Shattering The Unseen Barriers As A Women Leader
Global Community Lead at Camunda, Board Member at Signal of Solidarity
Sangeeta Talwar is acclaimed as the first woman in the Consumer Products sector in India and has blazed several new trails. In a career spanning over 30 years, Mrs. Talwar has worked across large businesses of European, American, and Indian corporations. She largely worked with the private sector in India & in Switzerland as well as spearheaded the implementation of a national-level, Social sector – World Bank-funded project in Rural India. She has multifunctional exposure across the disciplines of Marketing, Sales, Human Resources and General Management and has built familiarity both with urban as well as rural India.
Take home these learnings
1. What does it mean to be a women leader
2. Empowering women at work
3. Looking at the world through the lens of a Woman
4. Adding value to people’s life
2. Empowering women at work
3. Looking at the world through the lens of a Woman
4. Adding value to people’s life
INTRO// - What does it mean to be a women leader, and launch an iconic brand like Maggie? - How do you handle a conversation when a women colleague or your sister, wife, or daughter brings to you a challenge? - How does this world look like through the lens of a Woman? Welcome ladies and gentleman, welcome to the podcast the xMonks drive. I am your host Gaurav Arora, and our today’s guest is Sangeeta Talwar. Sangeeta is one of the most celebrated woman leader in the country, an author, an executive Coach who serves on several boards. She has been instrumental in launching the iconic brand Maggie in India. And ofcourse a very dear friend… :) Let’s get into a conversation with her and explore her perspectives around women leadership, and operating in an ecosystem. Let’s take a dive:) OUTRO// My key takeaways from this episode are First one: “Be aware of yourself, as a person. And be aware that you're part of a system, you're part of an ecosystem. And recognise that whatever you're doing, and saying, is going to have an impact on that ecosystem. So it's an interdependency that exists, you will impact it and it will impact you.” Second one is “I wish I could have the wisdom then. I didn't have me talking to me then I wish I had the wisdom to take those last two hours, just come home. What are you taking away..would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment and rate this podcast. Looking forward to meeting you next week with another interesting conversation. Till then, take care and stay tuned :) 00:02 So finally the days here, Sangeeta, thank you so much for this opportunity to have you on the podcast next month. Right? It's such a pleasure having you here. 00:11 Thank you so much was looking forward to it and the day the right, 00:16 asked me. So let's take a dive Sangha. From the day one that I spoke to you have been, I've been in your fan club, I've been a secret admirer for the energy that you bring in the accomplishment that you have the book that you have written, the way you connect with people, the way you have been able to rally people infuse energy in people, and there's so much that we can talk about you. For the moment, let's take a deeper dive in the life of Sangeeta. And if you mean, share an episode from your life from your childhood, specifically, that brings a smile on your face today as well. 00:59 Yeah, that's wonderful place to go to, you know, we used to live in, in a bungalow, because my father was a senior civil servant with the, with the legal department, the low ministry, Government of India. And we had a wonderful tree in the garden. So two of my very nice red recollections of my younger days was in the winter, we would sit outside the house on a child pie, right, a chart pie is basically hessayon woven around pieces of wood to make it a place to sit. And my mother had a kitchen garden behind our house, and she used to grow all kinds of things. And there was fresh radish always growing there. And we would pull out a fresh radish, we tell the the cook to get us nimbu and Amok pitch. And in the winter sun, we would sit outside the house, make fresh Mooli with nimbu. And number Wow, that was amazing. We don't we can't do that anymore. We live in a flat. The other thing was we had a wonderful tree in the front garden of the bungalow. And I used to love to climb that tree. So many afternoons, I have spent sitting up in that tree, I don't know, feeling one with the leaves. And there were no it was not a flowering tree. But with the little squirrels going up and down. And fortunately, I never saw any snakes there. Otherwise, I would have beat a hasty retreat. So these were some of the wonderful reflections. And I think it was lovely to be one with nature. You know, we had a, our house was at the corner and it ran a common garden hedge separating us to Tata Gardens, which was a huge garden, right. And I still remember that hole we had made in that garden hedge so that we could crawl through it and get on the other side. And we didn't have to go out of the gate and around on the street and into another big gate. So we just found the shortest route into that. So these are some of the wonderful memories of childhood. 