Tata Management Training Centre: Making Tata Leaders Future-Ready Through A Trend-Setting Engagement Model

Emmanuel David,DirectorEven after more than 150 years, the Tata Group continues to play a pivotal role in the Indian economy. The $110 billion group is currently at the forefront of internationalization of Indian companies. The perfect alignment of the group's vision with India's nation building mission ­ to be a self-sufficient and expanding economy with a high standard of living ­ has always been the predominant rationale behind Tata being a significant part of the country's history. Starting from the colonial period, executing this vision has taken an unparalleled group of insightful enablers across the hierarchy of leaders, who have strictly adhered to Tata's culture imbued with the values of Integrity, Responsibility, Excellence, Pioneering, and Unity. However, perpetuating such an elevated level of consistency in insightful leadership across more than 100 group companies over such a long period is a herculean task. Tata has made this possible through Tata Management Training Centre (TMTC) ­ the legacy learning & development arm of the Tata Group's Human Resources organization.

TMTC helps hundreds of leaders across the group companies find their best versions and constantly relook at their own roles with a different pair of lenses, through an innovative paradigm of leadership skills development that complements the group's culture at large. Let's take one of the recent examples of this novel approach: Visiting & `experiencing' Valiyathura, one of the most famous & populous marine fishing villages in Kerala. With a group of TCS executives ­ participants of the 26th TCSeLS ­ we visited a fishing village in Trivandrum early one morning in November and observed how the fishermen bring-in their catch, and the progression of price as it moves from the boat, to the auctioneer, to the retailer and finally to the end customer ­ all within a few meters along the beach! It gave us a glimpse into the risk the fisher-men take in this trade and humbled us as we pondered on the risk re-turn ratio. We were struck as well by the community's attitude with respect to the discovery of an opportunity to land a large catch. When we asked them how they mark out territories in the sea for each community of fisher-men from neigh boring villages, they told us that when they come across a potentially large catch of fish, they in fact invite these fellow fishermen to cast their nets in the same place. "The sea is for everyone", they said. An amazing abundance mindset. A learning which has occurred outside the classroom.

A pioneer among leadership development centers across the country, TMTC stands-out because of the unique approaches it adopts to provide leaders with learning experiences in authentic environments. This in turn helps them execute what they've learnt in their career. This approach called `Unconventional and Immersive Learning' strongly focuses on what is beyond curated content delivery. There is a lot to be learned; for example, from the shop floor dynamics of multifarious institutions like Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, Kathakali School, National Institute of Virology, Tech Research Labs, and even luxury hotel chains.

An Innovative Approach
TMTC reviews its approach and pedagogy with the Bloom's Taxonomy (Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, & Creating) of learning, thus helping the participants execute what they're learning as well. We are talking about an agile approach that further takes feedback from the participants and survey the effectiveness of the programs. In fact, the feedback regarding the effectiveness levels of TMTC programs ­ delivered in partnership with world-class facilitators from India and abroad ­ is therefore very encouraging. A major wedge of its pedagogy involves innovative sessions like leadership cafes, wherein experts from miscellaneous fields engage in interesting conversations with program participants. For instance, one such recent session involved Guinness World Record holders Tashi and Nungshi Malik, who are the first siblings and twins to climb the Seven Summits, reach the North & South
Poles, complete the Adventurers Grand Slam, and Three Poles Challenge. Their real-life experience regarding risks and uncertainty inspired the participants. With the adoption of other unique tools such as Playback Theatre used to help participants understand themselves better ­ and a shift to other more contemporary approaches such as blended learning (which allows a reduction in the duration of the in-class component), introducing more multimedia content, encouraging learning application through action learning projects and even choreographing in theme based get-to-gethers, TMTC ensures that its pedagogy tastes futuristic.

