4 May 2017 | By Maxine Bligh Insight

Leadership: learning from the global community

Insight: Maxine Bligh, CBI Leadership Programme director

This spring the CBI took its Leadership Programme participants to India for the penultimate session of the 2016-17 programme to examine some of the issues facing UK business, including globalisation and the prospect of jobless growth 

With a population of 1.35 billion people and a growth rate similar to China, India offers considerable incentive for businesses to operate in and trade with the region. Factor in an educated and aspiring middle class, along with the fact that two-thirds of the population are under 35, and it is easy to see how businesses are recognising the immense commercial potential that India offers.

Regardless of whether you do business with India or not, it is a fascinating market in which to examine some of the issues facing UK business, including perceptions of globalisation, the UK’s future in the world and the prospect of jobless growth.

Hosted by the CBI’s team in New Delhi over three packed days, we met with representatives of UK and Indian governments, support agencies, journalists and businesses. The schedule was specifically designed to familiarise our participants with the practical requirements of doing business in India, and to provide an insight into the global impact of India on the world.  

Throughout the visit, our group of 20 leaders of CBI member firms from manufacturers to retailers encountered a range of candid perspectives on the realities of navigating such a complex market.  

The visit enabled us to cover diverse topics, including how the UK government supports businesses navigating the Indian business landscape, India’s changing role in the global economy, as well as gender diversity in corporate culture. The ability to cover these topics in “live” situations added an extra dimension to the schedule of meetings, site visits and panel discussions.

We also examined how the country’s unique culture is influenced by the inherent mix of modern and traditional values in Indian society. As part of our itinerary of site visits, we visited the Dhobi Ghat, a traditional outdoor launderette serving five-star hotels, where clothes are still methodically washed and dried by hand, contrasting with the mechanised processes used elsewhere.

We were made to feel so welcome in this vibrant and dynamic country and, with the Dalai Lama even making an appearance at our hotel, it is not a visit that any of us will forget. It truly was a whirlwind insight into what India has to offer.

Business and political environments are constantly changing, and the CBI Leadership Programme strives to provide each years’ participants with stimulating exercises and challenges that will give them the skills to read, understand and influence the external environment on their way to board level.

The 2017-18 Leadership Programme application window is now open - register your interest 

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