National HRD Network in the Next Orbit
T. V. Rao
Founder President, National HRD Network
Today is the fourteenth conference of the National HRD Network. It is appropriately titled as next orbit. This is the third conference since its inception that I am not going to be there. I remember not being able to go to the Calcutta conference in mid eighties organised by the Calcutta chapter and coordinated by Keith. I did not go there on purpose as I wanted to signal that the new team deserves to be at centre stage. Guptaji from SAIL did not forgive me for a long time for my not being there. It was at this conference (symposium as it does not figure out in the list prepared by Satya) Rajesh Vidyasagar who was President of the National HRD Network chose Debashish Mitra to succeed him as he was going to join the World Bank. However I had to be deeply involved in the NHRDN subsequent to the conference in spite of my decision to let go of the NHRDN. Debashish had to be guided. Baburaj Nair was in position as Executive Secretary and NHRDN was housed in AHRD. Baburaj also had to be guided.
NHRDN has come a long way since then. In the last ten years it has grown on its own under the active leadership of Arvind, Santrupt, Dwarka and Aquil and now with N S Rajan and many others associated with it.
Today’s conference is symbolic. Last year NHRDN has changed its logo. This year the HRD Newsletter has been given a new shape. The conference is also being addressed by a large number of CEOs and people who represent contemporary business. Kapil Sibal is expected to inaugurate.
I am not involved and I was not even consulted on anything. I am happy that HRD Network has grown to exist totally on its own with no past baggage. Last night I had a call from Fr. E Abraham who is co-founder of the NHRDN that he is being awarded “Life Time Achievement” award. It is well deserved award as Abe has worked without expecting anything in return and silently and in his own way for NHRDN and HR profession. XLRI has already got the award several years ago.
I have requested NHRDN conference organisers to pay appropriate homage to Dr. Udai Pareek in the conference as it is the first major event after his death. While he was alive he contributed a lot to NHRDN and very silently. He spent even more time than me and he was associated with the selection of many Presidents of the NHRDN. G P Rao used to consult me in the beginning and latter inform me but always banked on Udai. Now I come to know only in the news bulletins and circulars like any other member. I can see what truly what we all stood for “Ravi Matthai type of Institution building” happening. Ravi and Udai used to say that even after some leaders leave the leadership roles, their ghost or shadow keeps ruling the institution. I am happy that our ghosts are no where there.
There is only one fear that NHRDN should not given up some of the culture and good critical practices which we meticulously nurtured and stood by. These are like the habit of providing an opportunity for youngsters and truly innovative HR professionals to present papers in the conference and also bring out a book containing the papers. When PVR wanted me to edit a special issue of NHRDN Journal containing select papers of the last conference I requested him to extend it to the last three conferences where there was no publication. We tried to get papers and we did not succeed besides getting a few power point presentations. We spend lakhs and lakhs of rupees to host an event, only a few members attend and others do not even get to know the proceeds of the conference. It is not acceptable. It defeats the very purpose of NHRDN of disseminating knowledge and educating others with best practices. Another good practice we had was to have a large number of committees and provide experience to young professionals to experience and build their organizational capabilities. We did not have event managers but had young members manage events and save money. Today it is difficult not to have event managers but also an opportunity to young professionals to manage such events should not be denied.
Siddiqui said that they are bringing the volume this time and are also organising to create a CD of the proceeds. It is wonderful that NHRDN has already moved in to the next orbit like the country also has moved into the next orbit. I hope the change is for good of the profession and it will serve the profession to move the profession to the next orbit rather than a few individuals who are managing the NHRDN.
What should “Moving to the Next Orbit” mean for National HRD Network?
Change has to be in terms of lifting HRD up. To me the agenda of NHRD in lifting the HRD up is through making HR function an integral part of all people. The focus should now shift from HR Department driven HRD to user driven HRD. As we dreamt long ago, the success of HRD function is when it has attained status of self liquidation. It is not needed any more to promote learning among line managers or other employees. It only provides a milieu and mechanisms and learning happens on its own.
I also hope that the next orbit of HRD means movement to social issues, public services, NGOs, and the government. There are scams after scams coming out.
What is the role of HRD in this self destruction that seems to happen through the scams?
When do all these people who want to make money by all means or my any means and put the country, its name and progress to risk realise that it does not work. India has matured and that all of them will have to face some day or the other and sooner than later the public wrath and they are not likely to carry anything with them when they die. They only carry with them a bad name and the curse of millions of people for destroying the image and preventing perhaps a few more lakhs of the poor to have two meals a day or access to education. They do not carry any money and in fact their children and all those associated with them will be cursing them for what they have done. Be it a politician, a civil servant, or an industrialist or anyone who is so greedy that he indulges in corrupt practices will carry only the human curse with them.
How does one create this awareness that corruption and greed only bring misery to those who are corrupt and also to their offspring and those associated with them?
How does one improve the declining public services by using innovations in technology?
How do we help guide the talented youth and gen Y and Z from rather than being confused and going stray to be focussed and build themselves and the nation?
How do we ensure that the slowly dwindling values in the country like loyalty to the nation and the Organization should return back to focus and integrity and character are the building blocks of a nation’s development?
How do we educate all sections of the society to choose their political leaders who are value driven and concerned for the country rather than their party and power?
How do we educate people in the country that their fate lies in the leaders they choose and not in the amount they get to vote during the elections?
How do we spot and mobilise people who are committed to their country and are people with integrity and character to take courage and take up leadership positions?
How do we produce more and more Sam Pitrodas, Abdul Kalams, Kiran Bedis, Nandan Nilekhenis, Narayan Murthys, Anu Agas, Vijay Mahajans, Sharath Babus, Kumar Birlas, Rangarajans, Manmohan Singhs, Vikram Sarabhais, Kiran Mazumdar Shaws, Ravi Matthais and Kuriens? How do we provide access to talented people in corners of the country living in villages having no access to education to come to the forefront and get educated in IIMS and IITs and lead the nation into the future?
How do we change the greedy industrialists who start hospitals and educational institutions purely with a profit motive and misguide the talented doctors and nurses to serve their greed than to serve the public?
How do we get them to know that profit can be made with service if they are not too greedy and profit at any cost is detrimental to the nation and in the long run to themselves as they are also perpetuating scams of a different nature and it is only matter of time that they will have their day as the exploited public wake up.
How do we get the corrupt government officers in various departments at block level, district level, state departments and so on to feel that they are living on the tax payer’s money and that they should do their jobs well and speed up their services and be less corrupt?
How do we create systems and processes including compensation systems that can totally eliminate corrupt practices which are detrimental to speed and progress of the Nation?
How do we create continuous learning atmosphere? How do we enable organizations to encourage innovations and take risks and learn and learn?
How do we prevent government and various agents and agencies that mindless target obsession has the risk of bringing down the quality and introducing wastage and in some cases even promoted harassment of the citizens?
These are some of the challenges of the nation, and NHRDN should start dealing with some of these issues at least and promote local bodies to undertake this.
If NHRDN has to truly move into the next orbit they should change the nature of their thinking, the nature of their spending and the concerns of people who are leading it. They themselves should be people of character, integrity and have single minded purposes of “Nation Building through HRD” much more than their personal image building. Most of those associated already have a good image and awards to their credit and are people of accomplishments. It is time they spend their time addressing the issues of importance to the nation.
Then only we can say that HRDN has helped the profession and through it the country and the corporations to the next orbit.