“You are what you do when no one is watching.”

An exclusive interview with Mr. K. Jayacandran, Managing Director at HR Axis Hyderabad.

How have you evolved in professional life i.e. your professional journey?

It has been a very long and enriching journey with many milestones and learnings. I started from the Indian Air Force in 1975 and trained as a mechanical engineer. The IAF groomed me from a boy to a man. It built my foundation for the professional life with regard to values, systems, professionalism, approach to job, personal and professional relationships and the way of life on the whole.

While in the IAF, I pursued my graduation and post-graduation and through Banking Services Recruitment Board (BSRB) Delhi, I got selected as a Personnel Officer in a nationalized bank.

The shift from the force to civil life was not easy. A lot of unlearning and adjusting had to be done.

My main function, when I started out was Industrial Relations which, in simple terms means dealing with unions. After that I was with Canara Bank for a few years and then with Gammon India Ltd.  I also got the opportunity to serve as the Director of Education, Training and Research at NICMAR.

After working for all these different sectors and in different industries, I decided to start my own consulting firm.

What do you think is the role of values in leadership and in life?

My belief is that leadership without values is not leadership at all. One cannot be called a leader if their approach is not value driven. The most important thing is that trust gets affected when values are not in place.

Which are your top 3-4 most important values without which you feel you cannot do without as a person?

The first thing that comes to mind is Respect for human beings. I mean that the basic respect has to be the same for everyone.
Another one I live by is Integrity and Self-discipline and this I follow through the phrase, “You are what you do when no one is watching.”
The rule of law or abiding by the law is another important value for me.
In organizations, I believe the power of a team plays an important role in the success of that organization. The productivity and power multiplies when we work in teams.
I also believe in staying true to my word and I’ve grown in my journey and achieved everything I have because I’ve adhered to my values.

What in your opinion is the contribution of values in organizational growth? Is there a tangible/meaningful contribution or are values overrated?

Values certainly add a tangible value and are not overrated at all. Without a proper value system in place, the organization will not grow in the right direction and will have to face a lot of challenges. I know of a research company that did very well in its first 10-12 years of business but took a major dip because of its misplaced value system.
The one thing I’m proud of is the transparency of my organization for which our clients give us great credit. We have our clients referring us because of this.

What are the challenges in practicing value based leadership and what are the ways to get people to practice them?

I think the biggest challenge comes from the society because people living by values are looked upon as fools. I think of the phrase “it’s easy to say but difficult to practice”. My belief is that it’s easy to speak of values and easy to practice them if one has the will for it.

As an organization what are the kind or training and development initiative must be taken to enhance alignment, competence and performance of team members across various levels i.e. leadership level, mid management level and executive level?

The learning and development initiatives, in my opinion need to flow from the top to the bottom. It must start from the board. The values they stand for must be made clear and these values need to be communicated down the line. Whether the value system is being adhered to or not needs to be checked by those one level higher.
Also, experiential learning is the best way to instil values.

Your message to executives for growth in career.

It would be, “Develop competence in terms of the required attitude, knowledge, skill and the ability to give. Continue to learn and update your knowledge”.

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