Amity Institute Of Training & Development

RE-IMAGING THE APPROACH TO EMPLOYEES

Speaker: Mr. Sanjay Sehgal, Chairman and CEO of MSys Technologies

Mr Sanjay Sehgal is the Chairman and CEO of MSys Technologies. He is a Technology Entrepreneur, Global Businessman, Start-up Advisor, Keynote Speaker, Philanthropist, Heartful Human, a Meditation Instructor and a Self-development Enthusiast. Sanjay is an entrepreneur CEO, who's focused on helping companies look at cutting edge technology solutions. He has founded and co-founded several companies, including AMI iVivity and Centric. MSys Technologies has efficiently acquired fellow industry leaders like Clogeny, DigiFutura, Mobinius under his proven Leadership. Sanjay has been awarded the “Global CEO Excellence Award, 2019” by the CEO Monthly and TI Atlanta top Entrepreneur Award for 2018.

Click below to watch the recorded conversation.

 AITD: A massive social and technological change is creating a range of threats and challenges, but also the opportunities to unlock significant value to new workforce, new ways of working and new job roles. Leading businesses are reimagining the nature of work and pivoting their workforce to create new forms of value. How are Artificial Intelligence and workforce automation unlocking powerful opportunities and what types of skills are organizations looking for? Which leadership skills are required to lead the workforce of tomorrow? Well, we start today's discussion, Mr Sanjay.

So, our first question is, do you think companies are investing enough in human capital to make it future-ready? What strategies need to be adapted to make HR, the critical partner in the execution of Business Strategy?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: This is a very good question, especially in these times when the COVID had hit us. We, in our company, when we were looking at the business continuity plan, we are a global company and we have our clients from all over the world. When we were looking at our business continuity plan, and it had three major components. Number one was employees - making sure that employees are taken care of. They all on at the right places, they all have all the tools to become productive, and not only productive from the point of view for the company, but also their family life or in some cases, you may have seen, I think I have read in India, there is one company in Chennai ‘Zoho’. They made sure that employees if they want to go to their hometowns, smaller towns as long as they have the internet or electricity available, are able to do that so that they are with their near and dear ones. Why I am saying that is that we all have seen this COVID has shown us the importance of keeping our key ingredient for success in any organization, the key ingredient is well taken care of, and that is Employee.

Now to your question whether we are investing enough to keep the employees’ future-ready, the simple answer is, we are not. Unfortunately, I would say that majority of the organizations do not pay enough, or they just pay lip service to that and I am sure even if someone were to ask, some of the employees of the companies that I am involved in, of course, some may be saying that even our companies are paying lip service. But I must say that this is something that companies need to constantly look towards or look forward to keeping investing in this and make HR. I mean the kind of business we are in, HR is very-very important in fact, every day I have a daily call, I mean sitting here I manage our teams globally and I do a staff call every morning and a major part of that call is spent actually, in employee issues or recruitment, because we are a growing company. So, to me aligning your HR strategy with your business strategy is the only way or is the best way to make sure that HR is a critical part of your success unless employees are taken care of, especially in these times. Sometimes people are asking, why this has happened in our times.

Many of you people like you and me have lived through many recessions and many other tough times in our lives but nothing like this. I very strongly believe that such a thing has come to teach us a lesson, till we learn it, it will stay around. What that lesson is, it is different for different companies different people, different individuals, me as a husband, maybe it’s a lesson because I have never spent the amount of time I have spent with my lovely wife in these times. I think that amount of time I have spent maybe 20-30 years ago. So, you can imagine that we together learn a lot, how to live well with each other, how to spend time with each other I am just giving that as an example.

The same thing for companies I think this such a catastrophic event has come to teach companies a lesson, teach countries a lesson, teach individuals a lesson, each humanity a lesson and to me, that very important lesson would be, how do we take care of employees for companies, and how do we make sure that HR is aligned with our business strategy and I feel and I urge every company to follow that because till you follow that, this is not going to go away.

