A small group of senior executives of Ceylinco Life has demonstrated how disproportionately large undertakings can be accomplished by five leadership practices that engage and inspire others.
From helping a remote community protect itself from chronic kidney disease (CKD) to setting up a library for a rural school, stimulating tree planting in communal institutions and renovating a dilapidated preschool, the work of this group of 24 in the course of a month surpassed what some organisations take a year or more to achieve.
Challenged to conceptualise and execute four corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects as part of a leadership training exercise, the 24 senior executives at directors, deputy general manager (DGM), assistant general manager (AGM) and senior manager level were formed into four teams of six each for the purpose. One month later, each team was required to make a presentation on the projects undertaken and the results achieved.
Team ‘MCTRUST’, which derived its name from the initials of its six members, had built and commissioned a water purification plant that uses reverse osmosis technology to remove impurities in the water used by 100 families in the CKD-prone village of Sivalakulam in the Anuradhapura District. The project linked with a community well donated to the area by Ceylinco Life many years ago and also involved training the villagers in the operation and maintenance of the purification plant.
Team ‘Transformers’ enthused colleagues at the Ceylinco Life head office and at branches around the country to donate books they could spare, supplemented the collection with books purchased anew and created an entire library for a school in Hatton. The team also created a lending library system complete with identity cards for each book and membership cards for students and trained the school’s teachers in operating the system. The engagement also inspired the team to raise funds to donate new shoes to 418 children in the school.
Team ‘Super Sixes’ engaged with 50 schools, 15 police stations and three hospitals in the Gampaha District to launch a mass tree planting campaign within the premises of these institutions, resulting in 1,000 trees being planted within a month. An externalisation of Ceylinco Life’s own theme of ‘Go Green’ for 2016, the project generated so much buy-in from government officials and communities in the district and it has now been enlarged with the goal of planting 5,000 trees within three to six months.
Team ‘Game Changers’ undertook and completed the refurbishment of a preschool in Nattandiya, including repairing and painting buildings and furniture, rebuilding and re-equipping toilets and clearing the grounds.
“At the corporate level, Ceylinco Life has an extensive portfolio of community-centric welfare initiatives to which the company commits substantial funds, time and staff resources,” the company’s Managing Director/CEO R. Renganathan said.
“We were nevertheless pleasantly surprised and impressed with how much could be achieved by a few motivated individuals. The approach these teams took to implement these projects and their success in involving other stakeholders provides us with much food for thought.”
Conducted by the well-known corporate trainer Doug Adams, the leadership training programme under which these projects were undertaken covered five leadership practices – Model the way, Inspire a shared vision, Challenge the process, Enable others to act and Encouraging hearts.