2/23 – Transformational Leadership, Bangladesh

January-February 2014 / Notes from the Field

Transformational Leadership: Tapping into Your Personal DNA – An Executive Education program facilitated by Prasad Kaipa in Bangladesh.

prasad

Prasad Kaipa

Every now and then I encounter something that surprises me or deepens my thinking about it. Usually I notice that I have not been aware of an assumption or perspective I hold. This experience opens the door to a new dimension of awareness. That is what I experienced when I heard about a program Prasad Kaipa has done in Bangladesh.
Why should this surprise me? I have been so focused in recent years on the vivid tensions between India and Pakistan that I have rarely considered what is happening in the relationship between India and Bangladesh – this country that used to be known as East Pakistan. It is also a predominantly Muslim country with Bangla or Bengali culture and Prasad Kaipa is a student of Hindu philosophy, as well as a successful consultant internationally with clients like Boeing, Ford, Xerox, Nokia, etc. How wonderful that this could happen in South Asia. It is a symbol of transcending old conflicts and divisions while reaching toward our common humanity.
Some of the participants sent comments about their experience with the program that would no doubt speak to most of us — who are interested in a broader and deeper delve into self as leader. I share these with you as a way of pointing to the potential for transcultural collaboration, so essential to the evolution of human socieities.
Description of the program

The basis for this programme is an intense 25-year action-research into the nature of learning and thinking, achieved by interviewing Nobel laureates, over 100 CEOs, successful athletes, musicians, psychologists, brain researchers, and spiritual leaders. This path breaking research reveals that each person has a unique ‘essence’ or DNA which, when tapped, clarifies purpose, evokes passion, unleashes leadership, and harvests creativity. This process is called ‘Igniting one’s natural genius’. Some of this work is documented in Prasad’s International Bestselling book From Smart to Wise (co-written with Navi Radjou and published by Jossey Bass in 2013).

Comments from Participants

Warm regards from Bangladesh, a developing country with great potential. It has a population of over 160 million and consistent a GDP growth rate of over 6 percent for almost last two decades.

I attended the Training Program of Dr. Prasad Kaipa at ISB (Indian School of Business) at Hyderabad titled “Transformational Leadership – tapping into your personal DNA” in August 2013. I was quite impressed with the program. What I liked most was the aspect of looking into one’s inner self. The usual leadership training talks more about effectiveness and efficiency of influencing others through 360 degree feedback, motivation, influence, negotiation and so on. This program, on the contrary, focuses on being aware of one’s North Star (one’s ultimate purpose} and aligning it with organizational objectives,
We explored core incompetence (competence that made one’s past successes, but cannot take one forward), energy triggers and energy drainers, knowing when and being able to let-go (as against give-up) and using them all for positive impact. Rather than focusing on the environment and ‘others’, the course focuses on one’s inner strengths (or development areas) and capabilities and links them to leadership styles.

I was so satisfied with the program that right after the concluding session, I proposed that Dr. Kaipa come and offer the course in Bangladesh. He agreed and we, from Brac Bank Limited, organized/coordinated the course for the senior managers of the Industry. The first program in February 2014 in Bangladesh was attended by 30 participants from banks, non-bank financial institutions, a ready-made garment manufacturer, a paints and chemical manufacturer, etc.

Mahbub Alam, Head of Learning and Development, Brac Bank Limited had been personally involved in organizing/coordinating the program and attended the program as well. I am sure, he will provide his feedback also. This is my short but prompt initial feedback but would be glad to respond if you need any clarification or have any specific query.

Mohammad Mamdudur Rashid, Deputy Managing Director, Brac Bank Limited, Bangladesh

__________

This training has given me something which I will take into the rest of my life; it is “belief”. Belief in myself. Let me tell you of my story. Three days back I got a call from my Bank’s Training Institute (Bank Asia Institute for Training & Development) that I was to conduct a training session in front of a large audience who specialized in trade finance.
Immediately I asked the person why he had chosen me. I am not a trade specialized person. Rather, I specialized in credit and relationship management. The person replied that he didn’t know why the management thought I was the right person. I said that then it is OK.

