“Leadership has nothing to do with position; it has everything to do with action.”
The Rotary International Scholar Vinita Bali came into the rotary house on Monday the 8th of August to give an inspiring and eye opening talk on Leadership and responsibility. She started by talking about her life and what it means to be a Rotarian.
According to her, leadership does not have any boundaries whether it is politics, business, civil sector or social responsibility; it is all depends on the kind of person you are and your ability to take responsibility and guiding someone.
Through her own life experiences working with Britannia, Vinita Bali explains how leadership does not only rest in the hands of the highly qualified people in the company; anyone can be a leader as long as they have the right mindset. Being part of a big organisation like Britannia that releases around 1 ton of garbage a day, a few of the employees followed a garbage truck to see how they could reduce their own garbage output. Within just 3 weeks they realised that segregating waste could make the biggest change.
With a successful campaign, Britannia talked to a lot of other companies about social responsibility and the need to give back to society. If each company could add some aspect of social responsibility into the way their company functions, they would not have to spend the compulsory 2% of their profit which are the rules of the government.
“If leadership is about character and being conscientious and doing the right thing no matter what the odds are, then it is something everyone can do and should be ready to take on these challenges.” She explained this with a brilliant example of a company called Toms where social responsibility was a strong part of their organisational structure; the CEO’s decided that for each pair of shoes they sold, they would give one free pair to people in Kenya. All this showed that leaders are people who do not look at the obstacles but look at the possibilities.
Opening the discussion to the audience, she stated an interactive session where a lot of important and challenging questions were asked. The first question was about innovation and thinking outside the box and how to follow this without breaking rules to which she answered by saying that there is a clear difference between innovation and indiscipline and the people need to learn to differentiate between them.
One of the other questions asked was about the private and the public sector working together to which she agreed and supported the idea as they would be able to reach a wider audience. The main aspect for her is active participation from the people that will help and make a lasting change which has to be with the help from the government. Today every person is under such pressure that they are not willing to take risks and look at things from a different angle, but she believes that “one has to have the courage of their conviction if they are doing things that are right.”
Before the Monday session ended, two main questions were answered one on responsibility, where she said that apart from corporate social responsibility there should be individual responsibility and everyone needs to take charge of it. The second one was on about how the behaviour of people can affect leadership qualities and she stressed that behaviour can neither be good or bad but just shades of grey.
“When you are up the in the air you don’t see boundaries but horizons” – Emilie Airheart.
- Nitanti Alur