Monday, April 20, 2020

IIMs to tap covid learnings in a bid to mould resilient leaders

From stockholder welfare to stakeholders welfare, from crisis preparedness to the component of healthcare in the leadership jigsaw, India’s top management schools, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), are redrawing their education programmes to create leaders who can survive post-covid-19 realities.

Contextual leadership, the value of sustainable development, success of women in leadership positions for crisis management, and risk assessment will also be taught in B-schools as learnings from covid-19 disruptions.

“Inclusivity in business leadership will become an integral part of management education. Balance sheet management will not be the only criteria in leadership evaluation. From stockholder welfare to stakeholder welfare will be the shift you will observe in leadership and in management education classes," said Debashis Chatterjee, Director, IIM-Kozhikode.

Himanshu Rai, Director at IIM-Indore agreed. “How an organization treats its stakeholders during a crisis gets reflected through the characteristics displayed by its leader. This could potentially change variables such as organizational commitment, psychological contract and motivation, both in the short and the long run. While leaders have to show both financial and operational prudence in such times, how they communicate these to their stakeholders is going to be extremely crucial. Such times call for leaders who lead by example and are empathetic," he said.

The quick response, inclusivity and emergency preparedness of a few states will be studied in classrooms to understand how leaders reacted to a crisis situation that was changing almost every day, said Chatterjee. “Besides, a component of care for employees will become part of boardroom and we will incorporate them in our teachings through case studies and papers. The horizontal leadership model will give way to an in-depth leadership model in the corporate and political leadership space," he said.

IIM-Indore has started working on multiple fronts, Rai said. “With a group of collaborators from the US, Australia and Japan, a team of the IIM-Indore faculty is analyzing the responses of collectives and leaders to covid to draw out the best practices as well as create a template for effective leadership," he said.

The biggest learning for businesses is that they should have a crisis strategy in place, Rai said. While it is difficult to foresee crisis, “it is always useful to have some SOP for different categories of crisis. Second, the businesses and business leaders will need to be more resilient and responsive. This would require putting crisis management teams at short notice, enabling crisis communication channels, and displaying empathetic leadership throughout," he said.

Bhimaraye Metri, Director at IIM-Trichy, concurred and argued that the old Indian working style of self-dependence, value in agri-economy, and contextual leadership will be part of teachings. “Indian corporate success stories and case studies will find more space in B-schools after the covid-19 pandemic. It teaches us how to come out victorious from uncertainties… that excessive planning won’t work is now clear during the pandemic. Experience and quick pre-emptive decision making will be taught and will be in demand," Metri said.

Birla Institute of Management Technology Director Harivansh Chaturvedi said businesses will be seen with two prisms: pre- and post-covid realities. “Management education, along with other technical/professional education will undergo a paradigm shift. Healthcare, sustainable development and corporate ethics will become part of boardroom discussions and B-school curriculum," he said.

This article written by Prashant K. Nanda.

Source: Live Mint, April 19, 2020

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