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 development sector is the most collaborative ecosystem as we don’t stand on our own – if we want to scale and reach the corners of the country, collaboration is the only way,” said Anshu Gupta, Founder Director, Goonj. He believes that the players in the sector understand that not everything is their expertise and since they are not looking to sell a product, they maintain focus on impact and outcome. He further said that doing good is a collective responsibility and if we can remember the lessons learnt during the pandemic, there is hope for a sustainable future.
Leadership Lessons from COVID
The pandemic showed us that, to create local impact, it is necessary to decentralise work, decision-making and leadership. In a crisis, the leader has to lead from the front while remaining flexible and agile when it comes to localising and adapting the underlying models – they cannot be emotional or attached to the existing models as the pandemic has necessitated tough decisions and sharp pivots. In the new normal, focus needs to shift towards reinforcing value systems and passing on what you have received. Leaders must be mindful about sharing their learnings and experiences with the next level of leadership while remembering to move out of offices and connect with the community to create a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Advice to the New Crop
The social sector is one of the most beautiful sectors to work in. You have a lot to accomplish tomorrow and today you can sleep peacefully as you have done impactful work. Focus on people’s happiness and social well-being and let your work speak for itself. Use your early years to gain experience, make mistakes, and create your own pillars. Most importantly, forget the concept of donors and beneficiaries – we are all stakeholders here. Communities are opening their lives and trusting us, so we must consider them as partners instead of just beneficiaries.
Sectors Must Learn from Each Other
The time has come for the corporate sector to start learning from the social. Corporates can assimilate lessons on how to manage big initiatives, build communities and innovate on a large scale while making the community a stakeholder. Appropriate use of capital, ethics, and efficiency are other aspects that corporates can imbibe while social sector organisations can learn to think big and scale effectively. Considering the government’s side, the Centre can learn various things from the social sector, like how to reach the last-mile populace and deliver results in emergency situations.
Technology & Regulations
All of us have to move with technology and innovation. It has made reach and communication very easy and now, tech needs to be made a part of the solution. However, the adoption is still low due to the digital divide and this must be resolved. Regarding the CSR Law of 2014, it is a very good development but a large part of corporate money is going where the institutions are located. Since problems exist across the country, money should be diverted to places where more attention is needed. Changing our lens and tweaking the way we work can surely boost impact.
Read our previous conversation with Sumit Tayal, COO, GiveIndia here.