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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Are Indian execs ready for training to hone their skills?

Bangalore: With fundamental changes in the business scenario after global downturn, the requirements for successful business leadership have changed, so the approaches of senior business leaders. Witnessing the lack of proper strategies during recession, now MNCs across the world are sending their top level executives for leadership training programs to plan better strategies during bad phases such as slowdown and dotcom burst, but top level executives in India are still hesitant to go for any training.

Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, Managing Director and Founder of e2e People Practices, who has planned to launch a leadership program for executives this year, believes that that Indian executives are more ready now than ever to undertake new courses. Prior to the downturn the importance was on strengthening traditional management disciplines such as finance, accounting, marketing and strategy, while the focus today is more on the personal qualities that are just as critical to organizational success in an age of rapid change. "The pace of change is impressive. Now companies want its leaders to be risk-taker, courageous, ability to make teams work, creative thinker, tolerance for ambiguity, understanding organizational and system dynamics and flexible, but top executives seem to be failing to achieve all these qualities." Here special training plays an important role to groom the leaders. Besides, honing business skills in finance, marketing, technology, mergers and acquisitions, operations management, supply chains and other areas, executive development programs examine leaders through three lenses: individual, team and organizational dynamics. Leaders learn that how important it is to have a deep understanding of their individual strengths and weaknesses. Through the training they understand the need to design and work in teams and other groups. Finally, they get to understand the dynamics of the entire organization," Jane Hiller Farran, Senior Director of Corporate Programs in Wharton Executive Education said.

However, leaders especially in India are yet to understand the need for such training. Jyotirmoy Daw, Managing Director, Mentor Graphics' Noida R&D Center says, "I feel that Indian executives are still not thinking in that direction," he says. Infact, according to Farran, faculties cannot preach to executives. He opines that the leaders are so used to being successful that they rely heavily on their own experience. In tune to the trend,Abhijit Bhatacharjee, Founder, Luna Ergonomics said, "I doubt that entrepreneurs can ever find time to take such traning."

Apart from their inconsiderate attitude towards this kind of training, there's another challenge facing the corporates, it's the lack of such courses. These type of courses are very far and few in India. Describing the need of this type of course, Yeshaswini said, "Anything skill or competency that will help the executive be better prepared to tackle the challenges of tomorrow is needed. Companies now need to be innovative to survive. Executives, who have initiative, think outside the box and have execution capabilities will survive."

Realizing the importance of innovation and leadership program in the current scenario, Indian IT major Infosys has already started grooming young entrepreneurs to take on new role. Infosys runs a Leadership Institute that initiates new recruits into Infosys with a rigorous foundation program and provides round-the-year training for managers. The Institute offers 16 instructor-led training programs and 59 e-learning programs. So, now with more number of Indian companies making their mark on global arena, they need to follow the path of Infosys and provide the learning opportunity to young entrepreneurs to grow in their career.

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