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Connecting The Development Sector

Challenges are the Crucible of Creative Thinking – Anshu Taneja, Country Director, VisionSpring

GoBarefoot, a professional networking platform exclusively catering to the Development sector, by facilitating connections and exchange of ideas and information, has collaborated with Katalyst India and Third Sector Partners to present “Leadership Conversations in the Development Sector”, a series of insightful interviews conducted by Shital Kakkar Mehra, India’s leading executive presence coach and Founder at GoBarefoot. Featuring seasoned and reputed leaders from various verticals of the social sector, the series offers a peek behind the scenes and helps viewers find answers to the most pressing questions facing the sector.

The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous toll on humanity, on a global scale, posing challenges for every one of us. While we struggled to maintain normality and move forward, organisations in the social and development sector were acting as the first line of defence empowering the beleaguered strata of society. In the words of Anshu Taneja, Country Director, VisionSpring, “Covid showed us that if we don’t care about the things around us, such pandemics and disasters will be more common going ahead.” He stressed upon the need for creative solutions to sectoral and leadership challenges and stated that the divide between the corporate and not for profit sectors must be bridged for a more equitable future. 

Leadership evolving to match challenges  

Leadership needs to evolve alongside sectoral changes to make development sustainable, with a focus on social entrepreneurship rather than just charity. With the evolution in causes and an increase in organisations filling the sector, there is now a premium on genuine and innovative entities enabled by technology. Leadership also needs to evolve with time and be open to changes as the best of talent from different sectors are lining up to contribute socially. There is now a premium on skillset, knowledge and the difference that can be made, and leadership needs to manage this effectively. Leaders need to be more process-oriented and professional and should ensure that the sector and cause become bigger than the individual leader. A strong pipeline of future leaders should also be developed.

Breaking barriers 

There shouldn’t be any divide between social and corporate sectors, in an ideal world. There is significant intermingling in both sectors and this is likely to foster more efficiency and accountability in social sectors, and more responsibility in corporate organisations. The social sector needs to focus on creative solutions as the underlying problems are far surpassing available resources.

Talent woes 

Even in the best environment, it is not easy to get the right people. Ultimately, the success or failure of an organisation depends on the people, for they create the processes, technologies and the impact. It is said that culture can eat strategy for breakfast so leaders must be very selective about bringing on-board people who are aligned with the mission and values of the organisation. Once recruited, empower individuals by offering them a safe environment which allows them to make mistakes and learn from them. Make sure to give employees enough challenges, ensure good work-life balance and imbibe best practices from global organisations across sectors.

In conclusion, Anshu believes that youngsters keen on joining the social sector should realise that they will face the toughest challenges, with huge problems and scare resources. They should come on-board only if they truly wish to help people, and the society at large, and feel motivated about making a difference.

Read our previous conversation with Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY here.

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