Leadership Club – First Cut !!

Date : 05/06/2010

Venue : MDC/L-11, IIM-Bangalore

Under the stewardship of Prof.NM Agrawal, the first event of the “Leadership Club” began with 3 industry stalwarts spending some quality time with EPGP students and sharing their thoughts, over breakfast. The intent of this initiative is to connect with industry practitioners who have held numerous leadership positions and who could provide insights into what constitutes their thought process vis-a-vis running a business. Today’s event focussed mainly around “Leadership Challenges of Managing Growth”, especially in the Indian context. The entire EPGP junta made it on time, (in spite of an early start of 8AM on a Saturday) and initiated discussions with the guests in splinter groups and were keen to know their viewpoints on general business matters.

Mr. R. Vidyasagar (Senior Director Human Resources, EMC India COE) kicked off the formal proceedings by mentioning that he came from an organization in which he was Black”buried” all the time, which was otherwise more commonly referred to as “EMC”. He noted that his organization faced three distinct challenges on the path to continuous growth: execution of plans and generating accountability; Taking “Make” or “Buy” decisions; and ensuring high performance from the workforce without causing burnout of any kind. He insisted on the value of providing a human touch even in adverse circumstances faced by an organization, such as when letting go people. While he all for promoting innovation, he remarked that “Applied” innovation is the need of the hour, since unrealistic innovations were a huge burden on any organization. He was of the opinion that employees in an organization could be saved from burnouts when they are allowed to choose their future path/role in an organization without involving their immediate supervisors. He closed his presentation by urging us to be “fair, but firm” in whatever leadership positions we hold in our professional careers.

Mr. Kamal Kumar (Managing Director at DASSAULT SYSTEMES-DELMIA – provider of digital manufacturing and simulation solutions and specializing in product lifecycle management) talked about his experiences in BARC, HCL, HP etc prior to joining Dassault. He talked about the challenges he faced in relatively small operations but that required highly skilled workforce. He extended an open invitation to our batch if we wanted a half day visit to their centre and showcased a short video on how 3D virtualization over the internet interface is used in their organization to expedite design and review steps in automobile manufacturing.

The final presentation came from Mr. Mali Mahalingam (EVP AND CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER, Symphony Services) who briefed us on Wadhwani Foundation, Symphony Services and their chairman Mr.Romesh Wadhwani. Symphony services, while still young in relative terms, has achieved spectacular growth in a very short span of time, thanks to their unique focus on Product Engineering Outsourcing” – what he referred to as the “Third Wave”. Their strength also lay in having deep differentiating factors to complement their 7 different business models. The group believes in finding the right talent for the right job and places special emphasis on this aspect to sustain their impressive pace of growth.

The leadership series not only opens new avenues to interact with diverse industry leaders, but also enables us to co-relate our theoretical understanding of leadership with practical aspects as shared by our eminent guests.

– Rajesh Kumar Gunasekaran

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