CCL’s Anupam Sirbhaiya delivered a leadership development program for the 10,000 Women program in Bangalore along with Acumen Fund and Indian School of Business. 10,000 Women is an initiative created by Goldman Sachs to increase the number of underserved women receiving a business and management education. The following is excerpted from a report by Nicole Orillac and Sophie Forbes of Acumen Fund:
The training was held on June 27, 2009 in Bangalore, India at the Goldman Sachs offices. A total of 21 participants out of 30 members of the 10,000 Women Bangalore program, attended the training in addition to two ISB professors and a guest speaker.
The key objectives of the training workshop were to:
- Introduce a model for personal development that participants can continue to use;
- Empower participants to come up with a plan on how to stay connected and support each other in the months coming forward;
- Provide practical tools for mentoring each other and their employees
The training workshop was based on a variety of resources, both technical and people, from Acumen Fund, ISB, and CCL and was supported by funding from Goldman Sachs.
The workshop was designed to be one full day. At the start of the training, participants were asked to share what they expected to learn from the workshop. The common expectations from the group were to learn how to motivate their employees, to keep themselves motivated, to sustain and activate the existing network among the 10,000 Women and to reflect about their own personal strengths and weaknesses.
The day began with a session for focused on cohort building. Two activities – Most Admired Person and Questions Carrousel - provided a platform for participants to recognize the similarities in their experience as women entrepreneurs. In the “Questions Carrousel” activity the participants were asked to answer five questions individually and then separate into five groups (one group assigned to each question) to analyze the answers. Most groups identified emerging answer buckets for each question which came as a surprise to the participants.
In Session 2, focus shifted from the collective to the individual. Participants spent time reflecting on a significant event or experience from their past that impacted their lives as women entrepreneurs. Afterwards, the facilitators asked the participants to recollect the experience one more time and analyze if there were any other people involved and the roles these people played. The key take away for participants was the realization that often people take for granted that there are other individuals around them as they go through life experiences and that these people play different supporting roles: some act as advisors, others as sound boards or motivators, etc.
Next, the facilitators linked the lesson drawn in the previous session about supporting roles to CCL’s ‘Assessment-Challenge-Support’ (ACS) model for personal development. Participants understood that the process of learning is dynamic and that to get to the next level of personal development it is common to first go through a “dip” in which productivity decreases and support is required. During these phases it is important to asses the situation, identify the challenge and seek the right form of support.
After having lunch with their Goldman Sachs mentors, participants returned to the training room for a round of putting in practice the ACS Model. Using images, participants assessed their present and future position as entrepreneurs by answering the questions “Where I am today as an entrepreneur? and Where do I want to be?” Subsequently, participants identified individual and collective challenges in their path to be the entrepreneur they would like to be.
Five buckets of collective challenges emerged from the exercise:
1. Finding/recruiting the right people;
2. Market entry strategy (new market/diversifying/expansion);
3. Systems and business processes (Designing and implementing);
4. Getting funds/investors;
5. Personal development.
Later in session 5 the facilitators helped the participants explore different resources available within the group to address the group challenges identified in session 4 and create a framework for support.
Each group developed a different strategy for support. For example, the group working on “Challenge 1: Finding/Recruiting the right people” made a list to classify their peers according to their area of business or expertise and suggested they be the primary contacts to reach out to when looking for candidates with those specific skills or sector experience. On the other hand, the team working on “Challenge 2: Market entry strategy” mapped out the steps that from their experience are key to consider when addressing the challenge in question and volunteered to help their peers in tackling any or multiple of the steps.
To complement the personal development piece of the workshop, participants studied how to communicate important information about performance to subordinates, peers, or superiors in a way that helps them hear what you are saying and identify ways in which they can improve.
The premise being that learning how to give and receive feedback is an important skill for personal development. The training session ended with a review of the day’s lessons learned, a confirmation that the majority of the initial workshop expectations were met and completion of evaluations.
The day concluded with the presentation from Chetna Sinha, the guest speaker of the day. Ms. Chetna Sinha, president of the Mann Deshi Mahila micro-enterprise development bank, shared the challenges she faced in building an enterprise that today has 5 branches, over 86,000 clients and 7,900 members.