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Leaders with a heart are able to orient team commitment to social and national causes and build sustainable corporations in an increasingly divisive business environment

Collaboration is a great active noun and truly depicts a level of partnership when seemingly different objectives of entities can be brought into synchronicity to serve a common cause.

In the corporate world, collaboration is often driven by a need scale, to capture market or opportunity share and to bring talents together across different geographies or industry needs. And when it comes to collaborating for social good, it needs not just a collaboration of minds and capabilities but also a collaboration of hearts to make true magic happen.

My own experience has been that of most Indian middle-class folks who struggle for legitimacy for over forty years and after acquiring a modicum of success, look towards legacy by building value for all stakeholders. Through early education in Jharkhand and a family background of social work, an immersion into the problems of rural India made me conscious of the need for inclusion at all times. My two CEO stints at APTECH and Zensar over twenty six years gave me ample opportunities to reach out within and outside the companies. I ran to do what I could for people and the planet beyond the chase for profits. There are opportunities to demonstrate a heart that beats for social causes for many CEOs, business and social leaders in our country as they build teams and organizations, particularly in our country.

Inclusive leaders take thoughtful steps to create corporate success stories that can demonstrate exceptional community and people result. All too often, a CSR committee and a well-meaning human resources director are seen as adequate for this purpose and it is a rare set of leaders who commit themselves to truly changing lives within and outside the organization. Managers and leaders who actively participate in designing social interventions in the communities they serve are able to go beyond revenue growth and market share and earn a richer dividend earned through time well invested.

The digital technologies we develop find ready deployment in corporations as well as the social sector

Leaders with a heart are able to orient team commitment to social and national causes and build sustainable corporations in an increasingly divisive business environment. For me, it is heartening to see that in the three organizations I now chair, a caring heart is inspiring all corporate leaders who are part of these entities to make a visible difference.

At 5F World, the digital technologies we develop find ready deployment in corporations as well as the social sector and motivates the leaders of the seven companies in the group to take pride in making a difference. At Social Venture Partners, a unique venture philanthropy approach enables over three thousand business leaders worldwide, including over three hundred well-meaning citizens in India to participate in social initiatives. It enables goodwill towards society to find expression in a clear difference in scope and scale of the forty plus non-profits we support and enable in seven Indian cities. SVP India-supported organizations have touched over two hundred thousand lives and we have enabled both local and national scaling and launched the aspirational Million Jobs Mission that uses a unique approach of aspiration building, counselling and choice of skills. It has given hundreds of thousands of young Indians into sustainable livelihoods.

Finally, at Pune City Connect, a collaborative social venture set up with an outstanding Board consisting of industry luminaries like Meher Pudumjee, Ashwini Malhotra, Sudhir Mehta, Pradeep Bhargava and Rahul Kirloskar and a super team of professionals led by IIMA alumnus Ruchi Mathur has been enjoying great success. PCC works in partnership with the Pune Municipal Corporation as well as corporate supporters and social sector participants to bring transformation to municipal schools, digital literacy for tens of thousands of Pune citizens and sustainable livelihoods. This is done through agency building, counselling and imparting skills in multiple areas to enable youth in the city to seek out and hold on to jobs or entrepreneurship opportunities. Last year, Aspen Institute’s Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI) recognized the PCC Skills Lighthouse program me as an exemplar to be supported amongst three global initiatives.

The defining factor in collaboration for social good is that opportunities abound beyond what can be done by one entity to multiplying both ambition and scale when individuals and organizations work together. In September this year, we intend to bring the unique capabilities of all the organizations mentioned here in partnership with one of the leading academic institutions in the city. The objective is to highlight what has been accomplished to a congregation of business and social leaders, CSR and Human Resource participants and philanthropic foundations. This will help to develop pathways to collaborative success – in sectors ranging from education to youth enablement to peace and harmony in cities, districts and countries.

The vision is simple but inspiring -if we can motivate people to collaborate for good, we will minimize duplication of resources, get started on the process of creating better education in every school and put a dream in the eyes of every youth looking for better opportunity and give them the skills they need to realize that dream. If every city, every district and every state in the country can make this happen, we will truly be in the road to building a better country.