Wednesday, January 15, 2014

THE TIME OF MY LIFE ...XIX ...TRIPPING INTO TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT



I have purposely used the word ‘tripping’, because I got into the field of training not by qualification but by interest.  When in Eureka Forbes, I was sent for a two day workshop on communication , organised by the indo- American society , conducted by a lady from an American university . I enjoyed it but felt it was too academic and lacked a practical approach to day today communication challenges .Thereafter ,I kept my antenna up and started ‘listening’ to my friends, colleagues, fellow passengers in the bus or  train, family… and I made my own module for a workshop, incorporating my findings. When we moved to Bangalore. I thought of offering this programme to organisations, for their employees, Under the banner of Shabdanjali Comunication Services, I made my rounds to various companies to meet  those in  charge of personnel/ training. Most of them were sceptical about my credentials as I did not have a personnel or psychology background. I tried to tell them I was competent to handle Training as I had  teaching experience, Worked in the corporate sector, was interested in human behaviour and had a flair for it. But it is the certificate that still counts. Just as I was about to give up, I got a break. B V Ramanna, the chief of training & development centre of Bharat Electronics, gave me an assignment. It  was to be a four day workshop for newly recruited engineers. I had to come up with a customised module and if they liked my work…well.
I am thankful to him for his faith in me.  That is all it takes. This happened in 1988. I continued to be a regular external faculty with the organization for nearly ten years. if Ramanna had rejected my request, like many others did, I may not have pursued this field. Today, it is my professional bread and butter.
After my initial break, Ramanna gave me many more assignments on topics I would never have dreamt of handling. His belief in my ability was stronger than my own ! Conflict Resolution, Leadership and Team work , Motivation, l’ve done it all. Every time I was given a subject, Srivatsa would get me relevant books from the ISRO (he was posted there ) library  and I studied them till the wee hours, discussed with him and made a module. He was my peter Drucker. Though an engineer, he imbibed his managerial skills from the Indian Navy . A non partisan professional, he has always been fair in his dealings and since we discussed his work at home, I was unconsciously adsorbing the nuances of management in practice.  In fact, I believe the armed forces is the best example of excellence in management and public relations. When Srivatsa was deputed for a short management course in Mussorie, I accompanied him and sat through the lectures on Transactional Analysis.
A very interesting challenge Ramanna posed for me was to come up with a module for a group of women working in the TV Gun assembly line They were facing a number of rejections from the customer and wanted to sensitise the women about the issue. I am happy it worked out well for it was presented as a case study in an International Seminar by Ramanna . I liked working with him because of his innovative ideas .A colleague of his, Jagdeesh Prasad, succeeded him and I continued to get the same support from him. Jagdeesh Prasad is a poet and had  the right frame of mind to head a training institution. He was open to ideas and willing to try out unconventional modules. When I showed him the one on the Joy of working he put it on his schedule as a regular subject and I have done this for many groups of men and women in the company . In fact, it is a runaway success and has been tried out by organisations like Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, United India Insurance , NTPC, Karnataka State Bureau of Public Enterprises, Godrej ,etc,. Jagdeesh Prasad gave me something l’ll cherish forever . On Teachers’ Day, he invited me (and other external faculty) to plant a sapling behind the Training Centre. Since My career as a trainer, took roots in Bharat Electronics, I am glad I have my tree growing there !