About Yashwant Mahadik

Executive Vice President & Global CHRO of SunPharma. Opinions expressed are personal and not of my employer.

People I Admire and Follow in The Art of Image Making, also known as “Photography”. Part 1.

Yash Mahadik Blog Template

I have been intending to write this blog for a long time. Like most photographers, I am self-taught. Meaning, I havent attended any formal school or certification degree or diploma program in the art of photography. Self taught means you teach yourself by reading, experimenting, obseving and also by following people on social media (from the content they keep sharing and posting). I divide my “To follow” list in three categories; One, The Legends. Second, the real contemporary experts from whom I learn the deep domian expertise in the art of image making, its mostly the technical stuff that they share and teach. Third, is people I befriend on social medai and they inspire me with their passion for the art of photography. So my three list include the following:

Legends of the past and present, who’s work I worship and learn from. All I need to do is mention their names, and they are:

  1. Ansel Adams
  2. Henri Cartier-Bresson
  3. Dorothea Lange
  4. Raghu Rai
  5. Kishor Parekh
  6. Steve McCurry
  7. Nick Brandt
  8. Ami Vitale
  9. Cory Richards
  10. Arthur Morris

Professionals you must follow to learn photography and its technical aspects. This will help you build deep domain expertise.

  1. Tony Northrup: Tony and his wife Chelsea have created tons of useful and classic content and they share it openly and most of it for free, via their website and youtube channel. This man is a class act and tops my list. He is on every possible social media channel and if you go to to his website, you can get connected to all of them: Tony Northrup
  2. Matt Granger: This Australian has recently moved to New York City and is clearly getting his fingers into many pies. Matt is a fantastic teacher of photography and is one of the most followed people on youtube for his content. His contet is par excellence. Do follow him on youtube and you wont be disappointed. link to his webiste is Matt Granger
  3. Gavin Hoey: Brillant teacher of photography, is also the main campaigner for Adorama, the photo store of NYC. Of course Adorama ensure that the content is topclass. Link to his website is Gavin Hoey
  4. Jason Lanier: A fantastic potrait and wedding photographer who also teaches photography. His content is good, very professionally developed and has recently moved from Nikon to Sony. He tries to oversell Sony and if you ignore that part then there is lots to learn from him. Link to his website is Jason Lanier
  5. Sudhir Shivraman: Sudir is a renowned Indian Wildlife Photographer and a few years ago he started to create, share and sell learning content for photographers. I bought his on-line courses once and found it useful. But for the money he charges the quality of the content isnt worth it. Its more studio based and home made content. He has been improving on it and I hope he can add more on-the-field content as opposed to studio or class room based content. I would definetly reccomend him. In India he has the best contet so far. Link to his website is Sudhir Shivraman

Friends I follow on Facebook, Instagram and who inspire me with their work, are as follows:

Meera Nerurkar: A young IT professional, who is currently based out of Dusseldorf, Germany, is an avid photographer. I love her composition skills and landscape images. She has won several awards for some of her photographs. I have promised Meera that one day we will shoot togther in Europe and soon. Eurpoe is my abs favourite destination for nature and landscapes. In case you want to follow her on facebook the link is  Meera Nerurkar on Facebook

Meera PhotoImage: Meera Nerurkar

Alok Mishra: Alumuni of IIM Ahemdabad, was my Boss at Johnson & Johnson, he is Singapore based. Alok is a life long learner, being a MENSA member only helps him learn faster than the most in the world. I am witnessing how he is fast learning photography. He loves birding, landscapes and street. His compositions and images are out of the world. Earlier as Boss in the corporate world and now in the world of photography he continues to inspire me. To follow Alok the links to his Facebook and Instagram are Alok Mishra on Facebook  Alok Mishra Photography on Instagram

Alok ImageImage: Alok Mishra

Rashmi Joshi: A resident of Ahemdabad, proud mother of a budding cinema actress, is a Tiger and Wildlife lover. Her passion for nature and photography is unparalled. She has worked on several Tiger conservation projects in India and Bandhavgarh is her favourite park. Her photos tell a story and its so easy and simple to decode that story. Over the years she has become a very good friend on social media and though I haven’t yet met her in person, I can tell that her positivty and energy is par excellence. We both plan to shoot together in Sasan Gir and Bharatpur sometimes soon. Follow her on Facebook Rashmi on Facebook

