Leadership qualities required in the Industry & How SOIL is imparting these qualities

SOIL is an experiment in “Higher Education”. It aims to build leaders with “Character, Competence and enthusiasm” who enable organizations to take responsibility for the way we live now.

Most of the problems that the world faces today require “Inspired Leadership” rather than “good old management”. We cannot “manage” terrorism, climate change, corruption, loss of community and other such global challenges. Instead we need to create a sense of shared vision, purpose, responsibility, synergy and corrected action as one global community. This is the role of leaders who are truly “aware”, deeply “care” and “dare” to make a difference.

In SOIL, we have started a new conversation on “Inspired Leadership”. We believe that “Character” can be built at any age. We refuse to take the defeatist view that all values are shaped in our early childhood and cannot be changed once our minds our “set” in our twenties. Instead we believe in the power of vision led transformation that can be brought about at any age.

Values are shaped by rituals, symbols and stories. The five values that define character in our eyes are; Mindfulness, Ethics, Compassion, Sustainability and Diversity.

Mindfulness is about living in the moment and not having regrets about the past or the anxiety of the future. It is about being “fully” present so that all our gifts are illumined by the “consciousness” within each one of us that makes us full of curiosity, child like enthusiasm and complete openness. This sparks the “genie” in “us” – the genius that makes us highly innovative and learn at an accelerated pace.

Mindfulness is developed at SOIL through education in “Wellness” that covers Yoga and meditation. It is practiced every morning through the ritual of the “morning circle” in which all students , faculty and staff in a circle, hold hands and then recite a prayer from any denomination and observe silence for a short while.

Ethics is the difference between our right to do things and the right things to do in a context. Ethics are imbibed through all that we do in SOIL in the way we live, lead, manage and practice. Our accounts and MIS are “transparent”, we have a “zero tolerance” policy for unethical behavior, we stand up and fight any pressure from authorities to “bribe” to get our rightful work done etc. It is also explored through week long intense simulations of live case studies from our everyday lives by developing theater to appreciate “dilemmas” while acting in the roles of the concerned stakeholders.

Compassion is about the capacity to feel for others and take action to make others less pained and happier. Compassion is developed in SOIL through our “Social Innovation Program” which entails every student working with a NGO, one day a week to focus on a real life social cause that enables our world to become better.

It is also reinforced through a week long learning journey to Chinmaya Mission’s Tapovan Ashram at Sidhbari in the Himalayas. The students visit the villages to learn and feel first hand, the amazing work done by the Chinmaya organization of Rural Development (CORD) in transforming the lives of over 700 villages in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh.

Sustainability is about balancing the needs of today with tomorrow is taught through courses in sustainable business (clean, green tech) and by observing daily practices to conserve our resources like energy and water.

Diversity is about valuing and leveraging the uniqueness o each person. It is practiced by profiling of each student in terms of multiple intelligences like IQ, EQ, creativity etc and encouraging students to work in teams by leveraging each others’ uniqueness. It is reinforced by inviting visiting faculty from all over the world and by student exchange programs with other schools in different parts of the world.

Competence is about the capacity to think holistically and innovatively. It is taught in Soil vy course in whole systems thinking, critical thinking skills, decision making skills etc. It is reinforced through “Action Learning Projects” in which teams of students comprising of all three cohorts of Business Leadership, Marketing Leadership and HR Leadership working in organizations on real life problems which require them to use all their knowledge and skills make a difference.

Enthusiasm is developed through courses on “Self Leadership” which enable students to define their purpose/vision and values and identify their gifts and learn to leverage their gifts towards their “calling”. It is reinforced throughout the year through regular dialogue with internal and external mentors. SOIL is fortunate to have over 100 senior leaders from Industry who act as mentors to our students through monthly 1:1 sessions.

Students also work on their “Individual Learning Plan” right through the year. SOL believes that if each person discovers her/his purpose, “knows” his/her gifts and learns to leverage his/her positives towards what matters to each person then the person always does his/her best work and is joyful and enthusiastic.

This comprehensive approach to development helps students not just to learn the basics of management subjects like Finance, Marketing, operations, Strategy, HR and IT but use this conceptual knowledge in ways that creates the highest impact and positive energy.

SOIL runs a very intense one year Program that has 40% emphasis on character building, 40% on competitive development and 20% on generating and sustaining enthusiasm – it is therefore the right combination of “Being “,”Knowing” and “Doing” – the three ingredients of transformational learning.

We are blessed to receive the support of a large number of conscious businesses, NGO’s and educators in this bold new thinking.