Personality of an arranged-marriage bride

"Don't hire the best," wrote Abhijit Bhaduri, but he married the best. "Hundred per cent! I'll not even blink to say I am what I am because of Nandini. I totally depend on her.." His completely non-chauvinistic admission is reminiscent of Salvador Dali's love-smitten refrain about his wife's aura enveloping him. "Without Gala, Dali doesn't exist," said Dali. It was Gala who nurtured the painter's hallucinating art and creativity; she was his everything—wife, promoter, agent and mentor.

Abhijit talks the same language, says his wife is his inspiration, critic and support. On the different occasions that I've met the couple, I have found Dalinian indications in their fresh, friendly relationship. As though still dating, Nandini would excitedly make 'boyfriend' Abhijit taste something she liked over dinner. The impulsiveness in their bond would surely bring out the writer's inner essence.

Such spontaneity over the new is what Abhijit describes as personality in his new book. In fact, the crux of his Human Resources brushstroke for talent hunting is personality, understanding what the candidate will do in future: "A lot of hiring is done by the resume. That's quite useless because it's about something already done." For Abhijit, a candidate's personality comes from his urge to mix with unconventional pieces of life, not be stereotyped in any aspect, not even the food he eats or friends he mixes with. My takeaway from Abhijit is that regular life is anti-formula for developing a personality, only a discomfort zone has ingredients to be absorbed for success in the corporate world. Once you have multiple changing experiences, your eco system allows you to be flexible and adjust, which is not the same as having an accommodating attitude.

I remember a long time ago, after a new product development presentation for Danone that was to start from Belgium as the pilot market, I became good friends with Marc Verhamme, Danone's Managing Director there. Our discussions spilled over to a Brussels restaurant where Marc asked how I get my creative team thinking so differently. I explained we have people of different nationalities and a wide variety of professional fields working together. Then Marc enthusiastically shared his own unique method of recruiting top management—he takes them through a driving session. His point was that when a person is at the wheel, you can gauge many important factors. You can measure his patience, confidence, what kind of risk he can manage, his judgment, behaviour under stress and his speed. Marc talks on diverse subjects that require some thought to reply intelligently, so he finds out if the candidate can tackle multi-tasking while driving. He said he's applied this driving metaphor for recruiting senior management several times, and it's always been effective.

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