Building an Early Foundation:
I grew up in the town of Ghaziabad, back when it felt nothing like the NCR it is today. I did not particularly have a tough childhood, but rather I learnt early in life that the only way to get ahead was hard-work, discipline and education. During my late teens, my mother read early signs of me growing timid and introverted and was very keen that I develop interpersonal skills before it became a prominent part of my character. So, I dedicated the next few years on self development which opened up new doors.
Standing tall as an aspiring professional, I made sure to be a part of platforms where I could interact with professionals, learn and develop new skills and observe leaders around me. This gave me confidence to network in forums and opened up more opportunities.
The next 20 years, I followed through my childhood principles. My integrity and the hunger to learn showed me brighter days as well as helped overcome the rainy ones. Most of the times, I picked roles which would initially look beyond my capabilities but those were also the times I learnt the most and created maximum impact. This kept adding to my skills especially in the domain of Sales, Pre-Sales, Strategy and Transformation, Operations, Delivery and Customer Success. When I look back today, I realize that if I had been stuck to comfort zones and known territories, I would have never been able to evolve around such diverse range of experiences necessary to become a visionary business leader.
Beyond the Barricades:
Did you know Sachin Tendulkar has the most ducks in ODI cricket in India? That is also the reason why he has more runs than anyone else! I believe, there are no failures in life - we either win or learn. It is about making the most out of our experiences. We have so many examples of people around us who have taken risks regardless of the outcome as fear of failure is the biggest inhibition to success.
I have failed multiple times, introspected, understood where and why I failed, embraced the lessons and moved ahead stronger. I now spend a lot of time mentoring individuals; telling them it's alright to make mistakes as long as we fail forward and have clear takeaways. When we look back on our career, it’ll be those victories that came after a storm which always seem sweeter.
Evolution of Customer Experience Management across industries:
Customer loyalty today is driven by Value and Value alone.There has been a paradigm shift in the way organizations perceive customer experience today. It is no longer about offering products and services that the organizations feel is right for the customer, but it’s about redesigning every process, every touchpoint, so that it reflects what we know about the customer. One-size fits all doesn’t fly anymore. With customers moving in and out of channels both online and offline for a single purchase along with so much information and choices, it’s paramount that organizations invest in Personalization. Make a conscious effort to collate everything that you know about your customer to offer them an experience that reflects your understanding of them and their preferences. That’s the north star that everyone should aspire to achieve. Your customers can always tell if your organization is self-centred or if you have them at the centre of it all.
Sources of Powerful Lessons:
When I reflect on my own career, I give a huge
credit to my leaders, most of whom are also my mentors till date.
They have been immensely helpful in providing meaningful insights that have
helped me look at opportunities and obstacles from a different perspective. I
take leverage from the fact that they have ‘been there’ ‘done that’ and
try to gain from their perspectives. I feel that I have been very lucky to
work with world class leaders who have inspired me to take risks, helped
identify my strengths and have encouraged me to
take my chances when I felt strongly about
them. Mentors don’t patronize, they don’t give straight answers, but
help me dig deeper to find the answers. It’s so important to choose the
right mentors especially those who are in alignment with your career goals. As
they say, the right mentors make you a better person.
Life Mantra for Aspiring Women Leaders:
I want to encourage all women leaders to be vulnerable and authentic - be who you are. You don't have to worry about being perfect. It's ok to admit your mistakes, embrace and share your flaws, be genuinely invested in people’s success and be a leader with a heart. Your authenticity is your superpower. I take my inspiration from Brené Brown who says “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.”
Ask for what you want – you might get it! Women in particular often struggle to claim their worth in an organization. Shying away from asking for an opportunity is a missed opportunity. Powerful women know how to ask for what they want and understand their need to be successful. Instead of being a victim in a situation or waiting for roadblocks to fade away, women must feel empowered and take charge of their careers. Those who do will be the most powerful in the room.
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