My heroes in real life today are the frontline healthcare workers: Vidya Sagar Gannamani of Adecco India

The Proust Questionnaire, a questionnaire about one’s personality, has its origins in a parlour game popularised by Marcel Proust. The French essayist believed that in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.
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Vidya Sagar Gannamani, Chairman and Managing Director of Adecco India, comes with over three decades of international leadership experience, and has led global businesses and HR organisations while driving cultural, organisational, and business transformations.

Prior to joining Adecco, he had a long and illustrious career at Royal Philips, and has led successful transformations for the company as a business leader and Chief HR Officer across the consumer and healthcare businesses.

After working with Philips, Vidya moved into management consulting and has been working as an advisor to private equity and consumer industries, besides as an investor in startups. Vidya also brings with him a deep understanding of changing trends in consumer as well as employee behaviours globally.

Here are his responses to our Proust questionnaire:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Spending quality time with the people I love.

What is your greatest fear?

That’s a toss-up between facing a big wave while sailing and facing a yorker from Bumrah.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Slipping into being judgemental!

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

That’s easy – when people are not authentic.

Which living person do you most admire?

My Dad. At 86, he is fit as a fiddle and has a clear opinion, and still advises me on most matters, irrespective if I have asked for it or not!

What is your greatest extravagance?

I would say I have none, my wife would say my love for cars and boats.

What is your current state of mind?

Relaxed calm – it’s the only way I know to prepare for the future.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Virtues are extremely personal, so I would be very judgemental in classifying any of the virtues as overrated. However, I do believe that “Dignity” is an extremely important virtue.

On what occasion do you lie?

When I go into a brain freeze and forget the principles of Mahatma Gandhi

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I always wonder why the mirror does not reflect my height accurately.

Which living person do you most despise?

To me “despise” is a strong word, however, from time to time there are actions people take that lead me to dislike them at that moment in time.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

His ability to be focused on a single task and get it done.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Her ability to be focused on multiple tasks and get them all done.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“What else?”, “Uh-oh”, “O-Kay”.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I love the time I get to spend with my family and friends.

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to play any musical instrument.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I am quite pleased about the life journey I have had so far – and that is a key to my happiness.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

In my various roles over the years, I think I have had a positive impact on many people, and that to me is my greatest achievement.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I actually would love to live this life of mine all over again!

Where would you most like to live?

I currently spend my time between Bengaluru, India, and Hilversum, The Netherlands, and to me, these two are the best places in the world!

What is your most treasured possession?

Both my children!

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

The time when your brain tells you that you cannot help yourself.

What is your favourite occupation?

Being a chef on a sailboat.

What is your most marked characteristic?

The ability to cut through the clutter and create clarity.

What do you most value in your friends?

The simple truth that I can depend on them when I need them the most.

Who are your favourite writers?

Jeffrey Archer and John Grisham

Who is your hero of fiction?

“Phantom, the Ghost who Walks”- from the times I used to read comics as a school kid.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Swami Vivekananda – for his clarity of thought on the essence of religion.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Today, it is the frontline workers in healthcare worldwide, who are selflessly caring for the people impacted by COVID.

What is your favourite name?

For me, it is very difficult to disentangle a name from the person I associate that name with. So, the answer to this question would end up with a list.

What is it that you most dislike?

When either I or people around commit and do not live up to it.

What is your greatest regret?

Throughout my career, I have missed some important moments in the lives of my family and friends… given a chance, my choices would be different today.

How would you like to die?

Peacefully in my sleep, without being a burden to anybody.

What is your favourite journey?

I would love to do a road trip from The Netherlands to India.

What is your motto?

“Living life to the full”

Edited by Kanishk Singh