03:21 Yeah, yeah. Reminds me of the days that I have spent in Seoul, where we would visit every every year. To my grandparents house from my mother's side, and you just climb the mountain, we'll just climb the trees and have almonds, we would have walnuts, they would have topicals we would have pills, we will have all kinds of fruits that and that was fun. And you know, when siblings cousins when we all come together when we all rally together. It's a it's a fun of very different nature. It's a fun, very different level altogether. And young on the Lemelson it's fun. Yeah, I miss them. I guess that Yeah. 04:15 And you remember those days, the younger days, you know, we never ate mango by the one or two mangoes. So there will be a mango orchard and you know the ancestral homes, they would just go in pick mango from the tree and put it in baskets and tell each child to sit in front of one basket and say this is your basket. You eat as much as 04:35 you want. And also I tell people that eating eating one mango at a time it's disrespect to mangoes. Please don't do that. Please don't do that. Yeah. So Sunday that the journey that you began where you will enjoy reddish to where you are. It has been an amber amazing journey. Please tell us about Sangeeta Belvoir from the lens of a PR manager from a lens of marketing manager, if you may. 05:12 Okay, so let me just spend a few minutes on that, you know, connect the early childhood to early adulthood. So I was the last of four siblings in the family and my parents were getting older. And fortunately, I got a very nice job. And I finished my business management from IIM, Kolkata, I got a job in Delhi. So my parents were in Delhi. And I was the odd odd man, I was the handyman around because I used to help with whatever was happening. So even in college, I remember, you know, if there was any heavy lifting to be done, I used to do it because I was deployed to house right. And then I read a well let a very, very busy college life because I, while I was studying, I would be, you know, taking up assignments with the older radios and announcer I'll be doing hosting fashion shows and all kinds of things. And then did my studies and, you know, got into business management and and then arrived on the doorstep of Nestle India limited on first of June 1979. In a freshly freshly minted Kolkata cotton factory. 42 years back. Yes, that's Wow. I think so. So I, you know, I've had an amazing, I've had an amazing opportunity. So I was the first woman that Nestle hired into executive management, otherwise, all the women who were there until then we're all in administration and administrative roles or assistance. And, and so to an extent, you know, the company was also learning. What do we do, I mean, they were fast moving consumer goods, company distribution was very much brick and mortar out there. With millions and millions of mom and pop stores, where the where the products were sold, there was no ecommerce, and no computers, no mobile phones, etc. And so the very different scenario, and rather difficult to have a woman travelling, you know, in the country, that doing concerts, in cotton saris, absolutely, you know, one and a half, two inch sandals that I used to always wear, and we didn't have mobile phones, we packaged food, we didn't have packaged water, there was only two brands of cars, there was only one airline. So we lived in a very, very sort of limited, constrained sort of environment. You know, and it was, so it was a lot of challenge in the kind of role that I took on because being in marketing meant to, you knew the route into sales. And you know, you walked enough markets, you'd met enough dealers and worked with the sales people in sales. And so I used to travel a lot, I used to travel every month, I would travel about five to six days. And that kind of travel was really difficult. Because there were, there were no physical amenities, there was no infrastructure, there was there were places I went to where there was nothing to eat. So you picked up some metal shop, maybe one Muay Thai, or you picked up a banana, or you or something like that, or you went on the highway and ate at at Harbour or something. So there was nothing sort of available. So there were quite a few trials and tribulations, but I think the company was very supportive. And, and it was an excellent learning experience for me. And I was very fortunate I got, after being handed the smallest product in the company, I landed myself into a new products group that was actually to launch the what would become actually marketing history in the country. We didn't know it then. But I got a great chance to actually work bottom up on Maggie. And to do actually start with just the weighing of the spices and putting together the case maker, then the whole, the whole works and, and then I supported that particular group for its first 18 years of life. So I think if you your question was, how would somebody in PR talk about this? So I think in terms of achievements, they would perhaps say that this is a person who sort of blazed a new trail, if you like, because there were very few existing examples. Have anything that sort of she had to do in her professional life? In terms 10:04 of launching an iconic brand? Like, 10:07 yes, yes, absolutely. And then supporting it through its ups and downs. That is very important. And that's captured in the book, which I wrote, which actually, in the first few years, it actually went really down. And at that time, I got an offer to work in Switzerland, by the boss, and my boss said, I went to my boss, and I said, What do you think he said, I don't think you should go. And he gave me a wonderful piece of advice. He said, what you have launched, is not doing well, today. It's on the down, right? If you leave now, this is what you will carry for the rest of your life. Wow, what an amazing insight. Yeah, and I decided not to go. And I, of course, that super boss was then annoyed with, with me for not allowing that resource he wanted. But I stayed correct, I made sure that that sales line turned around. And we did things in a way that there was no looking back ever again, and the brand just grew and grew and grew, and, and continues to grow. And just imagine if I had left at that stage, it would have been two consequences. One, of course, I wouldn't have had the confidence of, of what I have today of having built something which was really iconic and has survived the test of time, right? 