Inaugural address to PGEMP Batch 65

Inaugural address to PGPM Class of 2017
November 26, 2018
Inaugural Address to PGEMP Batch 66
November 26, 2018

Jan 22, 2018

Congratulations. Many of you who have applied had been interviewed after a very long time it must have been quite challenging. I am going to talk about Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and how it influences us.

Jan 22, 2018

Congratulations. Many of you who have applied had been interviewed after a very long time it must have been quite challenging. I am going to talk about Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and how it influences us. I am going to talk about the institute and its attitude. We as the faculty also have the right to give advice. So, some advice at the end.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was set up in 1938 by K M Munshi. The idea behind this was that as we are going to get independence, as a country we will need ways to keep core Indian values relevant. The propagation of Indian values and to keep them relevant, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is one of the two institutes of national eminence and the other is Ram Krishna Mission. We have 100+ centres in India. Several centres across the world. We have centres in Dubai, Singapore and Newyork. Truly an international institution. Going all the way from schooling to Post graduate education. Across all these institutes there is something common is perhaps well exemplified in two sentences or two beliefs. One is let noble truths come to us from every side. What does noble truths from every side mean? It means that you can learn from anybody. I will give you a simple example. I was six months into the institute and the security person who greeted me every day, he has now retired, came to me and asked for two minutes. He told me two things. First was about all the drivers standing outside and gossiping. He told me that if I made a shed where they could sit then it would be better for the institute. Second was that the electrician who comes here stays very far and every time there is an electric failure and you have to call him, it takes 45 minutes. He asked me whether I could find a way that the electrician could be closer to campus.

One thing is that I took credit from the fact that he could have the courage to come and tell me that. Somewhere in the last six months he must have thought of telling me this. He mustered the courage and found the time to talk to me. The second thing is his perspective. He sees a lot of people going in and out. He knows the institute better that way. This idea that you can learn from anybody and you can look at any human being with respect is the fundamental idea. The second idea is that the world is one family. What does this mean? The extreme version of this is supposing a I tell you that a tall gentleman with a dark beard and a white sherwani walked into an aircraft carrying a black briefcase. Already 50% of the audience will take a bias on this. There are many biases we have which are deep seated. We tend to label people and becoming aware of our own biases and not seeing the differences between people but looking at people with an open mind.

On more example. I had gone to do a workshop in Asia around seven years back. You see Chinese, Japanese, Philippines. You see countries. You see Indian, Pakistanis. And you go through a socialisation process. And at the end of your workshop you see John, James, Jhenu, Jordon, Ramesh and Moin. We have moved from nationalities to human beings. We have moved from labels of human beings to seeing the people as they are. This is talking about diversity. When you celebrate your differences and work on the basis of the common humanity.

Let’s talk about our approach to education. We talk about Knowledge, Skills and Attitude. What is Knowledge? Knowledge is the why behind the underlying set of facts. A Skill is a repetitive pattern of behaviour that is productive. An Attitude is the predisposition to behave in a certain way towards a person.

You know what is a —— score? ——– Score is a metric says that you ask the person three questions about you and you know what they feel about you. It says on a scale of one to ten how likely you are to recommend my work or service to a friend or colleague. What is the reason for this score? Very simple. When a telecom company asks the first question and they get a score, they ask what the reason is. Normally our first reaction is to think. You need to understand the technique, you need to understand the methodology. The skill is the way of asking those questions. No matter how well you are taught the skill, if your attitude is not right you cannot put in knowledge together, because knowledge plus skills plus attitude gives you better practice. What we are hoping is that through this programme it is not the knowledge or skills but the combination of all.

We got a quote from a participant a few years back. He said at the end of this programme you will think differently and you will think better. You will never be able to think the way you are thinking.

Finally, on my advice. I was handling a branch of Asian paints at Hooghly. Our business was dependent on five main dealers in the area. And there was one dealer who controlled 20% and he used to reduce rates. And because of him we could not appoint new dealers. He knew everybody from Mr. Champaklal H. Choksey to the regional manager. Historically people could not confront him. He would bully people and threaten them with dire consequences. And this has been going on since 15 years. I spoke to my regional manager and explained to him that I am going to tell him these things. When I tell him this he is going to ask for phone numbers. I want all the telephone numbers from the regional manager to Champaklal Choksi.

I met him and spoke to him. He immediately asked for telephone numbers. I gave him the entire list to choose from. He immediately cooled down. My point is different. Now when I look back at the incident I would say that there is theory of dependence and conflict. The source of this person’s power was the feelers and his supposed relation with the top bosses.

Your company is not the microcosm of the world. Secondly dig deeper into your inhibitions. Finally, I would say is that envy you. Being a student is the best thing that you can possibly do. We grow by learning and you must have the right attitude to learning. It is curiosity and fun and the way to become better leaders. It enhances self-awareness and sense of service.