What does Nascent Leadership Program mean to me?
I completed the SAP Nascent Leadership Program (NLP) quite some time ago. So, this article is late by all means. And the reason wasn’t in describing the program. But it was in articulating what it meant for me. So, after days of deliberating and scribbling on paper and then tossing them away, I think I finally have something that reflects my thoughts.
But before that, for the uninitiated, let’s understand what NLP is. The Nascent Leadership Program is a crash course designed to initiate the youngsters of today to the ideas of management. But don’t expect that you can go ahead and ask your manager’s position; trust me I tried. It will neither make you the next Julius Caesar or Napoleon Bonaparte. But it will tell you what skills you would need to become someone like them. The course is a healthy mix of self-learning, discussions, and case studies. So that at the end of it all, you will not only have learned a bit about the cogs that make an organization work, but also understood how different choices affect the outcomes and paths a company takes.
Now before you ask me the details of where you can sign up for it, I will ask you to wait till the end of this; as the next iteration of the program is quite far away and you might still learn a bit more about what it is.
My journey, like the rest in the batch, started in a group of three. Every week we were asked to go through various self-learning courses and documents to understand what was planned as a Leadership presentation for that week and the subsequent case study. This small group of three becomes the core of your whole journey. The case study is a team activity and depending on the synergy of the team, you can also spend more time understanding and learning the various topics planned for that week. This also becomes a simple and efficient hurdle in understanding teamwork, leadership, and collaboration in a team as you need to effectively work as a team and meet the deadlines.
Personally, the case studies were my key takeaway points. They always forced us to deep dive into what was being taught, collect relevant information for credible sources to support our point of view, and then combine the efforts of all three of you into a coherent case study and presentation. It also helped in finding flaws in your ideas and suggestion while exposing you to things that you didn’t take into account via interaction with other teams and the subsequent discussion on the presentation.
Another interesting aspect of the whole program was the leadership interaction. To the saying, monkey sees, monkey does, I add, the more monkeys you see, the more he knows what to do. And these leadership interactions provide just that. They were a great way to see how different leaders in different streams of SAP have reached there, what they have learned from their years of trials, and what they have to share on that week’s topic of discussion. Their years of experience lead to streamlined ideas and thoughts that really help in expanding your understanding of what is a leader. Gone are the days when Antony’s speech “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” was all that is needed to move the masses. In today’s world, a Leader is but a collection of dynamically changing skillset that needs you to be evermore flexible and understanding of your fellow countrymen and the economics of the world around you.
And the program does that. It provokes the idea of we in place of me. It instills the various concepts of a leader while never actually defining what you need to be a leader. It shows the path that you would need to take in your life to reach such a goal while also not specifying the exact path. And if all that sounds vague, well it is. There is no clear textbook definition of a leader that works in the real life. Different leaders are different in their own ways. They had to make the journey on their own to understand what intrinsic skillset they had to be a leader and what else they needed to absorb to be what they envisioned.
Some something vague to something more concrete, the program also expands on the various processes, a leader or a manager uses in their day-to-day work. These can help in understanding the various forces in play in designing the future of a project or company and how to achieve the best solution in such a scenario.
So, should you sign up for this program? Well, if this article has kept you interested till now, then you have the answer with you. If you are confused if this adds any value to your work, then think about your current job and the future positions that you might take. Do you work in a team where you are expected to be a scrum lead at times? Are you expected to design and implement various innovations in your product? Are you planning to be a product lead and plan and distribute your work? If any of these questions have the answer yes, then do take the time to sign up for this program and learn something new that we help you in ways even hard for you to predict.