Team Work Makes Dream Work – Capgemini’s E.L.I.T.E. General Management Program

While in week 2 of the program we learned the value of La Niaque – fire in our belly, in week 3 we focused on effectively displaying this very fire. The leadership talks of the previous week had left us energised and we couldn’t wait to embark on our own journey with the firm. Before that, we would have to hone some of our own skills and sharpen our knowledge of Capgemini – the organisation and the offerings. The holiday on Monday, in addition to providing the opportunity to partake in the festivities of Eid, allowed us to catch our breaths and finalise roofs over our heads, completing our relocation activities in this dynamic city.

The week was centred on skill development, while continuing with the series of opportunities to interact with Capgemini’s senior leadership. We also spent a significant portion of time on our own internal projects that we would be presenting within a week’s time.

The week began on a high note with an interaction with Mr. Manoj Khera, and we got a good view of the company’s business in Australia and New Zealand. He gave us a few tips while narrating some of his experiences starting up a company on his own. While he discussed the differences between corporate and start-up life, he made an interesting observation – “Start-up is a culture not a company.” Even in a large multinational organisation such as Capgemini, we can embody start-up values such as innovation, customer centricity and flexibility.

“As a leader you have to have energy and more importantly energise. You aren’t defined by only your skillset but rather your ability to inspire the team around you. I enjoyed how Manoj gave us a distilled and practical application of Jack Welch’s famous philosophy.”

– Shabahat Shakeel, E.L.I.T.E. Trainee 2017

 

The day closed out with an interaction with Mr. Anirban Bose, and we got a flavor of how changes in the banking and capital markets space are dictating business transformations across the value chain. One of his quotes summarised the extent of change: “In a few years’ time, banking will be necessary but banks may not be.” In other words, there is no other way apart from creative destruction of what has already been done, in order to move forward. To be successful, organisations need to focus on being “the partner of tomorrow, and not a vendor of yesterday.”

 

“First impressions matter. I didn’t realise how many little nonverbal cues people use for evaluation in the first 7 seconds.”

– Saurav Mahapatra, E.L.I.T.E. Trainee 2017

 

What followed over the next two days became one of the highlights of the week – a workshop on communication skills. We were all pleasantly surprised by how relevant and practical it turned out to be. For instance, part of the workshop comprised of a number of exercises that put us into various real-life situations, followed by immediate feedback on what went well and what needed improvements. Watching videos of yourself presenting was a little jarring at first but crucial in removing some of our presentation crutches.

 

The sessions were facilitated by professional actors (shout out to Minita Gandhi, Kevin Douglas, and Pinnacle), and looking back, we can see why they would start their session with a section titled, “Reasons to hate training”. It was amazing to see how something as simple as breathing could impact effective communication. Even more fascinating was the change in our communication styles over the course of the workshop. In addition to the communication skills, the structure of the program ensured that we got to know and understand each other a little bit better, and this could become a vital success factor for us going forward.

 

 

We had been juggling three projects and their deliverables during the week and hadn’t realised the amount of work piled up. While presenting back on one of the projects, we realised, through feedback, the level of attention to detail and meticulous preparation that goes towards each presentation. It isn’t always easy to tell a compelling story, and having a narrative for the central message is essential for its reception and assimilation.

The last day had a number of interaction session with leaders, spanning topics across different business areas such as Automation, Application Development and Maintenance, and Testing. These sessions were important in helping us understand the actual value we deliver to clients. Collectively, these interactions helped us gain deeper insights into how the organization is securing its core while seeding the future.

The week ended as it had started: with a power-packed interaction with a member of the senior leadership team. Abhaya Gupta, Global Head of Technology Practice and a member of the Executive Committee, was in the Hyderabad campus and his experience of working on both sides of the table in the value chain added another level of comprehensiveness to our conversation. This also helped us gain insights into the rationale that underlies the organization’s strategy and approach to business development. One of the more memorable quotes from this week came by in this session, in reference to how the notion of work-life balance is subjective: “The more sugar you put in your tea or coffee, the sweeter it becomes. Similarly, the more effort you put in, the more you take away.”

 

“It is really exciting to see the E.L.I.T.E. candidates transitioning from students to buttoned-up professionals within just 3 weeks of them joining the program. Looking forward to witnessing their accelerated journey towards leadership in Capgemini. ”

– Heena Mehta, E.L.I.T.E. Core Team

 

Week 3 built on top of what we had learnt from the first two weeks, and we can see that Capgemini lives each of its core values. Looking back, one can easily see how planning for and achieving small milestones periodically can help with breaking down complex tasks into confidence-building and manageable chunks that can be ‘won’, and how effective this can be.

“It has been really exciting to see the E.L.I.T.E. batch learn and grow over the last three weeks and all of us (including the ExCo leaders) have been really impressed with the level of interaction (and questions) by the E.L.I.T.E. trainees. The real test for the trainees now would be to apply these learnings successfully on their assignments.”

– Chirag Thakral, E.L.I.T.E. Project Manager

 

Somewhere along the Week 3 journey, came the realisation that we had crossed the midway point of the training period. But it would be an understatement of our enthusiasm to say that we are all very excited as we gear up for the first set of assignments. As we move forward in our journey, it becomes more and more apparent that ‘when people work in Capgemini, they work with friends.’

 

Follow the E.L.I.T.E. team’s journey on Twitter by following #Cap_ELITE or visit www.in.capgemini.com/careers/eliteprogram to know more about the E.L.I.T.E. General Management Program.

 

Signing off until next time!

Ashutosh Kukreti

Ashutosh Kukreti is an E.L.I.T.E. General Management Trainee at Capgemini and an alumnus of FMS, Delhi.

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