience]…

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Monday-8Am-10July2017
4

Personal kanban could help you become more productive

We all seem to be consumed by busyness. Complexity has become the bane of many organisations. The deluge of meetings and emails is slowing us down. Bureaucracy is coming in the way. Productivity is becoming a real challenge. Many of us are trying to deal with this by working longer hours or multi-tasking. However, research…

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Monday-8Am-03July2017
5

Your attire at work matters

Do you find yourself shaking your head disapprovingly at a colleague’s sloppy attire? Or perhaps admiring a sharply-dressed fellow leader? Most people make certain (sometimes subconscious) judgments about others based on the way they dress. Author Darlene Price puts it well: “In the big picture of ultimate reality, what you wear neither defines who you…

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Monday-8Am-26Jun2017
1

Don’t become complacent

So, do you think you are coasting in your role? Do you feel satisfied with incremental achievements? Do you like your routine? Are you comfortable with the way things are? Do you end up making excuses when things go wrong? Do you tune out of meetings? Do you feel worn out when you have to…

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Monday-8Am-19Jun2017
1

Talk to yourself

I find it delightful to quietly watch my five year old daughter, Imara, play by herself (that is, when she is not bothering her older two siblings :)). Imara can spend hours talking to her toys, stuffed animals, dolls or characters from her books. She asks them questions and answers back on their behalf. Her…

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Monday-8Am-12Jun2017
2

Manage your inner critic

Most of us have a voice that lives inside our head, permanently poised to offer its two cents. For some of you, this voice may be a tireless cheerleader, encouraging you and boosting your morale. But for others, it can be the harshest of critics, pulling you down and undermining your confidence. If you identify…

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Monday-8Am-05Jun2017
1

Ensure follow-through

Recently, one of our team members was feeling frustrated at things not moving at the desired pace in her team. The team was having good meetings, and everyone seemed to be in sync. And yet, many of the issues that had been aligned on before kept surfacing back in subsequent meetings. This is quite common….

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Monday-8Am-29May2017

Lead with compassion

Recently, our team members were sharing stories about Godrej values and what we stand for. Many people talked about how caring the organisation is. Team members mentioned numerous examples of when someone in the organisation or their family members were very sick or had an accident and how the company took care of the costs…

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Monday-8Am-22May2017

Beware of the ostrich effect!

In recent years, we have seen new types of players emerge in the FMCG industry. For many incumbents though, the first reaction was to ignore. This was in spite of alerts from the sales teams on the ground. Several large players got into denial mode. Teams took comfort in looking at market share data from…

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Monday-8Am-15May2017 (1)

Speaking up

Recently, one of our team members came by to express concerns about a barrage of verbal onslaught he was receiving from one of our leaders. After a lot of angst, he mustered up the courage to bring it up. While on the surface his working relationship with this colleague seemed okay, he was increasingly feeling…

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Monday-8Am-08May2017
2

Messiness may be good, for some of us!

For those of you who have come to my office, you would have noticed that it sometimes looks a bit messy. Every now and then, I try to go into “declutter” mode. While I have been trying to get better, I still have some distance to cover to get to a pristine desk. In general,…

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Feminism beyond the buzzword

Feminism beyond the buzzword (Co-authored by Amrita Purkayastha)

The recent Godrej Leadership Forum, our annual meet which brings together our leaders from across the globe, was themed on the ‘XX Factor’. As part of the event, we hosted some wonderful sessions by award-winning columnist and feminist writer, Mona Eltahawy; mountaineering twins Tashi and Nungshi Malik; filmmaker, Paromita Vohra; ISRO Mars Mission scientist, Moumita…

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Monday-8Am-24April2017
1

Be a head-heart-hands whole leader

Last week, in a values discussion with our senior team, Shailesh Deshpande, who leads Talent and Leadership Development for the Godrej Group, talked about how leaders today need a different playbook to motivate, energise and engage their team members. We need to figure out what we need to do differently to connect with our teams…

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Monday-8Am-17April2017

Watch out, um, for those filler words!