AITD: Thank you sir for that very frank and candid reply. Because, as most of us know companies do need to invest much more to make the workforce future ready. Now, sticking on with the workforce, what kind of skills do you feel will be critical for the workforce to have by about 2030 another 10 years, if we look ahead at 10 years? What kind of skills do you think would be required by the company for their employees to have?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: Again, I will say the COVID these times as an example. What this time has taught us - two major things, one is technology is here to stay. I mean, right now, if I may make a statement that the whole world is being kept together, the economies are being kept together, mainly through technology, even we are all talking you are in India and I am here in Atlanta, and companies are doing business companies like ours are doing business worldwide and not just us, so many companies are doing so many Governments are doing business worldwide, and that is all because of technology only through technology.

So, number one, technology is here to stay, and the second important thing in many industries, I would say that we have learnt is remote work. The importance of remote work and the readiness for remote work. Now taking those as you can say the backdrop and these kinds of events that have happened, are not just one-off, they may come multiple times in the future. What if tomorrow a virus like this mutates and becomes COVID-20, COVID-21, or something else. How do you prepare yourself for all this and I am giving that skills that people would be needed moving forward? One is regardless of which industry you are in, what your computational skills or skills to be able to utilize the modern tools of communication that would be the single most important thing, regardless of your age, regardless of your level. Even if the person is a front desk clerk or front desk person receptionist, she would be required to learn these tools.

So, I would say number one would be, regardless of your role in the company. Number two, the future demand we are seeing we are anticipating a lot of things happening around data science. Now some of you may have heard in the city of New York has had the maximum number of cases in March, April and May, in the entire world. Because New York just like many cities in India is very densely populated and there are a lot of people who come from overseas to New York every day. So, this virus coming from all over. How they turn themselves around and was because of the use of data science. They were able to predict, using data science, how many cases are going to happen in what part of town and how many beds or how many ventilators or how many of this and how many of that you would need. It was all because of data science, data analytics.

Now coming to the specifics of that I think that would be a skill that will be in more and more demand going forward. And I would say number four would be artificial intelligence. Now I am telling this because I am hoping a lot of people who are listening to this, our students of Amity Institutions. So I think if they can prepare themselves, regardless of any field they plan to go into and make yourself future-ready, make yourself useful by learning all the computer skills regardless of, even if you are going to be a product manager or marketing manager or something, learn as many tools as you possibly can, that are required because these things are here to stay. Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and things like that would be in great demand going forward.

AITD: Yes Sir we agree with you, technology, ability to work remotely, data science and artificial intelligence, no doubt these are going to be very-very important skills and I am sure our students are listening to you and taking note of that. But another question which they would be very much interested in and we would like to have your answer. The kind of jobs that will be in demand 5 to 10 years from now are not known yet, we are not very sure, what kind of jobs are going to be there.

So how do companies plan for them, they don't know what is required, what kind of jobs are going to be in demand. So how do they plan manpower in the future?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: No, it varies from company to company, a company like ours MSys just for this reason we have our own in-house training division. When we talk about MSys Group, MSys Technologies is one of our main companies, we also have MSys training in our case and that training is specifically to ensure that we are able to train the manpower that is available to us for what is required by us and our clients. I would urge every company to be able to do that I think in house training. I mean, not to say that colleges, cannot do that but we are always closer to the market than colleges or other Educational Institutions could be. So, we know especially in our environment we know what kind of skills would be needed by our clients now and in the future. Someone like me, in my company I am in touch with fellow CEOs of my client companies, so we always are talking about what is their roadmap what they're looking at and what is happening, or what is going to happen in the future. So, some people like us, have the knack for preparing or knack for knowing, first, and then helping our companies to prepare our employees for that.

