In a day and age, where the world faces the critical questions of sustenance amidst global changes and transformations, organizations need to actively make choices that create value through their offerings not only to their customers, but most importantly to their employees. This is crucial as it protects the organizations from making myopic decisions that they are susceptible to make while chasing business targets. And one of the imperatives that come into play while doing this is through developing leaders from within the organization. At Vyakta, the leadership strategy comprises three core principles — Culture, Communication and Capability Development.
Culture has multiple layers, and for it to strengthen the business strategy, it needs to be linked with the leadership strategy through integrating thought processes, emotions and everyday actions. At Vykata, our core values, Care, Rigor and Chasing High Benchmarks, guide us in weighing our decisions in light of long-term growth. And one of our primary goals is to teach our leaders that core values are more than moral or ethical guiding principles; these lend a strategic edge to the business. This forms the premise of how we cultivate leaders — when rigor of action is at the core of any learning or leadership process, it leads to 'on ground' change. Imbibing the elements of ‘culture’ and the ability to translate these elements of culture into everyday decision-making and the leadership development strategy is the number one goal.
Daniel Goleman succinctly describes the primary role of a leader — to inspire action and to direct attention; this is an important element of Vyakta's leadership development initiatives. As a company that specializes in enhancing communication capabilities of professionals, it is important that we rigorously apply such a mind-set in our organization. In addition to cultivating an executive presence, and specificity in articulating goals, every leader needs to bring congruence of words and actions.
One of important people strategies at Vyakta is to tie business growth with capability development. As a result, we replaced the performance-linked growth model by self-development-linked model. In essence, all Vyakta team members get rewarded for learning. The leadership development initiatives too work along similar principles. Key capabilities such as listening, planning and organizing, emotional connect are integrated in the annual growth plan, making it a year round process.
For any leadership development initiative, it is imperative that individual capabilities are first mapped to the organization’s core purpose and vision
For any leadership development initiative, it is imperative that individual capabilities are mapped to the organization’s core purpose and vision. Vyakta’s in-house model, ‘Capability Matrix', maps knowledge-skills-attitudes on 4 levels – Beginner-Practitioner-Expert-Master. The progress made by each leader is tracked through this model, informing projections for future opportunities the leaders are prepared to take up. A devoted team, comprising industrial psychologists, refines the coach's capability matrix which is then linked to the individual goals. The process entails leaders going through personal coaching through the year to translate this ideology to action. This process is a blend of three elements:
Structured training: Structured training initiatives enable leaders or potential leaders to seek expertise and inputs from the available internal or external resources that provide practical development solutions that deliver business impact. The training is provided on four pillars of leadership development – self, team, business and change. It begins with leaders discovering their personality traits through psychometric tests and interviews. The discoveries segue into learning about behaviors and business. One of the unique elements is to train the leaders to switch between storytelling and using hard data to communicate different angles of any story.
Personal Coaching: Coaching is one of the fundamental ways in which leadership development can be made sustainable. At Vyakta, every leader goes through coaching sessions with internal experts with the objective to understand other’s perspectives and also how their actions are perceived by others. The coaching process allows the leaders to reflect upon their experiences and reinforce their own purpose and values while also offering them a platform to express dissent and challenge any decisions or strategy.
Experiential Learning: Experiential learning is achieved through real-life situations or live projects. Leaders are given a free hand to work on any futuristic idea and they learn to celebrate even failure. We believe that a poor decision is better than indecision. One of Vyakta’s principles is — “When in doubt, do it”. This principle reinforces the idea of “balancing instincts for decision-making”.