Do you find yourself using a lot of “um”, “uh”, “well”, “so”, “you know”, “er”, “I think” or “like” when you are presenting or speaking in a meeting? The use of these “filler” words can get out of control if you are not conscious of them. These are meaningless and add no value – yet,…

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How to deal with selfishness
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How to deal with selfishness

So, have you encountered colleagues or team members who are driven by their self-interest? Or who like to protect their own turf? Those who are fixated on gaining more power? Or those who undercut the efforts of others? Or like to take all the credit? For generations, conversations on what drives success revolved around individual elements…

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If you are stuck, reframe!
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If you are stuck, reframe!

I have been reading HBS professor Bharat Anand’s highly acclaimed book, The Content Trap, on digital transformation. One of the fascinating examples that Prof. Anand talks about is the impact of digital on the newspaper industry. The conventional view is that print newspapers seem to be a dying breed because readers are migrating online to read…

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Watch out for your CLHs

Watch out for your CLHs!

One of the key areas that inhibits many leaders to progress in their careers is the ability to act strategically. While a lot of managers are very good at managing teams and executing and delivering short-term results, they struggle to step back and think big picture – to define the longer-term strategic agenda, articulate choices…

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Monday-8Am-20Mar2017

Distracted by busyness

You will be hard pressed to find a leader who will say that she is not busy. “Swamped”, “snowed”, “buried” or “slammed” are words that one frequently hears. Busyness has become the badge of honour for leaders. Most of us constantly complain about having too much to do and too little time. Talking about how busy we are makes…

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Yes, I am an introvert
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Yes, I am an introvert (Co-authored by Lynette Lombaard)

I am pleased that Lynette Lombaard has written this week’s message on the perspective of introverts. Lynette is a talented designer in our Godrej South Africa team. I recently started following her group on Workplace called ‘Understanding Introverts’. Her messages, which tackle some deep and rather nuanced issues on personality types (with a dose of humour), got me…

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Random encounters
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Random encounters

Frankly, I am quite reticent about striking conversations with strangers. On a flight, for instance, I don’t usually initiate conversations with fellow passengers. I prefer immersing myself into a book or a magazine. If the stranger next to me is in a talkative mood, then I usually exchange a few initial pleasantries, wondering though when I can get back…

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Micromanagement is mismanagement

Micromanagement is mismanagement

‘My boss wants me to cc: him on every email’ ‘He asks for frequent updates’ ‘She loves getting into the details and relishes pointing out mistakes’ ‘He schedules ad hoc meetings with my team members even when I am not there’ These probably sound familiar to you—and that’s because most of us have worked with…

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dont-be-a-jerk
5

Don’t be a jerk!

A friend was recently commenting about a colleague who demanded that one of his team members cancel a planned vacation for just an internal review. Unfortunately, this kind of insensitive behaviour is not uncommon in organisations. How about a boss who enjoys creating fake deadlines? Or someone who holds impromptu meetings with your team, while…

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make-a-to-stop-list
1

Make a to-stop list

Now that we are a few weeks into the start of the year, this would be a good time to take a pause and assess how you are doing on your list of resolutions for the year. I’m sure you have made plenty of to-do lists in your life – probably at the start of this…

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Monday-8AM-06Feb2017-Option
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7 steps to an exceptional sales organisation (Co-authored by Parveen Dalal)

Consumers are engaging with brands in amazingly new ways and technology is profoundly changing how we sell. In this evolving landscape, the role of sales becomes even more crucial. And for our sales team and our approach to be a differentiator, it is important to build an enabled, passionate and empowered sales organisation, supported by…

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How to not feel let down by your team

How to not feel let down by your team

I was recently chatting with one of our leaders. He was feeling frustrated. He felt that while he and his team had come up with some ambitious plans, his team wasn’t able to achieve those plans. Several team members were faltering in their execution. While the team sounded very committed, they were not consistently delivering. So, he…