So I would say if you join a company, anybody, any of the students, they should always ask them what is their plan to keep them or to make them future-ready or make them acquire new skills that they may not know today. I myself know 30 years ago when I started my career, I actually graduated from Delhi College of Engineering, which is called DTU now, those days I remember we used to be taught microprocessors I was in Electronics and Communication. What we learned was 80-85 in some of you who are in EC may know that processors are very old. My first job itself I used fourth or fifth generation later I think it was 80586. It was called Pentium or something I mean the processor that I used in my first job was five-generation ahead of what I was taught in college. So, you have to learn those things. So I think it is these kinds of skills and if colleges what they can do organization like ours, we also are working with some educational institutions to ensure that they are training their students in the kind of skills companies like ours are looking for. I am sure Amity also does the same, they work with some companies closely because that's the best thing that any good organization, any good education institution would do that.

AITD: Thank you, Sir. I am sure our academicians are listening to you and they understand that the kind of jobs which are going to be there for 5 to 10 years from now, that has to be built into the syllabi of their courses so that the students are future-ready for these jobs. I come to another question which is related to jobs, which is a little interesting thing which has happened over the last few years. That is what we call ‘gig workers’ and the ‘gig economy. I was surprised to learn that the ‘digital gig economy’ generated a gross volume of approximately 204 billion dollars from worldwide customers in 2018.

So, what impact will this kind of flexible staffing have on businesses of tomorrow? What does this gig economy, where does it fit in the future of work?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: In U.S. we say 50% of businesses rely on gig workers, and like you said I think the 2018 number you gave. Now people think gig workers more from the point of view of Ola and Uber and all that, but I guess it's not correct. When gig workers gigs, I mean, in fact, this is very common slang in the U.S. we say ‘Oh, are you on to your new gig’. People always say a new project to a new gig. Here in the U.S., even students work in restaurants, they work in the restaurant as waiters to pay for their college or pay for their school. And so they say ‘oh I have a new gig now’ I mean the restaurant workers and the bars and all kinds of hospitality industry especially I would say rely on gig workers of Flexi staffing for the longest time, and then came the year 2000, some of you may have read his book “The world is flat”.

In case you haven't, I think you should I do recommend that was the book which came out in the year 2000, one of the best sellers by Thomas Friedman, very well famous economist, and he talked about that in today's world and that is applicable even today or more today than it was that time. That anybody can do especially in computers people can do their job from regardless of where they are, they don't have to be sitting in the office to do the job and it started happening because outsourcing if you know the offshoring or outsourcing had started happening at that time and majority of the companies in India got into that and India is still number one destination for outsourcing and offshoring and at the same time and when this happened with larger companies got form like TCS, Infosys and HCL and all and its mid-sized level companies like ours. Other things that happened was that there was a huge number of these freelancers who may be sitting in Philippines, Australia, China, India sitting at home doing projects they were sites like Elance, there are bunch of sites like that, you can put a project and someone else will bid for the project and they will do it and I'm just giving you an example studio of things that happened in last several years which gave ways to this gig economy and of course in the most recent times we had these Swiggies, Olas and the Ubers where I mean in some cases I even read. Here in US I have seen every time I used to take Uber cab I would start having conversations with the driver and I'll find the driver has another full time job but he has this gig to just make some just extra money or he was going to the airport. He thought he will pick me up also along the way drop me and make some 50 bucks and like that these gigs are with the advancement of computer with the computer being in every hand, I mean they say that soon the number of iPhone or number of these smart phones are going to exceed the world population,

So that is giving rise to this gig economy in a big way. They're saying in another few years it is going to be 60% of the total number of workers in the world. So, what it gives them student who was listening to this flexibility and ability to try out new things. An ability to really plan their life you don't have to just work. There was a time people say unless you are working for an MNC “Tumhari shaadi nahi hogi, Acha ladka nahi milega, achi ladki nahi milegi” unless you have a big MNC on your resume. Bank of America, HCL you will not get a good wife or good husband, but I think things are changing and if not, I wish things should change. I think there are people in this gig economy who are making a lot more money than they could make in these permanent jobs so you have the flexibility can do multiple things you can do things that you like I think it has really opened a lot of avenues.

