Cipla: Nurturing inspirational managers

The pharmaceutical firm is empowering its managers and providing them with the tools required to focus on building people essentials.

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Managers act as the building blocks of a company. For the long-term survival of the organisation, it is very important to strengthen the capabilities of the managers from a business point of view as well as a people’s perspective. Also, managers are the ones in direct contact with the employees of an organisation.

While many skills are essential for the development of a business, people management skills are amongst the most important. It is the people who drive businesses, while the managers drive the people.

Making its managers more competent and skilful, Cipla University, which is the learning and development arm of Cipla, introduced LEADx — a programme focussing on building people- management skills in its managers.

Prabir Jha

“LEADx focusses on people essentials of Cipla leadership essentials and cover both its dimensions – Inspiration and talent mindset”

“LEADx is a flagship intervention of Cipla University’s Leadership Academy. This result-oriented intervention builds people-management skills and enables managers to lead with excellence and produce exponential results,” shares Prabir Jha, president & global chief people officer, Cipla.

LEADx is a three-day classroom learning programme for managers. According to Abhay K Srivastava, chief talent officer, Cipla, the training starts much before the learning session begins and continues even after the three-day classroom sessions are over.

Before coming to the class people are sent small write-ups or modules for the sessions with a small questionnaire. They also have interactive discussions with their managers and research on topics related to the training sessions with their groups.

The three-day session covers six to eight modules. Each module has exercises, such as activity-based learning, role plays customised to Cipla’s context, group-work, self-introspection and action planning.

As described by Srivastava, there are some requirements for selecting and enrolling people into this programme. The first requirement, ‘Ignite’, focuses on tapping high performers who are at the brink of getting into managerial or higher roles in the organisation. Second are the first time managers or new managers who have undergone the Leadership Academy’s first-time manager programme, LEAP, and who can attend after a gap of six or 12 months.

Abhay Srivastava

“Cipla has always been at the forefront of business and people practices. If you want to build a culture of innovation and excellence, it is important to start with your managers because scalability will come through them”

The company makes sure that managers and other participants, from all parts of the business and across functions, are able to get together and learn under one roof.

There is another programme called ‘Clark’ which is exclusively for the top leadership teams and is a 10-11 months programme where some amount of LEADx is also plugged in.

The organisation appointed masters for the LEADx programme, who work with the participants and keep a tight check on their deliverables. These master trainers are selected from within the organisation from the L&D team. The masters also have to go through a five-day learning programme which includes mock drills and hands-on experience.

“The master trainers take feedback from employees if they are facing any difficulty in their function and try to guide them to rectify it. After six months, we get back to them to see the level of progress. Therefore, it is a continuous learning process,” describes Srivastava.

“LEADx focusses on people essentials of Cipla leadership essentials and cover both its dimensions – Inspiration and talent mindset,” mentions Jha.

There are six levers in the leadership essentials of Cipla and two of them are people essentials — talent mindset and inspiration. LEADx programme covers both of these dimensions. Talent mindset deals with building the ability of observing talent and making a team of talented people. ‘Inspiration’ stresses more upon how a person can become an inspirational leader for its members.

The need for such kind of learning and developmental programmes for people becomes essential with the kind of rapid changes we are witnessing in the business and the HR world. According to Srivastava, the programme is very much important to deal with the external environmental changes, such as digitisation and easy availability of knowledge with the new generation which will be joining the workforce.

Through this programme, Cipla also wants to bring innovation and problem-solving skills to the leadership and managerial levels.

“Cipla has always been at the forefront of business and people practices. If you want to build a culture of innovation and excellence, it is important to start with your managers because scalability will come through them,” says Srivastava.

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