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Power of regret

The power of regret

I recently came across a book written a few years ago by Bronnie Ware, a nurse in Australia. She spent many years working with people during the last few weeks of their lives.  While caring for her dying patients, she recorded the most common regrets her patients had expressed to her. She later published them…

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Peter Principle
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Beware of the Peter Principle

The bumbling boss who fumbles and blusters his way through the office is an enduring caricature across popular culture, from television series like The Office to the Dilbert comic strip in the daily newspaper. Behind this stereotype lies some truth. Let’s admit it: each of us has worked with at least one (if not more) incompetent manager…

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getting-better-with-age
5

Getting better with age

For most of our parents, it was assumed that they would retire by the time they were 60. However, things are changing rapidly. People are now living longer and working for longer than any other time in history. The World Health Organisation’s research shows that global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015….

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i-am-because-we-are
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I am, because we are

A couple of months back, when I was spending some time with our team in Argentina, it was wonderful to see a renewed sense of purpose, teamwork and cohesion in the team. The various team members talked about a company culture built on respect, trust, sharing, caring and empathy. When I discussed with Anand Rangaswamy, our business head for the region…

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Do you really need to quit image
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Do you really need to quit?

Let’s face it. It feels terrible losing good people. So, whenever one of our well-performing team members decides to leave us, I feel pained. I wonder if the organisation has somehow let the person down. Or whether the person has not fully appreciated the career proposition that we offer. Recently, one of our millennial team…

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Do you hate to lose more than you like to win? (Co-authored by Anirban Banerjee)

In some recent discussions that we were having while discussing a particular acquisition, I was struck by how our team was focusing far more on what could go wrong with the acquisition than the significant opportunities.  This is not something that is a one-off though. When you assess some of our innovations that have been delayed, you probably can see similar attempts at playing “devil’s…

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how-to-praise-yourself-image
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How to praise yourself

Usually, during performance review or promotion cycles, it is quite usual to see a spike in people getting into “patting oneself on the back” mode! The frequency of self-congratulatory messages touting recent achievements increases. Most of us want to make a positive impression and have a need to feel valued. Sometimes, we are insecure about ourselves. And…

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boost-your-resilience
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Boost your resilience

The last few weeks have been tumultuous for all of us in India as we have been in the midst of the most radical financial experiment in recent times. The withdrawal, practically overnight, of 86 per cent of the currency notes in circulation has disrupted lives. While many people have been facing tremendous hardships, what has shined though is…

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volunteering

Volunteer to make a difference (Co-authored by Sarah, Donna and Harriet)

On December 5th, Godrej Global Volunteering Day, we will dedicate a day across our global offices to volunteer our time with local schools. I hope that you and your teams will whole-heartedly participate in and support this effort. Even as you gear up for this, do also pause to consider using this opportunity to start your own volunteering…

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the-company-you-keep
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The company you keep

As children, we are told by our parents to be careful about the friends we make. And when we become parents, we offer the same advice to our kids, explaining how the people they surround themselves with will have an immeasurable impact on them. Somehow, though, as adults we don’t end up thinking about how…

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dont-play-victim
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Don’t play victim

Quite often, when things don’t pan out as desired, we start placing blame instead of taking responsibility. Whining creeps in. We don’t take accountability for our choices and our actions. This “woe is me” attitude can be quite toxic. So, my message this week is on what you can do to fight a victim mindset….