AITD: Yes there is a related question which I want to ask you because when we initially got your thoughts, one of the thoughts was put, “borderless office” to re-imagine how borderless offices would be in the future but I understood borderless offices would be you can work anywhere, go anywhere which country you can go and work anywhere but I see a lot of changes in the last few years in which the nationalism is preventing global workers from coming to other countries and countries want the jobs for their own country people.

So, what exactly is the future of borderless offices. Could you tell us the concept of this borderless office?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: I won’t call it a new term but I think that's exactly as you said, I mean when COVID started in March we told all our employees to go home start working from there and we already had a business continuity plan to enable all of them to be able to work from home and very soon right after that we said OK in June will look at, will come back to the office. In June we said well till September nobody's coming and now we're staying till June nobody's coming. In fact, we didn't even renew one of our office leases in Bangalore we have two offices in Bangalore we didn't renew the lease it was expiring, everybody is working from home and all the clients are servicing are in the US or in Europe.

So regardless of this nationalism cry for nationalism that some of the heads of state have I think it is to me it's ballooning, it's because the global workforce is here to stay, the global supply chain is here to stay, though with all due respect to this Atam Nirbhar Bharat and all that, of course, it is needed because India has to present itself as a good manufacturing destination as a good alternative manufacturing destination over China and that to me is a very good strategy of course very good strategy from that perspective I think it's a wonderful term in a wonderful way to do this but maybe in the future borderless here means the border of even your cubicle is not needed. The world is flat 20 years ago talked about you can do SAP implementation sitting in China for a company in Milwaukee. Now we're talking about that we don't even have to be in the office on the border of your cubicle to be able to do that. You can be sitting in America we say that you can be sitting on the beach like I am sitting in my son room here where I can do whatever I need to do I don't need a border of my office or something like that so to me the concept of those things that's where that's one thing which will give rise to the gig economy. A good guy would be able to do things if you are good, I mean, and I think I tell you Sky is the limit.

AITD: Absolutely we agree with that I'm going to ask you a question which not many people would be asking these days but it's a reality of life which we must accept and that is that most of the organisations currently have four generations in their workforce. In the United States that is baby boomers have all tired all almost gone, Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z, so we have four to five generations at one time in the workforce. In your case technology, it may be one or two less. Although there are many similarities across the generations they have different working styles, they have different communication styles and decision-making styles and they have different values, for example, a man like me loyalty may be a very important value but for somebody else, growth and more money may be a great value.

So, what strategy do you recommend to companies especially in your technology area to motivate and retain talent for the future?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: Very interesting that reminds me of a movie that I had seen two years ago it was called Intern if I remember correctly. Robert De Niro acted in it, he was like an old guy and who lives in New York and he says now he's retired and he looks for a job, intern job and he finds a job very close to him in a new start-up, which’s CEO is 20-25 year old lady the CEO, girl is the CEO and he goes there and everybody along with him is Gen Y or Gen Z but for some reason they hire him as an intern, it's okay, and incidentally the office was located in the same place where his factory he was in the Yellow Pages business he was a sales person or sales VP of sales for Yellow Pages and the factory used to be located there but that business has now gone online so nobody prints in the printing press business and now that this new thing is there and I think I still remember when he goes to the office first day and he wear suit and tie like you and me are wearing an everybody else is in their shorts and when once he travels with the CEO the lady that girl and the girl is crying because she has a very pressure job and all that and he puts his hand in the pocket and he takes out the handkerchief and I'm sure you remember people of our generation always carry handkerchief and I'm just mentioning that I mean I think values that you talked about.

I think it is though companies like technology companies it's very essential for us to have people who have the newer skill set and so that's why we go to the newer and newer kind of people or younger and younger kind of people and younger people are more flexible and they have the ability to learn newer things there is value for experience in an organisation like ours, technology organisation and I think it’s a combination of all skill set that makes an organization, a good organisation and I'm not saying that there are companies which have the only younger workforce they're not good but they will miss the wisdom of the older generation if they don't have some people from the older generation to be able to teach them the proper set of values and I just told you in that movie in case you get a chance you should watch that movie very interesting. She in her pressure job she needed somebody to talk to her about life, about family, about what is important as this person was there as an intern as an assistant, he was three times her age but there to teach her that and she says that’s the best lesson I have heard.

