Selected as WCRCINT World’s Best Emerging Leader 2022, Capt. Ankur Dhillon, Chairman, Venkateshwar Signature School is a bold, dynamic and visionary leader who has driven success with honest communications, empathy, adaptability and agility.
WCRCLEADERS in conversation with Capt. Ankur Dhillon
What makes a strong leader? What are your key leadership strengths are make the strongest attributes of success.
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” A strong leader has a clear vision, is courageous, has integrity, honesty, humility and clear focus. He or she is a strategic planner and believes in teamwork. My core strength is a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
“Don’t tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” This is what I believe in.
An accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career? What challenges did you face to reach to the success?
Accomplishments and failures are a part of life. One must embrace every opportunity and leave the result in the hands of the almighty. I remember an instance when I was given a task to achieve my target ,and it happened while constructing our latest venture “Venkateshwar Signature School”, this is spread over an area of 25 Acres with 200,000 Sq Ft Construction and all was done within a span of 10 Months, we devoted time day and night, we worked with full enthusiasm and energy and succeeded in completing it in this short span of time. At first, I thought of quitting, but I was positively counseled by my parents and I took up the challenge. I was able to successfully complete it within 10 months and earned wide recognition. This is my biggest accomplishment till now.
The Professional accomplishment that I am proud of is having got an opportunity to serve the motherland as a Captain in Indian Army. The challenges that I have overcome establishing a place of erudition “Venkateshwar Signature School” of great repute fills me with immense pride. It’s adjudged as a Platinum rated green building and is one of the Top rated schools in India as Design thinking leaders. I have made some right choices. This is an achievement of mine that I will cherish and celebrate throughout my life.
What is a role of leader in these challenging times?
Leaders make themselves present and available during difficult times and keep their team hopeful and optimistic through transparent and trusted communication. It is important for the team to feel that their leadership is committed to the health and safety of all its members. The leader should encompass:-
- Effective and honest communication. Communication is probably the most important skill needed when dealing with a crisis situation.
- Adaptability and agility.
- Risk management.
- Providing emotional support.
What is your vision and how do you share that with your shareholders, employees and others?
My Vision is to create safe, stimulating and intellectually challenging environment which envisages harnessing the signature strengths of its learners, propelling them to develop themselves as unique personalities with strong universal values, fulfilling their physical, socio –emotional, linguistic, conflict resolution and human connection needs.
I follow these steps to create a vision for my team:
- I try to involve my team in the decisions. My team accepts and embraces the vision if they are part of creating it.
- A meeting is scheduled to discuss. The agenda is floated at least a few weeks in the future. This gives my team some time to think about their purpose and come up with ideas before the discussion.
- I some time try to bring in a facilitator. While I am able to lead the discussion around vision and help the team produce a statement and also may prefer to bring in a third-party facilitator. Someone trained in leading these kinds of discussions might make the meeting more productive. This enables me to participate in the discussion as one of the team.
- Be bold but realistic. A good vision statement should challenge the team to reach for a goal. However, that goal should be attainable and align with the institutional goals. It is in relation to what team does and pushes them to do it better.
- I make sure the whole team is committed to the vision. It’s important for each team member to feel the vision which can help them succeed within the institution.
How do you drive active business renovations and how does that impact your subordinates?
A quality workspace design leads to less stressful and more productive atmosphere. It’s essential that employees take the physical work environment of their employees into consideration. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work. The Classrooms are highly equipped with digital board with Tataclass edge modules to support the everyday learning process. The staff rooms are designed in an ergonomic setting where it fosters an environment to work in a conducive space and empowers the workers with the right liberty to work, think and collaborate naturally.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
CSR can help with employee retention and employer branding, so can be aligned with the Human Resources strategy. It’s also shown to increase customer retention and loyalty. I assign responsibilities to each employee and ensure everyone stays on track.
I also try to speak to and understand all stakeholders’ concerns. I make sure that each of the stakeholders has a clear communication plan and priority so that the initiative launches with maximum impact. For example, my employees know the ins and outs of my initiative before any project is launched.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
Competing with myself to be better than yesterday , collaborating with everyone to learn anything , My Family , my teachers who put faith in me always.
How do you plan to drive your business at a global level?
I believe exchanging knowledge and programs are the best way to collaborate in any business. I am open to be part of best institutes , programs , associations to take Education at another lever , where learning is important rather than marks / scores.
We recently collaborated with Universities of New Zealand and Australia for direct admissions, we collaborated with schools in Taiwan and Finland to learn and to teach.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
I believe there is no One day or moment when its a final success , its an ongoing process to be better than last day.
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
Motivating employees, inspiring them, and fostering enthusiasm for projects is one of the most important leadership qualities and a key to success because only motivated employees are good employees.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has/can contribute for the same?
I don’t consider education as an industry , it’s a way of living for all of us as humans . Education is the most important part of life and a good education is the need of hour.
Esprit de corps: How do bring fairies and equality to all?
“The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your students come first, always and everytime.
The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your Institute come next.
Your Own Ease, Comfort and Growth come last, always and everytime.”