40 years. And the other thing, I don't know how Maggie would have done. Because if you asked, you know, it's a symbiotic relationship, we often don't recognise that we, and maybe it's a testament to the times and how things were organised. And, but no matter what was happening on the brand, production, sourcing, creation, launching, whatever I was that spoke, that single point of contact, so I was always part of the loop. And I always keep an eye was always allowed to come from the company's perspective, from the consumer perspective, to every issue, every every issue. And that's how a great brand is built. You never want to compromise the consumer, you always no matter what technical is saying, no matter what purchasing is saying, no matter what the finance guys are saying about the bottom line or the cost. So you come at it from the consumer perspective, 12:46 always beautiful lessons that I've picked up from here is never leave when you're at your low leave when the chips are down. Right, that's one. Second one is look at any situation in hand in case you would like to build a brand. And on the inside, you may want to call the iconic brand only when you're looking at a situation from the consumers perspective, I would love to hear more about the process, the method of building brands. Before that summit, I would love to hear tell me more about a day in the life of Sangeeta, on one hand, where she was the first executive committee member working in a mammoth like Nestle. And then launching a new brand on the other side. Right? It's like managing two battles on two different sides. One is what's happening to me as a women in the Indian environment when I'm the first one. And the second one is that I also have to take care of a baby that I've recently delivered, right? So how was it? 13:53 Excellent question. You know, I want to begin the answer to that by saying something which I think is very, very important for every woman. And I make that distinction between being a woman and an A man. It's to have the confidence. And the confidence is just a word, but the confidence I'm talking about is, no matter what I can handle it. It's not about what will happen to you, you will fall sick, you will have instances when you are down when you're up, you know, your your your your your your smashed, you know, you feel you're just can't ever get up in life again, you've done so badly, but the confidence that no matter what I can handle it. And that confidence, I think are built into me also because of the kind of upbringing. So my parents were I mean, we were a middle class family. My parents were both working my My father was, as I said, a senior civil servant. And in the law ministry, my mother was a teacher and she used to leave at nine in the morning, she would come back at five. And you're very, very courageous, very courageous lady, because she had a very bad ailment at age 32. And she, it had a debilitating effect on her physical sell. But she worked to the age of 58. And she did everything she cooked clean knitted sweaters, I mean, the works. So she's my idol. Yeah, in terms of what one human being can do to contribute, despite what they go through, you know, and your mother's was similar. So anyway, so it was they were very open minded, liberal. So I was always thrown into situations where I had to fend for myself. And being the youngest I was out and about, I was always a person who connected with people. So I came out of being shy, I was a little shy in school, but I came out of that. And so I was always connected to many things, and many people and I learned to manage myself, and nothing would deter me. So I built up this amazing courage, where I would pray to God and say, you know, you will take care of me, and I will take care of the rest of the rivers, I can, I'll do my best. You know, that is the assurance I'll give you, but I know you will take care of me. And I used to just go, I used to travel to places where men had never been before. And I mean, they would be, you know, quite surprised. So that was the kind of background so I nothing deterred me. So I was up to any task. That that was required of me. Yeah, so that was on the courage, confidence, courage confidence side. And just prompt me what was the other aspect you wanted me to talk to? Yeah, the whole the whole achievement piece, 16:57 right, the managing and launching and sustaining that grit, you know, no matter what makes making sure that the product is successful, launch is dumb, as you said, but the product should be successful. 17:12 Right? Right. So a lot goes into that. And I just mentioned a few basics. So on the on the on the work front, on the professional side, you need to be extremely deep, thinking extremely strategic, you need to be able to do what I describe as fly vision, which is fly with the birds and have the vision of a fly, and fly with the birds actually helps you to shift your horizon and look at the bigger picture, then you use you sort of re you know, you you can re strategize where you were, where you are, and where you'd like to be. But you need the vision of a fly for exceptional execution. Because if you don't have exceptional execution, all your strategies will remain only, you know, castles in the sky, they'll never become reality. And if they don't become reality, you don't have a business because you won't have a top line and you won't have a bottom line. So that's the way those those two work. And I think you need to be very good at both. So and in the middle. So you have a very strong element of resources, people, and I'm not talking about capital and technology resources. There are the people looking after you have human resources. And I think the approach to that was always about engaging with people, inspiring them to see, you know, my mind's picture, or my vision, you know, how could I engage and inspire them to see my vision was to be a part