Winning Stroke: Interview with Frederic Widell, VP & Head of South Asia & MD, Oriflame India

Emphasizing more on empathy he said, "Empathy is rather different from sympathy. Empathy is the ability to understand other people’s situations and circumstances."


If not in the current profession, you would be?

I would definitely be an actor. I do have a flair for the dramatics!

One tune you always hum.

I’m always humming Piano Man by Billy Joel. The song is a year older than I am and truly a timeless classic.

One book to read when you want to motivate yourself.

I always read Good To Great by Jim Collins. The book has numerous examples of great leadership in challenging circumstances, something that every leader must know.

One dialogue of a movie that motivates you or you like the most.

“Do, or do not. There is no try” – Yoda from the Star War movie the Empire Strikes Back

The place you never been to and always want to go.

Srinagar in Kashmir and the Seychelles, the archipelagic island nation off the coast of East Africa

An animal that signifies you & why?

Elephant – It’s majestic, intelligent, loyal, caring – a gentle giant. These attributes are what I am hoping people will say about me before my time is up! Aim high.

A Movie Character you most resemble or resonate with

Easy! Harvey Spector from the American TV series Suits

If your life was to be turned into a movie, who would you like to play your part?

The first choice would be me in this roll (See the above question about alternate career!) The 2nd option would be Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey and the 3rd option would be Bollywood Actor Anil Kapoor.

Luck or Hard Work, what do you think weighs more in defining a successful person?

For me, it is hard work all the way. Har cheez mumkin hai - I believe in this with everything in me.

One best decision you ever made.

The decision to truly work, tirelessly and passionately, in creating a strong culture – I am convinced we have this in Oriflame here in India.

A strategy that you always use to take your decisions in Personal or Professional life.

I use empathy to make decisions in life. Empathy is rather different from sympathy. Empathy is the ability to understand other people’s situations and circumstances. Not necessarily sympathize with these situations and circumstances but to understand them so you understand how best to tackle various situations and with various individuals.

Whose advice do you seek when in a dilemma?

I have a small clique of friends and loved ones that I discuss various topics with.

What has been your biggest achievement?

Entrepreneurship and internationalism – I have run, as well as started, companies and many different parts of the world. I have been fortunate, the friendships and cultural learnings I have experienced over the past 20 odd years have shaped me into a better person.

One thing that you want to change in yourself.

I am rather impatient and sometimes that makes me come across as harsh or too direct. I’d like to tone this down and remain direct without the impatience.

A line said by your close one that you never forget?

My mother told me in my early years never to care about what others think of me. I have followed that advice my whole life – I find that too many people are concerned with what others think of them instead of leading the life they truly want to lead.

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Winning Stroke Frederic Widell Oriflame India


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