MDPs launched by the Mahindra Group has created value for the company and built a strong leadership pipeline, says Dr Prince Augustin, Mahindra Group.
The percentage of companies with strong role-based and experiential leadership programs grew from 9% last year to 20% in 2016.* Many companies now customize their training offerings for developing future leaders. The Mahindra Group too has been building a strong leadership pipeline by leveraging a common platform which delivers learning and development across the organization.
We live in an ‘age of rapid disruption’—shifts in digital technology, demographics, policies and regulations, climate change, globalization, and geopolitics. At the heart of companies that do well in this ‘new normal’, is talent. If they are able to unleash the true potential of talent so as to create sustained business outperformance, it can build agility and adaptability. This insight has been the theme of several management reports such as Global Human Capital Trends published by Deloitte and BCG press releases. The Global Leadership and Talent Index released by BCG in 2016 has revealed that those companies which rated themselves strong in their leadership and talent management capabilities have increased their revenues by 2.2 times and profits by 1.5 times versus those that have not focused on leadership development practice.
The growth story of the Mahindra Group—from a billion-dollar entity in the early 2000s to an 18-billiondollar Indian MNC in a decade and half — speaks volumes about the management development processes and practices that have been put in place over a period of time. Talent development is linked to the Group’s aspiration of being amongst the top 50 most admired global brands by enabling people everywhere to ‘Rise’. To make this a reality, several development initiatives were integrated across the Group by creating a platform, Mahindra Leadership University (MLU). The objective is to bring the ‘learning solution’ and the ‘learner’ together to create a learning organization.
MLU’s governing council members include Anand Mahindra-Chairman; Dr Pawan GoenkaManaging Director; Anish ShahGroup President Strategy; Rajeev Dubey-Group President Human Resources; SP Shukla-Group President Aero & Defense Sector;
V S Parthasarathy-Group CFO; Ulhas Yargop-Group President and Chief Technology Officer; Ramesh Iyer-Managing Director, Mahindra Finance; Harsh Kumar-Director of Mahindra Institute of Quality; Admiral (Retd) Anil Chopra an external leader of eminence. And I serve as the Secretary. The role of the council is to drive and enable the strategic positioning of MLU, review the progress made vis-à-vis the purpose, and approve its funding and budgets.
MLU focuses on building both leadership and domain capabilities
through its various academies, with each being headed by a chairperson and supported by functional leaders, business leaders, and external experts from academia and the industry. All academies consult business leaders in the Group to identify and prioritize capability development needs, create curriculum to build these capabilities and offer it to businesses for delivery, and review the impact of the same. The domain academies are business specific and the functional academies of HR, finance, sales, and marketing run across businesses.
The Academy of Leadership Development and the Innovation Academy are for the entire Group. MDPs are offered by the Academy of Leadership Development across businesses. The programs at each level follow the laddered approach to leadership pipeline development. The pedagogy and construct rest on principles of instructional design.
The deployment of programs is based on a 3E approach to development viz. education, exposure, and experience. The flagship programs are:
■ Future Leaders Program (FLP)
is designed in collaboration with IMD Business School and Yale School of Management for the top two levels of the Mahindra Group.
Global Program for Management Development (GPMD) designed in collaboration with the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan is aimed at high potentials who are two levels below the top leadership in the Group. Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) of our Automotive and Farm Equipment sector is a sectorlevel course that identifies highpotential executives and develops them over a period of 24 months on personal leadership, business leadership, functional leadership, social leadership, and enterprise leadership.
Thousand Leaders Program of Tech Mahindra identifies and develops managers to take up critical roles in its various business verticals. Participants are groomed on functional and leadership skills by CXOs.
Another Tech Mahindra program, Young CEO, includes instructorled training, eLearning as well as coaching by senior business leaders. These young CEOs then lead and manage independent businesses for Tech Mahindra. Chakravyuh Program of Mahindra Finance is designed for creating an entrepreneurial culture in the organization and is conducted annually. It is a structured program which strengthens the participants’ leadership competencies and their capabilities to manage business priorities in real-time economic conditions.
Each of the programs listed above is normally conducted in collaboration with a leading university. While the learning initiatives are focused on educational inputs, deployment is either through Action Learning Projects (ALP) or specific assignments in a business. ALPs are reviewed to ensure deployment of learnings with rewards linked to foster internalization.
However, we still need some measures in order to understand if MDPs are actually being effective. For instance, GPMD has been successful in implementing business ideas which were conceived as ALPs into actual
The programs at each level follow the laddered approach to leadership pipeline development. The pedagogy and construct rest on principles of instructional design.
successful products. For example, one of the projects set a target of delivering comfortable buses for employee transport. In two years, the product was designed and the bus was piloted. It received positive reviews and was finally included in the actual product catalog. Since then, there have been repeat orders from customers.
One of the striking features of GPMD is that it has been consistently rated high by its target audience— senior executives of the Group. The 2016 GPMD edition had a rating as high as 4.9 out of 5. It has also time and again proved its efficacy by developing a leadership pipeline. High-potential participants who have attended GPMD previously, now play the role of mentors for batches. Many of them have been promoted to the next level and they are now being recognized as the future leaders of the Group. The program’s success is evident—it has been offered for the past nine years and has an alumni base of 244 employees across the Group.
We measure the effectiveness of our programs across the levels of the Kirkpatrick Model. The reaction level feedback is over 4.5 out of 5 whilst the transfer of learning and behaviors are constantly seen across all MDPs. The measure of success of our management development efforts does not rest solely on increase in PBIT, PAT or EBITDA but on how leaders across levels contribute to building the culture of ‘ RISE’—by being passionate and exhibiting behaviors relating to the RISE philosophy, the Mahindra Leadership Competencies, and of a Mahindra leader of whole brain thinking, mindfulness, managing fear and leveraging failure, multiplier and trust. The programs together have created a bench strength of leadership across the Group. The retention level of senior leaders is over 95% and the percentage succession coverage (up to three years) for critical positions across the Group is nearly 72%. These and many other tangible and intangible benefits make us firmly believe that MDPs offered by the Group deliver value to our businesses and help create sustainable business outperformance. ■
The programs together have created a bench strength of leadership across the Group. The retention level of senior leaders is over 95% and the percentage succession coverage (up to three years) for critical positions across the Group is nearly 72%.