Tales from Chewy

Death has a strange way of triggering emotions! Little Chewy died 10 days ago and it affected, rather continues to affect me, much more than I imagined it would. Even today, everytime I hear about him or think about him, it invokes a  sense of sadness. I have such strong feelings of loss of that delightful fawn coloured creature, with a wet snout and soft paws rubbing his face and his body against my legs, asking me to pet him or the lazy wag of his tail or the excitement that would get him to do anything in exchange for his treats. Chewy was the most well behaved and the smartest lab I have ever come across especially when it comes to his uncanny ability to sense emotions in people. Everytime, I have had a bad day, (over the last year, I have had a few!) Chewy made an extra effort to either come sit by me or make me pet him or at times, even getting up from  his lazy perch and walking to me with his tail wagging like a helicopter blade!
His sense of loyalty to Linda was unparalleled! He missed her and was miserable when she wasn’t around (at times when she was just out of his sight too!) All she had to do, was whistle and he was be there within seconds, dropping whatever he was doing. And with kids, he was exceptional! I have seen kids pull his tail, flap his years and even hit him lightly but never once have I heard him snap or growl. All he had was a lazy expression on his face and I feel he may have been thinking “oh gosh! These kids I tell you – ANNOYING!” Anya and Aaron, the two kids who saw chewy quite often, are both too young to understand or even comprehend what has actually happened or even what death means, but it sure was a joy to watch their faces light up as soon as they saw Chewy. Of course it was one of the earliest words they both learnt in their vocabulary 🙂
After some thought I have come to realise that my strong emotions about Chewy were triggered by the thought that I didn’t get to say a goodbye and how much I loved him! Just as Linda was talking about Robin’s last memory, it struck me that my last memory of Chewy is, one of him sick and lying down struggling to get up by himself. He lay on the grass just as I walked into the campus that Friday morning. As I neared him, he whimpered and wagged his tail as much as he could. Chandra lifted him up and put him in his spot in the car to go to the hospital, for what would be his last car ride. I petted him and Chandra wiped off all his saliva and shortly after, they left and that was the last I saw little Chewy alive. I wish I had told him my goodbye and reminded him that there was no one else in this world that was so universally loved as he was. He treated everyone as his friend and I love Robin’s description of Chewy – a therapeutic dog!
Chewy I miss you! You have a very special place in my heart and I learnt so much from you. You made my day innumerable times and am sure that I am not the only one who feels this. I hope I can learn to love, care and protect like you. You are my rockstar!
I love you Chewy!
Kaustubh (Kau)
From the Breakthrough Team

Fit or Misfit: The significance of proper sports gear in adventure/outbound programs

  Adventure activities are no longer a distant foreign concept like it used to be about 15 years ago. Today we have so many opportunities in various places all over India where adventure and outbound activities are conducted.   I have been associated with Breakthrough (a project of Sports Outreach India) since the year 2000 […]

Planting seeds of goodness into young lives, the Breakthrough way

Suicides, bullying, and violence have crept into our school campuses, leading to an unhealthy environment for our children to grow. Research states that, if children continue to be aggressive in elementary school and are not taught good coping skills, such as communication and problem solving, they will continue to be aggressive, often for a lifetime (Moffit and Caspi, 2001). At Breakthrough, our value-based experiential learning programs are tuned to plant seeds of goodness into the budding young lives.
What is exciting about experiential learning through activities is that it captivates the young as well as the old. At Breakthrough, our solutions cater not only to top-notch corporate organizations but also to colleges and schools. As we near children’s day, we would like to through the spotlight on our school programs. Our school programs are offered to children in the age group of 12 and above. Our popular school programs are Born to lead and Realize. In this blog, we have focused on one of our school programs ‘REALISE”.
Using experiential learning methodology ‘Realize Life skills Program’ is specially designed for students based on some of the most significant life skills needed for successful leadership such as self-esteem, Communication, Team synergy, decision making, problem-solving, and leadership.
Key learning objectives of the program are :
R – Recognizing strengths and weaknesses
E- Experiences that create impressions
A-  Acquiring life skills.
L- Learning to apply for everyday life
I – Influencing school, home, and society.
S- Succeed in maintaining the changed self
E- Exploring new avenues for personal growth and community development
One of the teachers Ms. Sheela Rani, who attended the program said that  ”The Breakthrough held at Breakthrough was captivating, well-organized with innovative activities which taught us great values of life in a simple way. Children learned to do things better in a group”
Praful Hanumanth, a student who attended the program said “I loved all the activities; they changed our life and passion for life and helped us to reach our goals”.
We look forward to impacting more young lives in the coming days through our programs, to create a healthy environment for our children to grow.
Happy Children’s day in advance!


Corporate training as a career


In today’s highly competitive corporate world it is not about big beating small; rather it is about fast beating slow. Organisations are seeking ways to be move from efficiency to effectiveness, from performance to high performance, and from planning for future success to wanting success ‘yesterday’. There is a marked trend in moving from being transactional to transformational in order to go to the next level. If organisations do not see this movement they are going to be left behind.


