Are we equipped for a VUCA world?
Message from Harish Manwani, Chairman of ISB Executive Board on #NationalEducationDay
We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. A world where a confluence of technological advances, resource scarcity and increasing inequality are creating exciting new opportunities but are also causing significant societal challenges. In such times, two aspects stand out – the need to embrace change, and above all, responsible leadership at the economic, social and corporate level.
So, what kind of leaders do we need? What attributes will make a VUCA-ready leader and a leader of the times to come?
We need leaders who recognise that change is the only constant and are purpose driven and values led. Leaders that want to do well but also want to do good.
Vision and purpose guide all successful transformations, but values are equally important. Shared values create the moral compass that codifies the non-negotiables – what to do and what not to. Values provide us with a framework of ethics, integrity and treating our fellow compatriots with dignity. It is this combination of creating a compelling purpose and non-negotiable values that drives sustainable change. The most important asset of an organization is its reputation and that takes years to build but, in a connected world, can be destroyed by the click of a button. Successful corporate leaders recognise that their ultimate goal is to manage reputation and serve the larger interest of all stakeholders – customers, shareholders, employees and society – alike. To accomplish this, a leader requires a commitment to shared purpose and values.
At the Indian School of Business, our focus is to build a new generation of business leaders that embrace technology and change but are also rooted in purpose and values. India needs business leaders that can compete with the best in the world, and yet, connect with their local environment and the needs of India. We want to build leaders who can create economic value and also be a force of social good.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister, on the formal inauguration of ISB, appreciated this futuristic vision and purpose of the School and referred to the endeavour as Rashtra Dakshina. The sense of giving back to ones’ society and country distinguishes a great leader from a good leader. Great leaders conduct businesses to improve the lives of people and in the process also create economic value.
At ISB, we continue to uphold these principles and firmly believe that Education plays an integral part in building the right leadership values. Here, management education isn’t just a programme or a course; neither is it just a degree nor just a qualification. It is a beginning of a leadership journey for our talented young students to be great at business and be invested in doing good. We want to be known for leaders who are not just innovators and business builders but also responsible contributors to society.
This National Education Day, we rededicate our efforts to our fundamentals and the enormous potential of education in shaping the future of the next generation of leaders.