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manage-self-doubt
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Manage self-doubt

Most of us would admit to have felt the pangs of self-doubt in our lives at some point  – those moments when, often uncharacteristically so, you start feeling like you are in over your head. It could be triggered by a variety of reasons or no reason at all – a new job or a…

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bust-bureaucracy
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Bust bureaucracy

In 1988, Peter Drucker predicted that in two decades, the typical organisation would become far more agile and efficient, trimming the layers as well as numbers of managerial staff. Which just goes to show that even “the founder of modern management” couldn’t be sure what the future would hold! Far from shrinking, bureaucracy has instead…

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monday-8am-24oct2016
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Don’t let your blindspots derail you

‘Scotoma’, derived from the Greek skótos, meaning darkness, is the name for an area of obscured vision in your otherwise normal field of vision. The point of entry of the optic nerve on your retina is insensitive to light, and so, your vision is ‘blinded’ here. You also know it as your ‘blind spot’. Just…

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improve-your-minds-search-engine
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Improve your mind’s search engine

From historic icons like inventor Nikola Tesla and philosopher Swami Vivekananda, to popular television characters like scientist Sheldon Cooper and FBI agent Spender Reid—some of the most brilliant minds are said to possess an eidetic memory (most of us know this as photographic memory). Whether the geniuses are real or fictional, our fascination is the…

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monday-8am-10oct2016
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What example do you want to set?

We are all familiar with Gandhi ji’s quote, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world”. The supposed story behind this quote is that a mother once visited Gandhi ji and requested him to tell her son to not eat too much sugar. Gandhi ji asked the lady to return back…

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use-your-360-degree-feedback-wisely
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Use your 360 degree feedback wisely (Co-authored by Shashank Shekhar)

We recently concluded our 360 degree feedback process, which was, like most years, met with mixed reactions. Not surprising though; because receiving feedback is always tricky. As leaders, we often think that we are required to have all the answers. That doesn’t leave much space for us to be asking around for help. Add to…

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combating-unconscious-bias
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Combating unconscious bias

I’m biased, you’re biased, we’re all biased. According to massive amounts of modern research, there’s no escaping the everyday reality of how biased we are. Yet, the more I read about how our minds work, the more I get into a bit of denial mode. Not me, I think. I’m not biased, am I? I…

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dont-become-isolated

Don’t become isolated

A refrain that I hear often is that as you become more senior, the job starts feeling a bit lonelier. You’re not alone in feeling like this. While there are tremendously fulfilling aspects of being a leader, what many people find unsettling is getting isolated from their teams. Think about it. As your responsibilities expand,…

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develop-your-leadership-point-of-view
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Develop your leadership point of view

We all know that we need more leaders to be able to achieve our aspirations. The best way to create more leaders is through today’s leaders nurturing tomorrow’s. Each of our roles in developing others therefore is critical. To enable this, leaders need to be great teachers. Noted Professor Noel Tichy, who once led the GE…

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Becoming an engaging leader
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Becoming an engaging leader (Co-authored by Rohit Vengurlekar)

People don’t leave organisations, they leave bosses. You’ve heard this before and as clichéd as it sounds, it is true. If we want to attract and retain the best talent, we have to be engaging leaders. As many of you would agree, this is something that comes with practice. Over time, you learn how to…

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Consider work-life effectiveness
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Consider work-life effectiveness

We all perform multiple roles in our personal and professional lives. Not to mention the need for time for our own physical and emotional well being. Juggling all the different priorities can certainly be a challenge. How to attain work-life balance has, therefore, become a raging debate. Frankly, though, I find the term “work-life balance” a somewhat strange phrase….

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Enhance your presence
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Enhance your presence

If you haven’t yet watched Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, please do so (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZNWYqDU948). The content of her words and their political context aside, her delivery of the speech, and the way it has made people around the world sit up, take note and listen, is a great example of that…

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Going the distance

Going the distance (Co-authored by Sunita Devrani)

152 days down the road, on January 15, 2017, over 40,000 people will be running the Mumbai marathon. Those of you who run regularly, will vouch for the fact that this is much more than just a race. Each person running it has their own story, one that has probably started much before the actual…

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Don't be an overtalker
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Don’t be an overtalker

You know that uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re delivering a presentation or speaking in a meeting and you see people checking emails or looking at the time or just seeming bored? Sometimes it makes you try harder to get their attention (without much success). Often, you end up quite frustrated with how easily they…

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Practise forgiveness at work
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Practise forgiveness at work

“We tend to judge others by their behaviour, and ourselves by our intentions.” Think about your childhood. Regardless of the various things you may have done wrong, my guess is that in most cases your parents forgave you (after the occasional bouts of anger or disappointment). They saw eventually that your intentions were not wrong but you exhibited the wrong behaviour….

