• 6/5/2016 3:50:50 AM
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  • The ICICI way grooming leaders for adaptive challenges
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The ICICI way grooming leaders for adaptive challenges

What the group looks for in a Leader depends on the level of seniority of the employee. The panel focuses only on a very simple approach to identify leaders. For junior level employees, it looks for consistent passion and strong problem solving abilities; for middle levels, being able to build capability internally is key, ie, what has the employee built in the last 2 years in terms of people, processes and systems? For senior level employees, the focus is on the agenda for change that the employee has set in the last 2 years and achieved this successfully by mobilizing people and resources.

Interestingly, the panel needs to arrive at a consensus on whether the employee has the capability to move to the next leadership role and whether he or she is ready to make this move immediately or over another couple of years.

(If the direct supervisor is part of the panel, he or she is not allowed to intervene in the discussion unless the panel differs on some point, then only the supervisor can bring some information to the table. The idea is that if you have leadership potential, someone else besides your manager should know you or had worked with you. “The panel selects employees on the basis of their strengths and does not normally reject for weaknesses,’ says Ramkumar).

The only reason for the panel to reject an employee for weaknesses is when that weakness is considered a ‘stopping behaviour’, for example, a person showing excessive aggressive behaviour is a stopping behaviour for ICICI and hence that person will be out of the talent list.

The employee is then categorized under “A” List - ready to move to next role immediately, “B” List - ready to move in the coming 2 or 3 years, and “C” List - high performing individual with potential for a specialist role within that area of work without any emphasis on leadership development. This pool is revised annually and feedback to the employees plays a very important role in the overall process.

In terms of leadership development programs for those within the talent pool, the objective is to help leaders deal with adaptive challenges which are not amenable to analysis. During the different modules, mostly developed in-house, the participants learn to apply standard models while appreciating that choosing between alternate courses of actions will require sound judgment. The key focus of the program is to provide the talent pool an opportunity to build perspective by using the Action-Behavior-Consequence model. The most unique aspect of the program is the concept of group mentoring, as opposed to individual mentoring, where the entire senior and peer group come together to mentor and aid in the individual’s development. This program is interwoven with top management sessions where the CEO and board members and successful icons play key roles in the group dialogue.

Results show the success of this plan - the targets are ambitious as it aims to create sufficient “bench strength” to cater to all critical jobs in the group. With more than 10 CEO and Board level positions filled only by internal staff in the last 7 months, the program is definitely working and showing tangible benefits.