Many organizations today have a Management Trainee (MT) program that lets Young Leaders explore various functions of a company, shares organization processes and fast tracks grooming for future leadership roles. We at Piramal Consumer Products help all our management trainees go through these learning processes, but we do offer one unique experience in our program.
With the help of Piramal Foundation, we invest one month of our Young Leaders’ time in helping them understand themselves better and discover what they value deeply and why those values really matter in their life. This is achieved by sending them to rural villages in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. We will be sending our 3rd batch of 22 MTs for a rural stint. With the help of Piramal Foundation and Gandhi Fellows working tirelessly to make a positive impact on society, they have to acclimatize to their environment in a few days and strive to realize local problems. Post the first week, they are on their own. This means as individuals, the Young Leaders have to convince one village house to allow them to stay with them without rent and convince the locals to give them food. In return, they contribute to the family’s daily activities and also to the society, by teaching village kids in local schools. Imagine asking someone in a metropolis, as a newcomer to the city, ‘will you keep me in your house for a month?’ ‘And give me food also? Without paying rent?’ Just consider whether youwould keep an unknown stranger as a guest for a month in your homes. Most villagers agree to this arrangement!
In our experience, most management graduates today come from privileged backgrounds. This program is designed to make them understand and experience life without the privileges that are taken for granted. They learn what life is like without access to ironed clothes, food, sanitary washrooms, comfortable bedrooms, electricity, and technologies like TV and cable connections.
We’ve seen all our Young Leaders adapt to these challenges rather well. They not only overcome their challenges but thrive in them, making an impact in the schools they teach in and the families they live with. This experience makes them better human beings, better leaders and helps them discover their true self.
So how does this one month help them discover themselves?
Knowledge – of rural lifestyles, how the vast majority of the Indian populace makes a living. What does it mean to truly earn a meal after a hard day’s work? Being self-dependent and backing yourself up in tough situations. Being socially responsible. For e.g. they start getting up at the time when the family in rural areas get up to go to the field, unlike what they do at their homes.
Action – of contributing to the rural society by teaching, doing social work, and helping others who come from underprivileged backgrounds. Emphasizing to the locals the value of education and how it can shape their children’s future. Convincing them not to stop investing in children’s education.
Care – When they see locals with so little resources and money welcoming them with open arms, to stay in their homes, providing food and shelter, these MTs learn the value of Trust, and also to help fellow human beings without expecting anything in return. Caring about fellow human beings, their cattle in the field, etc. makes them socially responsible. They learn empathy and humility as they live the villagers’ life. This, in turn, helps them when they become leaders to understand their team’s point of view and think where the team members may be coming from.
Impact – There are instances when the Young Leaders and also the families, including kids, with whom they live in the village have tears in their eyes when their one month comes to an end. Their ability to teach kids basic reading, writing, art etc. is much appreciated by the people in Jhunjunu. The gratitude that is felt by the Young Leaders and the locals is genuine and warm. To trust others comes easily, the care for fellow human beings and empathy comes naturally in the relationships with such a stint.
Such a rural stint is not possible to execute without the dedicated work of the talented Foundation Team. This stint makes the Young Leaders discover what they deeply and truly value, thus indirectly understanding and aligning them to the 4 core values of Piramal group – Knowledge, Action, Care & Impact. They understand that money is not the only driving factor for decisions in life. This starts a virtuous cycle in their leadership journey, which one day will make them a substantially better human being along with being a better leader. This discovery of their own value system will hopefully lead them to create good business values in the future. As business values created without the right values is neither sustainable nor desirable.
Vice President, Self Care
Piramal Consumer Products, Mumba