Babus, PSU Chiefs Learn the B-School Way of Steering Ship PSUs & govt departments investing heavily on leadership development to adopt new models & brace up for challenges

Premier business schools of the country such as Indian Institutes of Management and Indian School of Business have a new set of visitors coming to sharpen their leadership skills —toprung officials of public sector companies and government departments.
From Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service, government sector organisations are investing heavily on leadership development to prepare themselves for future challenges in a fast changing economic and market environment.
This May, for example, 30 executive directors of public sector banks gathered at the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, (IIM-K) for a three-day workshop where they looked into economic, social and political changes, and discussed performance issues, resilience and growth possibilities, among other things.
“The workshop discussed a lot about leadership in a tough environment which is what the current economic scenario is. It taught us about how leaders can see opportunities even in trying times like these,” says Usha Ananthasubramanian, executive director at Punjab National Bank, who will head the new all-women’s bank, Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
“A three-day workshop does not transform one, but gives the right kind of inputs to implement, experiment and mould oneself, which has become necessary for strategic leadership,” she says.
Debashish Chatterjee, director at IIM-K, who conducted the workshop, says the objective of the leadership clinic was to enable these bankers with alternative dimensions of leadership.
“Till now, most nationalised banks have grown phenomenally but the next phase of growth will be different. There are new players coming in, banks will also face a paradox of local and global expansion and pressure on margins,” he says. It’s not just bankers. Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India, NTPC and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation have all been sending their officials to B-schools.
IIM-Bangalore held 23 programmes for government and public sector officials in 2012-13, up from 17 in the previous year and its revenues from these events almost doubled to Rs 10.77 crore from . 5.77 crore. At IIM-K, the number of programmes grew 60% in 2012-13 while revenues increased 50%. ISB’s revenues from such programmes have increased to 20% from 12% in the last three years.
Deepak Chandra, deputy dean at ISB, says that in the government sector there is an increased focus on leadership development in a deregulated and fast evolving environment. “Hence the leadership lessons deal with issues in a more competitive, deregulated and complex environment in the context of a slowing economy — issues that leaders of government organisations face while running their businesses,” he says.
ISB held a 47-day programme for ONGC for last several years to help the oil and gas behemoth’s former CMD Subir Raha to choose his future board members. The programme looked into how global oil and gas companies operated in a deregulated environment among other things. State organisations clearly see a deeper need to give their top leaders a glimpse of the changing world, to help them act quickly, ensure growth and contain losses in a dynamic business scenario. HAL, which is currently conducting a year long programme for 30 leaders at IIM-Ahmedabad, began reaching out to B-schools since 2008 and has so far organised 55 customised leadership development programmes for its senior leaders across different IIMs, spending . 11.7 crore.
Its latest one-year leadership development programme aims to groom high performing senior executives for higher roles, a top HAL official said. “Succession is one of the biggest challenges, and developing the potential of senior executives, while planning for the future, is critical for our success in the competitive business scenario that has emerged in aerospace and defence sectors,” the official says.
HD Gujrati, director at Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL)— a special purpose vehicle the ministry of railways set up in 2007 with an investment of . 90,000 crore to construct dedicated freight corridors across the country — says it is important for the organisation to train its leaders to perform in a changing environment. “In a huge infrastructure project like ours, processes are different and any delay costs huge sums of money,” he says.
DFCCIL will plan, develop, mobilise financial resources and construct, maintain and operate dedicated freight corridors. It will employ the latest global technology in heavy haul.
In 2011, the firm constituted a training cell to plan trainings for its officials. The training plan finalised for 2012-13 included a special component of strategic management course for top leadership.
Following this, ISB conducted a diagnostic study by interacting with top-level DFCCIL officials to know the strength and weaknesses and the actual requirements. This concluded with a two-day programme for 37 assistant general managers and above officials including the managing director and directors at the schools campus. DFCCIL sent its second batch this year. Keyoor Purani, chairperson of management development programmes at IIM-K, says government sector organisations realise that there are significant changes in business environment that demands newer perspectives and mindset.
“Earlier, government and PSUs did internal training and most of the time depended on government academies established for sectorspecific training inputs, but now, increasingly, they are looking at fresh perspectives from business schools as they feel that public sector enterprises can significantly borrow from models and practices that work for private and multinational enterprises,” he says.
Even organisations such as Electronics Corporation of India, under the department of atomic energy, which hardly sent their executives to management school in their long history, have started doing it now, Purani says.
IIM-K has conducted programmes ranging anywhere from three days to 45 days for Indian Army, DRDO, National Academy of Defence Production, Indian Ordnance Factory, Bharat Electronics, NTPC, NHPC, Power Grid Corporation, and the Department of Atomic Energy among others.

Source: The Economic Times
Date: 3rd September 2013


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