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bewareofenergyvampires

Beware of energy vampires

As we get larger, we have amazing opportunities to capitalise on the benefits of scale and our presence in multiple geographies. At the same time, we have to watch out for the classic pitfalls large multinationals face – becoming slow, not making effective decisions, not innovating fast enough or pushing unnecessary paperwork. Noted strategist (and ex-colleague) James…

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Productive stress

Productive stress

Think about the run-up to a big presentation. Or getting a new product launched on time. Go back to the days when you were in school. How about the adrenaline rush before a major game or race? The feeling before a big exam? We’ve all experienced stress at arguably the most pivotal moments in our…

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Perils of online outrage
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The perils of online outrage

The Internet has made our world smaller and brought us closer than ever before. It has opened us up to more information than we could’ve imagined. And it has given everyone a voice. It has transformed activism in many ways and made it more powerful. We can choose to stand up for causes that we…

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Overcoming negativity
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Overcoming negativity

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things may not work out the way you want them to. It happens. And sometimes, it isn’t really anyone’s fault. But when things go wrong, you have a choice – you can either find a positive approach to handle the situation or you can stay caught in a rut. We…

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Making your vacations fulfilling
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Making your vacations fulfilling (Co-authored by Roopika Saran)

This is the time of the year when many of us take some time off for vacations, to unplug and rejuvenate. Some of us head to the beach to frolic in the sun or the mountains to escape the heat. Some just unwind and chill out. Others visit family members to strengthen bonds. As you think about…

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Integrity
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Integrity – more than ethics and morals

You will agree that integrity is the bedrock of Godrej. It is intrinsic to who we are and it has held us in very good stead for nearly 120 years now. To most of us, integrity is probably associated with ethics and morals. And about being upright and honest. We know that lapses or violations…

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Driving execution excellence

Driving execution excellence

In the epic Mahabharata, there is a story about Guru Dronacharya testing his students in archery. Dronacharya set up a wooden bird upon a tree, and from across the adjacent river, asked the princes to shoot it down by striking its eye. When prince Duryodhana tried first, Dronacharya asked him what he saw. Duryodhana replied that…

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Harnessing social platforms to collaborate better
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Harnessing social platforms to collaborate better

“We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the Internet”, says Sean Parker in The Social Network, the film on how Facebook was founded. And that has come to pass. Social networking has fundamentally redefined identity. Pervasive, intuitive and incredibly powerful in the way it cuts across barriers of…

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The reading edge
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The reading edge

“I’ve been meaning to read that, but just haven’t got around to it!”  Does that sound familiar? Chances are it’s your stock response when someone recommends a book. Many of us lament the fact that children today seem to prefer television, video games and social media chatter to books. Yet, our own hectic lives seem…

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Be more transparent about compensation
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Be more transparent about compensation

Last year, around this time, one of our senior team members came to me and said that the raise we were proposing for him was too high. He had very clear reasons on why it should be lowered. Truth be told – it is very rare that a team member tries to negotiate their salary…

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Failure can be a great teacher
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Failure can be a great teacher

Johannes Haushofer, an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton, has been much talked about recently after he published a ‘CV of Failures’ (http://bit.ly/1Ufbg90). It is a must read. Written as a regular CV, it lists the ‘degree programs I did not get into’, the ‘academic positions and fellowships I did not get’…

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Stand up

Stand up

For many of us, so much of our time during the day is either spent in front of the computer or in meetings. I remember once reading that “The common denominator in the modern workday is our tush.” Sitting is ‘the new smoking’, say some experts. Research suggests that our sedentary lifestyles today, fuelled by the increased…

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Give credit where and when it is due

