Your career spans a multitude of experiences that has helped you achieve more – how can other leaders build this desire for experimentation through multiple experiences?
My journey started when I was 8 years old and the events that took place at that time made a deep impact on me. Be it the scenes of donations coming from middle class families for the martyrs of India-China war of 1962 or having my close family members in the Army and National Defence fighting the war. I decided then that I had to do something significant for my country. As a teenager attending “Balavihar” classes and reciting the Chinamaya mission pledge made me understand that I wanted to be a serving a larger purpose.
From my first job at TATA Motors to Eicher, GROW Talent and SOIL, my larger vision has always been, “Serving the country by creating a consulting company in transforming the Indian Industry and building leaders for tomorrow”. For me it has always been about “defining a higher purpose and becoming a follower of that purpose.”
I believe that my life script is written, and I was chosen to be the instrument of doing this kind of work. Nothing happens due to an accident in life and it is a lot that we carry from our past into this life. All we need to do is to carefully listen to the knock from within. You get an indication from within provided you startle your mind to get that source of wisdom.
You are currently doing a lot that sustains the mind, heart, and soul – how does Anil take care of his body that helps him achieve more?
I believe in having good sleep coupled with investing time in the morning for my well-being in the form of meditation, pranayama and long walks and being one with mother nature. I have always been involved with Chinmaya Mission and I make sure I take time out every week to help with the Mission’s goal of “Spread maximum happiness to maximum people in maximum time” and this gives me immense satisfaction. Apart from self-care and taking time out, I also teach self-leadership at School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL) and this helps me in sharing what I have learnt and doing wonderful things that makes me look forward to everyday.
From your vantage point, what are leaders still missing to thrive in turbulent times?
At the start of the new normal when the situation is ambiguous and with the fear of uncertainty, I have seen many leaders whose first reaction has been to over manage or micromanage. Initially, in the spirit of having team huddles, leaders started over doing things and work from home became discontinuity in worklife balance. Currently things are changing, and I see leaders are beginning to ask more thoughtful questions like,
How to redefine the business models?
How to redesign the work so that it becomes more meaningful for everybody?
Even bottom-line oriented leaders are asking questions about purpose and values. I can only say that good things are beginning to happen in many leaders.
Everybody talks about the skill gap in India and other developing markets – what are your ideas that can better address this gap?
It is always a three-way partnership between the government, industries and educational institutions in which both the areas of excellence and skill gaps are identified. We must set up industries with clarity and at the same time get high quality academic institutions to set up investments and then the government must create a virtual circle for the three to come together. This three-way partnership is very much needed and to some extent it has begun to happen. For example, in Tamil Nadu which is the hub of the automotive industry, suddenly due to awareness, the ITI’s, polytechnics and colleges came together. To a large extent the skill gaps will be overcome only with the amalgamation of all three together along with vocational training.
I love the example of Germany where people have the vocational training concept at a very young age. Skills are respected and people are given that kind of systematic training through the apprenticeship model. We need to have a systematic way of vocational training and apprenticeship early in our schooling years, especially for children who come from less fortunate parts of the country. As a country, we need to take pride and bring manufacturing back, develop skills and have master craftsman.
In short, have depth in skills and knowledge along with good quality of faculty who are competent and motivated. When it comes to employability gap, I must say that the curriculum must be designed around actually solving real world problems. Initial concepts must be mastered along with self-learning and the role of the teacher must be that of a facilitator.
Every leader must learn to stay abreast and to change – how does Anil learn?
The question I ask many to understand this is when did you learn something for the first time recently? For example, I have used Zoom for conference calls and not used them for teaching online. With the COVID crisis, one had to quickly adapt, and this led me to take up several courses. The curiosity of the child in me has always enjoyed learning new things. In the last six months, I have invested in reading, learning, writing and teaching that has helped me deepen my mind.
If 48% of the workforce will be millennials by 2030, how should experience embrace the agile and vice- versa.
The new term is Zillennials or GenZ. Last year, we had our annual conference, where we collaborated with the students of Shiv Nadar school in Gurugram, and it was surprising to see 15- to 17-year-olds co-creating with 24- and 25-year-olds. The fascinating aspect that I learnt is that zillennials, learn through video-based formats and they have a far bigger global network compared to the millennials.
We need to make sure that whatever we do, we need to recognize the zillennials as the digital natives and our teaching methodologies and ways of engagement must be different to support them.
Coming from older generations, we must take it on us to source wisdom from our past and teach indigenous cultures through gamification, from mother nature as the zillennials have a much higher sense of personal and social well-being.
Coming from older generations, we must take it on us to source wisdom from mother nature and from our past and teach indigenous cultures through gamification, as the zillennials have a much higher sense of personal and social well-being.
Tell us more about the soul of leadership
It is not about leading others; it is about leading yourself. How do I lead my body, breath, emotions, thinking and ego? Remember, we must be led by divinity within, so the soul of leadership is to honour the inner witness. It all begins with you and the way you lead yourself. Managing your body, breath and ego and other biases and inhibitions. Honour the inner witness that knows it all.
Founder and Chairman School of Inspired leadership
Inspired by a ‘Higher Purpose’ and thanks to the blessings of mentors and a loving family and the teachings of a great spiritual Master, Anil feels blessed to have been made an instrument for the creation of Eicher Consultancy Services, Grow Talent Company and the School of Inspired Leadership – all dedicated to making our world better. Anil has served on the Global Board of Shizenkan University in Japan, the Academic Council of CEDEP in Fontainebleau, World Compassion Council based in Seattle, Advisory Board of Schneider Electric and as Managing Trustee of Chinmaya Mission in Delhi.
The world recognizes Anil Sachdev as an individual who has filled his heart with love to serve human kind. His deep desire to transform individuals and define “Inspired Leadership”, motivated him to start The School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL). Anil’s life and career experiences across multiple decades is a rich repository for leaders to learn and imbibe from.