HR Conclave 2012- Making Elephants Dance: Transformational Leadership


The day witnessed arrival of a plethora of industry leaders and other respected HR professionals to discuss the theme of the event, ‘Making elephants dance: Transformative leadership’. The auditorium was filled with business ready managers prepared to interact and make a mark on the eminent guests. Once Uncle Bala had enthralled the audience with his vision and humored them with his witty remarks, he extended his welcome to all present and opened the session for the Key note speakers Dr. Santrupta Mishra – , CEO, Carbon Black business and Director – Group HR, Aditya Birla Group.

Dr. Santrupt Mishra in his Inaugural address delved deep into the theme of the HR conclave – “Making elephants dance: Transformative leadership” and explained how this concept of elephant is a mindset which adheres to a collective behavior and get limited by the resistance to change. He talked about the challenges faced in applying the transformational leadership and emphasized that usually leaders get limited by their own thoughts in the change they want to bring to the status quo. Addressing the youth in the audience, he advised them not to be dependent on senior leadership for the changes but to bring in the spark at the grass root level. After providing some excellent inputs on the topic, he closed by saying “to break the habits of an organization, one needs to question the belief system and in the process he should be willing to come out of his comfort zone to bring in the transformation.”

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While the crowd still had a residual mesmerisation of last speech, the stage was opened for another great speaker, Mr. D Shiv Kumar, Senior Vice President – Sales (India, ME &Africa), Nokia. He explained that the two kings of the business are consumers and employees and both make the business leaders dance in different ways. He also talked about the paradigm shift that has taken place in the relationship of an employer and an employee. The earlier trend as per him was that individuals opted for careers in context of the company but now it has shifted to such an extent that companies offers careers in context of individuals. For bringing transformation in this situation, he talked about two solutions which are to be focused on growth of the company, and to excite them by providing them with a purpose for their job and empowering them in terms of flexibility to work. The discussion ended with his advice to the HR professionals that a fresh approach is required because life and work both have changed and the situation today calls for multiple value propositions for employees.

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Panel Discussion- Transformational leadership: HR as the facilitator

The panel discussion was moderated by Mr.ShyamViswanathan, Former Dean-Executive Education, ISB and the other panellists who joined the discussion were Dr. D. Prasanth Nair, Global Head-HR, CIPLA, Ms.TanujaAbburi, Senior Director-Human Capital, NTT Data India Enterprise Application Services P. Ltd., and Mr.Shailen Merchant, Head-HR, Diversified Business Group, Murugappa.

The discussion emphasized that for successful transformational leadership one should respect people who are not like oneself. Also the“E” model for managing resources was identified: Empowerthose who are high performers, Engage those who have the potential, Enable the newcomers, Exit the ones who are a drain on the organization at large.

Another important point that got built up was that, leadership is disposition and not a position and in today’s world of change and experiments, it is going to depend upon the ability to deal with ambiguity.

Post lunch session was initiated by Mr Allen Sequeira, Advisor-Group HR Mahindra & Mahindra ltd., who enthralled the entire hall with the question of Future proofing Gen Y vis-a-vis expectations from India Inc. He brought to our knowledge various facts and research about “Millennial of Workplace” and encouraged us to aim higher, strive to perfection and embrace your passion. As per him we are living in “VUCA” world – Volatile Uncertain Complex Ambiguous, to succeed we need to understand diversity in all aspects. He left us pondering with a fascinating question “What does ‘Rise’ mean to you?”

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Panel Discussion 2: Organizational culture and Gen-Y leadership: HR as the enabler

The panel discussion began with moderator MrNishantKolgaonkar, Vice President – HR  for Allcargo Logistics Ltd. followed by the panellistsMrRaghupathy V, International Flavours and Fragrances India Private Limited VP – HR, MrBaskarVaradhan, Group HRD head for Siva Group, and Mr B. Natrajan, Head – Corporate HR,Amrutanjan Healthcare Ltd.

The discussion threw light on the importance of time management and cultural impact on the individuals and organizations as a whole. Performance management is critical and role of HR as an enabler emergences towards aligning the hiring and firing criteria of today’s organizations.  The workplaces have emerged from the “Wall room concept” and need to think and act at the same time. One of the key take-away was that need for security is no longer a basic need as the level of opportunities has increased, the need is to manage information overload.

The Valedictory speech by DrPVR Murthy,CEO,Exclusive Search Recruitment Consultants started with the theme “Making Elephants Dance” and caught our attention through example of a cockroach having a life span of 350 million years just coz they are very adaptive. He also highlighted the human nature of resistance to change both individual leading our thoughts to understand that we as future managers irrespective to our specializations or departments we shall make changes and progress.

The event was one of the most widely covered events in the history of Greatlakes. From live webcasting to emerging as a trend in twitter, the success of the event was overwhelming and heartfelt. These were definitely a few well-utilized hours of our lives which enriched us a lot in terms of understanding the challenges faced by the leaders in the industry. The end of the event was marked by Prof. Sriram who thanked the dignitaries on behalf of the entire Great Lakes fraternity and concluded the vista of this intellectual convention with sheer enthusiasm.

About Pras

Sensible. Tolerant. Human being. etc...
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