Grooming Our Young Leaders
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
- One of Einstein’s quotes that accurately reflects our approach to ‘Training’
While metrics and RoI are great to measure certain aspects of organization, we strongly believe ‘Training’ or ‘Learning’ should certainly not be one of them. That is why, we believe in an ongoing continuous learning both in a structured and unstructured manner based on needs. We neither measure the investment nor the returns from it. We just believe that it preps and enables us for the future.
Recently, a couple of mid-level employees expressed to our CEO, the need to be groomed for the next level. The beauty about the incident was, they weren’t asking for a promotion or monetary benefits, but simply to be prepared enough to handle in the event of an opportunity coming their way. We realized that this was a real business need too. We are growing so fast and the growth gets reflected in employees’ individual growth path too. We don’t have a Learning and Development department (as yet). We had also earlier tried certain workshops with external training providers which did not resonate well with our employees. We needed a tailor made, organization culture specific program to address this need.
We have always had technical training and knowledge sharing programs conducted by our own employees in their respective areas of expertise. So we decided to do this soft skills program also ourselves. There are two reasons for this: No one understands our folks better than us and we know what leadership specifically means in our context. We identified a set of 10 important and specific skills as part of this. We threw it open to the employees to add skills that they felt they needed. While some of the areas were generic and usually covered under Leadership Skills, we also saw that specific skills such as Customer value creation, Organization skills, Strategic thinking & decision making, Overcoming fear and Risk taking were being asked for.
We announced the ‘Leadership training’ series of workshops and had an overwhelming response from our employees. We have been conducting one workshop every week, sometimes over a working lunch and are mid-way through our sessions. Murali (our CEO) suggested participants actually take up an initiative and lead it in their capacities within the organization. An actual experience any day beats a 100 workshop sessions. People had very interesting ideas which will be evaluated and carried through. Mentorship in the context of these initiatives and regular work is being offered and people are making great use of it.
In a truly Agile manner, we are collecting feedback from participants as we conduct these sessions –
“All these situations in the role play are exactly the ones that we have faced and earlier handled incorrectly. We are now more aware of how an assertive response should be”
“The sessions have been useful both to analyse myself as a team player and as a leader. The ‘Motivation skills’ session has greatly helped me in getting the best out of my team. We are now enjoying work more than before!”
“I was not able to make it to this session, but I am going through the material offline posted on Slack channel… I can see myself changing”
“I came in hoping that this will enhance my skills and help in my career, but this is equally helpful to me in my personal front also. My mother has noticed a positive change in me too. Thanks so much for conducting this”
This may sound clichéd from all the beauty pageant shows, but I truly find that this effort is totally rewarding and we are making a big difference to our employees.