AITD: I remember reading two years ago that people in the United States hope to work till 85 I mean the quality of life, the quality of health and healthcare in the United States is so good that they hope to work till 85. They want to work till 85, they have to have someplace to work so I hope that modern and technology companies like you would spare a thought for people who are in their 60s and not only look at 20-25 years old only.

I'm going to ask you a related question we talked about borderless offices and gig workers and the need for change. I'm going to ask you is this something that organisations can do to embrace change. The change they could do is network, teams, self-managed teams so that they can embrace change faster. So, what can be some of the real changes that trigger these companies to embrace change?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: Like I had said earlier the events like COVID had come for organisations or to force organisations to embrace change, if they don't embrace change, it will vanish. You may have heard that GE used to be one of the largest companies in the US not too long ago not anymore really couldn't embrace changes that were happening around them in the marketplace. Now they are perhaps I don't know what their ranking is but it's low.

So, I think what organisations can do to embrace change first realise that unless they are willing to embrace change, they are going to vanish. We all talk about dinosaurs; it is not that dinosaurs had a choice, but things change around them, and they couldn't keep up with the change, so they vanished. The same thing happens to the companies, the organisations, especially in these times I think sooner they prepare themselves for such catastrophic events making sure their business continuity plans do have the employees, their clients and all everything else that is needed, they say illiquidity the liquid cash, you all need to make sure that you are saving enough for the rainy day what else what if the business goes South I mean today companies like ours are doing well because electricity and Internet are there, our employees can work but tomorrow suppose there is an event which takes away one of these we will be how what would we do then. So I think it is imperative for every organisation to prepare themselves for such events and within the teams I mean now in the remote work we are finding some people are getting into and you may have heard that in such cases when these events happen and people are working from home there are different phases people go through. In the first phase, they are just feeling bored sitting at home and that in the next phase they start feeling why this happening to them and then soon it turns into anger, they start getting angry.

A lot of things that you're seeing around us, a lot of problems we're seeing around us in the US you may have heard a lot of protests are happening in the US and all that is nothing but an expression of anger that is coming out of the situation people are in these days. Now I'm just kind of taking a social thing and combining that with the organisation now the same thing happens with organisations. Organizations need to ensure their employees have the right toolset, the right support and the right team composition to be able to prepare themselves for such I would say emotional changes that are happening because people are right now facing them in the environment.

AITD: Another thing that we have noticed of course working virtually, working from home, of course, we are connected, then technology does enable employees to work virtually collaborate with others and work is becoming a 24x7 reality which blurring the line between work and the non-work lives. There is increasing pressure and stress on employees, I mean in your company you have exactly 12 hours when the day is ending here the day starting in your place you have companies in India, you have companies in Atlanta maybe some of them continue working well into the night, so this is increasing the pressure and stress on employees.

So, what do you think it should be done to ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of our employees in these circumstances?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: I feel that it's a problem, I see that not only in our employees but also my friends around us here in Atlanta I see that these days they are expected to be on call including my son, my son is 24 years old and he works for one of the consulting companies they are expected to be connected online pretty much like 20 hours a day or 18 hours a day, he has called at 10:00 PM at night at times because the problem has come in and that has I think it is very essential for employees and for the company's to teach employees and employees to really implement because it then nobody is watching them so they have to implement to bring that balance in their life. Unless they do that, I think there's going to be burnout and it is happening, as you know that they're saying they're already saying the suicide cases are increasing. India can't stop talking about one of the actors who committed suicide but beyond that, there are so many other people who are committing suicide because people are getting burnt out.

