Marut Bhardwaj , Country Head, Potential Project

In today’s business environment, the modern workforce demands a healthy working culture that recognises diversity and inclusion and opens its arms for employees to bring their whole selves to the workplace. However, a large number of companies are unable to inspire their employees to achieve their fullest potential. As a result, they struggle to retain them for the long term.

Marut Bhardwaj, the Country Head (India) of Potential Project, addresses this issue by helping organisations and leaders to bring humanity, kindness, and opportunity to real people in the workplace.

The Story Leading to the ‘Home Journey’

Marut began her corporate career by working with numerous reputed organisations that were strongly people-centric (Marketing and Branding) for over 24 years. “But the entrepreneurial spirit in me continued to push me to launch my own business, hence started, ‘The Brand Weavers’, a brand communication agency, serving global clients,” shares Marut.

Along the way, Marut also developed a deep meditation practice that helped her stay calm and focused even during the biggest of crisis situations. Having faced a complete burnout at one point in her career, mindfulness meditation was and continues to be her true solace. After practising mindfulness for more than 12 years, Marut understood the potential of its endless benefits and endeavoured to pursue mindfulness leadership and the humanisation of the corporate world. Meanwhile, she didn’t find any institution that helped leaders and teams to understand and manage their minds which is where all the potential for great things begins. This realisation led her to build a new network of corporate executives through annual ‘Mindful Leadership Summits’ in India for three consecutive years from 2016 -2018.

During one such deep session, Marut met Rasmus Hougaard, the Founder & MD of Potential Project, and instantly connected with him. “I started what I like to call my ‘Home journey’ as Potential Project’s Country Director, India, and then as global facilitator and solutions lead for Potential Project International,” shares Marut.

Delivering the More Human World of Work

Potential Project is a global research, leadership development, and consulting firm that partners with organisations to uncover the power of the mind – how it is wired and how to rewire it for new behaviours and different outcomes. It is a semi for-profit company driven by a deep sense of mission and passion.

Looking at its growth over the years, Potential Project has helped over 350,000 individuals and more than 500 clients to adopt new ways of working and leading. The company’s solutions are pragmatic, immediately applicable, and delivered globally in 28 countries in 17 languages in-person or digitally by an expert team of experienced facilitators who have spent decades in the corporate environment. These figures depict Potential Project’s upward growth trajectory and how fast it has merged as the gold standard in leadership facilitation all around the globe.

Overcoming Challenges with Grit & Resilience

“When I took up the responsibility to build Potential Project in India, I was starting from ground zero. It was an uphill challenge introducing my company and our work to the core business-driven industry in India,” states Marut. However, through consistent efforts and sheer willpower, Marut defeated the challenges along her path and turned them into opportunities.

Today, Potential Project collaborates with renowned organisations such as CISCO, Accenture, KPMG, BCG, Microsoft, Genpact, Capgemini, and many more. This successful feat is achieved due to Marut’s entrepreneurial spirit, her never-say-die attitude, and mindful passion for being of service to clients.

Driving a Culture of Innovation in the Workplace

One of Potential Project’s main objectives is to create a culture of innovation, creativity, and collaboration in the workplace. Therefore, as the Country Head, global facilitator & solutions lead, Marut has focused on achieving an innovative work environment by emphasising honest communication, the necessity of psychological safety, and the need to deliver the very best for many client companies across diverse industries.

Moreover, for someone who has been a part of the corporate landscape for over two decades, Marut strongly feels that only when employees can show up in their full selves, only when they align with the company’s purpose and its value, only when they genuinely care about the people they work with, can they give their best to every problem and come up with solutions that may go unseen by someone who is only there to tick off their hours at work. She continues by saying, “By suggesting strategies for incorporating compassion in everyday work, I have been able to facilitate many leaders and employees to find a safe place at work, where they can collaborate, ideate, and, thus, innovate freely.”

Milestones that Matter the Most

For Marut, successfully organising the first Mindful Leadership Summit in India in 2016 was her first significant milepost as a leader. As a highly-skilled growth & transformation facilitator, Marut has assisted many multinational companies such as Microsoft, Accenture and Cisco in re-engineering the concept of people engagement to enhance and internalise conscious awareness as a human superpower through her research- and neuroscience-backed training. She has also helped many executives develop a growth mindset based on sensible optimism, emotional intimacy, and human connection.

As a result, over the last four years, Marut has educated nearly 3000 people from many organisations, including many Fortune 500 businesses, to disrupt authoritative leadership throughout the whole corporate spectrum and create an entirely new work culture narrative. However, her most significant achievement to date has been to instil a recognition of each other as humans in the proverbial steel-hearted corporate world.

Practising Mindfulness to Reduce Stress & Anxiety

For a long time, Marut’s go-to calming mantra has been practising mindfulness. “No matter how stressful or nerve-wracking my day may get, I know that I can always depend on the inner peace I find within myself when I take a moment to unplug,” shares Marut. It helps her take charge of her emotional being, live and cherish the present, and respond to challenges with awareness instead of reacting impulsively. Even during the thick and thin times, a caring presence and a compassionate outlook have always guided Marut in reducing stress and anxiety in her personal and professional life.

Beating the Pandemic Times & Planning Ahead

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the corporate workforce began facing stress, burnout, and extreme mental overwhelm, leading to the Great Resignation trend. During such critical times, Potential Project utilised its long-standing expertise in leadership development and partnered with many organisations. “We practically sprinted to provide effective virtual solutions to tackle these challenges and helped leaders continue to provide compassionate care to their teams while maintaining effective services to their clients,” mentions Marut.

Operating in the post-pandemic world, Potential Project’s immediate plan is to curb this wave of Great Resignation that has been afflicting organisations worldwide. As a global expert facilitator, Marut shares that the key to tackling this issue is to help leaders and employees recognise the significance of purpose, connection, vulnerability, and selflessness; especially to prepare them for a new future in which employees’ expectations have altered for good and where organisations can no longer take a top-down view to decision-making and growth and development.

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