Rashmi ImageImage: Rashmi Joshi

Abhilasha Yadav: Married into the political family of Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger brother Shri Abhay Ram (father in law) is a busy mother and a dedicated social worker. Her interest in photography comes to her from her elder generations. She has done significant and inspiring work in her native state of  Uttar Pradesh at Dudhwa National Park , Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, Katarniya Ghat to promote , preserve and conserve wildlife. I am a big fan of her work and follow her on facebook and Instagram, in case you wish to do the same the Facebook link is Abhilasha Yadav on Facebook 

Abhilasha ImageImage: Abhilasha Yadav

Alok Dubey: Alok is a businessman from Indore, MP. He is a buddy and we often shoot togther. Ardent wildlife photographer, is self taught. We shoot together in Africa and India. I have learnt a lot from this humble and warm person. Our Canon equipment almost mirrors and so does our passion for Big Cats in the wild. Alok is mentoring his son Varchasva in the art of wildlife photography and he often jons us in wildlife safaris in Africa and India. Its heart warming to see this father-son-duo bond over photography. His lo-key images are to die for and in case you wish to follw him on facebook the link is Alok Dubey on Facebook

Alok Dubey ImageImage: Alok Dubey

I am indeed previliged to have the above people in my network and community as friends and fellow photographers. I learn a lot from them and very much appreciate their work and passion in the genre of nature and wildlife photogrphy, which is my favourite genere. My list doesnt end here, but this part-1 of the bog has to. I will share some more interesting facts and tips on how to learn effectively when you are a self-taught photographers and some of the people that I am going to mention and present to you in my next part of the blog, include; Usha Harish, Aparna Jain, Nirmalya Banerjee, Rohit Bansal, Harshwardhan and Poonam Dhanwatey, Nagaraj Taware, Chandrashekhar Kalayansundram, Jitender Govandani, Kunwardeep Sign Arora, etc, etc. Stay tuned and let me know if you found the information and recomendations useful.

safe_fb_share2Image Courtsey: Save Animals Facing Exctinction Organisation 

Organisational Culture a Formidable Enabler of Success

Authored by: Yash Mahadik, Mallika Galani and Sameer Kumar Agrawal


Organization culture is a formidable enabler of innovation, change and success in most organisations. Over the years culture has become a great coffee table discussion among leaders across industries. It’s formidable because its a sustainable competitive advantage that cannot be easily copied by competitors. Today culture as competitive advantage is helping companies attract and retain talent, drive innovation, remain cost competitive, etc. Last week, I was involved in one such HR leadership forum discussion organized by SpencerStuart. The discussion centered around ‘Harnessing the power of organizational culture’. It was my privilege and honor to chair the forum consisting of large company CHROs and other HR Leaders representing a diverse mix of organizations. SpencerStuart have a well articulated culture alignment framework of their own. It’s based on research and they have been validating it with many organisations as they consult with them. At the beginning of the session, Sahiba Singh from SpencerStuart explained the framework and model in detail. The details of the framework can be accessed via this link: Org Culture SpencerStuart

“Culture can become a ‘secret weapon’ that makes extraordinary things happen.”  – Jon Katzenbach, Booz&Co

In our collective and diverse experience, we observed that, culture is experienced and felt even in the absence of a well-articulated manifesto. Employees can clearly sense and feel the elements of their organisational culture, elements such as; how ethical and value based is the leadership in their organisation, what are they genuinely valued for, are their ideas welcomed, are their capabilities and contributions reflected fairly in their career growth and learning opportunities, etc, etc. Tone at the top and behaviour exhibited by senior leaders on a day to day basis especially during the crucial moments within an organisation shapes the culture. Little can a company achieve with a politically correct and well articulated statement hanging on the wall without the Leaders behaviour and attitude backing it up. So how does an organization create a culture that affirms the aspirations of its individual members while also inspiring the collective to add significant value towards the business?

Rohit Thakur, Head Human Resource, Accenture India, whilst sharing his perspective, said that, ‘the responsibility for setting the tone – the culture – rests with the leader of the organization’. We have often witnessed change in leadership manifesting a change in culture. Hence it’s imperative for a company or a team to be led by someone who places high importance on performance and results, acts with integrity and expects others to do the same. These leadership qualities engender a highly spirited organization and magic happens when leaders create the conditions for employees to contribute meaningfully. One of the key examples of this is the humility and integrity being the key cultural element at Sun Pharma and in this case it cascades from these traits being exhibited by the promoter and founder of the organization.

