‘It helped me de­velop a pro­gres­sive lens for my­self’

The Smart Manager - - Cover Story - NAVEEN KHA­JANCHI IS CEO AND FOUNDER, NKH FOUN­DA­TION, AND AN EX­EC­U­TIVE COACH.

INSEAD changed me and helped me deal with the chang­ing world. I had writ­ten a book Evo­lu­tion­ary Lead­er­ship: A Holis­tic Per­spec­tive, and in that con­nec­tion got ac­quainted with Pro­fes­sor Man­fred De Kets Dries of INSEAD. He en­cour­aged me and also told me about the CCC diploma they al­ready of­fered. For me to com­mit fi­nan­cially for a diploma was too much, as in Asia a de­gree mat­tered more—which I did men­tion to him. He did not say much, but con­nected me to his col­league Pro­fes­sor Roger Lehman, who was mov­ing to Sin­ga­pore. We kept in touch and after a year or so, Pro­fes­sor Lehman in­vited me to at­tend a Q&A when they de­cided to con­vert the CCC diploma into an ex­ec­u­tive masters de­gree pro­gramme— EMCCC (Ex­ec­u­tive Masters De­gree in Con­sult­ing and Coach­ing for Change). It was a big de­ci­sion as it in­volved money, time, and com­mit­ment of ‘back to school’. I sim­ply jumped at the idea and was part of the first batch from the Sin­ga­pore cam­pus for this de­gree.

This pro­gramme helped me de­velop a pro­gres­sive lens for my­self and also for oth­ers. I was ex­posed to global cul­tures, di­ver­si­ties, and the­o­ries of psy­cho­anal­y­sis and psy­chother­apy. A safe space was cre­ated and sud­denly I jumped into the in­ter­na­tional arena to know my­self bet­ter. Data en­try points started re­plac­ing in­tu­ition and gut in a bal­anced man­ner. My un­der­stand­ing of a fam­ily-owned busi­ness, abil­ity for sto­ry­telling, and pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy got un­cov­ered. Old la­bels were done away with and new la­bels emerged.

Pro­fes­sion­ally and per­son­ally, I be­came less re­ac­tive and more re­spon­sive and proac­tive in de­vel­op­ing and chang­ing my­self. I was able to present to my clients a much more whole­some and holis­tic/grounded view of any sit­u­a­tion. I found it [easy to in­ter­act] with thought lead­ers and op­er­at­ing man­agers. I op­er­ated from a know-it-all ap­proach with a strong bent for in­tu­ition. This, along with my ground-level ex­pe­ri­ence, was a great as­set.

CCC, as a pro­gram, puts one in a safe space wherein the de­sign en­sures max­i­mum par­tic­i­pa­tion and group learn­ing. Feed­back from peo­ple of fif­teen dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties and from dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries is valu­able. It helps one un­der­stand one’s own blind spots; it can also be use­ful to do course cor­rec­tion in a whole­some man­ner. The fac­ulty is world-class and [they] lend a per­sonal touch. It helped me hold and lis­ten to two com­pletely dif­fer­ent points of view and then take a bal­anced de­ci­sion. Our bi­ases can cloud our judge­ments or can be used pos­i­tively. Be­ing part of a group, I felt I should be a bet­ter ‘cheer’ leader and have more ‘aha’ mo­ments in life. I learnt to write and re­flect more deeply.

I learnt about stew­ard­ship in a dif­fer­ent form and ap­plied it in my life. As a KRA now, I try to help an un­known per­son daily.

I faced a sit­u­a­tion with an an­chor client wherein a change of guard re­sulted in my be­com­ing a side­line ven­dor from a pre­ferred ven­dor. I ac­cepted it with ease and never thought bad of the per­son in that chair, as it was his de­ci­sion that worked well for him.

To­day, I am ac­knowl­edged as a ‘fam­ily busi­ness thought leader’. INSEAD played an im­por­tant role in my blossoming in this space. My read­ing and writ­ing time have gone up. I have hope­fully be­come a bet­ter lis­tener and less judge­men­tal. ■

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