Dr. P. N. Singh, Chairman Grid Consultants interacted with the ISME, Navi Mumbai students on 17th March, 2011. He is an acclaimed speaker, trainer, guide and mentor. In his own words, the following describes his life journey:
My Journey of Life
My life journey in brief
My childhood was spent in a dusty village of Bihar. The schooling was done in a local village school in the vernacular medium. I did quite well in my SSC examination bagging Government of India Merit Scholarship awarded that year to 20 students in Bihar based on SSC marks. Despite the fact that I had no aptitude for science and engineering , I did my Intermediate in Science from Patina Science College and B.Tech (Hons) from Indian School of Mines ,Dhanbad as an
uninterested student .
After 11 years in Indian Oil, I proceeded to do my MBA from Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines. This changed my life propelling me to the highest positions in the corporate sector in the HRD function. I also completed my Ph.D. in Management from Mumbai University.Professional achievements have their own place in life.However,my work in the social sector through two trusts under Janmabhoomi, Karmabhoomi Abhiyan has been of immense satisfaction to me in my life. One Trust has put over 11,500 slum children in Mumbai through one year free leadership course under our Leaders of Tomorrow Project. The project got me
an international award on HR and Sustainable Development from International Federation of Training & Development Organizations in their conference in Egypt in 2005. 120 India Scholars are being educated with the Trust’s financial support. The other Trust operating in my village in Bihar runs an English Medium School and a Computer Centre. It has also constructed irrigation facilities. 35 houses for the poor have been constructed. Details are available on www.leadersoftomorrow.in
Association with academics
Despite remaining busy on the job in the corporate sector, I gave some priority to teaching in management institutes, whenever possible. At one stage I used to teach in 7 management institutes mostly after office hours and on weekends. This personally benefited me as not only my students learnt from me but I learnt from them. There was not much of money in teaching those days but, the real reward was seeing my students doing well in life so that my thoughts on management benefited a larger segment of population. I wrote articles for different newspapers and magazines. Several books by me went to multiple editions. My 21st book, Manage
your time well, Do well was released recently. My autobiography “From Bullock-Cart to Mercedes Benz: The story of a Bihar Boy” is soon going to its 5th edition.
Problem in higher education
I believe that much of the problem in education in India is related to methodology. Pedagogy and Andragogy are less relevant to adult learning. However, these are predominantly used in higher education in India .The sooner we move to Synergogy (Team based learning) the better it would be. I brought Grid Seminars based on Synergogy to India. It is heartening that we recently conducted the 239th Repeat Leadership Grid Seminar for the Top Management / faculty of a group of management institutes. I wish that more and more courses and programmes are run
on synergogy in India.
Value based leadership
One sad chapter in my life concerns betrayal by a close associate. He took all benefits from me and stabbed me in the back. I wrote a book on him, Backstabbers: How to Protect yourself from these “TWO –HEADED” Snakes. It has done very well. The decline in values all around in our society is something alarming. That backstabber conducts leadership programmes. He will produce valueless leaders, and not value based leaders. We have stuck to our values. Our
company does not give any bribe. It has affected our growth. We are unnecessarily driven to litigation. But this is the price we have to pay for our values. We also bring out the Corruption Times periodically for free distribution. This also gives a challenge to faculty. It is best described in words of Gaby Mendoza, one of the most original thinkers in Asia. He asks in an article: How do you convince bright young men and women that honesty and integrity are important attributes of the successful business when, even before they step out from school into the ‘real’ world, they hear of nothing but the shady deals and corrupt practicesthat big businessmen engage in and get away with ? When all around them, they see well connected men, accumulating great wealth, not by producing honest goods or useful services, but by peddling their influence and looting the public treasury? I am happy that I have personally trained over 6000 senior managers in value based leadership. But, that may be a drop in the ocean.
Gift from my almamater
At the Asian Institute of Management, Manila my Professors inculcated in me the following:
a. Love for hard work. I remained awake till 1 am everyday so that I could finish reading all three cases and write-ups. This hard work took me to positions in Corporate Boards, a rare achievement for HRD professionals in those days.
b. Social responsibility. They kept on harping on Socially Responsible Asian Managers. My two Trusts and their work in Mumbai and my village in Bihar are because of this reason. I took my Professors rather seriously.
c. Skills for survival through a unique course, Walkabout, which made me an Author of over 600 articles and 21 books.
d. Entrepreneurial spirit: Entrepreneurship in my family was as remote as the sun from the earth. But, AIM made me an entrepreneur by exposing me to numerous cases on entrepreneurs. I managed to establish a small but profitable company in the education sector. In fact one of the greatest achievements for us has been getting 2 consultancy projects from World Bank after competing with the bids of many international consultants. This risk taking capability moved me to an extremely high risk activity like film making. My first Bhojpuri film, Papi Ke Paap Kahe Ganga Dhoye, will be released in April 2011. I have written its story and all 9 songs. AIM transformed me. I am confident that many in the higher education in India are transforming their students in a similar or even better manner. My small achievements (5 awards / felicitations in 2010) are really a gift from my Professors at AIM to whom I have dedicated 5 of my books. I have lived my life by LED formula where L stands for Learning, E stands for
Earning and D stands for Distribution. I have done everything for Learning. I earned
well and I have distributed my knowledge and money to all those who needed them.
And this will continue till the last day of my life.
Dr. P. N. Singh, Chairman, Grid Consultants Pvt.Ltd.