Learnings In A Year Post Lockdown: Subramanian Ananthapadmanabhan, SAP India

Agility & empathy will define our future, he believes

Coming out of a lockdown and staring at a second wave of Covid19, I say this with a lot of conviction. The experiences that have shaped us are going to be of little relevance in the coming years. Everyone around us has had a different experience, new learnings, and unique challenges in the past year than ever before. And those have created a new set of expectations.

I wouldn’t say my experience last year was life changing. But it brought to fore a willingness to view and accept change positively. Moving from an in-person to a remote setup, I realized there are too few things in our control, and we could be much more effective if we choose to let go more, trust more and build empathy into our relationships.

Professionally, I was taking on the reigns of a new leadership role in the Midmarket segment that was reeling under the impact of the pandemic. We decided to measure ourselves on agility and empathy on every aspect of our interactions, internally and externally. The biggest barriers can be tackled if one can understand the mindsets that help to stay relevant in the face of adversity, a big #lifelesson for me. In the MSME sector that I was addressing, we moved beyond technology solutions and ventured into creating a community, offering enhanced skilling options, and opened our business network to create access to new markets. It took time but created enhanced levels of trust that pitchforked us into a different league in the market standings.

Personally, this was also a time I dealt with the sad demise of my parent. No one is ever prepared for such an event and these moments enunciate the real value of a supporting figure in your life - learn to value them, spend moments, and cherish them. As Business leaders, we are used to straddling a fine balance between work, home and family responsibilities. When lines got blurred between work and home as they did last year, we recognized the importance of hand-holding people and supporting them in their daily battles. I consider this as a silver lining of the pandemic.

Needless to say, everything that you go through prepares you for the next level. But you need to be open towards it and hungry to learn. I am glad that I got to spend time to work on new skills, fitness goals and I learnt to appreciate the smaller things in life with family and loved ones.


The author is Subramanian Ananthapadmanabhan, Vice President - MidMarket, SAP India

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