The first session of the International Research Colloquium, Day 4, was addressed by Dr. Sushanta Kumar Mishra, professor at IIM Bangalore. His International Journal of HRM paper received the Michael Poole Highly Commended Award for 2019. He spoke on the topic of –
The session began with a brief introduction of ‘Resilience-what it is and how to build it’ Dr. Sushanta explained that resilience is the ability to bounce back through failure. The session was then quickly driven into the enlightening texts of Mahabharata and Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, more precisely, about the conversation between Arjun and Lord Krishna. Citing that, he said that the world is volatile and unpredictable, and thus we need to build the critical competencies of making ourselves strong internally, which is resilience. He asked us to change our perception of this world. He said that failure is an inevitable reality of life, and thus we need to build the ability to bounce back from them. He taught us that human beings evolve through their failures. He cited a beautiful example of an experiment conducted on three students, which showed that human beings develop through hardships and failures. It is important to learn helplessness and that when human beings achieve the state of absolute helplessness, they tend to accept their reality.
Further, numerous examples of personalities like Victor Frankl, Nelson Mandela, Jadhav Molai Payeng (The Forest Man of India), Dashrath Manjhi (The Mountain Man), and Steve Jobs cite the two most valuable lessons. We can learn from these people- first, one must find one’s life’s purpose. Second, love is the greatest motivator of all, and therefore we must find out our love. Post this, an example of an African tribe was cited, where the people have a tradition of tying up a culprit and reminding that person of their good deeds in life, which changes that culprit for the better. He used this to point out very cardinal learning: negativity brings divisiveness, and positivity brings unity. Thus, he urged us to see the positive in other people. He said that stress is a state of mind by our choice, and we must look within ourselves, when stressed, instead of blaming others. He asked us to celebrate humanity and stated that positive emotions build positive energy, always contagious.
He further stated the importance of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and how it can be achieved through yoga. He said it is important to accept our current state, our absolute reality, and invest in our development. We must learn to adapt to changes, make ourselves strong internally, and take life one step at a time. He expressed that competition brings negativity, and thus organizations must work towards building a more collaborative workforce to enhance employee happiness and productivity. He strengthened this position by stating the difference between ‘Ranabhoomi’ and ‘Rangabhoomi’- the importance of the state of invincibility that one must achieve. He ended his speech by saying that we will build a greater country if we believe in ourselves.
The second session of the day witnessed Dr. Aniket Sengupta, Adjunct Faculty at Normandie Business School in France, speak during the second session of the International Research Colloquium. His talk on “Building Agile and Resilient Organizations” was much appreciated by the Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development.
From a retail standpoint, Dr. Aniket provided the groundwork for the discussion. He stressed that agility encompasses strength, change, adaptation to internal and external changes, and how a firm responds to changing client needs and expectations, among other things. He also stated that a company is agile if it can predictably fulfill the quickly changing expectations of consumers while still delivering on its commitments. He further went on to say that retaining a continual competitive edge is important, and agility plays a big part in that.
Dr. Aniket then discussed the strategies businesses utilize to be agile and what makes an organization agile. During this time, he discussed the most important topics, such as shifting customer needs, green, ethical products, etc. Diving deeper into the topic, Dr. Aniket explained the benefits of organizational agility. The key to agility involves encouragement, enhancement, improvement, disruption, and a speed-up approach. He also discussed the Anticipation, Adaption, and Action (or 3A) approach to agility. Prof. Aniket further described the several forms of skill, including strategic, growing, operational, managerial, and infrastructure agility.
When asked how the retail business has evolved, he noted how traditional retail is changing, people’s demands are shifting, and people are developing a “need to do more” mindset. As a result, he emphasized that firms engaged in the digital realm have become a must. While talking about how the e-commerce industry is growing in COVID when compared to the last ten years, Prof. Aniket provided an interesting example, where a North American retail company came up with a single focus vision of restoring the focus of the e-commerce platforms to handle the unprecedented spike online.
Before the session was wrapped, Prof. Aniket patiently answered the questions posed by students and scholars. When asked if Cultural agility is possible in this era of globalization, he suggested that this agility is very much possible and prominent globally. He laid out notable examples from a global point of view and an indigenous point of view.
It was an impactful session and provided the students and scholars in the audience with a holistic view of Building Agile and Resilient Organizations.
-Management Committee, SCMHRD