So I think, I tell you at my level I have made sure that I talk to my employees of my company in every office once a month and I make sure and I tell them how the company because that old means of communication are not happening now, so it is the newer means remote communication, what if nobody is talking to anybody only the work, they're talking only about work and employees start developing job insecurity. I don't know how the company is going to do like what happens when happening and he gets into a spiral. I feel like a CEO my job is to make sure that I inform them how well the company is doing, how secure is their job, how secure is their work and tell them how I'm spending my time. They say that people don't get inspired by lectures, people get inspired by seeing how others are living their life. How come when Amitabh Bachchan used to have long hair, everybody started having long hair, remember in our age people see something and then they get inspired and I think I feel that every leader, every leader, every CEO or anybody who's in the leadership position, whether they know it or not they are the source of inspiration for the future generation. If they lead their life the same thing, we are inspiring our younger generation at home so it’s responsibilities and across.

AITD: Yes, that’s a fact. I am going to change the theme a little bit here because we have a chance to talk to you today and you being from the technology side and a little bit about analytics which we want to share some views with you. The ability to understand analytics and pro-prescriptive guidance from data will be very vital. So, what support to capabilities do the HR professionals require to deliver what the businesses need today, prescriptive, analytics what’s your advice, what kind of capabilities must people have.

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: I can tell you from our experience that the needs are growing, needs in the market for talent in the technology space, if I may say are growing exponentially. Now, being able to match the skills or being able to prepare the people with the right kind of skill set to match those requirements is that's where we are failing in most of the cases. And, being able to, especially the remote workforce, very difficult, earlier HR was able to physically see in many cases, physically able to see the employees on every floor. Now somewhere I read that the era of a huge building with 10,000 employees is a bit far right now, is a bit far-fetched rather.

I don't know when we will have a huge building full of 10,000 employees. We do have vaccines, everybody must be vaccinated, and we need to be sure that people are not bringing these things. And if that is the case in the virtual environment, what they must rely on is a lot of surveys, a lot of surveys to deduce the employee well-being.

And I think to me, HR professionals, I would say, at one level ensuring that people are future-ready from the skill set. A guy who knows C++ may be easily get trained in Python as an example, which is a common language used in data analytics and all but not vice versa. Things like that from the skill set, who can be trained and what skills to be able to match the future requirements and the employee well-being, I would say, that would be the most important things. They can learn these skills. I think they themselves will be ready.

AITD: We have come to a question which I think you should be able to, because at your position, at your level. That's an important question we want to ask you - What will future leadership look like? What qualities the skills must future leaders possess. And what are the leadership strategies, which will have the greatest impact in the future? Could we have your views on the leadership of the future?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: Those of you who are really interested in this topic, may want to go to my blog. I write constantly or consistently it’s called ‘Sehgalnotes.com’. I have written a lot about leadership in 2020 and I have leaderships written about – How to hire the right kind of people? I will start with that. To me, Leadership quality is not just something about managing people and I will talk about that also - what is required for managing people. Leadership quality is something that is there as a human quality because we are a leader, if nothing else, in our own life, we are leading our life, don't we say the term – lead your life. It means you are leading; you are a leader; you are born, and you are a leader.

Now, how well you lead your life. That is a quality we are talking about. I think an important thing when recently we have a video released in a blog where we talked about how to hire the right people, I said okay. There is a very famous person Simon Sinek in case you guys have heard of him. He was talking about in the U.S., the best team in the U.S. is considered as a Navy SEAL Six, in case you watch movies, Hollywood movies, they have the best guys. The toughest guys I mean they say what kind of people you look for in Navy SEAL Six. And they are saying that when we draw a chart, they look for two things - Performance and Trust.

They may not mind hiring a person who is low or mid in performance if he is high on Trust. You want to trust your life or wife with they say, that's the kind of guy, you want to hire. But I think in an organisation we cannot know while interviewing that the person is trustworthy or not. You can look for a person whether he has a good leadership quality or not. Again, I say here I am talking about leadership qualities means leading his life. Now an important thing to notice there is - Does the person have a victim mentality, or he has a Leadership mentality?