In fact I said OK with much doubt in my mind and fear of humiliation in front of a huge audience. But here the training provided by Prasad Kaipa works (Transformational Leadership – Tapping into Your Personal DNA), I drew of the lessons as an opportunity to believe in myself YES I CAN! Subsequenlty, in three days I went through hundreds of pages regarding the trade finance, discussed it with some senior experts on some of the issues with my understanding and clarity. I conducted the training session. Everyone applauded the presentation/delivery/course materials, etc. Thank you, Dr. Prasad Kaipa. You have given me belief in myself.

Ziaul Hasan, Executive Vice President, Bank Asia Limited, Bangladesh.

__________

Based on my chats with participants and the post program evaluation, I am delighted to write a few words on key takeaways from me and many of the participants from the program.
Looking more at WHY than WHAT and HOW was one of my key takeaways from the program. Be it a product and services for customers, a job role of an employee, a manager or leader of a company, a parent of your children or a member of the society. often times we focus more on WHAT and HOW while ignoring WHY. Prasad’s effort in the program was to help participants discover one’s WHY – their NORTH STAR.

Being the organizer as well as one of the participants in the program, I observed that Prasad has been able to create huge enthusiasm about discovering Self among the participants. Several exercises of the program revealed (at least for some of us) how narrow is our world, how confused we are in terms of our values and how our authentic values and behaviors are suppressed by the social and cultural forces around us.

Prasad also explained as how one can enlighten Self by inspiring & helping others and by creating a meaning for them. Transformation occurs when one acts wisely on this realization.
Based on conversations with participants during and after the program, I found a significant shake up in the minds of participants in terms of finding their North Star – the authentic purpose of their job and life. The participants rated the program very highly in terms of achieving its objectives. Inspired by the learning from the program, participants of BRAC Bank have already conceptualized a project to empower its managers. We are also planning to invite Prasad to conduct another round of the program end of this year.

Md. Mahbubul Alam , Head of Learning & Development , BRAC Bank

__________

Here are some additional comments about most valuable takeaways from the training:

“How to tap into your inner self, how to enhance your leadership quality & discover suppressed qualities”
Nawed Iqbal, Chief Executive Officer, BRAC IT Services (bITS)

“Creating meaning in the lives of others.”
Firoz Ahmed Khan, Head of Retail Banking, BRAC Bank Limited

“Understand where I am and what to do.”
Md. Omar Kabir, Executive Vice President Prime Bank Limited

“Knowing Myself and to work on it”
Syed Abdul Momen, Head of Small Business, BRAC Bank Limited

“Provide insight in respect to where I should be. How to generate confidence and inspire someone. How energy can be triggered.”
Md. Zakir Hussain, Deputy Managing Director, Mutual Trust Bank Limited

“Personal transformation:  transformation requires mindset, it is different than change. How do beliefs get created that are very helpful in making decisions and taking actions.”
Mohammed Monirul Moula, Executive Vice President, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited

“Knowledge about how successful leaders have achieved their goals certainly gave me motivation and guidance.”
Quazi Nizam Ahmed, Deputy General Manager,  United Leasing  Company

“How to get released from a stuck situation.”
Mohd. Mohon Miah, Executive Vice President, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited

“Learn to manage energy and also to create an alarm system to prevent unnecessary energy drains.”
Md. Shafiqur Rahman, Executive Vice President, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited

“Transformation process of leadership among others around me by making a link in my three states of mind: conscious, subconscious and unconscious.”
Ashim Chowdhury, Head of Business Project Delivery, IFIC Bank Limited

___________

As I read these, I was reminded of comments from other workshops at other times when I facilitated or participated. Comments like these were (and are) highly prized by those who design, deliver, and take responsibility for development programs and interventions.
Lest there is any doubt, the international opportunities for drawing on multiple cultures and philosophies in individual development for leader roles are multiplying. Our hope is that more encompassing approaches, not based solely on culture but on meta models – integral, transdisciplinary and otherwise – will influence such development in ever more generative ways all over the world.

 

Russ Volckmann

Russ Volckmann

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