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Inside PULSE: Developing Next-In-Line Leadership at Shahi

Inside PULSE: Developing Next-In-Line Leadership At Shahi

The textile and apparel industry is characterized by rapid changes in fashion trends, intricate supply chain dynamics, and fierce global competitiveness. Middle managers, positioned between top-level executives and frontline employees, play a crucial role in converting strategic objectives into practical plans. However, their duties frequently demand diverse skills beyond conventional managerial capabilities. Recognizing the need to cultivate and empower emerging leaders within its ranks, Shahi introduced PULSE– Promoting
Upcoming Leadership

“The program emerged to elevate leadership competence in organizational settings. The primary objective was to foster a democratic approach to mapping and executing work, emphasizing clear communication, team fortification, and the ability to inspire and motivate teams across our operations.”

Deepak Rautela, Associate Vice President, Organizational Development

The challenge: Designing an Effective Leadership Program 

Challenge #1 

The garment industry is highly competitive and demands time-bound delivery. Middle managers, whether on the shop floor or in a corporate set-up, face unprecedented challenges while ensuring timely planning and implementation of their key results. They are also the next in line to lead in their roles, making their development at their current level crucial to retention.

Challenge #2

Training is often perceived as a considerable investment away from work. Our Organizational Development team explored a range of formats. Initial approaches centered around one or two-day open programs, with brief interventions in the form of workshops or training sessions. These programs primarily served as awareness initiatives to address specific topics identified based on organizational needs and goals. 

Therefore, the optimal approach for individuals to learn “in the flow of work” is through micro-learning. It encompasses small, easily digestible content within a day or two. Considering managers often have limited time, we devised PULSE to be minimally disruptive, continuous, sustainable, and goal-oriented.

“The condensed format aimed at providing a snapshot of training within a day. However, identifying the limitations of this brief model, which often resulted in lower retention rates and lacked sustained impact, we transitioned to the PULSE program.”

Bhagyashree Rao, Trainer, Organizational Development 

The Sweet Spot: Key Skills and Value for Time

PULSE is designed to focus on two key concepts: leading oneself and leading others.

The sessions, extending over 8-12 months, involve 3-4 hours weekly, comprising a transformative journey across various leadership aspects. The design prioritizes personal and interpersonal growth, focusing on two key concepts: leading oneself and leading others. 

The modules target key competencies such as:

  1. Preparedness to take up higher responsibilities and more prominent roles.
  2. Authentic leadership and people management 
  3. Effectiveness in planning and operational alignment
  4. Clear communication and line of sight
  5. Decision-making and problem-solving
  6. Higher performance, ownership, and proactivity 
  7. Building strong teams
  8. Better relationships & collaboration at work

Infusing Feedback: What sets PULSE apart

The program employs various feedback levels based on Kirk Patrick’s methodology.

PULSE goes beyond imparting skills, tools, and essential leadership habits. It integrates interactive methods such as motivational videos and real-life examples. The overarching goal is to instill the ability to create and sustain an authentic culture where organizational values seamlessly align with the vision, fostering a win-win situation for all involved. 

Reflecting on the training experience, Manoj Mendiratta, GM, Marketing, Ladies Speacialty Division, said, “One of the highlights is redefining the meaning of ‘Feedback’ – shifting from a mere focus on ‘Points to Improve’ to understanding it as a combination of reinforcing positive aspects and identifying paths for improvement.”

The feedback and review process is structured, involving daily reviews focusing on individual improvement, behavior, and feedback mechanisms. Regular coaching and internal, periodic, and final reviews provide a comprehensive understanding of participants’ growth. 


Enabling the participants to navigate challenges with resilience and determination, the pulse program empowers individuals and teams to take ownership of their actions. It cultivates effective habits, positive self-esteem, values, and emotional intelligence, all of which are pivotal in fostering success on both personal and professional fronts.

“One of my key takeaways from the program was ‘CARRY YOUR OWN WEATHER’, which has proven to be an incredibly powerful statement. It has allowed me to be self-reliant and maintain a positive attitude, regardless of external factors. By staying optimistic and focused on solutions, even during challenging times, I can inspire my team members to do the same and work together towards achieving our goals.” 

Garima Sharma, GM – Marketing at LSD

Further, Shahi recognizes the significance of training and operational excellence, which is evident in the training of 455 leaders through PULSE. We successfully achieved 91% of our senior management training goal, delivering a total of 13,637 hours of training through the program.

This detailed approach extends with post-training interventions like individual development plans even after program completion. Certification serves as a reminder for trainees to sustain their acquired changes and learning. This underscores the objective of maximizing learning retention and sustaining development, guaranteeing a lasting impact on participants’ professional growth.

The Road Ahead

The vision for PULSE is to develop a foundational platform for succession planning, which will play a pivotal role in identifying high-potential leaders within the system. 

Succession planning is a strategic imperative for forward-thinking industries and an essential process of identifying and developing organizational talent. This ensures smooth transitions in key leadership roles. PULSE graduates can seamlessly fill key roles when incumbents transition due to retirement, promotion, or unforeseen circumstances.  

Jayati Kak, DMM, Marketing, LSD, finds inspiration from her PULSE journey and shares her vision, 

“I certainly look forward to additional training programs that facilitate the professional development of both myself and my team, extending beyond conventional “On-the-job” technical learning experiences.” 

The long-term goals are to drive retention, uphold organizational values, and sustain a positive culture. PULSE is a critical element in this process, emphasizing that worker training initiatives may prove futile if leadership is not aligned to embrace new concepts. PULSE’s feedback component helps achieve that alignment, creating value in upgraded skills and concepts for the organization’s overall success and growth.

As industries navigate a dynamic and competitive landscape, succession planning emerges as a proactive measure, stimulating continuity, bolstering resilience, and attracting top talent to drive future success. By leveraging PULSE, we proactively prepare for leadership transitions, mitigating risks associated with talent gaps and ensuring smooth organizational progression.

“The program successfully meets the organization’s goals, contributing to overall achievement through effective training. I believe expanding the scope of our training program to include more managers at the mid-management level, such as assistant managers and  factory floor managers, developing a mindset that aligns with site requirements and fosters growth.”

Sujeet, Operation Head, E10

Our target is to train 500 leaders under PULSE by 2025.

Through PULSE, Shahi is not just charting a growth path for its people but also grooming future leaders. In a world where leadership is a driving force behind success, PULSE stands as a beacon of inspiration, guiding upcoming leaders to transcend boundaries and lead with integrity, empathy, and effectiveness. 

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