The first week of July 2018 broke the dawn of India’s first Master’s program in Organisational Development, Change and Leadership (ODCL) at Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The MA ODCL is a unique 2-year full-time program offered by School of Management and Labour Studies at TISS. Today, we as a globe are facing a period of unprecedented transformation and our businesses have to think beyond standard models of management to thrive in uncertainties. There is a need to enable the system and its people to promote resilience in organisations while empowering organisations with agility to manage contemporary business realities of Digital, Social and Man-machine interactions. The programme addresses this by nurturing next-generation leaders, who will steer organisations through this transformation and beyond it.
The programme is designed to transform us personally and professionally as we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves along with a thorough knowledge of organisational strategy, operational excellence and the interplay of systems and people processes. This is in addition to creating an in-depth understanding of functional knowledge across management disciplines. Throughout the program, we are exposed to different business functions like Operations, Finance, HR and Marketing as we undergo Field immersion at various organisations simultaneously in each semester. These field immersions help us understand Organisations and their interactions with external realities and internal components holistically.
To understand futuristic mindset for creating sustainable systems in our organisations, the need to stay updated with the current realities in the industry is imperative and this is facilitated through our Master Class Series. The Master classes are conducted every week, wherein two industry specialists facilitate knowledge transfer under specific themes. Moreover, the exchange of ideas from the Global leaders to develop a futuristic orientation is facilitated through odX, wherein Leaders interact with us and exchange their learnings. In addition, the facility to work across virtual teams in collaboration with top universities across the globe helps us build cross-cultural competence as well.
The Eye doesn’t see the Eye that sees the Eye; understanding ourselves as individuals, as in-groups and as part of the society is one of the most reflective parts of the program wherein we as individuals become more open to learning who we are and what drives our decisions. One of our first lessons was to internalise the fact that Leaders need to be reflective, and those enabling Change must first be willing to change themselves. The richness of diversity in our classrooms brought home the idea of collaborative learning. Along with the inauguration of a self-created Library-of-necessity for the batch, the answer to how can we enable learning from peers in the most effective way was found in the collaborative-learning fora where we have already completed lessons on Basics of Management, Excel and Business models. Formal course work is underpinned by focused self-development initiatives that help enhance skills and capabilities - a workshop on Design thinking, a session on Understanding Culture, Diversity and Inclusivity, a workshop on Art and OD to name a few.
We envisage a differentiated leader as someone who harmonizes Business, People and Society. As the Pioneers of the first Master’s program in ODCL, we as a batch are set out in our movement to enable Sustainability as the mundane in our organisations and society at a larger level. Organisation Development is all about building a sustainable system of the change in the organisations to stay relevant and adapt to the changing spheres of innovations and disruptions. Millennials today, desire companies that have a social purpose and jobs that provide fulfilment of their need to create an impact. They believe in businesses creating wealth and co-existing with the society by sharing that wealth. Unilever’s “sustainable living” brands are growing 30% faster than the rest of the company. Leena Nair, Chief HR Officer at Unilever stated “I passionately believe that the future is about meaningful work and purposeful work. Because the pace of change is so fast, people do tend to be overwhelmed and threatened. I see the impact of what a meaningful purpose does to employee engagement, motivation, attrition. And I passionately believe that companies with a purpose last, brands with purpose grow, and people with purpose thrive in uncertain times.”
Being part of a unique institution, as we begin our journey towards creating a sustainable society, we started a ‘Plant-a-Poudha’ initiative wherein we as smaller groups plant saplings in communities around us. Change begins at home, after all, we are just meandering into things larger than ourselves.