"From the board room to the trenches, from the drawing board to the market and from the mind to wallet, my world is about making those choices and decisions for companies, boards and leaders” ,
says Viswakumar Menon the Head - Corporate Communications at AP Globale.
 

In the last 22 years, I have delivered tangible value to my stakeholders, built brands and reputations, protected companies for disabling crises and issues and most importantly have built teams, many of whom are growing exponentially. 

In an exclusive interview with XEDGlobal he shares his executive education journey in IIM-Ahmedabad and how it helped him revisit his learnings and upgrade his knowledge in a way he could have never achieved in his workplace environment.

How important do you think is continuous learning?

Extremely critical as one has to process information and situation in real time and without continuous learning, we are not upskilling ourselves to deal in the VUCA space of today. 

What are some of the key leadership skills according to you?

Flexibility, adaptability and collaboration. As a leader, you cannot bring a fixed mind to work on situations and people. You will have to be flexible to the point where it does not circumvent any quality issues, laws or moral codes. Without that, one creates a lot of stress which is unnecessary and achieves nothing. 

A leader must be adaptable. The situations we face today are dynamic and evolving all the time. We will have to continuously monitor and adapt our strategies and approach to achieve success. Many times, we do not even have the complete information or data points to make quality judgments. 

Finally, whether an intraprenuer or entrepreneur, one has to collaborate with others who complement with specific skills set, knowledge or capabilities one does not possess. Nobody is born perfect and it is important to acknowledge that fact and arm yourself with like-minded people who bring diversity to the task.   

What made you decide to attend an executive education programme on leadership skills at IIM-A? 

The programme was mooted by my former organisation for young leaders who needed to boost their knowledge and motivation. I took up this programme as it helped me attend this prestigious institute, stay there for over a course of four weeks and learn. The thinking methodology, decision-making processes and financial learning was capsuled into this four weeks and it was literally like a post-graduation on steroids. 

Can you give a brief about the executive programme you attended?

Management Development Programme is designed to revisit and recharge all the learnings and ideas one might have had during their post-graduation days. Targeting managers, you get to revisit those concepts and look at it through the prism of experience we've had over the years. This way, we are able to understand it better, seek ways of making it better and get new insights into challenges we are facing in our professional space. 

 What were your key takeaways?

There is a lot of value in continued learning. I appreciated the insights and knowledge I gathered in the four weeks there. The networking with colleagues away from work, helped me connect with many of them in a more cordial environment. The institute and the aura it brought, added to the charm. 

Has the programme changed the way you approach your work? Has it helped you become a better leader?

Definitely. I was brimming with insights and a new understanding of my challenges at work. It helped me revisit my learnings from post-grad school to rediscover many of the topics I had forgotten. I made a whole set of new friends within the organisation that helped my network. 

How would you describe your overall experience?

Overall, I would rate it a 10/10. 
At mid and senior levels, training's and learning are not spoon fed. We will have to find ways to make the most of the information coming our way and apply them to our situation. Thus, I found it extremely valuable.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of doing the programme?

I would strongly encourage them as any learning is useful. In this case, with it coming from the IIM Ahmedabad institute is a matter of pride as the pedigree is unmistakable. The quality of the professors, the insights and sessions are designed to give you the best you can get in that short a period. Be mindful and bring your relevant experience to the table. It will enable you to gain insights. The networking and group activities also give you an understanding of how you function. Feedback on all activities is instant and the programme is really fun.