Thursday, May 29, 2008

Where is India’s Gardener?

Indian businesses, post economic liberalization, have competed and succeeded quite admirably. It is not just the Information Technology (IT) sector but in various other businesses. Practically every major industry has an Indian success story, Mahindra, Tata, Bharat Forge, TVS in Manufacturing, Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s, Biocon in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, Essel group in packaging & entertainment, Asian Paints in Paints and Chemicals, the Larsen & Toubro group in engineering, Bharti in Telecommunications are a few. There are many more examples to cite. If you check the latest CII communiqué, you will see the vision it has for India in 2022.

A major reason for this success is leadership. The Indian corporate leadership is a success story in itself. Names like Ratan Tata, Anand Mahindra, the Ambani brothers, Narayan Murthy etc. need no introduction. They have led their respective business to glorious heights. Some of the common qualities exhibited by them are foresight, ambition, and desire to achieve. However they have not limited their role to merely leading their business empires. They are nurturing and mentoring younger leaders so they can continue the good work.

One such example is Subroto Bagchi of MindTree Consulting Limited. Mr. Bagchi is one of the founding members of the company that is much admired today and consistently ranks at the top in all leading industry surveys. The company’s focus on innovation, knowledge and integrity has been particularly praised. In fact the company is said to be uncompromising in its integrity policy.

Mr. Bagchi is now taking on the role of a gardener. That actually will now be his official designation in the company. Much like a gardener, he “will repot, fertilize and, yes, weed and clip the human resources”. This is essentially a role to nurture the promising young talent within MindTree while upholding its values. He plans on building an "emotional infrastructure" within the company. By laying emphasis on “high caring”, Mr. Bagchi feels MindTree can gain an edge over others. This new role will see him paying personal attention to promising talent and have one on one interaction with them. The idea is to channel the immense energy within the young talent and groom it to realize its full potential. Mr. Bagchi says "It is capacity building through self-awareness". For the company, "he will anticipate future industry shifts much in the same way a gardener anticipates weather change and pest attacks," says Ashok Soota, chairman of MindTree.

This indeed is a unique concept. The term ‘gardener’ has not been applied to any of the corporate roles so far. The hierarchy too is a first of its kind. As a gardener, Mr. Bagchi will not report to anyone, neither will he have anyone reporting to him. He will also give up his office and take an open desk, much like an average software engineer’s desk. There will not be any assistant either. That way the approach will be direct and personal. The regard for the company’s interest is apparent.

Such altruism is lacking in the political leadership of our nation. The contrast between the corporate leadership and the political leadership cannot be greater. We need a leader who will be India’s gardener and restore credibility in the public offices. The primary responsibility of our political leadership should be to create an environment conducive for our country’s progress. What we need is a political leadership that exhibits the care our corporate leadership shows towards stakeholders.

No comments: