Narayana Murthy with Sadhguru at Isha Insight 2015
I am a management professional who believes that learning is a continuous process; and to that end, it is important to keep oneself up-to-date with the latest and the best programs in the country.
Those connected with me on social media and regular readers of this blog would recall my posts like My Yoga Experiences, Corporate Life And Spiritualism, When I Walked On Fire (Literally), Human Process Lab : Unmasking behaviours, Having A Personal Vision, Spiritual Quotient And Leadership etc..
I have tried to share details of some of these novel programs; should it interest anyone looking for such programs for one’s own development.
I recently attended a leadership development program with a difference – one that not only allows entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs to network with the creme de la creme of the corporate sector but also blends business leadership with spirituality and yoga.
The program was Isha Insight : The DNA Of Success. This 4-days program is an annual feature and is organised by the Isha Foundation. Isha Foundation is a non-religious, non-profit, public service organisation which addresses all aspects of human wellbeing through Yoga and Outreach programs.
The structure of the program, which is still evolving, involves 200+ participants seated on 20 odd round tables and watching panel discussions, lectures and debates on stage, relating the learning with their business realities, asking questions and discussing among themselves.
One of the team tables at the program
Each table of participants has a resource leader who is a big name from the corporate sector. These resource leaders guide participants through discussions within the table and are a privilege to listen to and interact with.
Resource Leader of my team table, Mr MS Unnikrishnan, MD & CEO, Thermax Group
There are some keynote speakers, like Ratan Tata, Narayana Murthy, KV Kamath etc. who share their life experiences to take learning from. Other keynote speakers involved are entrepreneurs who started small and made it big, or faced big hurdles but never gave up and ultimately built world class organisations. These stories are inspiring, deeply moving and it is a treat to listen to them from the horse’s mouth.
Sadguru, a mystic and a realised being as well as the founder of the Isha Foundation, is present through all these sessions and enthrals the audience with his wit and wisdom. Sadhguru also conducts 1.5 hour yoga sessions every morning for the participants which is a big attraction.
Preparing for the morning yoga session conducted by Sadhguru
Then, there are huddles with resource leaders of one’s choice where one can discuss and seek advice for problems one faces in business.
My huddle with Mr Deepak Satwalekar, Retd MD & CEO, HDFC Standard Life Insurance and Ex MD, HDFC Ltd. My question to him was – Can we predict business cycles?
For example, I noticed some entrepreneurs discussing their need to raise capital with some resource leaders associated with Banking industry. Some others discussed how they could professionalise their family run businesses.
There are also workshops conducted by these resource leaders on specific topics. Participants can choose the workshop of their need and learn.
With Mr Luis Miranda, Chairman of CORO & Centre for Civil Society, Mr Deepak Satwalekar, Retd MD & CEO, HDFC Standard Life Insurance and Mr Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj Industries, after a workshop conducted by them on Organisational Transformation
This is an excellent opportunity to have an outsider view from a top business leader of one’s organisation and the challenges one faces at work.
The program brings down barriers between big guns of the corporate sector and the rest. One interacts with and sees managing directors and CEOs of top organisations from such close quarters that the program seems a dream-come-true. It was amazing to find them humble, accessible and forthcoming. It was, therefore, not a surprise when I saw LinkedIn buzzing with MDs and CEOs connecting with many participants they met at the program.
Moreover, Isha Foundation has built a web based platform of its own to help the participants and business leaders stay connected. The participants’ network just grew qualitatively that much richer!
On the last day, a trek is organised to the nearby jungle at the foothills of the Velliangiri mountains (which are considered the Kailash of South India) where, near a small river stream, there is an opportunity to interact with Sadhguru through a Q&A session.
Sadhguru at the Q&A session in the jungle at the foothills of the Velliangiri mountains
Q&A is followed by lunch in the jungle itself. (Utmost care is taken not to spread any filth in the jungle). This is as close to Mother Nature as one can get, given the concrete jungles that we have got accustomed to.
During the program, one finds time to take a dip in the Suryakund (for gents) and Chandrakund (for ladies) as well as visit the Dhyanalinga temple.
This, coupled with morning yoga with Sadhguru and simple, satvik food rejuvenate one in ways one can’t imagine!
Not to mention the commitment levels of the volunteers – most of whom are highly qualified, well-to-do people, out there to give something back to the society without expecting anything in return.
While we all have heard that Spiritual Quotient is important for leaders, this program is the first one I have come across that actually aims to blend the two together. A must-attend for professionals!