Meet Liz Scully – an internationally renowned veteran in providing post-production film lighting operations across some leading studios (her work, which spans two decades, has won her an Emmy, Bafta and even an Oscar Nomination) – and now in India – with a mission to light up the lives of entrepreneurs and start-ups here – through sharing and bringing some of the best-known global soft-skill experts as well as her own rich experiences in balancing life & stresses – through her ambitious training modules and also a skill-enhancement focused Indian deal site!
DARE caught up with this dynamic and super-charged lady at Bangalore recently – and here are the excerpts of some of the talks:
You have spent a good part of your professional life in markets such as UK and US. What prompted you to then shift to India and foray your ventures here?
Initially, I came for film studios developing their skill sets and diversifying their interests in emerging markets. But, I fell in love with India almost instantly. One of the things I like most about this country is that when you meet people and like them, the first thing everyone asks is ‘how can we do business together?’ It’s such a great attitude.
What key differences have you personally experienced while starting here vis-a-vis other markets?
Opportunities in India are plentiful and incredibly varied. Everything is new, fresh and there is a positive attitude everywhere. The people have a ‘can do’ attitude that is lovely. Compared to London which is filled full of fear, India as a whole feels fresh and optimistic.
Let us talk about your ventures now - what is Rethink Retreats all about and how do you foresee it making a significant difference to its clients? Do you think that the concept will have sufficient takers in India?
Rethink (www.rethinkretreats.com) will help people at the top of their careers who have plateaued and need to redevelop their focus. It will also help people transitioning to new careers have a clearer view. In India specifically, business people are less used to spending on their personal and business development in this way. We make it easier by providing a luxurious venue, but the program is hard work. We have an elite mix of European and Indian clients facilitating a diverse range of ideas. It’s something you cannot get anywhere else. We know that our Indian clients are getting immense value out of our programs and word is beginning to spread. (The program today lists a literal who’s who of some leading global soft skill experts. Besides Liz herself, who heads the initiative, it also has amongst its faculty members such as Jamie Panter – a hypnotherapist and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner; Jonathan Swain – who’s been heading public sector executive search and trains on making the right CV and impression; Chris Sandel - an internationally renowned nutritionist; Nova Milesko – who has taught Yoga to Canadian Military and Olympic Swimming team – and a lot more).
You also have devised what is called Mastermind Program –
Mastermind (http://www.rethinkretreats.com/mastermind-main/) is a goal setting program that will help people gain clarity and achieve success. Small groups – big results. What it does, essentially, is to group together around 6 entrepreneurs – and these are then exposed to about eight 2-hour weekly sessions with one or two expert coaches – wherein they get to discuss respective challenges, find group solutions and also get specific goals to be achieved during the sessions. Furthermore, the groups, after a frequency of about 4 weeks – are made to meet together and get exposed to specific domain professionals – like say social media management or the likes – which also enables them to thus meet and share things with other attendees. Though it sounds simple, but the impact – that we have seen – is really tremendous – as it not only focuses the entrepreneurs – but give them access to additional thoughts and minds – thus helping them counter one of the most challenging aspect of starting-up – i.e. doing the thing on your own and to remain in your own silo till you don’t launch yourself! We have observed in past sessions that by second month – entrepreneurs have been experiencing amazing levels of energy to carry forward their businesses. We are hopeful that we would be able to strongly support the Indian start-up movement with this training structure.
Could you share some light on some other ventures that you propose to launch here?
There is a new venture launching in July. Chanakya Deal is a deal site which focuses on bringing online coaching and business start up deals to the Indian market at a fraction of the usual cost. The great thing about Chanakya Deal is that it allows for high level business assistance to a wider market. As it’s all online world class training can be downloaded right into your living room and you can start immediately moving to the next level.
Chanakya Deal is more than just a business venture though; it is also about giving back to the community. A portion of the profits will be given to a charity that works to remove cataracts for those who desperately need it. So our clients create a brighter future for themselves, everyone will see more clearly
So what according to you, are three most personal challenges that an entrepreneur faces - and what could be the right way to tackle these?
Time management, clean decision making (make the decision and let it go) and the loneliness of going it alone. Overcoming these obstacles is the focus of all of my businesses. Getting plugged in, whether you are at the executive level or just beginning your climb is truly important. From Rethink Retreats to Mastermind to Chanakya Deal, we work with our clients to overcome these and other challenges. And I think there will be more opportunities developed in the future...
Could you suggest top three time management skills that a start-up must know?
Prioritising, delegating and when to say no to a client. Of course the list goes on and on. With every new enterprise there are immense challenges – and most of them eat time, which is our most precious resource. But, if you focus on these three aspects, you will get it right and rise quickly.
What do you think are some key learnings that Indian start-ups should embrace from their global counterparts?
Clearer SOP (standard operating practises). Training staff so that they work systematically through a problem and so can really own the issues rather than going straight to their managers as soon as there is an issue. And one of the most basic is turning up on time for meetings! So much time is wasted waiting for people to arrive here, it’s actually one of the things most commented on by Western managers working with teams out here... Small thing, huge shift once everyone’s on time and moving in the same direction.
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