Friday, November 12, 2010

K Jairaj, IAS visits campus..

I had the good opportunity to interact with a senior bureaucrat of Karnataka govt this morning.

K. Jairaj, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Karnataka visited the campus of T John College this morning and delivered a talk on "Industry Institute Interaction and Challenges to Managers". The visit was organised by Dr Sreedharan, Principal, TIMS and was attended by the Chairman Dr Thomas John and Campus Director Wing Commander (Retd.) P. Sambasivan.

The talk was very enlightening and motivational. In his vast experience in many departments within Karnataka and finally as the additional Chief Secretary, Jairaj with his open global outlook, was a treat for the students to listen to. With his studies at Delhi School of Economics, Princeton Uty and Harvard Business School, there could not have been a better administrator cum academic to listen to for the students and faculty alike.

He spoke of his meeting with Jack Welch, the legendary CEO of General Electric who took GE to great heights, in Bangalore ten years back. At that time he asked Jack, what were the qualities he would look for in a person for recruitment. Mr Jairaj spoke of the five Es which Jack mentioned and added the fifth E which were compulsory traits to be inculcated among all potential managers if they wish to come up and excel in life.

The first E was relating to Energy which is a function of the mind and body. A sound and healthy mind in a sound body is a prerequisite to be able to excel in all our endeavours.
The second factor is being able to enthuse or energise one's colleagues and subordinates to work as a team.
The third factor of empowering aims to share power and responsibilities with colleagues and subordinates.
The fourth factor was the execution capabilities within the time, money, human and material constraints we usually face.
Jairaj added the fifth E, Ethics at the workplace, the model compass which guides us in our daily activities. Ends do not justify means, rather means are as important as the ends in any of our endeavours.

Lack of the fifth E was pointed out by Jairaj to be responsible for the large scale deficiency we note in most of the public works. In US too it was the lack of ethics which resulted in the present sub-prime crisis, Enron collapse and the expose of the greatest con of the century, Bernie Madoff whose Ponzi schemes duped investors to the tune of $50 billion.

Comparing India and China he made it a point to mention of the demographic dividend of India in comparison with China. Our median age is just 26 years while that of China is around 37 years and still more for Europe, Japan and US. One point which he made caught my attention was that the only thing we can be assured at this particular point of time is of GROWTH. Presently at 8.5 to 9 % GDP growth we can aim for 10% growth in the near future.

He also made an interesting comparison of FDI inflows last year of $ 16 billion into India and $ 90 billion into China. If we are able to increase FDI inflows into our country from $16 billion to $ 55 billion in the next five years we can be assured of GDP growth at about 15 %, surpassing even China. It is said that every $6-7 billion pouring as FDI into the country increases our GDP by 1%. Refer to this article from The Economist quoted in Economic Times ..

He concluded the talk by highlighting three takeaways from the talk, Students need to understand Management as a profession, where empowerment of subordinates, enthusiasm, execution of activities, all can result in a good job. They need to ponder over whether they have the required knowledge of the different areas to be a good manager and try to acquire the missing skills. Also they need to reorient their ethics compass to make sure their actions are ethically correct and does not harm any group or community of society.

(It is to sensitise the responsibilities of the students to the society that from this year we are starting what is called Socially Useful Productive Activities (SUPA) in TJC ( from my earlier XIME experience..). More explanation can be had at this link. )

Mr Jairaj has promised another talk on Ethics to a larger student audience in the coming days, we are all eagerly looking forward to that. His humility and child-like innocence were the two points that got me endeared to him. He made it a point to enquire where all the senior people from TJC were from, their place of stay, it gave us an idea of his concern for others, an essential trait for any successful person, being interested in others' welfare and good.

Being able to interact with a senior bureaucrat and the future Chief Secretary of the state of Karnataka and learn from his wisdom, vast experience and humility is indeed something which I will remember for a long time to come.


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