Do you develop your people? Followership & Tribes

Hitanshu Gandhi    Updated
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In life, our riches and fame are determined not just by public victories but private wins. Developing your own tribe is a key determinant of success even if TechCrunch or Forbes may not feature lists about it.

My dear friend and coffee guru, Geetu Mohnani, reminded me of this eternal truth when she featured two heart warming stories on her personal Instagram.

Now, before you are tempted to wave the lack of a degree – note that artisans who do not deliver quality outcomes passionately every single day do not survive in the business, as Taleb would remind us.

What Geetu doesn’t mention is her attributes as a great people leader who takes risks in developing her people. Most managers mitigate risk by demanding better resources – Geetu’s brilliance would have been recognized just as much in the totally cerebral field of strategy consulting where building your own tribe and having followers is everything. In my ex-employer, PwC Strategy&, this was a key value instilled in us and thoughtfully measured and coached to a high standard by our global HR leaders such as Nikki Rath. It is easy for managers to look good in the short term by becoming a slave driver but the 360 degree feedback catches up. I have been privileged to be part of multiple such conversations where some very smart individuals were not promoted primarily because of negative upward feedback and no juniors wanting to work with them again. It is not an easy value decision to make but we made it and stayed true.

I can imagine how hard it must have been on Geetu – to take these two unlikely candidates, groom them under her wing into fine professionals / artisans. It is truly an embodiment of her values and leadership and willingness to take risk! Most other managers would have “reduced risk” by poaching trained baristas from elsewhere.

Kudos, Geetu!