Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Dr. Vahini Reddy is currently working as the Director of KG Reddy College of Engineering and Technology. She is the Founder & Director of Evolve ExcellenceTM Pvt. Ltd. and the Chairman of VR Oneness Foundation. She has led diverse teams of professionals in training and learning, design intervention, and facilitated training programs in IT, ITES and Non- IT sectors. She has experience of training diverse cultural & age groups. She has trained adolescence students on life skills, foremost on gender issues, setting goals and planning a success. She was the member of a specialist panel to find the root cause of the problems and later providing personal counselling in the corporate sector. She left the corporate world after working as Vice President HR to an Australian firm to start up as an Entrepreneur. She feels fulfilled in helping to change the perceptions of the new generation. Her experience is in organization development in cultivating the qualities of an effective Leadership is able to change the culture and make the organization more focused on profitable goals.
Dr. Reddy’s life mission is to support individuals to prosper and progress even during extreme stress and challenges while at the same time be a source of positivism and inspiration for the community and colleagues around. Her vision is to build a shelter home for single mothers and their children and make them self-sufficient and sustainable. Her biography is written by a British author as an inspirational life story that is aimed to publish in multiple languages and countries. Her primary motivation is global Oneness. Her leadership vision was published in an International magazine where she was described as a person of excellence. Her belief in oneness for humanity is imparted through her training, where equal compassion to every living being on this planet is a core essence.
Indian education sector, being the largest in the world, is facing a number of challenges to be addressed
India, with its 29 states, with 30 million students enrolling in higher education every year, and every 5 years private schools gaining 17 million students, government schools losing 13 million students, is one of the largest education systems in the world. It has its own internal challenges in terms of uniformity in maintaining standards, delivering the quality education to students with practical implications at the college level and at the school level. Right from the pre-school to secondary school education, there are various types of pre-primary schools available in India and more children are now attending the pre-school, indicating an increase in demand for education at an early stage.
I personally believe that the teachers of pre-school must undergo not only teaching training but also parenting skills training to play their roles significantly as providing early childhood care and education are essential
Similarly, in the primary and upper schooling system, there is a high need to change the pattern of learning –teaching methodologies. Inclusive and live project-based learning would stimulate higher common sense in students at an early age, I believe. Not the way it is done now, where most of the project works are facilitated by either parents or tutors.
The Higher secondary schooling system in comprises of two years of higher secondary education, which starts at approximately 16 years and ends the 17th year of the child. At this I would recommend the board to introduce Psychometric assessments as mandate practice to gaze the innate Capabilities, Aptitude, Personality, Motivation in the students to guide them in choosing a option to excel in their lives. And keeping the academic subject delivery and teacher/faculty quality aside, there is a huge need to do curriculum reformation and bring about improvement in evaluation systems to inspect on school professional development policy on private schools, pre-schools and in colleges, in terms of providing necessary infrastructure, maintenance, internal operations management.
So, if I have to address what it the best industry to work in? Then I would say, individual’s desire to develop youth to be ready for the global opportunities, and of challenges that to be addressed, that itself is the very motivation to look into this industry where professionals from corporates and consultants can contribute to the existing gaps at a pace. And maybe, the central and state governments can step forward to support by releasing promised funds to the institutions. So, the institutions can run their operations and manage their staff cohesively.
Obstacles and struggles as an entrepreneur
Yes, as most successful entrepreneurs go through challenges, so did I. Apart from through getting bigger projects to scale up the organization, I faced a challenge at one point of time in my entrepreneur journey. I started burning my energy more than I ever did in my entire career. It was out of passion and work commitments. When you have your brand and are known for your work , then it is our responsibility to maintain those quality standards.
And in such case, no matter what your personal and team challenges are, we must keep things aside and deliver what is expected. Do what is needed. And by doing so, sometimes we burnout ourselves. I have to regain my sanity by allocating jobs and following them up. And in some cases, let them face the loss. So, they learn to be intelligent and would focus on building their own competencies than remaining dependent on the other team members.
Managing people also involves studying their patterns of work and behavior
As a leader, time management, in my view, is all about product/project management and managing people’s efficiency. Business progress is a collective job, though we delegate and we must monitor and address team challenges as time demands. So, to manage time on the end, I focus on bringing more projects and on the end, I focus on product innovation and people/operation.
And to be uninterrupted with project or people management issues, I do little observation and planning work by taking time in learning about people and their patterns
Patterns of their communications, work efficiency, personal attributes, their area of expertise, current values they hold and their knowledge. All of these determines their ability to handle work, communications and coordination and their seriousness in teaming up in projects. While knowing these, I sometimes downplay myself and give away the power to those whom we are looking for the run. It helps in filtering and avoiding difficulties in the run. But once I am done with selecting people, I delegate the tasks and monitor regularly. We decide the project strategies, work implementations, conduct short meetings (online, offline, calls) and dedicated roles. I do one job at a time and I ensure I’m totally presen it. This helps me in managing time efficiently.
