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A B-School called Attitude

Source | LinkedIn : By Nathan SV

Years ago, I used to work for a services company, which was into hospitality and time share. A fantastic organisation: A positive culture was all pervasive. Vibrant and young! And I was the new HR leader in town. I had all the badges befitting someone from a top B school and was wearing it proudly like a schoolboy for all to see. A stupid thing to do as I later realized much later.

I was keen to bring in some really good ‘talent’ from the leading B-schools to find a way to ‘build’ the organisation. Good MBA grads joined but the sales started to go downhill. There was a sense of loss all around. We had a dynamic business leader. He called for an all hands meeting and had the sales people speak openly about the situation. One of them mentioned that the firm was getting crowded by the MBA-types and since they did not have an MBA they were perceived to be low performers. I was later summoned by the leader and we had a chat.

In the course of the discussion, we decided would build out an MBA kind of learning- cum-doing program and that would make a difference. We hunted for a good training leader and a team of dedicated trainers we devised a program called Core Management Skills. It was to be in three phases – Self, Self in Teams and Self in Business. Over the next nine months, we had a program that covered just not people in sales but those in the resort operations, and all functions too.

The first graduate batch of the CMS program were outstanding. They ratcheted up their contributions several-fold and things started to brighten up. And sales started climbing again. However, owed to other financial reasons the firm did not do well  and many left the organisation as I did too. What I carried though, was the sense of winning and teaming that the program generated. The aptitude to learn and an attitude to serve. That the so called ordinary people were extraordinary men and women who needed to believe in themselves.

Fast forward – I landed in the US on a Friday and met a CMS grad! I was excited! By the weekend, a bunch of them flew down from various parts of the US and we had a great time. All of them were doing really well. Some were successful businessmen and some, VPs of large organisations. They had stayed in touch right through. And as I sat on the plane on the on the long flight home, it occurred to me that there was something magical I had witnessed. I learnt that what matters is what we do with what we learn. And it is not an MBA school at all. The school of experience and the lessons of attitude matters more.

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