of the vision and and then enable them to help me to achieve where we wanted to be. So, so that person, of course, a lot of very detailed working a lot of short, you know, daily prioritisation, reprivatisation reprioritization. So, I, you know, I had you had asked me another question some time ago, and I've written three things that I wanted to share. And I said, and I wrote here, one is a very high sense of responsibility, you know, and a very high sense of responsibility with a high sense of commitment. So, usually, and there's another very nice person example of this, I would never commit to something if I knew I couldn't do it or had a doubt that I couldn't. I'm not sure if I can do it. I would not commit to it. I would say I'll come back to you. So very simple. My father used to live on his own my mother passed away much then 10 years plus before he passed away, so he's deliver on his own. And he would always call in the morning and say, with that, I'll get ya when you come and see me today. And my older sister was also in town. And she would also be asked the same question. And a lot of the times, I think she would say, I'll come. And a lot of the times, I would tell them that I'm going to try, I won't promise you because it just depends what time I can get away from work. And nine times out of 10, I would land up and she wouldn't. And I just mentioning that because it came through to me as a very stark difference. For me personally, that I would not commit to something I am not sure I can deliver. And, you know, you you just mentioned the other day in one of our coaching sessions that, you know, a tiger doesn't change its stripes, you always come at things. The way you are, is the way you are in everything. Right? Yeah. And I think to a large extent, despite having worked, so we mean years, they're still like that. 21:10 And I think that's one of the common threads that I have witnessed. And notice, in all my conversations in all our interactions that your commitment to commitment, when you're saying that you would show up, you would show up no matter what. And in case you're not been able to show up because of any ABCC reason, Jordan for. So thank you for laying that strong foundation for young professionals who are watching you, and learning what it means to be a leader. Sangeeta. Thank you so much for bringing that Sangeeta, what you're talking about is empowerment, engaging people, enabling people. I get it. Now, I would love to hear from you. Because engaging with people. And that too, specifically, when there's a lot of biases that we operate from, and especially men, right? I haven't find it. And I just if I just sit in a time machine go back 40 years back for two years back, it would have been extremely difficult for men to accept a woman leader. We might be operating from certain biases. And here is a woman leader talking about engaging and meddling. How easy or difficult was it for you to let go off what you were getting in return? And yet, take a stand for what you genuinely cared for? Engaging with individuals, enabling them, empowering them making sure that they deliver on their promises. So 22:53 wonderful question and, you know, gotta write through. And I went through some very difficult times as well. I never, my first thought in my mind was not the time of woman. I never looked at myself as a woman. I looked at myself as a co worker, as somebody who's part of the team. Even when I was leading the team, I never looked at myself as the boss, Big Boss, Keeks somebody everybody should do salaam to me in the morning, never looked at myself like that. Always looked at myself as a person who was part of the team with more privileges. Yes, you know, because I was the boss and I did carry the can. But I think there's a big difference if you don't look at that specific identity, which sets you apart all the time. And you know, we talk about identity a lot in coaching. If you take away your focus from that, you tend to focus more on what is the outcome and not that person who's delivering the outcome. You focus on the outcome first. And so you are not a big piece in that puzzle. You're just one of the enablers in that person. You know, that's, that's a perspective. So I never, I never wanted any privileges from the company, which were not due to me. So even when I was I was HR director actually for Nestle. I don't know if you know, this whole for few years. And anyway, the time was such that people expected you to do a whole lot of things for yourself, you know, because you become someone a big daddy in the company. I only told myself one thing. I said, if I can't do it for the rest of the management team, I won't do it for myself. End of story. I never took even a quarter of a cent of a privilege that all the hotels everybody used to throw it another principle when I was in HR people would come and say you know I have a personal issue. Can you not extend this loan by another That's three months, and I would only tell them one thing. I said, Do you think this is a good scheme of the company? Yes, man. It's a very good scheme. I said, has it benefited you? Yes, it has benefited me. I said, No, put yourself in my shoes. 50 People like you come to me and say, can I extend this by another three months? Yeah, Canoga, would you be able to extend it? He said, No, ma'am. I said, you have your answer. So don't don't expect me to do something just for a few people. So HR as a quick message, that's why I'm focusing on it. It's very difficult job, because you need to be personal, yet you need to be equitable. 