Self-Discovery – Part 4

In People Engagement

We are all social beings and I believe that while we all need some alone time and space, being reclusive is usually not very helpful. As for me, I come alive in the company of people and especially when I feel I can make a positive difference in their lives, however small.

When I managed the Chennaigaga physical store for over 8 years, I absolutely loved interacting with customers, engaging with them over the brand and getting to know them too. I don’t think I actually did any sales talk except when the customers needed additional information. This was partly because I honestly believe my babies can sell themselves (the tees and souvenirs!) and partly because I really am interested in how people feel. Are they happy with their experience at the store? This is always my concern. Chennaigaga does not offer essential products per se, but it does deliver a real Chennai celebration and a huge dollop of Madras nostalgia. So, did our customers connect with Chennaigaga? That is the main question. And there are different kinds of customers. Some are in a hurry, some are just browsing, some come looking for discounts, some looking for gifts, some shopping for their personal wardrobe, and so on. We needed to know the customer’s mood and assess it the moment they walked in that door. Or within a minute at least. I personally trained the guys at our store to be sensitive to the customer’s mood and perspective. This came naturally to me as…PSSST! I am something of a people-pleaser. (Not always, of course. We people pleasers have high standards ourselves and that is the flip side.) But as a rule, my idea is that the mood should be uplifted whenever and wherever possible for whomever possible. This is both my conscious and unconscious outlook.

Perhaps this is a more common perspective than we would think, but often unintentionally so.

Therefore, it worked out well for the customer experience at Chennaigaga and as for my engaging with my own team members, I do so — again, quite naturally. I only show my ‘boss-face’ when any of them become unbearable and / or unreasonable in conflict / their behaviour. I try to be proactive with their training on the job as well as their needs as individuals at work.

To keep it simple, I only wish to treat people as I would like to be treated. It works well most of the time. Old wisdom, I know, but gold.

With Chennaigaga Customers from Indonesia

Enter Phase 2 of people engagement. This time with employees on a larger scale. I had the privilege of being employed as Director HR – Employee Engagement at Shabana Siraj’s company Trident Consulting Inc. for a few years. In my part time role there, I learned even more about the art of connecting with people — namely the other Trident employees over team building activities and while these are much easier to do in person, I also conducted these engagement exercises over online platforms like Zoom with Trident’s Coimbatore and Tirunelveli teams. I am not sure if every other person who conducts these activities enjoys the experience as much as I do, but I absolutely had a blast as my inner child is always alive and kicking — sometimes even at the most inappropriate times. Those are anecdotes that I will save for another post.

At Trident Consulting’s Triumph Day 2021 celebrations, giving the vote of thanks

People Engagement is my thing and engaging with customers on the Chennaigaga front is one of the ways I do it and apart from that, engaging with employees for organisations by conducting team building activities within their work environment, is another. I offer to be an Employee Engagement Catalyst for companies and will offer more info on that in my next post.

To add to the fun, I also conduct party games for birthday parties and other special occasions for people in the age group of 25-70.

Mail me at to connect with me.

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