This year, as CGI take over from Menzies Aviation as the presented sponsers of the Parikrma Champions League, the writer interviewed Pradipta Banerjee, Vice President of Human Resources at CGI India and South East Asia about his experience with this year’s tournament and Parikrma in general.
CGI has consistently been involved with Parikrma over the last couple of years. What made you decide to ramp up your participation in PCL this year to become a presenting sponsor?
We wanted to make a direct impact in supporting Parikrma with the outstanding work that they have been doing over the years for underprivileged children and what better way to do that, than supporting the biggest and most important flagship event of the Parikrma foundation in the calendar year.
It also served as a vehicle, for some of our budding leaders, to step away from their work, and take a bird’s eye view of some of the key challenges faced by Parikrma children and how to mitigate them. And it gave them a forum to reflect on some similar challenges that they face at the workplace and how some of the learnings that they have had can be translated back to their roles and tasks.
So like you previously said, this is like a training exercise for your managers and members, so what do you hope that they will gain from being part of this experience?
As mentioned before, this experience has allowed some of our leaders, to look at how they perform individually and as a group, when subjected to a high-pressure, ambiguous and complex situation involving multiple stakeholders.
The IT industry at large, mirrors some of these challenges on a day to day basis, and hence this opportunity, will allow our leaders to further hone their skills on competencies like strategic thinking, high-impact communication, customer orientation etc.
I’m sure that CGI holds other leadership and training exercises, how is working with an NGO different?
A lot of learning programs are traditionally delivered inside classrooms, enabling skill development and knowledge transformation. We then have some prongs built to ensure that skills taught in classrooms can be implemented in real-life challenging situations to achieve a win-win outcome.
Working with Parikrma, has allowed us to see how skill transfer can happen even in a context outside of everyday experiences that the participants have. Once you’ve learnt how to apply a learning principle in more than one context, it becomes hard-wired and internalized.
With enough practice these actually become automatisms (to borrow an Arsene Wenger phrase) and stay with the person for a long time.
I know that you only flew in today but I’m sure you’ve received feedback from the CGI team that has been here over the last few days. So what have you heard about the tournament as a whole as well as what it was like managing the event?
Lots of snippets! Everything from managing chaos, learning how to delegate effectively amongst peers, ability to think on their feet, building and experiencing engagement across multiple stakeholders are some of the elements that have consistently been articulated.
Most importantly, it has been fabulous to see our managers having so much fun while continuing to deliver a world-class event!
There are so many deserving NGOs in Bangalore, so why did you, as an organization choose to work with Parikrma?
Parikrma’s reputation, track record and success, in terms of achieving some of lowest drop-out rates amongst under privileged students in India certainly stands out as a key factor. Also, the holistic approach taken by Parikrma towards enablement of children, not just from an education perspective, but also through music, sports etc. is an added advantage.
We are proud to have partnered with an organization like Parikrma to drive and execute the PCL.
I watched you play in the CEO match today. How did you enjoy playing out there?
Yes I did! And thankfully, at least this time around the CEO team did not lose heavily! Proud (and delighted) to have come away with a draw! Hoping for a win next time!