10 Questions with Gaurav Bhalla

Gaurav Bhalla, Ph.D., is a globally acclaimed thinker-doer in leadership, strategy, marketing, and innovation. A provocative, insightful, and entertaining speaker, trainer, and coach, he takes organizations, teams, and individuals on transformational journeys of greater professional success and personal fulfillment. In his 40 plus years of global experience, 5 continents and 30 plus countries, he has worked with clients in several sectors, such as Glaxo, Capital One, Citi, MetLife, Audi, Marriott, Adobe, and Caterpillar.

Additionally, Gaurav has also designed and implemented executive education programs at leading Business Schools like Georgetown and Duke, and for Corporate Universities like Deloitte, and IBM. In 2016, he won a global award, Executive Education Specialist of the Year, for his reputation as a speaker and trainer. His leading-edge thinking is reflected in his HBR article, “Rethinking Marketing,” and his newest book, “Awakening A Leader’s Soul: Learnings Through Immortal Poems.”

Currently the CEO of Knowledge Kinetics, he has held senior management and C-level positions at P&G, Nestle, and TNS. What makes Gaurav unique are his diversity of thought and experience, his passion for action, and his WHY - that values the humanity of people over their executive brilliance.

Why are you passionate about the topic you speak about?

Because the world needs more Soulful Leaders, those who operate with a human-centric mindset to increase the wellbeing and prosperity of the greatest many, not just of the powerful and privileged few.

What is the best advice you have ever received as an expert, speaker, coach, human being, and why?

What's important is not how often life knocks you down, what's important is how quickly you get up each time you are knocked down.

Who do you admire and why?

I admire reformers and poets, imperfect people who have the courage and strength of character to ignite change by acting on the strength of their convictions, regardless of the amount of criticism dumped on them - Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Kabir, Emily Dickinson, and Wangari Maathai.

What is one piece of advice you could share with our readers to uplift them in life or career?

The 90-90-90 rule: If you can accept 90% of all that life directs your way, 90% (meaning you don't demand 100% perfection from everything), then your life will be 90% better. In short, abandoning perfectionism is the shortest way to greater happiness.

What is your favorite book and how did it inspire you?

One book? No Kidding. So many books have inspired me. Yoga Vashishta, an ancient Indian text. It taught me that reality is multidimensional, and very rarely is there ONE RIGHT WAY OF INTERPRETING IT.

What do you do to relax?

Yoga, walk in the woods, listen to music, read, sit still and quiet.

What are some of the challenges you face as a speaker, expert or coach and how do you overcome those?

Biggest challenge - Emotional attachment to problems and a fixed set of solutions. I try and overcome this challenge by revealing alternatives, by helping them reframe the way they see and hear the worlds in which they live and operate, and by encouraging them to engage in PO thinking (PO - the first two letters of the word possibilities, and hence forward looking), rather than NO thinking (yesterday's thinking).

Leadership is.... a journey, during which leaders purposefully and consciously act and allocate resources, so that the greatest many, including communities and our planet, may enjoy a real increase in wellbeing and prosperity.

What technology or product can't you live without?

My MacBook Pro, because it helps me earn a living.

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