Can leadership be taught? This oft-repeated question has seen animated debates from proponents ‘for’ and ‘against’ the notion, but for School of Inspired Leadership’s (SOIL), Anil Sachdev, the answer is an emphatic ‘Yes’.
In an education system that looks to create more managers and not leaders, SOIL is one such institution which was co-created by a team of business leaders of companies such as Aditya Birla Group, Dr Reddys, Hindustan Unilever, Infosys, Johnson and Johnson, Kohler, Larsen and Toubro, Mahindra, Max, Maruti SuzukiBSE -0.94 %, Nokia, SAS, SAP SRF, Schneider, Symphony, Tata Steel, TVS Motors, Volvo-Eicher to name a few, who came together with one philosophy – create more leaders in the country.
Anil Sachdev, founder and CEO of SOIL, elaborating on the need for leaders says, “We have developed a new category in the education system by creating a new management education programme which is focussed on inspired leadership. There is no such thing as a leadership school in India so far, we are the first ones. There are many management graduates, what our country needs are leaders.”
Today, the numbers of management schools are increasing every day. In a competitive country where employment opportunities are difficult to come by, management institutes promise good careers with good money. This focus on management has led to the stagnation of the curriculum without any focus on building specific talent or skills.
SOIL runs a one year program six days a week for working professionals to take time off from work and study. The program is divided into three parts, with character building that looks to build values taking up as much as 40 per cent of the curriculum. Another 40 per cent is devoted to improving the capacity to think, since this is a vital part of every leader. “Our vision is to create leaders who care deeply, which means they have the right character. We want leaders who are aware, which means they have the right character. We want leaders who are aware, which means they have the right capacity to think and then have leaders that dare. This means they have the enthusiasm to relentlessly follow paths that make organizations in the world better,” says Sachdev.
President Pranab Mukherjee during a recent event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan urged business leaders present at the event, which included Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Kunal Bahl, CEO, Snapdeal; and Sunil Munjal, joint managing director, Hero Motor Corp to promote education.
Education is one of the most important aspects for a country to develop. “We can create a new India, by harnessing these resources (young minds),” the President had said at the event. The involvement of business leaders in the education sector can bring about a lot of difference to higher education in India.
Sanjay Gupta, CEO English Helper and former India leader, American Express says, “We need citizens and leaders who care. SOIL is all about building leaders who care. Ultimately, businesses want talent. We have a lot of people, but we have a scarcity of talent and the recognition of the kind of talent that is needed is best within each business. Taking this understanding and defining that for establishing a curriculum is critical, therefore, partnerships that are really dynamic, vibrant and true between companies and educational institutions are absolutely essential and SOIL is doing that.”
The country as a whole is going through a start-up and entrepreneurial boom. NASSCOM’s latest report titled ‘Start-up India — Momentous Rise of the Indian Start-up Ecosystem,’ has stated that India is third globally as the number of start-ups cross 4200 making India one of the fastest growing base for start-ups worldwide.
It is this boom that showcases that India is in fact moving toward building leaders. The number of people who are willing to take the leap of faith, work 24 by 7 and follow their dreams are increasing significantly. Entrepreneurship is becoming a driving force in the country.
Sachdev says “An entrepreneur is one who is asking new questions. He sees there is a real need in society to be fulfilled, then that idea becomes so overpowering in his heart, it develops that sense of enthusiasm and passion and that commitment to that cause excites an entrepreneur so much that he can clearly see the future. He has a dream. Therefore, he is willing to take personal risks and work 27 by 7 because an idea can completely overtake a person.”