For corporate organisations not to be left behind they need to invest in training and development. To this end, the scope for corporate training is on the rise. When I say corporate training I mean, not just skills and competency training; but there is a great need for behavioural training as well.


In order for organisations to achieve consistently, high performance should become part of the culture. With skills and competence, you can develop a great strategy to outsmart competition; but just like the saying by Peter Drucker made famous by Mark Fields, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, culture can turn the tide at any time. Culture has a lot to do with how people behave with each other. Hence, in today’s context, behavioural training should be more of an emphasis in corporate training. Behavioural corporate trainers are the need of the hour.


Based on my 15 years of being involved with corporate training here are some suggestions on how to become a corporate trainer (apart from the necessary relevant qualifications). You need to have a PACT with yourself:


1.       Passion to be a change agent: This is the foundation. If you do not have a passion to make a difference in people, then you will not make a good trainer. You cannot change an organisation, but you can influence an individual. For that, you need passion and a love for what you do.


2.       Articulate in communication: A significant skill a corporate trainer should develop is being able to articulate thoughts, concepts, and processes into understandable language. He or she should be able to use the right terminology and be contextual.


3.       Coach: A corporate trainer needs to develop the attitude and skill of being a coach. Interpersonal skills like listening to understand, a positive approachable body language, the art of influencing by asking the right questions and not spoon-feeding answers are a few coaching skills that a good transformational corporate trainer should seek to possess.


4.       Teachable: Well this seems to be a paradox. If you are a corporate trainer, then I am supposed to train and not to be taught. However, a good trainer is someone who is always looking out to learn. You cannot teach or train if you are not willing to learn. That is why being teachable is a strength and an asset for a trainer. The humility to learn from anyone at any time is what being teachable is all about.
Timothy Connors, Program Director, Breakthrough



Creating a Culture that Facilitates both Ownership and Performance

The need in the organization:
Consistent ownership and high performance
Their Strategy:
Create a culture that facilitates both ownership and performance
What we did/do:
• Training Needs Analysis (areas of need/growth)
• Design of High-Performance Culture Training Program
• Top to bottom roll-out, company-wide
• Senior director Co-facilitation
• Address Specific Performance/culture Blocks
• A six yearlong consistent partnership   
What they said:


‘The unique programs helps our new joinees to quickly understand & adapt to the organisations disciplined yet friendly culture. It is more effective … refreshingly different & challenging, and have a positive impact back in the office’ -Dinesh Sonawane, Senior Director

The challenge of Team Building capabilities among students

The importance of team-building activities has been increasingly felt in organizations and educational institutions alike.  This aspect was strongly felt in the eighth meeting of the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM – A network of 28 management schools) held at IIM- B on Nov 17, 2015.
The event brought about a realization of the diverse work environment that exists in the market at the moment.  Sushil Vachani, Director, IIM Bangalore said “although “a global perspective” may sound cliché, it can only truly be achieved when students get hands-on experience on working with diverse teams and individuals”.
Speaking on this matter, Edward A Snyder, Dean, Yale School of Management, said, “The biggest challenge now, is the gap in team-building capabilities among students.” 
In this area of Team Building, Breakthrough has been working with students from management, engineering, arts and science, nursing, and polytechnic colleges. Our programs like Leadership Enhancement, Alignment, and Paradigm Shift enable students to acknowledge, accept and appreciate their classmates and in the future their colleagues. This aspect is focused extensively on the Leadership Enhancement program which is a nine-day program for MBA students.
This course is designed for MBA students to transfer Leadership competencies like valuing diversity, managing conflicts, understanding group behaviour, having goals, establishing leadership ethics. The course is in three modules of three days each spaced out evenly over the academic schedule of the students.
Fig. Learning Impact assessment of the Leadership Enhancement program
Learning Impact assessment done as part of the program helps teachers to understand what the students have learned from the program. The Learning impact assessment of the students who underwent the program in the current academic year showed significant learnings after the program. In the aspect of “Valuing Diversity”, during the pre-test 51.90% of the students said that they moderately accepted differences and 48.10 % mentioned that they highly accepted differences. When the post-test was held 88.50% of the students mentioned that they will value differences highly. This demonstrates a shift in their mindset after the program.
The impactful program along with workbooks that are designed to enable teachers to mentor the students helps them in the process of being prepared for the diverse workforce. The program has created a powerful impact on the lives of the students. One of the students Indhu Prabha from Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College, a management student who underwent the program said “I have ideas in my mind but I don’t share and communicate it to people and even to my friends. After coming to Breakthrough, I started to talk openly and share my views in front of others and even in front of a number of people. So simple saying Breakthrough made me extroverted”.
A number of management schools in Coimbatore have gone through similar programs, equipping students to face the diverse work environment that lies ahead. 


