Mr. Rajagopalan Purushothaman on “Emotional Intelligence - Reaching Escape Velocity in the Digital Era”
Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Nagpur had the privilege of hosting Mr Rajagopalan Purushothaman, Sr Vice President- Learning and Development, Reliance Retail Ltd., for a guest lecture on October 5, 2020. Mr Purushothaman is an experienced professional and a pioneer in the field of Learning and Development. He delivered an insightful lecture on the topic ‘Emotional Intelligence - Reaching Escape Velocity in the Digital Era’.
The following is an excerpt from the interview with him-
Q1) With your extensive experience in talent management, could you please elaborate on the tools that are required to make an MBA student future ready?
Ans. The formal education in business school gives one various kinds of references to learn from, but if one confines one’s learning to only that, he/she will be ill-equipped to handle real challenges in businesses. There is a gap in the education system in India as the education is not application oriented. One needs to be aware about what is happening in Indian industries, read different journals, magazines, platforms, and find out how learning is applied in real life. Secondly, the differentiating factor can be the focus on behavioural competencies like emotional intelligence, working in a team, being an effective leader. Also, reading will help you widen the canvas of decision making and expand the knowledge.
Q2) For L&D professionals, what should be the approach on the department functions- should it have more of a transactional approach vis a vis result delivery or should it curate to the business impact?
Ans. It should definitely curate to the business impact! We have received a Gold Award from Brandon Hall Awards in the said category, in 2018. My mantra in the organisation is- never start any learning without linking it to the business impact. There are various tools available like the Kirkpatrick model and many more which one can use to measure the business impact. So, it is the question of mindset, courage and confidence to proactively link these functions to the business. Some people are scared to do it because they fear being proven wrong, it is better to fix things rather than avoiding effective measurement. Therefore, these practices can lead L&D department to be recognised as a line function and not as a support function in the organisation.
Q3) When using emotion as a fuel in a professional setting, how can a young professional with less experience deal with "negative emotional residue"?
Ans. I would recommend the tools which are more important for youngsters because the uncertainties and the challenges faced by this generation are much higher than what we faced at our age. The competition, complexity, and the need for success and instant gratification are much higher for this generation. Therefore, the need to manage emotions and build emotional fuel also increases. The practice of meditation, physical activity, sound sleeping habits, and a good lifestyle, along with their management will help ensure career longevity, if one starts practicing them early on.
Q4) Imparting training requires adaptability towards new technology. The new methods have emerged and have replaced the old ones. Post the pandemic, will the old methods of imparting training replace the new methods or will they co-exist at Reliance Retail Academy?
Ans. The necessity to adapt to digital tools has multiplied manifold post covid, this development will be carried forward. Physical touch point might fluctuate. So this is going to be a blended approach. For example, we are going to use a machine learning based business performance platform. When a business parameter is captured, it is done in one system, for example, customer complaints are captured in CRM, and individual audit scores are captured in another such portal. For our learning platform the architecture, the blueprint, the algorithm is ready; it will talk live to data points, not post-mortem. Let’s say an area manager does not achieve his targets for 3 months, consecutively then 3 models of selling skills and product knowledge will automatically get fired to his mobile and no manual intervention is required.
Q5) Since everything these days have moved online, so have our seminars. So how was your experience at Institute of Management Technology, Nagpur?
Ans. It has been a very pleasant experience. The moment I realized the invitation is from Institute of Management Technology, Nagpur, I accepted it because I have a soft corner for the Institution. It was an extremely well organized lecture and was very professionally executed. The process of communication and rehearsal was very smooth. I enjoyed the interaction.