Victim Mentality is – oh I did not know this because I did not get a chance because my college did not teach me. Or I did not know this because I used to bunk my classes, some excuse or my father did not have money, my parents didn't have this, this, or this. To me, that’s a victim mentality. A person with a leadership mentality - he takes everything that he gets in his stride, makes the best use of that what was available to him and leads his life. And in US admissions that they look for holistic things in US Universities especially the Ivy Lee. They look for not the person with the greatest number of marks, they look for the person who made the best use of resources available to him.

They gave admission to a guy who didn’t score, who scored almost 90% in SAT, mainly because he was homeless, and his father used to sleep in the car. And he used to attend school, he used to take bath in a public toilet and then he used to go to school or sometimes he used to take bath in school and attend the classes and he has still scored 90%. They could have hired guys who were 100% or 99%, but they hired him. Now that to me is one quality that I always suggest in a leader. This leadership equality is the opposite of a victim.

And number two, I would say when you're leading people these days, things are changing. If you look at companies like Google, companies like Apple, companies like Microsoft, what has changed in the last few years. Founders have made way for new leaders. Two of those companies now have leaders of Indian origin, as you all know – Sunder Pichai and Satya Nadella. Now, what qualities do they have, inclusive moral leadership – very very important these days. The old era of a leader being a dictator, tight-fisted and controlling the companies as Steve Jobs did, or Bill Gates did, was needed at that time. Not in today's leadership. Modern Leadership in 2020 and that's what I wrote about in my blog requires different kinds of skill sets. You lead by example; you lead with skills.

And third, or last more important thing I would say is anybody can acquire knowledge. I was mentioning to you the other day, time perhaps is not far off, A child is born, you put a chip in him, and he has artificial intelligence. He is available, all the data that is out there available to him. In fact, it’s true even now, google is your face, or window to the entire world. You can google anything from anywhere. Suppose that thing becomes part of your own being when you are born, so all the knowledge is there. You have the glasses, now they say BOSE has come up with speakers which are part of your glasses. And then you have a screen here, and now they're talking about a screen which will be virtually in front of you, wherever you're doing. So, there are so many things happening in technology. Soon all the data that is out there will be their part of you, data is part of you, intelligence is part of you. What is left, what will distinguish you from another person in the workforce. Everybody knows Python and they can know Python because the chip is there.

Heart – Heart is the one that distinguishes us from all the robots, from all other machines, from everybody else and that is what in the US people are looking more and more for a skill called Emotional Intelligence. I am sure you all have read about EQ, Emotional Quotient. Earlier it was used to be IQ and now it is EQ. Some people even talk about Social Quotient. How well the person deals with himself, and that's what the thing I talked about – Victim vs Mentality. How well the person deals with himself, leads himself and how the person deals with things around him. That to me is the quality of the heart. That is going to be a very important thing in leadership, any leadership position in the future.

AITD: As we look into the future, a question again at your level since you are CEO – suppose you were to start on a blank paper and draw out an organisation that you would like to have - How would you reshape a C-suite. What should we say a major change in their priorities, or should the present system continue or how do you look at the future or C-suite?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: I think that's a very good question and that's what I think, the last thing that I mentioned, I would in the C-suite, I would look for their ability to manage themselves and ability to manage others at the same time. Often, we look for people who are high performers, they may be high performers, but their personal life may be a disaster. Or their ability to deal with people maybe be questioned all the time. So, I will always look for people who are able to manage themselves as well as they are able to manage the task at hand and others. And C-suite would be in my view, that's where you are beginning to find a talk about diversity in C-suites and all that and people are finding that the women are missing and they are softer, I think they are doing certain skills that men always find difficult to acquire. So, I think that's to me, you are looking for more balanced individuals.