A snap shot from the life of Robin Paul, CEO and Founder of Breakthrough

At a young age growing up in Bangalore, Karnataka, Robin, had the opportunity to enter the world of sports and began to find success. He represented India at the 100, 200 metres and relay. At that time, he was coached by the famous coach Lingappa who still coaches today at the age of 90.
After years of peak performance, he went through a rough patch which brought a lot of disappointments. The down-side to being embedded in sports is losing. This made him search for purpose. He became a follower of Jesus during that phase of his life and began to find meaning.
As a runner, he was able to stand against the challenge to get short term results by unethical means because of his faith in Christ. He was training for the 1978 Asian games in Bangalore. In those days Kanturva stadium had a cinder track. In the national camp the team will be selected to participate in 4 X 100 relay for the national team if the qualifying time of 40.5 seconds was achieved. The rain disrupted practice before the race. At that time, the team discussed, what they had done the previous year. In the 4 X 100 metres relay, you have to stay in your tracks. If the third runner cuts into the first lane he cuts the distance and time. Being the third runner they wanted Robin to cut tracks, to which he refused. The two judges who were also from Karnataka, came to him saying “Robin, you are from Karnataka, do what you want and we will not disqualify you”. But, Robin refused to cut tracks and the team did not qualify. He was disappointed but was glad that he was able to stand for the right thing.
He became a Chaplain at several sporting events like the Asian Games in Seoul, the Seoul Olympics, World Athletics Championships in 1993, 1995 and 1997 and finally the Sydney Olympics 2000. He had the opportunity to travel around the world rubbing shoulders with sports stars like Carl Lewis, Madeline Mims and Jonathan Edwards.
During one of his visits to the US, he had the opportunity to attend a conference by the Association of Experiential Education, which opened his eyes to the world of experiential education. This led to the formation of Breakthrough, a project of the trust, Sports Outreach India in 2000.
Today, as the CEO and Founder of Breakthrough, Robin impacts organizations in India and different parts of the globe through experiential learning. He has facilitated Outbound training programs for CEOs and top management in a number of multi-national companies. Under his leadership and guidance Breakthrough has grown to have three campus in South India, two of which are partnered centres. We hope to grow across India and Srilanka in the coming years impacting lives through experiential learning. Srilanka is the next focus for Breakthrough with the ground work that has already begun for the upcoming centre. 

Breakthrough’s offsite programs

Strategic Transformational Training Methodology


Robin Paul and Timmy Connors from Breakthrough, participated in a three day Program on Strategic Transformational Training Methodology organized by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, which featured the Strategic Development of managerial capability being the key element in strategic survival and growth.


The program focused on developing a methodology for putting together strategic transformational training by examining pre-training, through training and post-training variables and addressed the following:


• Criteria for identifying partner organizations/trainers for delivering training


• The importance of pre-training diagnostics for capturing organizational felt and unfelt needs to steer the design and delivery as close to the reality confronting managers in fulfilling roles and responsibilities and in producing the desired results


• Review of various approaches to gaining training organization/ trainer sensitization to the client organization’s ecosystem


• Identifying ingredients of training content design which can be reconfigured into various permutations and combinations to produce the desired learning impact from a strategic transformational perspective


• Gaining an understanding of premium training delivery ingredients to enhance training engagement value for participant development as well as to achieve the strategic transformational purpose of the delivery in an integrated flow of the content


• A comprehensive framework for assessing training impact


• A methodology for assessing long term impact and long haul achievement both at the individual level as well as at the organizational level


Breakthrough @Camp Revive the first Outbound training and Camp Centre inaugurated in Hosur


Breakthrough, in partnership with Esther Enterprises, a renowned property development firm inaugurated an Outbound training and camp centre called Breakthrough @Camp Revive in Hosur.


Krish Dhanam, Global Ambassador, Ziglar Group was part of the inaugural event and addressed members of the NHRD, Hosur Chapter and Junior Chamber International on the topic “The Art of Top Performance”. This was based on the book “Top Performance” by Zig Ziglar which he had co-authored. It was a fitting topic to the inauguration of the centre that will strive to bring the best from teams in corporates, colleges, schools and NGOs.


Hosur is the third Breakthrough centre to be opened. The centre houses challenge courses including Low ropes and a High ropes course and camping facilities which will be used for Outbound training for corporates, colleges, schools and NGO’s. Speaking on the inauguration, Robin Paul, CEO, Breakthrough said “We are excited in entering into the Hosur market. We hope Breakthrough @ camp revive will open doors for corporates, colleges, schools and other groups to experience Outbound training and camping in a fun and impactful way”.


 Camping which is also a key focus of the facility includes a variety of outdoor games like football, Volley ball, paint ball, along with an amphi-theatre and other camping facilities. Speaking on the opening, Francis Selvaraj, CEO, Esther Enterprises, said “The project began with a vision to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to build character through sports and to be better citizens of our nation.  We hope to give opportunities for people to revive, rejoice and rejuvenate”


Breakthrough @Camp Revive will promote a balanced lifestyle at a time when 24/7 work places have invaded the Indian Economic Scene. Due to target oriented work places, people in general have slipped into a highly depressed and inactive lifestyle. Hence, everybody needs a Revival mentally and physically.