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We can never know what the possibilities can be if minds from companies in totally different fields come together and innovate
This column presents the thoughts of President & Managing Director Vijay Ratnaparkhe and Sathyanarayana TK, VP - HR of Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions about conceptualizing and participating in XChange, an innovative consortium-style leadership development program together with 3M, Coffee Day, Titan and SAP.
The XChange story can be read here
XChange is like an innovation in HR. Companies do a lot of internal trainings and send leaders for external programs, but they rarely imagine collaborating and getting together to do something and learn with like-minded people in a non-competing space. The way forward for HR and business leaders is to step out of the traditional, doubtful mindset and collaborate with one another, as that has the potential to solve a lot of challenges.
We encourage a spirit of experimentation at Bosch. Through XChange, we wanted to learn how other companies go about their leadership journeys. The HR and L&OD minds behind XChange were clear that they did not want to replicate the training they already do in their individual companies. The idea was to choose overarching themes and co-create participant experience that was not available in their own companies.
We wanted to give the participants multiple agenda points that could be handled differently in their respective roles after learning from the XChange sessions. The methodologies varied from module to module for maintaining interest, for e.g., in Bosch’s anchored session on the leadership competency, agile leadership was the common thread in all content. The goal was to provide participants with solutions for real leadership. NGOs were invited to lead workshops on how to lead and create influence without hierarchy and titles and how to connect with people. In another unconventional and popular session, movie methodology was used. There was also a module about gender diversity and a best practice sharing session in which respective companies shared what it was doing towards making great leaders out of good ones. Learning was holistic as participants got to move from station to station, absorbing as many insights as they could.
We can never know what the possibilities can be if minds from companies in totally different fields come together and innovate. During the networking conversations in the company-hosted evenings with the CEO, people from marketing, sales, engineering and HR backgrounds from all 5 companies were connecting with one another. While this was not the main intention of the program, it was an exciting outcome as it showed that things beyond current imagination are possible through a forum like this.