Interview with Shekhar Manelkar

Gill McKay interviews Shekhar Manelkar, MyBrain Business Partner, India and founder of The MindMine

What is your work focus?

The Mindmine is all about creating real, lasting change in people behaviour and thereby enhance business effectiveness for clients.

When I was working in the Corporate world, I realised that the L&OD functions focussed more on imparting training than enabling learning. This is clearly seen in how organisations measure their L&OD efforts. The measures hovered around number of programmes, cost per person, standardisation of programmes etc - all training measures, measuring effort.

You know “Learning“ has happened only when behaviour has changed. The metrics therefore need to be around change in behaviour or impact.

In setting up The Mindmine, I wanted to truly focus on learning & development. To do this Development interventions need to be built around the needs of the participants - as against interventions developed in corporate citadels and forced on to employees whether they need it or not!

So how do you achieve that?

Training is an “outside-in“ approach. It requires people to pick up knowledge/skills and sometimes competencies that they hitherto didn’t have. Organisations need to continue this effort. Standardisation works well here. We do very few such interventions.

Instead, at The Mindmine especially for Leadership and Teams, we take a Development or an “inside-out“ approach. Instead of looking at “Gaps“ in people we start by asking the participants to examine the big questions like “who am I at the core?“, “how do I want to learn and grow?“, “what are my strengths?“, “how can I nourish myself to learn?“, “what can I discover about myself that will help me?“. Our approach is to build on what people are committed to and are willing to take a stand on - developing their own insight by helping them make meaning of their experiences.

How is the inside-out approach working?

Happy, satisfied clients, with long lasting relationships! We have taken a “back to basics“ approach. We focus on the individual, their authenticity, their strengths and how that works for them in the world of leadership in the workplace. How they can bring their strengths to work in the most effective, motivated, authentic way. And neuroscience is a huge enabler of our work.

Tell me about your premium programme.

We run interventions that are customised to each client, at the organisation, team and most importantly, individual level. After all, it is the individuals that make up teams and teams that make up the culture of an organisation! Development just can’t happen in a single two-day workshop, so we invest in bespoke activities to enable all clients to reach their potential - and as part of our relationship, we expect clients to invest in all the activities, truly engage so they can get the most out of our time together.

In our Leadership interventions, we look at three main areas and act on each:
- Identify purpose and what you stand for
- Enthusing others through emotional resonance
- Enabling peak performance for self and others
And in all of these areas we draw upon the emerging subject of neuroscience.

How did you become involved with MiND?

Initially, I met Alistair Schofield at a conference in Mumbai and I was immediately excited at the prospect of working together. The MyBrain International directors share the same views as all of us at The Mindmine - development is about learning. It is about knowing your strengths as well as opening up to blind spots, and using your strengths in different contexts. I was truly excited when I used the MiND tool. It made me think in ways I hadn’t with any other questionnaire in this space. The potential for client conversations is huge, offering many opportunities for self-reflection and discovery.

Why did you decide to become a partner of MyBrain International?

Talking to a like-minded company with a fantastic tool which brings neuroscience in a tangible, accessible, open way to the client was a great match. When I first used the tool, I was excited that it took a strengths-based approach and the feedback is all about understanding self and being authentic. It fitted into my leadership work perfectly in all three stages of the Mindmine year-long intervention.

What do you see as the main differentiator of MiND?

MiND tells you WHY you are how you are! It is so helpful for a client to understand the neural basis for their personality and sense of being. It allows for deeper introspection, which gives rise to even more questions, therefore helping the individual to explore even further.

Your practitioner status soon grew into a business partner relationship.

I was so impressed with the accreditation programme and excited with the results it could achieve for my clients that I quickly decided I wanted to be involved with MyBrain International and become a major partner in India. The accreditation materials are excellent - the most professional standard of any certification programme I had seen. I was keen to be able to offer this quality of both product and outcome to my clients and broaden the neuroscientific discussion in India.

What’s next?

The Mindmine has a number of ongoing client assignments and many prospects, all of which are using neuroscience and particularly the MiND tool. I believe that no (or little) learning has happened if there is no change in behaviour. The impact I am seeing so far from embedding MiND in my work is extraordinary. Clients are experiencing great behavioural change, higher engagement, higher performing teams and increased results. I like to think at the Mindmine that we are revolutionaries - changing the way that learning takes place in organisations in India. And I am sure that MiND will help us to get there.

Shekhar Manelkar can be contacted at shekhar.manelkar@themindmine.com

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