Mumbai – still my favorite place for immersion learning!

By Glynnis Rengger  PHOTO: Gateway of India and Arabian Sea 
A day in Mumbai is like a week anywhere else. It’s a Leadership Development professional’s nirvana – an oasis of constant and immersive learning.  Life happens on the street with a vibrancy that is unparalleled and taking executives out of the classroom to learn is a sure bet!
We spent a day in market with one of our favorite healthcare clients.  We departed in smaller teams of about six to seven participants for a day that took each team for a healthcare experience, a retail safari and an invigorating exchange with a local business leader.
Seeing the diversity of healthcare delivery in Mumbai is always an eye-opener.  The ever provocative and globally recognized healthcare innovator, Dr. Devi Shetty of Narayana Health, says that India is where the leadership for healthcare transformation will come and while it is sometimes hard to believe in the conditions that exist in many of their over-crowded and understaffed hospitals, I know it to be true.  There is no question that a new business model is being invented in a system where healthcare professionals are excellent and abundant, and inherent and multiple constraints drive new ways of doing things.  Whether an overworked surgeon in a government hospital caring for the poor, or an administrator in a fast growing private hospital, to grassroots volunteers working in communities to improve health, we constantly witness the commitment, compassion, energy and purposeful drive to improve the lives of patients.
Lunch spent in the market gives us a unique glimpse into traditional trade and just how fast modern trade is taking a foothold. A nice segue into one of the highlights of the afternoon meetings – an encounter with Kishore Biyani of the Future Group.  I say encounter deliberately.  Kishore is a force to be reckoned with – an icon in India and father of modern retail in the country.  No-one is unmoved by his passion for the business, his foresight and his commitment to his country.  We leave all wanting to quit our jobs and work for him.

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The Mumbai Monorail opened in February 2014.  (Photo credit: Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)) 
But of course there are other Indian giants too – the Mahindra Group, ICICI Lombard, Godrej Consumer Products Limited to name a few.  Not by accident these companies are successful across the board.  Our debrief after the day’s full and very satisfying experiences is one long similar tale of inspirational and passionate leaders; leaders who have a very long term view of their business; leaders who develop talent and create environments where people want to do their best work; leaders who perform and deliver results; and finally leaders who understand their broader role in society and include philanthropy and eco-system development in their daily tasks.
Another great day. Thank you Mumbai for always making us welcome and for always teaching us something awesome.