25:41 Equitable, which means each one sees you as being just open and fair. And that's a very difficult work. But I'll stop there. So I'll go back to what you were asking me. So I never looked at myself as a woman and never wanted extra privileges from the company because there was a lady. And I will do it quickly caught an instance here to you the one instance where somebody forgot to make my booking on a train. It was a six hour journey back from the factory to Delhi, and I got ETS the entire way. I didn't have a seat. So sitting in the corridor, and there was a bunch of young businessmen from that city, who kept teasing me, they kept picking up my book and somebody would adjust my suitcase when I came back from the toilet. And I was really embarrassed. You know, I was very young. I just started working. So I came back and I told my boss and he said, okay, okay, okay, I'm not putting out a letter. We don't know how to treat women, we should always be careful. I mean, I was the first lady executive, right? The company was also learning. So I told him, I said, Sir, if you do that, here's my resignation letter. Swing looked at me quizzically. He said, You know, he, he said, Are you he must have thought in his head. This lady is bonkers. Because I'm trying to help her. I, as the head of the company, I'm offering to do a letter on her behalf to the entire company. And he or she says she'll resign. He said, why? I said, so I didn't join this job. To be wrapped up in cotton, put in a glass case had put in the corner, I joined this job, to work with everybody else to do what the job requires. The moment you put out that letter, everybody will put me in a corner in a glass case that she's only good to look at. Don't even go near her. Don't give her any book. Because you know what you might get a complaint. I said, so please don't put out any letter I'm just sharing with you. So I want to make a point your girl, which is very important for men to understand about women, and it's a universal thing. It may vary degrees, depending on culture, situation, etc. Age, women often find it hard to share what they go through with anybody. Because if you share it with your father and your brother, that patriarchy will tell you don't do it stay at home. If you share it with your boss in the office, who's more than more men than women in offices, still more likely to be a man, Lee come back to you with a protective approach. So you can't share. And when I say share, you're not sharing is about. I'm making you a part of my experience. It is not about always treating you as a problem solver. And there's a very big learning here. Very, very big learning here. So, which was a big learning? Yeah, 28:45 let me just repeat it. Let me just repeat what he said is I'm just sharing so that I can make your part of the experience not sharing with you so that you could be a problem solver. Exactly. Wow. 28:56 And you know, we are approach to sharing as humans, we come from identity, we leap to our identity and say we can problem solve, Hey, did you try this? Can you do that? Can I help you this can help you that even sometimes help is not what acquired the subject. And that is where listening becomes you know, the solution to everything. You know, so deep listening, which comes to coaching is so fundamental to human living, actually, because you allow the other person the space to make you a part of the experience. Full stop. That's all they want. 29:38 Beautiful, beautiful. Now, right now I'm finding myself on the crossroads. I would like to move into two different directions. First direction is I would love to hear from you. What was that moment in your life where you were appreciated, recognised and you felt so So grateful shucks, man, how could I get so lucky? I have personally come across several moments like that, where I start to wonder, how could I be so lucky in my life? I'm sure, you would have experienced that, as well, when you felt genuinely grateful. What was that moment? How did you digest that, without letting that get onto your head? That's what the second part that I want to take is around when you work with women leaders, so let's start with the moment when you felt being grateful, and you did not allow that episode to hit to your ego. 30:45 So I got a, you know, while a lot of my corporate achievements were in Nestle, India, and I worked in Nestle Switzerland as well for few years. I will talk about these moments of highs into other contexts, right. So one was, you know, I had taken on the role of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mattel toys, South Asia. And we had to go for I had to go every quarter to El Segundo in Los Angeles, the headquarters for our business presentations and discussions. So when I took on that role, my job was based out of Mumbai, I when I took on that role, I looked at the very funny incident to which I read later, I looked at the whole business, and I realised it needed fundamental shifting the whole approach to business. And that's the last chapter in my in my book. And so I went off to LC gone to Los Angeles with this short presentation on what I felt was could be the toy business in India and how should Mattel be looking at it, and the head of Mattel and the three heads of the they used to call it boys toys, girls toys, and games, I think there were three business, SBU heads Ooba, worldwide heads for those businesses. And there were a few other people and I was presenting to them. It was the first time I was meeting all of them together. At the end of my presentation, they stood up and they clapped. And it felt fantastic. It felt that they acknowledged the fact that what I had said had made sense to them. I never took these things personally, it never it didn't. So to me the message was not what a fantastic person. That was not the message. The message was what a fantastic presentation, which means that the idea of the business and everything is fantastic is great. And so I went back with that confidence. And I implemented that. And it was a loss making business. I set it on the on the path of profitability. We did that in 18 months. We worked like we worked like