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Enabling a ‘growth mindset’ catalyzes thought processes that prepares employees to  deliver results through continuous learning, growth and innovation, in contrast to the ‘fixed mindset’ that views talent as a binary that someone either possesses or lacks. Three reputed guest speakers, namely Dr Prafulla Agnihotri, Director of IIM Sirmaur, R Anand, Principal Consultant & Advisor HR, HCL Technologies Ltd, and internet entrepreneur and author Ankur Warikoo shared their expertise in the 60th HR Summit of Oil and Gas PSUs on 25 April 2022. They shared their views on, through interesting anecdotes, how to enjoy challenges, strive to learn and consistently believe in one’s own potential to improve over one’s natural abilities.

IIM Director Prafulla Agnihotri discussing how to improve the value system in organizations
IIM Director Prafulla Agnihotri discussing how to improve the value system in organizations

Combining the idea of inculcating a ‘growth mindset’ with the theme of the summit, i.e. ‘Innovation, Creativity & Engagement: Nurturing Sustainable Organization’, IIM Sirmaur Director Dr Agnihotri said teaching should be stopped at the fourth standard itself. “After that, it should only be facilitation because adults learn only what they want to learn. The root purpose of executives is to create value across the supply chain”. He also spoke about three types of values – transactional value, economic value and perceived value – that enable organizations to have an effect on the success of a business.

“The business has to understand how customers perceive ‘value’ in their offerings. To evaluate a portfolio of opportunities, one has to trade off industry attractiveness versus business strength. The future will reward organizations that drive the market instead of being driven by the market,” Dr Agnihotri added.  

R Anand speaking on the importance of value in marketing
R Anand speaking on the importance of value in marketing

Elaborating further on Dr Agnihotri’s points, R Anand, Principal Consultant and Advisor at HCL Technologies Limited, spoke on ‘Technology for Transformation: Opportunities for HR’. He discussed four technologies for HR to create ‘value’ in an organization: (1) Robotic process automation or RPA, (2) Digital Workplace, (3) Augmented / Virtual Reality (AR/VR) and (4) Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML).

Robotic process Automation (RPA) automates respective tasks on jobs like the creation of employee ids and email ids, attendance bots, claims processing and red-flagging fraudulent claims. Creation of a digital workspace allows users to work from anywhere using any device via an integrated technology framework. The usage of AR/VR in training enables employees to have an interactive experience of a real-world organization. Artificial intelligence/machine learning can predict or make decisions about data, help in sentiment analysis on social media conversations and leverage demand forecasts.

The discussions was an interactive one with participants asking queries
The discussions was an interactive one with participants asking queries

“These four technologies hold a lot of promise and opportunities in HR,” he explained with Use cases in Oil and Gas PSUs.

The talk by internet entrepreneur and author Ankur Warikoo, was the Show Stopper of the HR Summit. Joining the summit digitally, the 42-year old spoke on ‘Building a Growth Mindset’. He asserted that HR has a very critical role to play in building businesses. Sharing his story in an engaging narrative, he said, “The Indian education system is very prescriptive, whereas we should impart only values. Though I started doing what I planned and wanted to do, I soon felt something is missing and that very fact didn’t make me happy. It was a revelation that just because you are good at something, it may not make you happy. So, I tried to figure out what gives happiness. Leaving my PhD in USA, I joined the one-year MBA program at ISB and that changed my life”.

Ankur Warikoo joined the discussion digitally
Ankur Warikoo joined the discussion digitally

Mr Warikoo underscored that it is fascinating to live a life with fluidity, instead of a clear plan. “We can live a good life without any plans, still it becomes a life of meaning. Instead of setting goals, set habits. Habits have a way of working their way to success, much beyond what we can plan for ourselves. Habits make us.”

Deliberating more on the topic, he spoke of three Habits that are important to begin with inculcating a ‘growth mindset’ in an organization. He urged the audience to look and spend time with people “who are not like you”. “Move out of their comfort zone and meet people who challenge your point of view. You will develop into a better version of yourself. You need to know in a situation of conflict, ask yourself ‘what is there that the conflicting person knows that I don’t know?’ Have lunch with a new employee every day and you will get to know how they look at things,” he assured the HR executives at the Summit.

Speaking of the second Habit, he highlighted that the sense of entitlement in employees of government/PSUs. “This sense of Entitlement or arrogance, decays people, which hinders the ‘growth mindset’. The teams, direct and indirect, need to be away from this sense of ‘entitlement’. The third Habit is to choose the path of resistance, instead of the path which is easier. Everything is designed for our comfort but that is not true when we look at the people who inspire us. Every single person who inspires us deliberately chose a path of high resistance because the risk is worth taking to change the current ways of life. That difficult route leads to growth.”  

Guest speakers being felicitated: Vijay Prakash felicitating Dr Agnihotri (left) and Shashi Rajan felicitating R Anand
Guest speakers being felicitated: Vijay Prakash felicitating Dr Agnihotri (left) and Shashi Rajan felicitating R Anand