Anu Wakhlu MD, Pragati Leadership & Independent Director on the Board of SKF India Ltd.

Anu Wakhlu is the Co-founder and the Chairperson of India’s Leading Organisational Transformation, Leadership development, and HR Consulting Firm Pragati Leadership Institute Pvt. Ltd and the CEO of CoachMantra. She is also the Executive Director of Pragati Foundation – a CSR initiative of Pragati Leadership. Anu is on the Boards of SKF, Pragati Leadership and Pragati Foundation.

She has worked very closely with the top management of leading organisations in the country to help create and realign their businesses with their Vision, Mission and Values. Anu coaches CXO’s, facilitates senior level workshops on Leadership, Collaboration, Visioning and Culture Building. Anu is a thought leader, an ICC certified PCC coach and an active contributor in the areas of HRD and Organizational Transformation with over 30 years of experience in these fields.

She has a multi-faceted personality. She is the author of the book, ‘Time and Life Management’ and is best known for ‘making things happen’ through her patience and perseverance. Anu is an Ashoka Fellow which is an elite community of social entrepreneurs and is working on projects related to Women’s Health, Capacity Building of NGO’s and Creating partnerships between Corporates and NGOs.

She is closely associated with Soroptomist International, an organization dedicated to growth and empowerment of Women worldwide and is the President of this organization from India.

Anu has received several Awards and Recognitions for her exceptional work in the area of Women empowerment. She was recently conferred on prestigiousExceptional Woman of Excellence Award’ by World Economic Forum (WEF) and ALL Ladies League on 8th March 2018 at The Hague, Netherlands. She was also awarded Grassroots Woman of the Decade Award from ALL Ladies league of ASSOCHAM and Rotary GSE award for representing India in Austria and Germany. Anu loves sketching and painting and when not training, she loves being close to nature, gardening, reading and spending time with her pet dog Zorba.


1. What was the mandate given to you by the Board when you took over in your role?

The mandate given by the Board was to create a sustainable organization that can withstand the turmoil in the external landscape and build long term engagements with clients.

2. How much of that has been achieved? What were the challenges faced?

I think we have achieved it partially. I am very hard on myself and our company’s achievements since I always feel we can do more! The main challenge for us has been the VUCA environment and the lack of sentiments in the market which impact the businesses of our clients and therefore ours. We are a service organization-our fortunes are dependent on how our clients fare with their businesses.


3. What are the key challenges your organization is facing currently? And what are the steps you are taking?

Our main challenge today is that a large part of our clients are from the Manufacturing sector and BFSI. So if there is any negative market sentiment which impacts our clients, we are vulnerable.

4. How have the changes in technology/globalization/economy affected your sector?

Digitization of learning has impacted our business to some extent. Companies and managers want to avail of mobile-app based learning -partly because it’s convenient and also because it’s savvy!


5. What is your talent strategy? How do you draw the balance between home grown vs lateral hiring at the leadership level?

Our talent strategy for our Coaches, Facilitators and Consultants is to hire the very best.

6. How does your organization identify and develop future leaders?

This is really an ongoing process. Mainly we watch how people perform in their roles with special attention to their client interface skills and their willingness to stretch for the organization.


7. In a world full of volatility, Uncertainty, complexity & Ambiguity (VUCA), innovation has become one of the most important factor to transform a crisis into an opportunity. How do you promote Innovation?

Innovation is not merely a way to be competitive but it’s also a great engagement tool.


8. How do you define & practice leadership?

Leadership for me is the ability to create a new future.

9. How Indian leaders can become Global Leaders?

Indians are already Global Leaders. If we look at some of the best companies in the world, they have been/are led by Indians. They balance perspectives very well.


10. What are the 3 most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or that got you where you are today?

I think the first major moment was (as I am sure is for most people), the first job I took. The other major learning for me was when I was selected to be the Managing Director and therefore Sales Head for our organization.

11. What message would you like to share with young professionals at the start of their career?

I think one should work a lot on ones networks and maintain good relationships with all stakeholders. Often we want to win a battle but end up losing a war