dogs. We used to burn the midnight oil, but we made made that happen. So that was a really high moment. Another high moment, which was not an appreciation for me. But I kept like 10 year old child was when every quarter, the toys were the new range of toys, and they used to plan two years in advance. Were being presented and this was the Harry Potter toys. And what a fantastic job they did cut off of the Harry Potter, they recreated the movie, they recreated the characters from the movie, and they were live presenting the Mattel toys. And I was just blown. I was clapping like a kid. You know, we used to present to all the heads of markets so that we could then tell them what would be the likely orders for those toys from their country. So that was another moment which really touched me be like, realise that how important it is to keep the child in us alive. You know, so important to keep that alive. I couldn't hear you for a moment. Yeah, absolutely. Oh, absolutely. So and then I'll read just one other quick incident. We were I was appointed as the HR director for Nestle. And I was very was a bit lost wondering how would I do that? Colas assignment. And we were, I was one of the 14 or 15 people invited to a worldwide HR Conference, which the head of the director of HR for Nestle worldwide was organising. She and her deputy were at that conference and the usual thing, they broke us up into groups, and my group was four people. And they told me, the three men told me we are going to hit the bar tonight. And I said, I don't feel like going to hit the bar. So who's going to do the group work? They said, Are you you, you do the group work, and you know, we'll come back in the morning, we'll meet at 730, we'll catch up with you. Okay. Now all of this was a little bit new to me, because I've never been in HR before. But I took on that task. And I 35:45 wrote a presentation out on, we used to have those little acetate sheets right slightly, we'd never there were no slides at that time. So I wrote out the presentation in some whatever green and red coloured pens. And and then the next morning, none of these guys turned up. Because they're all drunk too much. And they overslept. So they turned up for the session. And they, of course, looked at me and said, but why don't you present? It? Okay. I mean, you know, there's nobody else who knows the one I've written that I had discussed with them briefly. So I made that presentation, and the head of HR director HR for Nestle. Worldwide, she stood up, and she said, this is the best presentation I've ever seen in my life. And she said, You talk. You, you talk to the subject, and you just got it right, you know, the way HR should be positioned in the cup. So I got a huge, you know, confidence from that. Because then I came back with all that confident saying that, you know, I know what my starting points are in HR. And I know what the outcomes should look like, because it's been signed off by the senior most person in HR within. Yeah. And that's what it meant to me. And then I went about doing things in that role, which the company spoke about for many, many years after that, because it just turned things on its head. 37:12 Yeah. And I think that's where a genuine appreciation, acknowledgement from somebody that you look up to. That's a different tact and appreciation or a genuine acknowledgement can do for an individual. Yeah. 37:26 May I add one thing keeps you up. So you know, if one can look at all these moments of high as not being moments that you have achieved on your own? Because if you if you start looking at everything as emanating only from you. You Yeah, you you tend not to appreciate all the interdependencies that exists within apps, within our human life and professional life is absolutely dead, it goes to your head. 38:03 And I think that's the surest way to create a blunder for yourself. 38:07 Yes, yes. And, you know, caught up. I was trying to visualise this the other day in my head. And I said, if I, I think I'd be to include it in one of my presentation that you asked me to make is, you know, when they say when you get to the top, the only way to go is down. But you can shift that perspective, because every top is part of another top. And if you look at the way God has made mountains, he's made them in ranges, you cross one range, you have to go down again a little bit to get to the next top and then you have to go down on the other side to get the next step. And that's the beauty of life. And if you can look at every top you arrive at as just a stepping stone to the next top. That's how you keep life progressing, progressive and keep transforming. 38:59 It reminds me of my conversation with a another friend of mine. His name is Patrick and Patrick said that every time you climb a mountain, you don't stay there. You stay there for a while, enjoy the beauty and then you come down so that you can scale the next mountain. Now, having said that, Sangeeta you do a lot of work with women leaders today. You are on the boards of several organisations as well. What do you think, according to you creates a distinction between a leader who is able to create an impact in the organisation that she or he is a part of, and somebody who has not been able to deliver on his or her promises. And here, I'm no way creating the distinction between male and female. I'm no way talking about leadership or women leadership. Right. I would love to hear from You because You do a lot of work with C suite executives, you do a lot of work with women leaders, and you're on the boards as well. So you have a very clear cut understanding of what's happening. I would love to hear your views on that. 40:13 Yeah. So I think, you know, there's, there's a lot of conversation around this, these days, you know, what are the traits of a good leader. And I'd like to choose a different starting point, I