The Beginning: We were invited to undertake leadership development for SETCO Foundation, the CSR initiative of a large Automotive ancillary major, SETCO Automotive. Meeting their President, Ms. Urja Shah, sitting in on their presentation, studying their their annual report and website gave us confidence on the passion and intent fueling the vision, ‘to enable a community to actively ensure that every child and woman has full access to healthcare, nutrition, education and an opportunity for growth’
The Mandate: The President of the Foundation, invited us to capacity-building engagement in July 2017. Our mandate was leadership development. After a few meeting in their office in Mumbai, we wanted to visit Kalol, Dist. Panchmahals, Gujarat, to meet the team and observe projects in field. We wanted to understand their work context and the language of the development sector.
The Approach: How does one best interpret learnings and best practice from business and apply these to the development sector? Our focus was to lead the team on their change management journey to drive customer-centric growth, innovation. The team presented the projects and followed it up with community visits. We invited an associate in Surat to help us bring sector understanding and the translation of tools into Gujarati. We used Hindi in our training and prepared examples and activities with situations drawn from their context.
The Change: We began with the positive psychology based Gallup Strengths assessment. The team discovered their talents and potential. Making the team ‘own’ up their talents and learn about each others’ ‘basements and balconies’ through role plays and ‘before after situations’ started breaking down walls, building trust and lightening up the atmosphere. We adopted a play way and game based approach in our training, interspersing theory, tools and activities with hands-on learning. The mood was like that of a creativity workshop with soap bubbles, clay and drawing.
Progress so far:We have competed 4 of 9 interventions of 2 days since October 2017. The team gets a two week time to apply their lessons in field. We will finish the journey in March ’18. Our WhatsApp group is a powerful tool to bond, share, learn and stay inspired.
Does it work? The feedback from the participants and leader have been heartening. The Strengths language has not completely permeated the language at SETCO Foundation. The needle has moved on individual and team dimensions on confidence, enthusiasm, collaborative team work, easing of stress, better time and resource management. The team appears to be in flow.
Session 4: This session is focused on Project Management. The teams learned concepts through theory and a team activity. They understood concepts of the project objective and goals, of resources – time, costs, risk and risk mitigation, maximising beneficiary impact and fund utilisation. Today after a discussion on relevance in the theory morning, they are applying the theory to writing a proposal for a live project.
Conclusion: We are close to halfway mark on the journey and have the confidence that the best practices of business when applied with sensitivity can help build mastery in teams to think effectiveness and impact. The customer-centric mindset is wearing the DONOR and BENEFICIARY hat and building a culture of performance impact over entitlement.