Leadership in Crisis
It was an honour for the National Institute of Industrial Engineering to host Mr. Thomas Varghese, Business Head - Textiles, Acrylic Fibre, Overseas Spinning at Aditya Birla Group as a Chief Guest for Catalyst-Leadership Engagement Series hosted by Samiksha-Industry Interaction Committee of NITIE Mumbai.
Mr. Thomas Varghese unfolded the talk by defining crisis and described the COVID-19 pandemic as a global black swan event and later suggested the top 5 leadership core competencies to face any kind of crisis, which are Agility, Communication, Courage & Perseverance, Credibility and Emotional effectiveness. Escalated some of the key attributes required to achieve these competencies such as unconditional honesty, Authenticity, Empathy, Diligence, Endurance, Resilience and Balance etc. He gave his perspective on each of the competencies and their importance by quoting the most relevant real-life examples.
The ten commandments that need to be practised by every leader during the crisis as proposed by him with his own valuable experiences & learnings some of them which are “To have a crisis management plan”, “Being action-based, Agile and compassionate”. He listed the crisis we have faced in the last 10 years such as the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, Russian Financial Crisis etc., and appealed that every crisis leaves some lessons to evolve for new normal. Described the present new normal as VUCA where the budding managers and aspiring leaders need to rework on their skills by adding new ones such as Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive flexibility to their basket without compromising the old ones such as People management and Critical thinking. Embarked that a leader should be “mindful” and not “mind-full” by keeping the low flow of information and high usage of intelligence with equal focus to process as compared to the results by stating the example of the movie Pearl Harbour. He later emphasised on the major changes that a crisis brings which are Global reordering, Power of Big Data, IoT, ML, AI, Redesign of business models and processes to develop for making them more resilient by taking end to end value chain into consideration, and a new way to manage & lead. Summarized the talk by articulating his three personal mantras which are “Mindfulness”, “Listen Intently”, and “Suspend Judgement” to excel in all aspects of life.
Addressing the QnA’s of students Mr. Thomas Varghese suggested them to search about their passion and follow it with uncompromised attitude, patience and hard work, focussing more on the learnings they get through the process rather than the destination by quoting his own personal anecdotes. He mentioned the opportunities and challenges that he got in the initial stages of his career and explained the role of them in shaping up his career, especially his stint of leading retail management. He encapsulated the talk by acknowledging the importance of pursuing a career in Sustainability which is the need of hour.
We would also like to thank Prof. Manoj Tiwari (Director, NITIE), Prof. Hema Date (Dean, Student Affairs), Prof. Ranjan Chaudhuri, and Prof. Ravindra Gokhale for supporting us to make this event a huge success.
Industry Interaction Committee – SAMIKSHA