Give credit where and when it is due

As you all know, this is “awards” season at Godrej! Apart from the Group Awards, the GCPL annual awards and various awards at the cluster level (like the upcoming “How-Wow-Now” awards in the India/SAARC cluster), it is great to see how we are getting better at recognising and celebrating the many achievements of our team…

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Create your own symphony
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Create your own symphony

A couple of weeks ago, the Godrej Leadership Forum (which consists of the senior leaders in the group) explored the theme of symphony in our work, in our relationships and in our personal lives. Parmesh Shahani, who leads the Godrej India Culture Lab, curated some great sessions with a diverse set of speakers. As part of this…

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What are you insecure about?
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What are you insecure about?

I still remember my first day in business school. Everyone else seemed to be smarter and more accomplished than I. And I remember feeling quite insecure and wondering whether I was an admissions mistake! Getting the occasional bouts of insecurity is nothing unusual. At one point or the other, I am sure that all of…

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Stop dreading deadlines

Stop dreading deadlines

“The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.” Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, is credited with this quote. I am not sure though how many of you feel this way! The origins of the term “deadline” actually come from prison camps during the American civil war. It referred to a physical line or boundary. Guards would…

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The perils of best practices

The perils of best practices

So often in discussions, I find our team members asking – “So, what is the industry best practice?” These ‘best practices’ have long become the Holy Grail of determining what and how to improve. The questions invariably revolve around – do you know what the best practices are? Is what you are doing a best practice? Who…

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Practicing to become a good leader
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Practicing to become a better leader

When someone once asked Charlie Chaplin what it takes to come up with a great idea, he said it was “sheer perseverance to the point of madness.” Chaplin, for all his bumbling antics on screen, was a very different person off screen. Known to be almost fanatical about perfection, he would spend several hours in rehearsal….

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Why not try feedforward
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Why not try feedforward?

We have recently rolled out our annual review process for the year. Over the next few weeks, we will be spending time with our team members in detailed discussions on their performance for the year gone by. This is also when we step back to take stock of the larger picture, reflect on all that…

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Sustaining a dual career partnership
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Sustaining a dual career partnership (Co-authored by Somasree Bose & Anuj Awasthi)

As you know, improving gender diversity is a key imperative for us. Increasingly, many women, who join us, will be juggling the multiple demands of a career, marriage and family. Many more couples will be dual career couples who will look to balance both their personal and professional lives and support each other. I am…

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The power of vulnerability
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The power of vulnerability

When I was asked by Mr. Adi Godrej and the GCPL Board to take on the responsibility for GCPL a few years back, it was a somewhat atypical choice. Most CEOs in FMCG companies typically come from deep sales and marketing backgrounds. And so, after I assumed the responsibility, I decided to speak openly to…

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Step out of your comfort zone
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Step out of your comfort zone

Last week, I spent a few days with our team in Chile. And they mentioned to me how they had all gone horse riding through steep terrain during a recent off-site. While they were initially very nervous, they found the experience very exhilarating. Many of our other team members have also tried to push themselves….

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Breaking your smartphone addiction

Smartphone addiction

We all know that smartphones are transforming our lives – the way we communicate, connect and learn, among many things. However, as they become an increasing part of our day-to-day routine, are they now controlling our lives? Do you find yourself on your smartphone just about all the time? Scrolling for updates, often when you…

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Keep a journal
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Keep a journal

For many of us, writing can be a great way to remember things, get our thoughts organised, and to introspect. However, in today’s age of instant communication and tweets, writing – especially in the long form – seems to be taking a back seat. Someone I met recently talked about taking the time to write down their thoughts…

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Good morning
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Good morning!

