Have you ever wondered what a CEO’s life is like? Have you yearned to get a peek at the goings-on at the topmost echelons of a company? Leadership shadowing programmes allow you to do just that

Imagine if you get to be by the CEO’s side all day, for ten days.How much would you learn? How much exposure would you get to the kind of challenges the head of an organisation has to face? How inspired would you be by hisher unique methods of dealing with problems? How motivated would you be to aim to be in hisher place one day, if you knew how exactly hisher work day unfolded?
These questions have occurred to the people managers at several organisations such as Cisco, Deloitte and Adobe.And their introspection and innovation has resulted in the phenomenon known as `leadership shadowing’. Today, leading organisations are inviting students, employees and entrepreneurs to literally be the `shadow’ of their leaders and learn from observing the best in the industry . These programmes tend to be a part of CSR activities, induction or industry-academia partnerships at times and the duration can last from a day to several months. Divyangana Srivastava, director of human resources, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu tells us why such programmes can be beneficial for management graduates, “The graduates will be ready to excel in future leadership roles within the market having developed the key requisitesskills for the roles. This greatly reduces the incubation time of settling in.“

As early as 1970, Dr Larry Senn, a pioneer in the field of corporate culture, said that `organisations become shad ows of their leaders’ in his doctoral dissertation titled `Organisational character as a tool in the analysis of business organisations’. `Leaders often tend to underestimate the length of their shadow’, observed Dr Senn. Their shadowees might agree with Dr Senn when they see how much influence a president tends to wield. Shalini Pillay, head of people, performance and culture (PPC) for KPMG in India suggests, “With 70 per cent of learning coming from on the job, leadership shadowing is the key to foster talent. It also ensures that the leaders take time to invest in nurturing future talent.“

Essar Group conducts a `Business Leadership Program’ wherein MBA graduates undergo a two-week induction programme and then a value chain int within the business for and then a value chain stint within the business for four weeks. At the end of the six weeks, the candidate is deployed to work directly with the CEOCXO within any of Essar’s businesses. Sujaya Banerjee, chief talent officer and senior VP-HR, Essar Services India Private Limited lists the advantages: Enables participants to develop a top-down approach to leadership; Enables participants to learn to ap preciate subtext, the art of network ing and influencing; Enables participants to get mentored by seasoned professionals; Provides participants an opportuni ty to experiment early, take responsi bility and develop maturity; Enables participants to go up a steep learning curve on business and capa bilitiesbehaviours.

Thus, the day might not be too far where you’re lunching with the CEO or at the very least, getting a glimpse of what it means to wear hisher shoes.


BETWEEN APRIL 22 AND 29, Young Bombay Forum (YBF), a youth wing of Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry invited participants to bid to meet and shadow one of several listed leaders.Proceeds from the online auction conducted for Proceeds from the online auction conduct the `Shadow the Leader Program’ were donated to charity, making it part of a CSR initiative as well. Amit Sarda, MD, Soulflower shadowed Ravi Kirpalani, MD, Castrol India Limited for a day. He shares his experience,“I got to see how he operates and thinks about the future. At the end of the day, I could ask whatever questions I had. I learnt about his strategy for the next 25 years; the way he engages with consumers and thinks about the economy and business worldwide.“


PEPSICO INDIA’S CAMPUS connect programme `The PepsiCo Apprentice’ drew participation from over 5000 management students in April this year.The programme gave three students the opportunity to shadow members of PepsiCo’s top management for a day.Parth M Joshi, one of the three winning participants relates his experience of shadowing Vipul Prakash, CMO, PepsiCo India,“The very fact that nothing different was planned just because of the presence of the apprentice made the shadowing experience close to a real world corporate experience.Meeting all the stakeholders i.e.distributors, retailers, agencies and brand managers gave me lot of inputs on the strategy adopted by PepsiCo.“

Source : The times of India

Date : 24-06-2015

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