With an experience of almost 3 decades, primarily in IT/ITES, journeying through various roles, ground-up from frontline business, et al, to various CXO positions and Boardrooms, Sadhana Somasekhar is a polished and inspirational professional. She has played several significant roles in her career, be it as an employee, entrepreneur, leader, board member, Mentor, investor and now, Executive/Leadership Coach.
Though formatively not from the human resources (HR) or learning & development (L&D), Sadhana was always drawn to & fascinated in personal development, behaviour and attitude, in the workplace and beyond. Through the course of her journey, she was convinced that skills such as emotional intelligence, managing (our own) behaviour, resilience and sustaining performance are an essential part of the package of skills that everybody needs, and as such should be on the curriculum for everyone.
She opines that there is immense transformative power in self-realisation, enhancing EI and in the modification of behaviour(s) into more leveraging ones, when applied to both personal & professional life. However, a major gap continues to exist because the need (consciousness) goes unidentified & people are not given help or coaching in these areas early enough in their professional life. This loophole suggested that businesses consider executive coaching as a luxury meant only for leaders or, only when absolutely critical. Yet today, in the ambiguous & changing demographics of industry & world, “transformation” is not just a project rather a living and breathing reality.
Sadhana is the CEO & Managing Director of Platinum Infosystems Pvt. Ltd. The company was incepted in 2002, with headquarters in Chennai. Sadhana shares her views/experience in starting her company, says, “During the initial years of a Startup, the primary goal should be simply to survive. No matter how tired or afraid you are, you have to figure out how to keep moving ahead. My challenge was not the usual, as in, customer acquisition; it was more about managing my own transition from the predictable, streamlined model of the corporate world I was used to, into the fluid, uncertain one of an entrepreneur; which meant you had to be several functions and departments, and people, often at the same time!”
Experience the Transformational Power of Leadership/Executive Coaching.
Platinum Infosystems offers services such as executive/Leadership coaching, mentoring/advisory, and business consulting – its customers include SMEs & MNCs, across domains, viz. IT/ITES, manufacturing, textile, BFSI, healthcare, logistics, real estate, consulting, as well as entrepreneurial and individual coaching & mentoring. The team comprises of an group of recognised business leaders trained & certified in the process, techniques and tools of leadership and executive coaching, bringing experience and skill together, to an engagement that is inherently coachee-centric & aimed at being transformational. Sadhana herself, an accredited & practicing CXO/leadership coach & mentor, with almost 8 years of leadership/coaching experience, is extremely passionate about her role as Executive/Leadership Coach.
Expertly Handling the Team
In her capacity as a leader and as part of the team she leads, Sadhana believes in & tackles challenges through dialogue, transparency and encouraging open discussions. And, if none of these worked – “I take the leadership action wrt the decision/setting direction, while agreeing to disagree”.
Standing Apart from the Competitors
In her words, Sadhana believes that coaching efficacy/value is something that “has to be experienced”. She adds, “it’s an engagement between 2 people (in most cases). It’s not possible to compare experiences that are so personalised & individual. The essence of the engagement is to help the coachee gain new realizations or new perspectives, transformation and identify opportunities for their growth, continued success & evolution. Every engagement is in itself a competition for both the coach and the coachee – To be the greatest team ever!”
Prejudice & Bias in the Professional Life
In her several years of experience in the corporate world, Sadhana admits to have experienced the existence of gender bias, one challenge that appears to be a common denominator across positions and right upto the level of the board room, primarily stemming from ego, jealousy and peer rivalry. In that, there is far more tolerance for failure or for the acceptance of success of male leaders from/by other male leaders. On the other hand, there is a sense of insecurity when it is a woman in the lead or even taking the lead. Women face discrimination in terms of excessive stress, pressure and the need to prove & re-prove worth, repeatedly, regardless of how successful or worthy they may be; there is a low tolerance for failure and reluctant acceptance, if at all, of success. The bias that successful women face, is however “gender less” -not only from men.
People Who Made A Difference
There have been several people through her life, some famous, some relatively unknown, who have inspired her. “I cannot name just one.” In her explanation, inspiration came to her in various hues, in various subjects and through various inspirational people. In her own words, “A lot of inspiration dawned in some of the darkest moments of my life”. Acknowledging their significance in her life, Sadhana says, “I can only say a quiet ‘thank you’ for all the good and also the not-so-good, for, without them, I would not have come this far or be the person I am today.”
Work-Personal Life Balance
Sadhana subscribes to the 3 Ps: Plan, Prioritise and Prepare(organise). She further adds, “I’m committed to both sides of my life and there is no question of neglecting one for the other. It’s not easy or simple & there is no formula, but it’s definitely doable with planning, prioritizing with a little bit of common sense thrown in. Sometimes, it is okay to accept the less than perfect tasks and delegate/seek support where it is possible. For 20 of an almost 30-year career, I did not carry my laptop home. If there was any emergency or urgency at work, it was always my phone which I resorted to. I believe in quality over quantity and that applied to time as well. Even though, I was not at home physically 24 hours a day, my kids could reach me 24*7. No board meeting was ever a priority over my accessibility to them. Another example, all 12 years of their academic life, I made sure I dropped them off to school- the few minutes enroute and the act itself, went/has gone a long way, mutually”.
Interesting facts About Sadhana Somasekhar
Quote that inspires me: “All men die. Only some live.”
Things that help me to unwind: Reading, Horse Riding, Music
Personal success mantra: “Think with your head. Listen to your gut. But follow your heart”