Men and women are creatures of habits. Habits have a unique way of making life easier. Banking Frontiers posed the question: ‘What are the key habits that have contributed in shaping your professional success?’ 13 women responded.
Monu Jain, Country Head – Mid Corporate Banking & SME Business at IndusInd Bank explains why we form habits: “When you acquire a habit, the brain rewires so that doing that task takes very little energy and makes it much more efficient. And that’s the reward you get by forming good habits.”
With this explanation, let us look at the habits that some of the women leaders have adopted. For Rajashree Nambiar, Former MD & CEO at Fullerton India Credit Company, the key ingredient of her success is self-discipline. She elaborates: “Self-discipline about my own health, about the time that I spent with my family, self-discipline for compartmentalizing my life and my hectic work has helped me to manage challenges of my work-life.”
Another of her habits is cultivating hobbies, as work is not her whole and sole priority. “My primary hobby is cooking since it helps me to de-stress and relax. I also like running marathons. I try to run for one hour every day, even while I am travelling, I try to run across the neighborhood on the roads.”
Rajashree has an interesting hobby, which she has made a habit. Her third habit is mandatory travel breaks. She travels every year during summer to some new country. “I have visited 39 countries,” she says with pride.
For Shoma Narayanan, Executive Director – Group Strategic Marketing & Communications at DBS Bank India, reading is the habit she emphasizes, which has been with her since her school and college days. Now-a-days, she reads within the areas of her expertise and specialization (marketing communications and sustainability) and even beyond, ie, books that are of general interest. Says she: “This is the key of pretty much any kind of success anywhere.”
Her second habit is to have a learning habit. She expands: “I make sure on a monthly basis that I begin learning a new skill or continue developing something that I have not done in the past.”
Her third habit is very mundane and practical and that is making to do lists all the time. “When I was a kid, it used to be lists around what I need to study for exams, but now obviously it’s about slightly more evolved stuff. I do believe that for big projects, using the combination of technology and good old-fashioned notebooks helps keep track of deliverables.”
Shoma’s fourth habit is to regularly reach out to people who she works with who are key stakeholders. She has scheduled interactions with them because that’s important. “Sometimes, if you don’t do that you miss out on either deliverables or opportunities,” she explains.
BEGIN WITH THE END
L Chiranthi Cooray, Chief Transformation Officer at Hatton National Bank, is a fan of Stephen Covey’s habit No 2 – ‘Begin with the end in mind’. It has been her motto in life. She has achieved success and excellence in strategy execution, staying committed to this habit.
Her second habit is writing resolutions for the new year. “The resolutions are on a wheel with different spokes, and each spoke represents a different area. I review it during mid-year to ensure that I am on track. Examples are family, career, spirituality, fitness, investments, etc. I generally manage to achieve quite a bit,” she explains.
Her next habit is more of a personality than a habit. “I am open and accepting of people; I believe in humanity,” she says.
Monu Jain has a habit of planning and being organized. “I am an extremely calenderized person. It helps you get the most out of your day. Women play so many roles like mother, daughter and career women. There are so many balls we are juggling every day and this way we can make sure that no ball falls,” she explains.
Beyond time management, Monu has the habit of striving for excellence which has helped her in her professional career. “It has been innate in me right from the beginning. It helps me put my best foot forward,” she describes.
Another pet habit for Monu is meditation. She feels that it is just not for the elderly and retired. It helps to soothe and calm down. “It helps me to increase my focus and concentration which in turn increases my efficiency. With spirituality comes empathy for the people you work with, for the people around you,” she adds.