Our curriculum involves training and development practices followed by post-training evaluations
So, we have developed our courses and modules based on the current and future needs for national and global business needs. Also, we have the procedures like having a pre-requisite to know the employees in training need analysis and tweak our course framework according to clients need. To give assignments and check with retention periodically. While assessment a part of our L&D we also include line managers along with HR and team leaders to participate in the , assignments, evaluations when we take up training and development contracts.
We develop goal metrics, including quantity, quality, time, cost, effectiveness, growth. We’d want to develop a benchmarking strategy for evaluating client’s progress towards their set goals and ensure that data and reports are easily available to provide the information that is needed. And coming to the course and methodologies, we have scientifically, psychologically and industrially proven certifications and accreditation that enables us to deliver advanced courses and practices. Apart from we impart activity based practices and assignments to have high learning retention.
Goals planned for the Evolve Excellence Pvt. Ltd.
To take it from limited company that caters L&D and Human capital sourcing company to an Industry that takes care of Human capital development and deployment to contribute supply chain segment.
It is the need of the and going to be an unavoidable need to cultivate academic leaders who are risk and have futuristic goals. The quality of the institutions would grow when they literally implement what they submit to accreditation bodies. the management and administrative heads hand in glove to push their flaws under the carpet. What they don’t understand is that it is the student’s future and faculty’s respect they put on stakes.
There are many top institutions who realize the need to keep quality as a priority but they are few. Make education and subject knowledge must be linked with practical and environmental issues and ask students to bring in the practical solutions. If we can conduct the school exams’ pattern of conducting internal exams and give marks for practically implemented projects, students would absorb more knowledge, build their efficiency and competencies.
An overview of the education system in other countries and in India
Though there are similarities in infrastructure and facilities to some extent in Indian and other countries education system, there are vast differences in practices and quality domains. I’ve tried to mention a points in to understand format:
|Category||Indian Education System||Other Countries Education System|
|Students||Focuses more on theory which is not even explained well.||Focuses on theory but more on putting it into practice.|
|Stresses on producing marks and ranks.||Emphasizes more gaining knowledge and practical understanding of concepts.|
|No freedom to do creative experiments.||Allows to showcase their talent with their out of box thinking.|
|Old techniques and concepts that have not been changed after independence.||Upgraded and updated techniques and concepts.|
|(Not even thinking on those lines).||Designs and develops skills for the global economy.|
|Parents/ peers/ relatives choose students career||Recommended by faculty/ counsellor based on psychometric career assessments and existing progress reports.|
|Teachers||Pre-school||School/ Colleges||Students development centric teaching methods|
|Untrained skills – teaching & Parenting||Certified as per qualification criteria but unorganized in approach.||Professional, accountable and paid less compared to Indian high schools|
|Low qualification.||Theory-based, no collaborative learning.||Decorum before knowledge|
|Low paid.||Paid well||Hygiene and tidiness is taught as lifestyle priority|
|No proper infrastructure – more garage preschool structures.||Unfortunately, the day schools are not focusing on infrastructure for sports but highlighting the societal richness more. Example VIP school, NRI School etc.||All subjects and careers are given equal importance – not just science and mathematics|
|Lacks to teach manners, innovation, facilitates comfort and evaluation skills||Arts is equally considered to be important|
|L&D and R&D are part of their career journey to bring best of the knowledge to the students.|
The growth of Management and Engineering colleges and Institutions
Better than before but still a long way to go.Change is needed at high speed but if the is a challenge to some, it’s time to get into the makeover mode rather than painting the world onto their own canvas.
My leadership style is a combination of Situational and Democratic leadership
I wear different hats and my leadership style changes along with my projects. But if you ask me which are working for me effectively? Then I would say:
1. Situational leadership – this helps in gazing team’s level of being and helps me in nurturing their abilities or understand their commitment levels.
2. Democratic leadership – when I was working with corporates, I was given opportunities to present my opinion and make decisions and I know I have grown confidently in spite of some wrong decisions in this kind of environment.
Democratic leadership allows oneself to learn and grow personally and professionally
So, I practice this in my entity. And my personal preference is Change leadership, which I practice at an early stage of my engagement with new associates and projects.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
For suggesting the youth and requesting the parents, I would say that parents must encourage their children to attest themselves with not grades and ranks but to gain knowledge. So, it can be used to solve societal or environmental issues. I would suggest youth to expand their sense of observing and thinking skills where they can see and understand the bigger picture and not just their career, their life, and their happiness. It’s time to step out of that self-centric life to community-centric, nation-centric thought process.
If not anything, make problem-solving as a hobby and participating and expressing ideas and opinion as a regular habit
Stop thinking about creating an effortless life, take risks and challenges in early career years. Have a vision and work entrepreneurship where you can generate employment. Above all, believe in yourself and build your personal and professional competencies to grab opportunities laying in the global market whether it’s through employment or entrepreneurship.