think if you want to be a good leader, you have to be a good human being. And you have to know how good you are. And I'm not saying that you have to be God himself. Because you cannot be. I think, if you are aware of what kind of person you are, and what are some of those blind spots you have, and you can continue to have them, I'm not saying, you know, transform yourself and become a saint, or going live on top of the Himalayas, or deprive yourself of everything, I'm not saying that I'm not, I'm not being moralistic, I'm saying, be aware of yourself, as a person. And be aware that you're part of a system, you're part of an ecosystem, very, very important. And if you can be aware of these two things, then comes the next step is how confident you are as a person. Now, if you and all of us are only grades in the zero to 100, then, you know, I'm not at 100. And I'll never be there are many things now that destabilise my confidence completely, or put me in a negative zone. But if you can push yourself, to always have a positive approach, a positive outlook, and be confident. So that's the base of yourself, and recognise that whatever you're doing, and saying, is going to have an impact on that ecosystem. So it's an interdependency that exists, you will impact it and it will impact you. That's kind of the basics, then what people look for is for, I mean, leadership is not about you, it's about the people who are part of your team. And then it's about, you know, bringing them excellent strategic thinking, showing them a path forward, you know, what is the future look like? So crafting that future with them, being inclusive of them. So I would, for a lot of the new projects that I set up, which I've also mentioned in my book for the target group, when I was in Tgb, Tata Global Beverages, I would create that, that strategic vision, then I would get buy into it. And then I would make everybody a partner of that vision. So they would own it as their vision, they would own it as something that they would like to do. And then I would walk that journey with them, to enable them to get there. And as a leader, I think it's really important to be highly organised, to be disciplined, because, and to be able to prioritise, and one of the things I always tell women, because women tend to suffer from this very busy, very busy, busy, busy credo, we call it in our criticism of women who don't have time to network, they're just busy, busy, busy. You have to look at life as a puzzle. And pick the most important pieces of the puzzle, and put those in place. And be willing to let the rest fall in place. You can not complete that puzzle. Every time it appears, it's an impossible task. It's not humanly possible. So you pick your important pieces, put them on the board, and say, This is what is my these are important to me, these are my values, I'm going to stick to that. And we do always serve these. And they will always serve me and the rest will fall into place. And this just carry on in life like that. And even as a leader, whatever. Your strategic initiatives, you have new projects and you're thinking about growth for the future, you need resources. Actually, you're flying blind a lot of the times because you don't know how competition is going to suddenly change. You know, competition can come out of the woodwork. You somebody who had no resources suddenly came into the game, right? So you're flying blind, so you need to have a few anchors, which you can use your values as your anchors, you can use your resources as your anchors to keep you moving ahead while you fly blind. 44:48 So to love the choice of words that you use Sangeeta and you said, choose your ankle when you're flying blind. And I also I remember last time you spoke about the importance of a partner who continues to support you. And you have always admired Rajeev, in the context of how he has been a very important instrument and an anchor in your life. Also, I remember last time you spoke about something, and that stayed with me. And it helped me to look at leadership from the lens of leadership rather than looking at leadership or at women leadership. You mentioned this, you said all women work, all the women are working, housework, women are not paid, working women in organisations are paid. So there's so much of unpaid work happening. It stayed with me. Tell me more about your perspective on that. And what led you to say this statement. So, 45:58 you know, women work 24/7 If you're a working woman, you're working 24/7 You're doing office, when office closes, you come home, you have work at home. I'm not saying that men don't do housework. They do do housework. And increasingly so and some of them are extremely skilled at it. So for example, my son in law is an excellent cook. So when I when he gets into the kitchen, he'll make something and it will just blow my daughter's brains out. And she'll say, it's fantastic Mom, watch it. And then I tell him, I said, we can be the Kobe Jamie really be by now. So it's not about that it's about I think it's about being nurturing, being more nurturing as creation of nature, by God, than men. So if you're more nurturing, and you have the biological gift of producing human life, you feel responsible for what you are nurturing. And so you suffer from a guilt. And that guilt keeps you working 24/7. So especially working women have a really hard time. But okay, their plus point is that they earn some money, they have some freedom. From that perspective, you know, in order to spend off themselves or whatever, relax, enjoy it, take a holiday with their girlfriends. For a housewife, she's working equally hard. You know how difficult it is to produce? How many 20 plus meals every week. For everybody, let's say there are four members in the House. You're making 80 meals a day. To each one's taste, you're bringing in variety of