Young Aspirations – Education in India and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

A recent UNICEF report highlights 49,000 slums, and 93 million people as inhabitants of slums, in India.

Poor standards of living between urban and rural poor, affected by poor sanitation, poor health, and lack of education opportunities.

But a quote from a young girl, left me feeling our need to collectively support education providers, NGOs and private partners to fulfill young dreams such as this: ‘ I want to go to school and become a madam when I grow up’.

A recent film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, highlighted some key points that resonate with skills development, leadership and management skills.

The importance of sharing skills globally and supporting global economic growth through dedicated and inspired individuals. Individuals are very much part of country specific upbringing values, and would love to support their respective homelands. Sharing experiences, knowledge and skills by enabling these between communities, wherever individuals are based, is a key success factor to economic and social growth.

Working under difficult situations, and unknown scenarios involves core skills such as team building, communication, problem solving, ethics and diversity, to name a few. The need to adapt and be flexible to changing environments, is a critical success factor. The need for vision, (such as the young hotel manager), but having strategic plans to support the vision and having individuals supporting this common vision is core to success and sustainability of an organisation. A formal structure and process to realise the vision and return on investments need not be cumbersome. Simple systems can work. This reminds me of the approach Steve Jobs had with design and innovation sign-offs at Apple – convince Steve what the benefits of the product or service is and it’s accepted.

Caste systems were implied, but a subtle note how two different and opposing individuals come together and value each other’s contributions through beliefs, values and common respect. Acknowledgment of service and quality delivered by an individual, is an important motivating factor and provides sense of belonging.

The UK are experiencing skills issues through an ageing workforce, whereas in India the opposite spectrum exists. Youth, vibrancy, creativity and innovation being a particular asset India can afford.

A call centre where scripts are read without flaw; robotic to the receiver of the message. A retired widow supports training as cultural advisor. Not all can be taught or learnt in rote, but this is common practice from schooling to graduation, in India. Another bollywood film springs to mind – 3 idiots, which also addressed this issue. The need for innovation, spark and individualism in a workplace, with personal ownership and successes. Likewise, the older workforce can help mentor and coach developing organisations. They have a unique perspective, untapped knowledge and experiences, which supports core knowledge management principles of a successful organisation.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel highlighted some great leadership, management and skills lessons. How do you encourage individual participation? How is your skills strategy developed? What organisational learning and development initiatives have you planned, thinking through some core skills factors? What are your views of what you saw in the film and how does it relate to better HR practice?


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