Our alumnus Shakti Saran is a Senior Fellow with a leading global engagement firm and was part of PwC India from 1997 to 2002. He is an industry veteran and a thought leader whose work entails Strategy, Business Development, Thought Leadership and managing Corporate pro bono teams that dedicate themselves to build capacity in social sector organisations.
In a candid conversation, Shakti talks about how PwC helped him shape his dreams, his life learnings, personal interests and more.
The only secret mantra you would ever need to excel is to love what you do, and equally to do what you love. The pursuit of exploring new skills allows you to become a dot connector. But, the choice of exploring new skill sets is an individual one. I am averse to specialisation but then I respect all viewpoints.
It’s crucial to find one’s Ikigai - the Japanese art of bringing meaning and happiness into one’s life, which is the common space between four quadrants - ‘what you love’, ‘what the world needs’, ‘what you are good at’ and ‘what can you be paid for’. To find your true purpose and be able to integrate your personal and professional aspirations, is the pinnacle.
I had joined PwC after moving away from a very structured banking industry. The new environment at the firm really pushed me to think out of the box. It was indeed the biggest break I ever had in my life...one that shaped the way for my future career. It was here that I perfected the art of lateral thinking.
In a world where there is no dearth of know-how, we must ask ourselves what is it that holds us back in achieving our full potential. Solutions are pointed but trust is a universal fabric. Clearly, organisations that have 'trust' embedded in their DNA are the ones that use the power of authority to empower others. Trust-oriented leaders unleash an environment that manifests adaptability, creativity and diversity. These are the necessary conditions for delivering sustained outcomes. I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of many such encouraging environments that have inspired me constantly.
My wife works in the travel industry and my daughter is a dedicated public healthcare professional who works with a Swiss non-profit. Needless to say, my family has been my anchor in my life journey. I’ve also been inspired by the writings of late Father Anthony DeMello S.J. and the teachings of Vipassana guru, late S.N. Goenka who have been my constant companions over the last two to three decades.
My curiosity to learn has taken me places. At 61, I am still educating myself and have recently completed a course on ‘The Systems View of Life’ that has been a complete eye opener. Apart from work, I pen down my thoughts on my personal blog and practice yoga and meditation daily.
I would leave you to ponder over my own law - Shakti’s Law which states ‘If anything can go right, it will go right.’ The essence of Shakti's Law lies in being able to shed one's ego and in the realisation that even Murphy’s laws can go wrong. I for one did and that has made all the difference.
You can connect with Shakti Saran here.
Marketing and Communications, PwC India
Tel: +91 124 4620 707