"When it comes to the classroom sessions, if we previously focused on standalone classroom sessions, now, it's a blend of offline-online sessions. We commence many of our programs by providing the online lessons even before the participants join us, so that the playing field is leveled," says Emmanuel David, Director, TMTC. TMTC offers three key interventions at critical junctures during a Tata Leader's professional journey ­ Tata Group eMerging Leadership Seminar (TGeLS), Tata Group Executive Leadership Seminar (TGELS), and Tata Group Strategic Leadership Seminar (TGSLS). TGeLS is specially designed for high-potential leaders who have recently transitioned into roles (or are due to move into such roles) that entail substantial people responsibility. Launched in partnership with the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan (US), TGELS is a leadership seminar designed to prepare senior executives to provide leadership at the functional or business unit level. A leadership program crafted to fulfill the Group's commitment towards leadership learning at the apex level, TGSLS is rendered in partnership with faculty from Harvard Business School. The selected eligible participants of these three-tier leadership development programs are invited individually.

TMTC helps hundreds of leaders across the group companies to find their best versions and constantly relook at their own roles with a different pair of lenses

The Heritage
Winding back six decades, 20 years after he took the reins of the group, JRD Tata ­ the fourth chairman of the Tata Group ­ was keenly aware that the diversification and further growth of the group lay in the hands of its leaders. Hence, with a vision to develop leadership skills, and instill Tata values in its leaders, he established TMTC in 1959. Having moved to its present heritage structure in Pune in 1966, TMTC today is a state-of-the-art training center, which incorporates an entire gamut of facilities, including digital classrooms, well-appointed accommodation for participants, a gym, and running tracks, to name a few. Over the past five decades, the centre has remained true to the group's vision of engendering future-ready and future-engaged leaders from the house. Under the aegis of Emmanuel, it was in 2015 that the center decided to completely focus on rendering its services to the group companies only.

”Over the past five decades, the center has remained true to the group's vision of engendering future-ready and future-engaged leaders from the house”

"During the year 2014-15, we rendered 90 programs, of which about 15 percent were for non-Tata companies. Ever since we decided to focus completely on the group companies, we have increased the number of programs rendered, as we work closely with the Group Centre to design and develop need based interventions. "Last year, we rendered 162 programs," elucidates Emmanuel, who has been instrumental in revamping TMTC's leadership development strategies. Today, even its online programs (in tie-up with platforms like Coursera) are projected towards the Tata family. However, since all Tata Group companies are free to choose any executive education provider in the industry, TMTC competes with elite institutions like IIMs. "Our founder always believed `in a free enterprise, the community is not just another stakeholder in business, but is in fact the very purpose of its existence'. Over the years, we have also been training various civil servants. I have personally coached many of them, and it is always very rewarding to witness the shift in their capability and worldview the individuals make," adjoins Emmanuel. En route to the future, TMTC focuses on blending online and offline experiences towards preparing Tata for the new and digital era of business by developing a future-ready leadership pipeline, and constantly instilling the group's culture.

Emmanuel David, Director
Emmanuel has been at the helm of leadership across industries like Auto, Hospitality, Infrastructure, Financial services, and Oil & Gas. His experiences span businesses such as family owned entities, JVs and MNCs, where he witnessed the complete life cycle of an organization right from startup, growth, downsizing and turnaround. Under his leadership, TMTC was adjudged amongst the Best Corporate Universities globally in the Business Impact category and given a bronze award by the Global Council of Corporate Universities in May 2019.

Year Of Establishment: 1959
Location: Pune
Major Offerings:
• Tata Group Emerging Leadership Seminar
• Tata Group Executive Leadership Seminar
• Tata Group Strategic Leadership Seminar

Program Areas:
• Tmtc E-Learning
• Open Programs (Leadership & Functional Excellence)
• Custom Programs (Leadership & Functional Excellence)

Learning Disciplines:
• Leadership & Organization
• Diversity And Inclusion & Ethics
• Strategy & Operations
• Innovation & Design Thinking
• Finance & Economics
• Marketing & Customer Centricity