Rohit Kumar, HR Head Kelloggs India added to this by saying that culture at times is not organizational, rather its more functional or business unit led and this can be attributed to the unique leadership style existing in these silos.

Leena Wakankar, HR Leader, ASK Group, brought in a different flavour to the discussion by talking about ‘Aha Moments!!’ She referred to a popular quote “Every leader has his or her leadership moments and every organization has its culture moments”.During an organizations life cycle there come a few occasions when its fundamentals are tested and existential questions asked, and in such situations, only the organizations who are able to hold on to their basic cultural elements stand strong. 

Mona Hakeem, Head HR Emerging Markets and Talent Acquisition COE at Sun Pharma (Ex-GE employee), shared her perspective on a very interesting fact about the three most influential group cultures in the US, which are supposed to be that of the US Army, Kindergarden and GE. That’s GE’s proud culture moment right there! GE is well known for creating and sustaining a culture of performance, which in turn develops and provides top-notch world class leaders for GE and other industries. It’s well known how this culture emanates from their CEO and top leaders.

Organisational culture building endeavour becomes challenging at every life cycle stage of a company, such as, during the start up phase, during the scale up phase or during its perpetuity. However the biggest challenge is posed when two companies are merging as a result of an merger or acquisition. Assimilating two distinct organisational cultures is more complex as compared to building and nurturing one culture. During most post-merger phases, the harder aspects related to business and financial systems such as; portfolio & footprint rationalization/integration, financial system integration usually get addressed right at the onset and with relative smoothness as compared to some of the softer aspects related to people and culture. Our experience and research suggests that companies are able to create more value by integrating the harder aspects and the softer aspects with equal attention and urgency. 

We are very proud about how we are successfully integrating yet evolving the cultural aspects of two giant organizations – SunPharma and Ranbaxy by understanding and retaining the DNA and strengths of both the organizations. We (the authors of this blog) conducted a test exercise of deploying the culture model of SpencerStuart to run a diagnostic to understand the cultural orientation of the two legacy organizations (SunPharma & Ranbaxy) and to chart out the cultural needs and parameters of the unified entity (SunPharma). We have been able to identify three focal pillars on which we build the culture of our company. One of them being the relentless drive and focus on results. Second critical parameter is caring for one and all, be it our own employees or our patients and partners. Thirdly we shall continue to focus on holistic learning and development to ensure that we stay competent and grow stronger with every passing day.

R. Mahalakshmi, Head Director Human Resources, India, Mondelez added to this by sharing her experiences of being a part of two very interesting mergers, first one being that of Ernst & Young and Anderson wherein the two firms varied a lot in their consulting approach, clientele and employee base and the second that of Cadbury and Kraft and now Mondelez where in there has been a key shift from a definitive focus on being a caring organization to one being extremely focussed on results. 

Nathan S V, Chief Human Resources Officer, Deloitte India, also shared his valuable perspectives and gave a very good example of Deloitte. Deloitte is globally composed of 70+ different entities and the way they have managed to amalgamate the cultural aspects of each of these and yet maintain a distinctive Deloitte way of doing things. The way they go about doing this is by focusing on investing in learning. Learning for Deloitte is a major culture building anchor. How leaders as teachers focus on creating a learning culture and example of the Deloitte University and its role in building a organisational culture were terrific examples.

There is much discussion happening on the importance of building, renewing and evolving organisational culture and its direct correlation to business results. There is now a growing realization that culture is one of the biggest differentiators between organizations and almost as critical for attracting and retaining the right talent as their products or services are for winning customers. The question that we pose to our readers is, ‘how and when will we be able to understand the science and art behind organisational culture and make it a part of our strategic HR agenda and more importantly a business priority?”

In conclusion, we say that, “Free food, getting pets to work, casual dressing, working from home etc are often seen by many as important symbols of an organisations culture and its attractiveness. In our opinion its the icing and not the cake. The culture cake consists of solid fundamentals such as ethical and value based leadership, transparency and fairness, equal oppurtunities, socially responsible thinking/values/behaviors, environmentally sustainable actions and above all respect for human beings without discrimination. Once the cake is baked nice and solid the icing will make it even more attractive.”