ingredients, but you're bringing new choices, and you're bringing in nutrition, health and it's got to be at the time that that person likes to eat it. Some Like It Hot and some like it cold and some like it in the pot, nine days old. That's a that's a nursery rhyme. So everybody likes it in a different way. So you're catering to all of that. But all of that never gets paid. It's only paid through love, respect, etc. Through relationships. Oh, beautiful. Yeah. And they do everything you know, they do the clothes, your clothes will be iron, they'll be in the cupboard and we actually ever thought what goes into that it's a rainy day variable to hang those clothes. How are you going to dry them? So I don't know just so many imponderables, you know you go shopping, you will get good stuff, you'll get back stuff you still need to turn out to tasty and you may not be cooking it yourself you may have helped to cook you may not be cleaning everything yourself you may have helped to clean but the responsibility when you're a housewife for everything to be just so why because you're at home. Has anyone thought how much leisure time you should have that you get tired that you must have a break because just running the home for everybody who lives there is not is not the most entertaining thing for you. Has anyone thought of your leisure? Has anyone thought you know? And I was going to say something else but anyway, I'm just saying that we take everything for granted. If the food isn't tasty we'll just any urge us to come to it you know I don't much care for the perimeter today. You know it doesn't have that your normal. Come on. Yeah, you know, so we we must learn at home to appreciate first and then criticise 50:00 Using Sangeeta, you're involved in so many projects you have been involved in so many things. You are on the board of several organisations. You are an executive coach, you are a consultant. You are involved in a couple of community projects, you are assisting a couple of budding entrepreneurs, you are a part of a couple of tribes and communities. Where do you get so much of energy and what keeps you going? 50:35 What's taking the time when with Tiki? Very difficult for me to answer that question. But I like to be gainfully engaged gainfully. I mean, I like to be involved and engaged with things I don't like to sit idle. So I like to keep learning. And I think one of the biggest things in my head Gora, which is never gone away, and still very, very rampant and very, very strong, is that I like to contribute. And I want to add value. So in my last, you know, private sector role, which was with Tata two beverages, I used to tell my senior reporting, that if you walk into my room, I must be able to add value to what you have walked in with otherwise don't walk in. Don't come at all, you know, that's my role as a leader. So I still like to do that I like to add value like to help. I like to pitch into things I like to learn. So I learned the piano some time back. I tried to learn golf, but something went wrong, so I didn't pursue it. So I've got back to my piano. Now. I've restarted yoga recently because I want to, I don't want to, I know as I get older, my muscle will convert to fat. And I want to keep the equation keep going the other way. Taken on a yoga teacher, he's just fantastic. Who's just making sure that every muscle in my body is being called out. So it said God is kind, I just had that energy to do this. And the day I don't I will reduce the number of things I do. But I can still do coaching. 52:31 Yeah, I'm sure I'm sure. There is what you are already doing. So Sangeeta, thank you so much, I think for your time for the wisdom, the experiences that you have shared. Just curious if you could give a piece of advice to your 21 year old self, who was just starting off? What would you offer to them? 52:55 You know, I in the bay, I wouldn't advise something diametrically different from what I did, except with a little so I would say go forth. Create your own craft your own future with courage, confidence and compassion, love and care deeply. live life to the full work really hard and party equally hard. But try to do it in balance. So if you want to have those tequila shots don't have excessive tequila shots, because you're damaging your system. You know, when you're young, you don't realise, but all the excesses of our youth come back to bite us as we get older. And I think very importantly, find your chin time, what is important to you, you know, what are some of the things that bring you joy and pleasure, it may be learning something, it may be helping somebody who who needs that help. And do that and build it into your calendar every day. So don't become somebody who's too attached to work who's too attached to something so that it lines out everything else, you know, live a life and in balance in that sense. And that's the only part I would change about myself. I think for a long, long time. I worked very long hours and I wish I could have the wisdom then. I didn't have me talking to me then I wish I had the wisdom to take those last two hours, just come home. And you know, the world would still go on, nothing would have changed. 54:41 Thank you. I think Sangeeta you've been a great source of inspiration for me. Every time when I am stuck. I make sure that I speak to you to get some experiences, some sharing your wisdom so that I can bring a shift in my perspectives. And there's so much To learn from him, be it energy beat enthusiasm, be childlike energy that you bring in be commitment, be it, how to set the priorities in place and how to unlearn, learn and relearn. I think there are so many lessons to learn from you. So thank you so much lost you can do. 55:15 Thank you. Thank you. It's been a pleasure and honour to be here. Thank you
Meet your hosts:
No posts were found for provided query parameters.