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Art & Science of Developing Leaders
BIMTECH, People Matters & Aon Hewitt presented the first of the three-series roundtables. The event gathered inspirational leaders from across industries who shared their invaluable experiences on building a strong leadership pipeline
The importance of leadership is often in contrast with the enormous difficulty in defining the concept and structuring a process to identify, groom and nurture leaders in the organization. The BIMTECH, People Matters and Aon Hewitt roundtable, the first of a series of three, was an evening of fascinating conversations. Dr. H. Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH shared his views on the uniqueness of Indian leadership. Referring to the HBR study on how Indian business leaders have a unique set of characteristics, Dr. Chaturvedi defined Indian leadership as “a combination of holistic employee engagement, ability to improvise, creative delivery and a sense of purpose.”
Ajay Soni, Practice Leader, Leadership Consulting, Aon Hewitt – Asia Pacific, in his keynote session on ‘Building a Leadership Pipeline’ revealed the key findings of their flagship research on leadership development - top companies for leaders, conducted in partnership with Fortune magazine and RBL Group.
The panel discussion led by Anand Sankar, CEO, Aon Hewitt India presented interesting insights on the theme ‘Building leadership to sustain growth‘. Leena Nair, HUL; Rajeev Dubey, Mahindra & Mahindra; D. Narain, Monsanto and Dr. Khandelwal, former CMD, Bank of Baroda shared their experiences. The panel agreed that there is a clear correlation between investing in leadership, and consistently identifying and grooming potential talent. Great leaders attract good people, and their legacy is the people they have developed. The panelists dwelt on the need to create the path for building leadership to sustain growth and shared their suggested steps: firstly, by identifying and articulating the purpose of the organization; secondly, by defining how the organization will achieve that purpose and thirdly, by assessing the capability of its talent to achieve that purpose. Eventually, the business strategy needs to lead to delivery and sustainability of the delivery. Organizations need leaders who are aligned to what the organization is promising and should think “we” and not “I”. Working with great leaders and nurturing the power of observation is a potent way for leadership development. This has not been explored sufficiently in India, and remains an area of opportunity for companies that aspire to build great leaders.
The panel concluded that leadership is not about CEOs alone, but also about building leaders at all levels and functions, and enabling people to be ready to perform in their “leadership moments”. Leadership is hierarchy neutral, as there are leaders much below the CEO level who have great leadership potential. Such individuals need to be identified, acknowledged and groomed for the future through a sustained and structured process.
“One needs to distinguish between leadership and leaders; you can have celebrity leaders in an organization and have no leadership at all”
Dr. Anil Khandelwal, Former CMD, Bank of Baroda
“At the center of developing leaders is, understanding the gene code of the organization and building a framework to identify and nurture a leadership pipeline”
Dr. H. Chaturvedi, Director, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH)
“Leaders appeal to other leaders to join the organization. There is such a cry for good leaders, not only in organizations but also in society and politics”
Leena Nair, Executive Director - HR, Hindustan Unilever
“There is a real problem when individuals become larger than the organization. We should not make Gods from people”
Rajeev Dubey, President - Group HR & Aftermarket Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra
“The success of an organization depends largely on the people. In fact, you need good people to build great leaders”
D. Narain, India Region Lead, Monsanto
“I personally find the topic very intriguing, it is not only a matter of semantics, it is also a matter of building a sustainable pipeline with a practical approach”
Anand Shankar, CEO, AON Hewitt India
“We need better and more number of leaders at every level of our organizations. The effort should be to create people who are leadership-ready”
Ester Martinez, Managing Editor, People Matters
“Whether it is a large organization or a smaller organization looking for expansion, leadership is one of the most important business imperatives”
Ajay Soni, Practice Leader, Leadership Consulting, Aon Hewitt - Asia Pacific
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