Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur, chose its 7th Foundation Day to host the third edition of its acclaimed ‘Thought Leadership Lectures’. Apart from the students and faculty of Jaipuria Jaipur, leading members of Rajasthan’s corporate and social strata were present to listen to Dr. T.V. Rao, the founding father of the National HRD Network. Dr.Rao was speaking on the very necessary subject of ‘Leadership – how to make a difference’. With over 20 years of experience as a Professor at IIM-A, Dr.Rao is currently the Chairman of TVRLS, Ahmedabad, and is best known for his business bestseller, Managers Who Make a Difference, published by IIM-A. An icon in his own right, Dr. Rao has groomed and nurtured more than 10,000 managers during his career.
“Managers can be Doers, Achievers, Visionaries and Missionaries. But joining an unusual place and creating a different place is the characteristic of a leader.”
During his spell-binding lecture, Dr. T.V. Rao drew heavily upon examples of sublime Indian leaders, such as Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Dr. Varghese Kurien, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Deepak Parekh, Ravi Mathai, N.R. Narayana Murthy, and Kunwer Sachdev. He amplified his contention that the essence of thought leadership lay in the truism, “To be different from others, you need to think different.”
As the Guest of Honour for the occasion, Dr. Ashok Bapna (Member, State Planning Commission Rajasthan), dwelt on what sets good leaders apart.
“Some characteristics of good leaders are: adhering to the 360 degree feedback principle, knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses, spreading knowledge among others, having in-built personal and interpersonal skills, having entrepreneurship skills, etc.”
However, the best of the 3rd Thought Leadership Lecture came at the end, in the form of a dynamic Q&A session. Through a series of questions, the budding managers of Jaipuria Jaipur were able to address the current leadership crunch in the country. Dr. Rao, with disarming candour, pointed out that leaders in some areas, and particularly politics, suffer from a divisive mind-set; he said they also promote divisiveness because of their short-term orientation. “When leaders substitute their vision with narrower goals or short-term benefits, they become self-centred and resort to all sorts of tactics to win. India gives tremendous opportunity for these leaders to use these tactics. By its very complexity, India is susceptible to division by groups, and this gives rise to people willing to exploit the situation by bringing up differences in religion, caste, language, etc. Those who have narrower interests- whether in an organisation or in the country- can exploit these differences and kill development. It happens in organisations and it happens at the state and country levels as well. The solution is a long drawn battle of social change.”
Dr. Rao underscored the fact that the root of divisiveness in the country still remains the caste system and that it may take several decades to get out of this. He closed with the thought-provoking observation that “Gen-Y is a big hope for all of us… but Gen-X may not give them a chance”.
In their concluding remarks, both Dr. Pankaj Gupta (Director General, Jaipuria Institute of Management) and Dr. Prabhat Pankaj (Director, Jaipuria Jaipur) agreed that Dr. Rao’s lecture was easily one of the finest heard in Jaipuria Jaipur. They encouraged students to take home the invaluable lessons of the lecture and think big.