It was Benjamin Franklin who had said “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. Tim Cook is up at 4:30 AM, sending emails and heading to the gym. Barack Obama makes it a point to squeeze in a workout at 6:45 AM. Margaret Thatcher would be up at 5…

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Bouncing back
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Bouncing back (Co-authored by Jatin Panchal)

We have all known loss and fear. It could have been losing someone we loved dearly, coping with a crisis or being diagnosed with a serious illness. We may have won some of these battles. We may have also lost some. But either way, there is no denying that battling your way through really tough…

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Developing a diverse talent pipeline
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Developing a diverse talent pipeline (Co-authored by Sanjivani Sadani)

One of our key imperatives as a Group, is to build and groom the next generation of women leaders at Godrej. Making a real change will require us to do much more than just follow guidelines. We really need to become authentic leaders of change. We need to better appreciate the challenges that women face…

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Talk less, listen more

Talk less, listen more

There is an old quote that says “we have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we speak.” The challenge is that the more senior we become in organisations, we tend to speak more and listen less. Bottom line, it is not possible to be a great leader without being a…

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Goal setting with your family
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Goal setting with your family

All of us have learnt at work about goals and planning. Long range plans, annual plans, business goals, individual goals, joint goals and review sessions are part and parcel of corporate life. Yet, while we are the same person at work and in personal life, we hesitate to apply some of these practices to improve…

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Develop an attitude of gratitude
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Develop an attitude of gratitude (Co-authored by Anand Rangaswamy)

Over the last couple of days, many of you have probably been making lists and exchanging notes with your family and friends on all that you will change this year; of the things that you wished you had achieved in the year gone by. Even as you do that and mull over the resolutions and…

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Vandana Gupta
8

100 days to a better you (Co-authored by Vandana Gupta)

As 2015 draws to an end, it is time to celebrate and reflect on the year gone by. Carving out this space for introspection and gratitude can be deeply meaningful. And many of us will also be coming up with our resolutions for the new year. But as you would probably agree, several of our…

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Don't hide behind email
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Don’t hide behind email

There is no denying that technology and connectivity are transforming the way we converse. With email and the likes of Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Facebook, a lot more time is being spent in virtual conversations. Therefore, what happens when face to face conversations take a backseat, in the context of all this connectivity? So, my…

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Take laughing seriously
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Take laughing seriously (Co-authored by Roopika Saran)

When I introduce myself in India to someone for the first time, the stereotypical question I often get asked is “So, are you very serious?” Gambhir means serious in Hindi and you can imagine why that would be a routine ice-breaker question! Now, in real life, I am not entirely sure how well I am doing to live up to my…

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Tame the tongue
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Tame the tongue

So, have you ever spoken about people behind their backs? Have you indulged in loose talk? Have you relied on getting information from or feeding the proverbial grapevine? Have you spread rumours (deliberately or unintentionally) about someone? Whether we like it or not, gossip is a part of the office and life outside work. It…

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Mind your body language
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Mind your body language

Think about those times when in spite of your team members verbally agreeing to certain actions in a meeting, the implementation fell short of your expectations. Do you recall whether the facial expressions, the tone and the gestures of the team members matched their words? My guess is that your response would be “maybe” or…

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Language matters

Language matters

Have you faced a situation when what you said was completely misconstrued and led to far more angst than you bargained for? Think about why this happened. Could this have been because of your choice of words and the language you used? When we were young, we were chided to mind our p’s and q’s…

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Watch out for cliques
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Watch out for cliques

Often, I see the same group of people having lunch together every day. Many of them tend to be part of the same team.  As I have written before, building close friendships can greatly improve how we work together, not to mention making the hours we spend at work much more enjoyable. But what happens…

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Keep learning
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Keep learning

Every couple of weeks or so, we receive an email from D. Shivakumar, with a book summary of one the latest books he has read. Shiv leads PepsiCo in India and is on our GCPL board. Shiv’s summary usually consists of 35-50 slides and includes his reflections and learnings from the book. You may wonder – how Shiv finds the…

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Building purposeful brands
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Building purposeful brands (Co-authored by Ajay Dang)

Over the last few years, we have seen big shifts in terms of what consumers are expecting from and how they are engaging with brands. So, companies are now rethinking the role of Marketing.  It is no longer sufficient for brands to just make a promise and then try to live up to it. There…

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