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Destined to dream and do...

It was not the Chinese emperors alone who had the Mandate of Heaven to rule over their compatriots. According to Sandeep and Manisha Chaudhary, leadership is the birthright and destiny of every individual. In their new book and through their workshops, they affirm that they can lead people to this destiny, discovers ANJANA RAJAN... .

IF YOU are the type who gets up early in the morning and switches on the TV for some tele-enlightenment, then chances are you would have caught at least a glimpse of Sandeep Chaudhary, who hosts Zee TV's "Yoga for Life" at 6-30 a.m. But it is not only the holistic way of life exemplified by the eight-fold path that Sandeep is capable of teaching. With wife Manisha, he would also teach us that each of us is a born leader, and that to realise the leadership potential within us is our true destiny.

To put across these opinions in an easy to understand manner the two have co-authored "Leadership Your True Destiny" - recently launched by ResourceGroup Thoughts, the publishing division of their own organisation, ResourceGroup.

Sandeep and Manisha are actively involved in training corporate groups at various levels from the Chief Executive Officer downwards. Their workshops for the service sector include envisioning and strategic leadership for the top echelons, team building and personal effectiveness for the managerial level and selling skills and customer service for other employees. Similarly there are workshops tailored to the needs of production industries.

The philosophy that informs these workshops is basically that which is laid out in the handy little book - which reads like a conversation. Right at the outset, the authors explain that leadership is not a quality to be associated solely with high corporate designations or political aspirations. Of course the CEO of a company is a leader of many. But the housemaid who scrubs the CEO's house, or the sentry who guards the gate or any other person - regardless of the walk of life - is a leader and has a particular sphere of influence no matter how small.

An important argument in the book is that through positive dreaming we can achieve seemingly unlikely or even impossible goals. To bring home this point the Chaudharys give a large number of examples ranging literally from the girl who lives next-door to them, through Sabeer Bhatia the inventor of Hotmail to mass leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and the spiritual icon Mata Amritanandamayi. Though these stories are interesting and inspiring they tend to overshadow the practical aspect. But in all probability the book read in conjunction with attending a workshop led by the couple might well be a worthwhile venture.

Another interesting approach is the simple advice to live up to the qualities associated with one's name. They discuss the significance most traditional societies attach to the process of finding a name for a newborn, and apply it to everyday living so that a truth that most of us already knew but might have ceased to think about - that high aspirations are associated with our names and we can realise these aspirations - comes alive in a lucid way.

Apart from corporate clients that include multinationals as well as indigenous companies, the Chaudharys provide their insights into holistic living for the benefit of organisations like Care India, CRY, and Actionaid. Manisha has been working with children for a number of years through the Nehru Bal Samiti that organises the Nehru Bal Mela, and via this medium has contacted thousands of children. Children between the ages of eight and13, says Sandeep, are the group on which they are planning to focus increasingly in the coming phase of their work.

"In the past, some of our corporate clients like Radissons arranged for a workshop which children of their staff attended along with children from less privileged backgrounds who were contacted through some NGOs. Both groups benefited from the interaction."

Apart from their training workshops and Sandeep's Yoga serial - for which Manisha does the scripting - the Chaudharys are Reiki grandmasters and Manisha has also trained in Ayurveda. In the healing sessions they conduct, Sandeep recounts some very good results with patients of throat cancer, spondylosis and other diseases.

An exciting development is an invitation the ResourceGroup has received from the governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to conduct leadership programmes for women in those regions. The Chaudharies and their fellow trainers will be expected to train women running small businesses as well as on themes like leadership development on the personal and family fronts.

Planning soon to open an office in Nasik, the ResourceGroup - which at present has 20 members of whom 11 are trainers and consultants - has got plenty on its platter for a company that began only eight years ago. But what else can you expect from born leaders?

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