“If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com

Leadership is “The” Lead Factor” Rest are all Lag Factors

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Pic Details: Copyright @YashMahadikPhotography. Two Lionesses, Nashipae and Narisho of the Enokoyani pride emerging from the bush after their afternoon rest. Nashipae means attractive and a beautiful lady and Narisho means a skilled and ferocious huntress. Their names are given to them coz that’s what they are. These two were were protecting their seven cubs from a lion war that was on in Maasai Mara for their Pride and territory take over and hence had broken away from their pride. This image was created on 24th August, 2016 at 4.31 pm local time. Shot with my #Canon1DXMarkII Lens Canon f2.8 70-200mm @110mm f5.6, ISO 400, WB – Auto, 1/400s, Handheld shot, Zone cluster focus on AI Servo mode. For more details and images from the wild visit @yashmahadikphotography

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time in the wild observing, understanding and photographing wildlife. I have learnt many valuable lessons from mother nature. One for example is about Lions. The Lion may be “The King of The Jungle” but it’s the Lioness who is “the True Leader”. The Lion is big, masculine, roars loudly and plays a very important role in protecting its pride and its territory and is called the King of the jungle. However, the Lioness plays even a more important role which includes hunting for the pride to feed it, raise the cubs successfully (especially with very high mortality rate for lion cubs in the wild), methodically coach and train the future lions and make them adept for staying at the top of the food chain. Lioness are the ones who keep and grow the pride and ensure its perpetuity. Hence it’s not just the Lion who is the King or is more important, but it’s the Lioness who is equally if not more important to its pride. I give this analogy of Lions not because of its gender traits but to tell a story of hierarchy and its relative importance to leadership.

Similarly in an organisation it’s just not the CEO but it’s the CXOs and leaders at the middle of the pyramid that are crucial and important to organisations success and perpetuity. 

If engagement, performance, culture, values pertaining to an organisation and it’s workforce are an outcome (also known as lag factors) then leadership is the most important lead factor. There is a lot of wisdom shared on how to develop and grow leadership in large enterprises and many inspiring examples come from the armed forces too. In my perspective and experience the essentials of leadership to become an effective lead factor within an organisation are as follows:

1) Define:

As an organisation clearly define your leadership framework. Framework consisting of – Values, Competencies and Behaviours that you expect you leaders to imbibe, role model and develop themselves and in others.

2) Assess and Build:

First help leaders assess their capabilities and styles and identify gaps. Use validated assessment techniques and experts – avoid a home-made and untested remedy when it comes to leadership assessments.

Then, start to shape, influence, build and develop leadership competencies and capabilities from the top. CEO and CXO group should be totally aligned and committed to role-modelling and living them.

I would emphasise more on “shaping” and “influencing” by ways of coaching as compared to the traditional class room training methods to build leadership competencies and capabilities. Please remember, people are cast into unique and diverse moulds depending on the background of their upbringing and that’s mostly reflected in their style preferences. Never try to break and re-mould people, instead shape, influence and help them understand the effect of their behaviour on others. Educate them on how they should  best flex their style depending on the situation. Remember diversity of leadership traits and styles can be a strength. Don’t allow the CEO to start cloning people to match or look like his DNA.

3) Cascade Leadership building:

Most organisations in my opinion make the mistake of focussing their development effort only at CEO, CXO and their direct reports level (the top of the pyramid). Some call it their “top 100″ and other ‘top 300” depending on the size of their organisation. I have said it in point no.1 that top down approach is important but don’t restrict your leadership development to the top of the pyramid.

When it comes to leadership, “the fortune is at the middle of the pyramid” and I say this, coz of two main reasons:

a) Leaders at the middle level of an organisation have the maxim performance and productivity impact on people whom they lead and influence.

b) Middle level leaders are the pipeline of the future leaders of any organisation and they need to be disproportionately invested into.

In addition to the above, other important things to consider whilst you build leadership to be the powerful lead factor include as follows:

  1. Make sure the performance and rewards in your organisation are equally balanced on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the results. Many organisation recognise and reward their people on parameter that are more biased towards the what (High Sales numbers, low-cost of operations, brand ratings, etc) and nothing wrong in that. But giving equal weightage to how these results were delivered (compliance to standards and laws, by being ethical and honest, by coaching and developing people) is very important. Top-notch organisation always focus equally on the “What” and “How” the results were delivered.
  2. Lessons on leadership from armed forces are valuable and inspiring and there is a lot to learn from them. But, remember that the context and rules of the game in the Army and a Corporate organisation are very different and hence not every leadership capability and its context can be applied as it is. May be a separate blog later on this topic!!
  3. Dont overwhelm early in career leaders by expecting them to act and deliver like highly evolved senior leaders. Let them make mistakes, learn and evolve as leaders with their original style.
  4. Coaching and creating a culture of learning for leaders by action-learning is key. Traditional classroom training doesn’t teach corporate leaders much. The slum-dog millionnaire learning style is crucial.
  5. Attitude, character and thinking ability differentiates good leaders from others. Skills and capabilities as a business manager become threshold. After a point skills and capabilites do not differentiate leaders to be effective. Its attitude and charachter of the leader which comprises of many things such as honesty, ethics, sensitivity to people and cultures, ability to develop and grow more leaders, to be a life long learner, etc, etc.

We assess, hire and develop leaders based on their experience, skills and capabilities with such little focus on knowing their attitude, character and thinking ability. Hope there is better balance in every organisation on this front.

True Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders – J Sakiya Sandfifer

Understanding Light to Create Super Wildlife Images in Harsh Lighting Conditions.

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This is Loraine’s Cub, the Leopard of the Massai Mara Reserve in Kenya. How beautiful she looks in this B&W image. This image is special coz its shot at 12.30 pm middle of the afternoon in harsh lighting conditions. Most would refrain from trying to create an image in such harsh lighting conditions. I never give up any chance of creating a super image, irrespective of the lighting conditions (unless it pitch dark ofcourse). 

From Wildlife photography point of view, Massai Mara during August is the richest park in wildlife density but is most challenging in terms of light. The tall dry grasslands acts as a giant 360 degree reflector of the natural light and the Highlights and Midtones compete to fill your frame with equal intensity. The soft morning and evening light duration is very short. Lack of clouds and clear skies enable harsh lighting conditions for photography throughout the day. However, you can make such images if you are willing to experiment and shoot in monochrome mode in Manual camera settings of your DSLR.

Light is everything in Photography and here is a brief description of what effect light creates in capture of any image – especially for your camera’s sensor. Each frame comprises of Highlights, Midtones and Shadows. How you read the frame with naked eyes and assess it manually and then use your camera settings (depending on the features in your camera) will define how good a image you create. Next blog post on the art of exposure compensation for getting all the thre tones right to create that perfect image.

Hightlights: These are the whitest or brightest areas of the surface and often cause over exposure, it’s where a given surface on the subject is reflecting the actual light source most efficiently. The highlight is a reflection of the actual light source on the subject. In some cases you can see the light source itself in the highlight, For example catchlight in the eyes of your subject.

Midtones: As the name implies, this tone is midway in between the highlight and the shadow. It would show the “true” color and consistency of the object. The highlights are brighter than the “true” color, and the shadows are darker than the “true” color. The midtone is usually going to be the majority tone that is visible, the highlights and shadows are usually a smaller part of the tonal range. But the area covered by any of the tones will ultimately be determined by the shape, constancy and size of the subject and also the quality of the lights on the subject.

Shadows: Shadows are the darkest area of the surface and often cause underexposure. Shadows can have really sharp edges between it and the midtone or it can just sort of gradually blend into the midtone. How the shadow looks depends entirely on the surface of the object and also the quality of the light.

Get out there, shoot and experiment and you will master all of this. Understanding light for creating awesome wildlife images is the most difficult part of wildlife photography. If wildlife photography was any easy, I wouldnt be up for it. Take up the challenge and test yourself!!

How To Successfully Lead a Culture Transformation

Having led a few Culture Transformation programs in my career, including the one that I am leading in my current role and organisation, in my experience and perspective “U” as the leader of change and culture transformation “R” most critical to its success.

I believe, the following to be rudimentary and essential for a successful cultural transformation.

1) Indepth “As-Is” analysis of the current organisation culture – Understanding clearly what works well and why? and what’s not working well and why? What’s needs to change and why?

2) Clearly articulate a case for change and transformation. Define the “From-To’s” Detail and describe the values and behaviours of leaders and workforce that you want to see as an outcome of your intended culture.

3) Cast and define the culture proof points in terms of; a) voice of customers and other stakeholders about your organisation, b) stories and coffee machine talks within your organisation, c) How the Hero’s of the new culture will look like and what will be their values and behaviours, etc, etc.

4) Design and roll out a structured and innovative culture transformation program (with varied initiatives keeping in mind the organisational complexity in terms of company’s geographical spread, employee levels, etc). Be an executive sponsor and appoint a full time program manager to manage the culture transformation. Manage it like a proper program and not like an initiative or a small project.

