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Change Before You Have To!
N. Sathiyanarayanan (Sr. VP–Operations, Lifestyle Intl.) on health and yoga
Q. Gym or cafeteria - where do you enjoy spending time?
My preferred hangout is the marketplace - especially the malls! There is a lot of activity taking place in such environments and people are in the mood to engage themselves in such events. So I get interesting vibes when I am spending time in the midst of all this crowd. But this does not mean that I do not focus on my fitness levels - I indulge in yoga sessions to keep myself healthy and in shape.

Q. Are there any movies that you find relevant enough to recommend to your colleagues? Which ones and why?
There are a lot of good movies I have enjoyed watching. Foremost amongst them is ‘A Wednesday!’, a movie that came out quite recently. I tend to prefer offbeat movies over the regular ones. For instance, I liked ‘A Wednesday!’ because of the way the story unfolded - the events had been portrayed in a very brilliant and interesting manner. Naseeruddin Shah did full justice to the role he played. I mostly end up watching Hindi movies that have good characters and a promising cast. Also, I do not like to miss out on any Aamir Khan movies!

Q. Tell us about the worst day you have had at office.
I have a ‘worst day’ in office everytime a policy or process is not implemented in the right way, even after the details have been discussed with the team. It is very irritating and disappointing to see this happen.

Q. Where was your first job, and how would you describe that experience in just one word?
My first job was with Speed-A-Way Pvt. Ltd. in Chennai. I was recruited for the post of Assistant Manager as part of the Finance department. I cannot really explain the experience in just one word, but what I can say is that it was a complete under-utilisation of my capabilities! I left the job after just two-and-a-half months of working there. I simply did not fit in.

Q. Any management gurus who have helped mould your thinking, or whose principles you swear by?
I greatly admire people like Larry Bossidy (who had a career spanning more than 30 years with General Electric), Ram Charan (business consultant to companies like GE and Bank of America) and Stephen Covey (author of the best-seller ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’).

Q. What would you list as the most prominent trend in the HR industry today?
In my opinion, a lot of focus should be given towards the training and development of the skills of employees. Better informed employees can complete their jobs in a better manner than others. The output also becomes better than that of the competitors.

Q. If you were not in your current profession, which field would you be in?
I think that maybe I would have gone into the field of music as a performing artist!

Q. What are the qualities that you admire in a leader?
I admire leaders who have clear visions of what they want to do and how they want to execute such projects. I feel that these qualities are really important. It is the responsibility of leaders to always keep an eye out for opportunities.

Q. Which book would you list as your favourite and why?
My favourite book is ‘Control Your Destiny Or Someone Else Will: Lessons in Mastering Change-From The Principles Jack Welch is Using to Revolutionise GE’ by Noel Tichy and Stratford Sherman. I like it because it provides the reader with practical solutions to business issues.

Q. What activities do you enjoy in your free time?
In my free time, I like reading books, and listening to music (classical as well as songs from movies); I play the flute a bit, and I spend time with my family. We enjoy going out for vacations to hill stations.

Q. What is the one principle that you live by?
I greatly believe in the line: change before you have to.
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