AITD: I will come to some things which are closer to your heart. We will talk a little bit about heartful people, heartful emotions, the kind of things you are very fond of. What kind of advice that you would like to give to young students, young people who are here with us today about how they should investigate meditation and other such activities?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: You will perhaps be surprised, I started meditating when I was 23 yrs old and nobody in my family used to do that before I did. Typically, people do these things when they are born into a family of people. I was born and brought up in Delhi and like most of the youngsters always was – khana peena, movies. That was my lifestyle till I come across this meditation and initially I was not keen on doing it. I thought ‘aankhe band karke film actress ke baare me sochte rahte hai’. I used to make fun of those people. But once I started doing it and the kind of things I realised in my life, even at that young age - that day and today I have been still doing it. For thirty years I have been doing this meditation. So often people think oh it's not for youngsters. My son has been meditating since he was 18 or 16 and he is a trainer of meditation. And when you meet a person like him you will find how well balanced it can make you even at a young age. You can have fun; you can have all the fun. I have given you so many examples – I love watching movies love going out to eat and having fun with friends and all that. People think meditation takes away all that, no it’s wrong.

Meditation balances you; meditation helps you to use your faculties in the most balanced way, in the most optimum way. That is the definition I can give you. And if the youngsters and not so young guys, we should all take it up. I think it’s something that is missing in your life. There is so much you can learn, there's only so much so limited things you can learn from books, movies, and broadcasts and all that. There is a huge reservoir of wisdom within each one of us, that is ready to teach us the right things as and when needed. And that's what meditation helps you tap into.

AITD: Sir I am going to ask you one or two more questions; it is something which is very close to your heart and that is ‘Entrepreneurship’. You talked about having a start-up every 3rd day. So, what message do you want to give to our young students about Entrepreneurship and the spirit of Entrepreneurship rather than going into companies for jobs? So, what kind of advice because you have been through this in your life. You know what requires to be an entrepreneur, what are the risks? So, what advice would you give to our young people today?

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: There was a time when I started my first company when I was 25 yrs old. If I ever have to go back, I have to redo my life, I will start as soon as I came out of college. And I would say that people should look at that not just as a means of supporting themselves. Youth is the age of risks taking, youth is the age of trying new things. And there is no time better than the current time. If you see, the people say the economy is down, GDP has shrunk and all that stuff. This is the best time to start your company. Because first, very few people will start. So, you will have less competition in the market. This is the time that is reshaping the future. Like a lot of questions, you asked about the future, being future-ready. Because we all know that viruses like Covid-19 are here to stay in 2019-20, 2020-21 something like this, is here to stay. We must prepare ourselves.

So, the problem that you see now, if you can solve these problems, you are ‘king of the hill’ and I think never be afraid of failing. Fail in fact I always believe, fail fast. So, I think you can be a successful leader. Instead of taking one thing like in Hindi ‘pid pid ke lage raho, das saal nahi. Do one thing, fail fast and go to the next one. And I think at your age I mean there was a time when all CEOs were 50-60 years old, now the companies have CEOs who are 20-25 years old. You all guys are the ones who can start the next Flipkart, you can start the next Amazon, you can start the next Microsoft, next Google or even the next in Delhi ‘Bitto Di Tikki’. I mean think about that Entrepreneurship. I mean all knew, we all grew up seeing a golgappe wala in our neighbourhood and the poor guys, in 25 paisa or 50 paisa giving you this and here is the guy who has created an empire. I mean, to me this is Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is not only limited to technology. In today’s market people are doing deliveries. Delivery services to your home because of new problems because. Delivery of medicine, delivery of new businesses which are coming up. Problems looking to be solved, number 1. Never be afraid to fail fast. Your age is the best age to start these things.

AITD: Thank you, Sir. I think our youngsters and young people who are listening to you today, will be enthused and will learn to fail fast and learn fast and act fast. It’s been wonderful having you today. But before I end today, I would like to say whatever message you want to give about your experience, about your future vision, as pathing shot as they say, what would you like to say, Sir.

Mr Sanjay Sehgal: To everyone I will say, they all know this ‘dil da mamla hai’. So, one thing that I can offer all of you guys I think many things I have said to you, you would hear from a lot of other people. But very few people will tell about listening to your heart, developing that ability to listen to your heart and that can come to you only through meditation.  

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