5) Develop a robust change, communication and engagement – management plan. Involve and include all stakeholders. Make sure that the stakeholders understand their role in making it happen and own the transformation.

7) Lead from the front – Facilitate and shape an organisation-wide dialogue, listen to employees, challenge them, support them, create and nurture a”Network of Culture and Change Champions” they should be your critical mass… your extended team.

8) Design a measurement framework and process for monitoring progress and success of your transformation program. Change and transformation specific surveys based on Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology are very effective. In addition, conduct dip-stick surveys, coffee corner discussions and keep measuring and feeling the pulse of the people and the organisation.

9) Refine what’s not working and reinforce what’s working. Do not add additional or new initiatives – bear in mind the change fatigue and keep it simple but engaging and exciting.

10) Celebrate success, recognise the new culture Hero’s, emphasis and reward them for the desired behaviours and values that they role model. Share success stories via the Hero’s and inspire others to follow the role models.

Culture building in organisations is a journey, your perseverance and commitment to the program as a leader will define its success. Make sure you manage expectation and not fall in the “overnight result trap”. Continuous improvement is key, as soon as you think your program is successful and the job is done – you will need to ready yourself for the next sumit or phase of the journey.

In my opinion good leaders lead and manage people effectively, but great leaders do that and build a culture.

Culture can become a ‘secret weapon’ that can make extraordinary things happen ~ Jon Katzenbach

SHRM India, Conference 2016.#SHRMI16

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Society for Human Resource Management  (SHRM) is a professional body that works towards the interest of Human Resource professionals across the globe. SHRM promotes the role of HR as a profession and provides education, certification, and networking to its members. SHRM Global Site

I am a member of this society for many years and have tremendously benefited for its offerings and services. This year, I had the privilege of attending its annual global conference in Washington, US along with my friend and colleague from the faternity Mr Santrupt Mishra of Aditya Birla Group. It was as an amazing learning and networking experience; 22000 delegates, more than 150 speakers and learning tracks, the keynote sessions were absolutely awesome. It was a true international event of and for HR professionals and academicians from numerous nations. For the first time I saw and experienced the might of SHRM.

SHRM India (SHRM India Site) is the Indian wing that’s focused on the same objectives of SHRM in the Indian Sub-continent. It’s run by a team of very competent and passionate professionals with Achal Khanna at the helm. SHRM India organise their annual conference every year in India and in my opinion it’s the most premier event of HR in our sub-continent. If you’re an HR professional, It’s an event that’s not to be missed. Best is to attend it in person and if you cannot then you can still stay connected and learn and contribute via social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and the blogs on SHRM India site). The #tag for this event is #SHRMI16 – SHRM India Conference 2016 Site

In the professional growing up days, especially early in-career, I used to make it a point to identify on or two main conferences in India and attend the same with a clear objective of learning and networking. The learning obtained and the networks I created helped me tremendously to grow and advance my career. You can’t get your company to sponsor you for every conference that you wish to attend. I say, invest in it from your pocket. I used to do it and those wise investments helped me tremendously. Like a knowledge hungry person, I would attend each session with energy and enthussiam and never missed the networking events. In those days there was no social media and no mobile, now we have it. So my advise is, leverage it and learn.

I will be attending this years event starting tomorrow. I am also a speaker at the event. If you’re there see you at the event and if not then let’s stay connected on the various social media channels that I will be present on during the conference.

One of the highlights of the conference is the book launch by Abhijit Bhaduri the title is The Digial Tsunami. I had the pleausre of pre-reading the book and I say, “Its a very powerful narrative of the digital disruption thats already happened and whats to come. It will help HR professionals to brace themselves and be prepared to learn about the digital disruption and be able to leverage it. Its a must read”

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Meet the #SHRMI Blog squad and stay connected with them on prominent social media channels.

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Happy learning and wish we have a nice conference.

Celebrating the First Anniversary of My Facebook Photography Page

I should have titled this post as My First Anniversary at work and the First Anniversary of My Facebook Photography Page. Then thought of keeping it light and personal.

My daughter, who is the first fan of my photography convinced me to create my Photography Page on Facebook. She wanted me to share my passion for this art and craft with the world. At first I was hesitant and after being in this art and craft of Photography for about a decade, I finally created @yashmahadikphotography page linked to my Facebook account.

