'Bet on talented youth, own up responsibility'

CIOL Bureau
New Update

BANGALORE, INDIA: India should be ideally contributing up to 20 per cent to the growth of global economy and to realize it, top leadership in organizations should be accountable, said Infosys Limited director Ravi Venkatesan.


At the conference on Managing Human Resources in a Globalized Economy: Building for the Future. Organized by the All India Management Association, he said, "We are currently the fifth largest economy in the world, but that's not enough. We have to aspire to become the first. India continues to be full of potential, so double-digit growth is nothing for us."

His recipe to successfully achieving it is to have country managers in corporations, as every geographic location has its own identity and set of issues. "Normally, there is a sales manager reporting to the Asia-Pacific head, but it's important to have a country manager, instead. If you want behavioral change in the entire set-up, make the leadership accountable," said Venkatesan, emphasizing that the country manager or CEO, in case of India, should take responsibility on young talent.

From his own experience, he quoted a couple of instances when he was coaxed, motivated and driven to greater heights because he was spotted early. "Today, most of us don't take risks on young talent; one should bet on youngsters with huge potential."


According to Venkatesan, one should invest large amounts of money on building people's capabilities. He also advocated rotational work policy by sending bright youngsters to other countries and organizations to gain more exposure and experience to get ready for greater responsibilities. "But most companies spend less than 0.5 per cent on these (building capabilities)," he contended.

How to deal with talent is also very crucial to the growth of economies. "Even big companies like Larsen & Toubro and Tata are facing CEO succession crisis, despite having programmes to groom younger crop of employees. The emphasis must be on developing middle-level managers."

Hiring a foreigner as the top executive for a drastically different geography doesn't necessarily translate into success. "Not every expat succeeds in India. Some tend to mess up and then somebody else has to step in and clean up," he said.

It's important to have someone good with people and making people decisions as well as with the courage to do what is right and optimize, without giving undue importance to short-term growth, pointed out Venkatesan.

Profoundly different level of HR leadership, said Venkatesan, was the need of the hour. "They should also be experienced in some business domains, without being restricted to only human resources-related activities."