Being Self-Reliant: Vocal About Local

The need of the hour calls for an entrepreneurial revolution

learn more about Ashu Khanna

By Ashu Khanna


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When India gained independence in 1947, the chant of self-reliance led to an agricultural and industrial revolution. Now to be self-reliant, COVID-19 is calling for an entrepreneurial revolution. The unknowns experienced are more than ever before, and this is pushing leaders beyond their comfort zone. Leaders have to take leaps of faith by learning to trust their instinct. The ability to be vulnerable, experiment, explore and manage fear, have become critical behavior traits.

Over the last few decades, consumers moved from indigenous consumption to being exposed to global products and practices. Consequently, the consumer has become more discerning and aware. With extended lockdowns and work from home continuing, the consumer is demanding the experience and functionality, while staying at home. This requires a balance between wants and needs; appearance and quality; global practices merged with local values. With self-awareness, it is possible for businesses to achieve this balance.

Harness Talent Through Influence and Inspiration

India is a land of abundance—culture, cuisine, music, dialects, handicrafts, architecture—the sheer richness of our country is astounding. We also are a land of diverse and young talent. These two can be harnessed together by developing self-awareness amongst the talent. The human resources leaders have to partner with the business leaders to create this cultural shift. A culture of entrepreneurship and innovation requires leaders to let go of trying to control and aspire for leadership of influence and inspiration.

With learning avenues and social media platforms being freely accessible, the talent and consumer is no longer fearful of questioning, protesting and voicing their opinion. In such a scenario, leaders have to be able to relate to the youth to address their emotional needs. S.Y. Siddiqui, chief mentor of Maruti India shared at the CII Conference recently that Maruti has been transparent with their people and that has led to an environment of trust. Now, they recognize that an environment of mutually shared goals will help the organization move forward post COVID. When leaders are authentic, they can create a platform of trust and connection by communicating regularly and openly for the team. This leads to a sense of belongingness and thereby, enhances productivity, motivation and effectiveness.

Authentic Leadership

Any person who takes leadership of their thoughts, emotions, body and action and expresses in alignment of their authentic self, is an authentic leader. As authentic leaders, we can fearlessly explore the infinite possibilities of life to unleash our potential. Above all, life is miraculous, and we feel joyful when we express ourselves authentically. When we awaken and live in alignment with our authentic self, we can play each role with agility and excellence because all answers on "how to' exist within. Rajeev Dubey, group president, HR and corporate services of Mahindra & Mahindra emphasized on the need for authentic and shared leadership as way to manage teams in COVID times. Leaders who live in alignment with their authentic self can work collaboratively and innovatively by empowering and unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit within themselves and the team.

Today, in times of COVID and after, the need for authentic and shared leadership is of utmost significance. There is an immediate need to find solutions and know how to execute these solutions to move forward. In an environment of intense dynamism, leaders need to commit to self-innovation as a way of life. Raj Raghavan, CHRO of Indigo called this an era an uberization of careers, where people can live a balance of wants and needs, passions and purpose, career and family, self and society. In short, gig economy is clearly going to grow because of an increasing need to experience life holistically.

Ashu Khanna

Founder and CEO, Arka Leadership

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