This May, I was honored with two prestigious assignments. One, as a jury at the HR Festival of the reputed CUSAT, the Cochin University. The other one, as a guest faculty at NACIN, National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes & Narcotics. Both institutes need no further introduction. So I will contain my excitement and refrain from using any more superlatives.
Let me dive straight into what I was called in for.
The 37th year of the prestigious South Indian Management Festival, Talentime, organized by the School of Management Studies in CUSAT, had a case study based competition. They called it the Hegde Rush.
I was privileged to be asked to set the case study, be a part of the jury to evaluate the teams that made it into the finals and at the end of that journey, to present to them a power talk on EI and Leadership. All of which proved to be very rewarding tasks, given the competence and assiduity the student teams displayed. The teams which presented had a good grip on their subject. So the other member of the Jury, Ms. Reshma Swaminathan, and I had a good time digging to see how deep their know-how and know-why went. The talk went off on a happy tangent, with the students trying and relating everything I said to their own lives and questions. The organizing team were in another league altogether. To name one in particular, Malini M, has exceptional talents in leadership and organization.
The NACIN assignment was one of training. Communications as well as Personality development. I can say that in the course of that one day, I myself evolved as a trainer. These were people who had joined as uniformed officers in our nation’s service, so they had already undergone a stringent selection process. Only the best had emerged. Now to train with them, I had to assert my authority, as well as get them on my side. Build trust as well as showcase leadership.
Things I train people on, but to establish that for myself in a room with 30+ trainees who were with me for the one day; to make sure they learned, they were not lost in a constant barrage of information, they could practice what they learnt, and ensuring that dignity and respect remained on both sides of the table at the end of a long, hard day…
I started with a story that caught hold of their imagination. I could use it as a metaphor for the rest of the day when I wished to commend or redirect someone. I went on to the theory behind confidence. Then I delved into strategies and tactics. Then I delved into communication a bit. Finally got them all to walk to the dais and present on their own topics. Ended with a session on personality development and finally, yet another story on acknowledgement, apologies and appreciation : the 3 things leaders do, day in, day out.
The glowing feedback I received at the end of both the assignments had me floating around for a couple of days. Which is what kept me from writing this down so far; I believe my two feet have been properly restored to the ground now. Some successes are worth all the silent sacrifices in the background.