Today I posted the attached special image and message on my page for the circa 50K followers and fans of the page and thanked them.

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Sharing my photographs with the world and getting their feedback and encouragement has indeed advanced my skill and craft for the art of photography. Also this is my first blog after a hiatus of about a year.

I changed my job last September, when I moved from Philips to SunPharma. I moved countries too, came back to India leaving the beautiful Amsterdam. Coming back home and this role with SunPharma were the biggest driver for changing jobs. It been a year and what a year it has been. On the professional front, its been very productive, hectic and busy. I was finding my feet in this big highly successful global organisation. I travelled like nobodies business and got to almost all places where our company operates. It was such a pleasure meeting highly talented and capable people of SunPharma and they taught me so much. In year one, I focused on the following five things:

  1. Getting to know the company, its business models, practices, people, culture, and processes. It was so much fun and learning and identifying opportunities for improvement.
  2. Understanding and re-evaluating the strategy, structure and operating model of my HR function and team. Then followed the redesign and restructuring of the same for delivering superior results and creating more value for the business. I am almost done with this, I would say 90% there.
  3. Re-designing and revamping the HR Technology architecture, platform and applications for a superior and best-in-class talent (employees) and candidate (talent) experience. We are now busy executing the same.
  4. Completing the massive integration process at the organisational, people, policies and practices level between SunPharma and Ranbaxy (the company that SunPharma had acquired). Its done and dusted and now we are embarking on a major culture building program. Phew it was one helluva program and task to complete. Full credit to the team for doing such a wonderful job.
  5. Initiating a proper and business aligned HR Transformation program to move the needle and take the company and its business to greater heights.

It’s all going very well, there were some tough decision to be made and we had to move ahead with rigour and speed. The highlight of the first year has been – the fantastic HR team that I am being able to build in our company. Was able to recognise and promote some of the existing team members and enrich their jobs and also attracted some top-notch HR leadership talent from outside. Its all coming together very nicely now. I am over-joyed to work in this value based and super organisation which is full of committed and excellent people. I count my blessings everyday.

Throughout this hectic, busy, exciting and sometimes stressful period (of the last one year) my family and photography (which is my hobby and passion) kept me sane, on track and relaxed. Despite my high pressure and exciting job, if I don’t get burnt and look fresh and relaxed most times its coz of these two factors in my life – now you know whats the secrete.

I don’t get much time do a lot of photography as my profession and job (which is my first love) demands a lot of my time. I just take one week off every six months for photography and then of course whenever I get long weekends, I try to plan a photography trip in the wild (we get about two to three such long weekends in a year). But every weekend, when at home, I spend two to three hours on my images, I post process them, organise them, post and share them (I usually schedule my posts for a week or two) that’s why most of my posts are at a specific and a regular hour and when you see the posts, I am actually busy working or am in a meeting or on a plane. But technology todays allows us create the illusion of being regular at something like posting content on your page 🙂

My love for nature and wildlife keeps increasing with each trip I make to the wild for photographing animals and nature. I have come to realise that alongside my profession and my corporate job, photography is my calling too. Whenever, I hang my boots as a full-time professional corporate executive, I know I will step into the boots of becoming a professional wildlife photographer and conservationist. How cool is that. 🙂

More details on my experience and learnings at SunPharma during my first year will be presented in another blog post and similarly one separate blog post is upcoming on the joy of photography and why its important to have a hobby to be happy and productive in life.

Not from XLRI or TISS, What does that mean for a career in HR? 


One of my HR colleagues asked me a question: How do you rise whist making a career in HR (in India) especially if you are not from XLRI or TISS?

I began my reply by quoting Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Then I realized that my first reaction was rather harsh and I was trying to fit a wise quote unwisely to the discussion. Thereafter we had a great discussion in which I put forth my perspective based on my own experience.

I found the question very intriguing and despite not being from any of those institutes it never passed my mind in all these 27 years of my career. Thought of blogging about it and present my thoughts and perspective for a more richer discussion:

XLRI and TISS are institutions of great repute and are big brands when it comes to producing and supplying talent for the HR / Social Sciences stream (in case of XLRI also in other streams). I know hundreds if not thousands of colleagues and friends from these institutions. I have recruited many talented people from there and have/had the privilege of working with them. 4 out of 5 (my early-in-career) bosses were from there, I have engaged with and consulted many professors from these institutes over the years, I have visited their campuses on countless occasions. Like most, I only have respect for these two institutions. Having said that, let me share some of my thoughts arising out of this question.

I asked myself a leading question to try and have a wise discussion, I asked, “is it any different for a graduate from these institutions to make a career in HR as compared to talented people from other institutes”? Short answer is No, because….

All educational institutions play a vital role in developing its pupil and that’s undebatable, but just attending a institution of repute doesn’t guarantee anyone of being well equipped or best suited for future success. Not everyone from Harvard succeeds and many from lesser known institutes become the benchmark of success. Therefore, I have observed and have come to believe that it depends a lot on the person and less on the institute.

Graduating from an Ivy League does give you certain advantages. But to me those advantages are few and limited. For example your chances of landing a good internship and then a terrific job with a top employer are much higher as compared to others. The power networks you could possibly build and have access to (mostly alumni) is one of the major advantages. Of course last but not the least, access to high quality education should have made you learn better and wiser – but that’s an assumption. Each one of us is most detrimental to our own learning and development. No one learns more, better or less as compared to the other coz of the institute alone. Remember the “Slum Dog Millionaire Learning Style”

Most important; real life begins in the real world which, is when you are out of your institute. The ability to perform consistently and create value for self and others. Your attitude, values and capabilities are tested everyday and then begins the process of distinguishing the real talent from the rest. No one asks you or remembers your qualifications on a daily basis and most importantly your family, friends and colleagues don’t care about it as much as they care for your behavior.

A career generally spreads over a long period of time. For some it’s almost their entire life and for most of us in the corporate world it’s circa half of our active life. 2-3 years spent in an institution can have a significant impact and influence on your career but it doesn’t define, make or break it – you do!

Lastly, on the perception that coteries exist in the corporate world where people seem to have a bias for people from their institutions: well in my experience it’s not true. I was hired, developed and grown by people from these institutions and that too at a stage in my career when I wasn’t even a postgraduate (initial years of my career, I was just a B.com graduate). When you embark on an international career and move out of India this perception even fades further as many in the other parts of the world don’t even know about or recognize XLRI or TISS as Ivy League (sorry my friends from there). The definition of Ivy League in US or Europe is something else. In my experience successful leaders have a bias for competence and diversity more than anything else. Hence no need to feel insecure about coteries and personal likes and dislikes of leaders.

Must say that, I have seen a few people who carry a chip on their shoulder about the institutes they graduated from and I don’t sweat about it as I know those chips shall soon fall and reality will bite sooner than later.

It’s said that nothing succeeds like success. I will build upon that and say, “your capabilities, values and attitude – set you up for success and not the branding of your institute”. Learn, work hard and live a life of integrity and you shall achieve/realize your own definition of success.

I dedicate this blog to all my team members and colleagues who have made a tremendous difference at work and are highly successful coz of what they are not coz of the institutes that they graduated from.

A Picture of Harmony and Respect. This is real India.

  
I saw the picture on my Facebook timline today (Shared by friends and courtesy Siddharth Vaidya). His post says “Due to shortage of space in Masjid, the Eid namaz was offered in Ganapati Pandal today…. Colaba, Mumbai…..Proud to be an Indian”

This picture and its story – gives me immense joy. The smile continues to linger and refuseses to dissolve today 🙂

The richness and joy of diversity emanates from co-existence of differing faiths, cultures, ethnicities, thoughts, genders, etc, etc. From my perspective, the two basic requirements for peaceful co-existence and harmony are tolerance and respect (towards things that differ from our established beliefs) – especially involving faith, culture and thoughts. 

The ability and maturity of individuals and society – to tolerate and respect diversity in or around their world – defines or marks the level of civility.

India is fortunate to be the most diverse county in this world and we should boisterously celebrate it. It’s about time we seek and get joy and strength from it and not pain and tears. Let’s set standards of civility that others shall aspire for. 

As a photographer, how I wish, I clicked this picture. As an Indian I am happy that, someone clicked it and shared it with me.  

Eid Mubarak and Jai Hind!

I am Moving to Sun Pharma

  
After a very rewarding career of 5 years with Royal Philips, today I am joining Sun Pharma (http://www.sunpharma.com/) as their Executive Vice President and Global CHRO. 

I have relocated to Mumbai, India from Amsterdam, Netherlands.

I look forward to leading the Human Resource function and the global HR team of this fast growing healthcare and pharma company. 

Regards

Yash Mahadik