This blog used to be views on various things. But in all these years, I find it going a whole new direction.
Something which I have loved all the time. It's BOOKS!! So, presenting a whole new saga, of books and a little about them, whatever I can find, write, visualise and imagine...
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Friday, October 28, 2016
Author Interview : Gunjan Jain, author of 'She Walks, She Leads' (Part 1)
Read up, the Interview with Gunjan Jain, author of 'She Walks, She Leads'. People,
though an interview with Gunjan Jain, was not possible by me, Penguin (the
publishers of her book were kind enough to share their interview with me.) This interview asks her, of how the book
actually happened, how the concept was fleshed out, what
kept her going, while writing the book, what the most gratifying part of
writing the book was, all in this part. This is not all, Part 2 is coming up, Folks…
to Launch in Bangalore) is a sort of a culmination of all the effort, the blood
and sweat. How does it feel?
Relief, first and
foremost! And satisfaction…that I have done all that I could, and now things
must take their own course. In a way I feel that my part of the journey with
the book is over. I mean, starting with the conceptualisation, research, the
actual writing and all the rewriting and editing, the publishing process… I
have lived all the stages of the book and now it is complete and it is out
on, the book must find its own path, which will be determined by its readers.
In that sense, there is a bittersweet feeling of letting go of something that I
devoted all my time and space and energy for the last 3 years.
something about the process you followed to flesh out the concept of the book.
Did you formulate a plan and then stick to it, or did it evolve as you went
along from chapter to chapter?
Yes. That is how I
started because that has always been my process for approaching all tasks. I
like to chalk out detailed plans, draw up checklists and then try to stick to
it in as meticulous a manner as I can. But, with this book I learnt very
quickly that I needed to assume a more flexible approach. So yes, I formulated my plans but at the same time I kept
myself open to deviating from them. This was especially important because I had
to interact with so many different personalities for each chapter so each
chapter sort of demanded its own customised process.
This book has
been a tremendous journey for you. It cannot have
been all smooth all the time.
What kept you going? Who was your support system?
The image of bookstore
window displays with copies of my book in them! I kept dreaming about it.
three years have been very long years of 20-hour work days! Everything was a
challenge. The number of interviews. Expansive lives – extensive research. How
do I restrict it within the word count?! What to keep, what to leave out! And I
would be lying if I said that there were no moments of weakness when I
questioned my decision to take on this project.
was my biggest support system, their belief in me pushed me to continue. And
also, the book itself, right? I mean here I was interacting with and writing
about all these women who had persevered through obstacle after obstacle in
pursuit of their goals. I didn’t have to look further than my
manuscript for inspiration. It was right there!
believe there is one single formula that goes into the making of every
successful leader? How did you go about finalising the women to include in your
I don’t think that
there is one single formula but yes I do believe that there are certain values
that are common to all of them. They prove themselves over and over and believe
in themselves. They invest their time and energies
in building and inspiring teams. They are open to taking risks and stepping up
to the challenges that every new day may bring. These are inspiring lives and
there is so much to learn from each of these women.
selecting the women in the book, I didn’t do it, the women chose themselves!
Their lives, their achievements – and disappointments – their world view, their
joie de vivre all came together in the final selection.
My original list had
more than a 150 women and I wish I could have retained all… but of course that
was not an option. I spent days and
nights agonizing over every name that I chose to leave out. I made up my mind from the beginning that I would not let
my own predilections lead my decision instead I let the material dictate the
course. I did not use filters like field of work, age, experience, etc. to
finalize the list…and the result is an eclectic list of the final 24.
believe women and men approach leadership differently? How different are both
genders different in their pursuit of success?
It seems to me that we
have been conditioned to approach all our tasks based on our gender. It is the whole blue is for boys and pink is for girls,
cars are for boys and dolls are for girls, stereotypes that are instilled in us
at an early age. So, then we are fighting that throughout our lives. And that’s
true as much for the men as for the women. We are expected to behave and react
to situation in a certain way. So yes, to answer your question, men and women
do approach leadership differently but unfortunately that is more because of
the demands of society rather than our inherent personalities.
Sudha Murty (Wikipedia)
As far as women go I
believe success rarely follows a predictable trajectory, our path is strewn
with all kinds of hurdles that men do not traditionally face. For instance, Sudha Murty was not eligible to even apply
for a post at TELCO, despite the fact that she was a gold medalist and among
the top students of her institute. Purely because she was a lady and the
management did not feel that the factory was the right place for a lady. She
was audacious enough to send of a letter to JRD Tata to lecture him on the
unfairness of the company’s policy and in response not just procure an
interview but also a job.
Things have definitely
changed but gender bias continues to play a role in our society. I am hopeful though that we are moving in a direction
where ability and credentials will trump gender, across the board and each
What was the
most gratifying part about working on this book, your most precious takeaway?
This book had been a
tremendous personal journey for me. The biggest two lessons I learned through
the process of the book are: perseverance and surrender. I outgrew my
self-constructed walls and boundaries and developed an eagle’s vision through
the execution of the book. Surrender was something that the universe taught me.
the true meaning of patience and grace ... and that hard work and perseverance
was within my control, but at the same time there were aspects that were beyond
my control. And I would have to accept that and leave it to the divine power...
who has a way of making things click. I learnt that I had to become a vessel or
channel for creativity to happen.