How to create an IT outsourcing rock star?

I met up with Matt Barney of Infosys yesterday. He is the person in charge of developing executives into senior management.

He is an occupational psychologist who joined Infosys about four years ago.

I have not written about the subject at all in the past and it was an interesting meeting. Just to see all the processes and efforts put into ensuring that potential leaders in the company reach their potential.

“We make rock stars even better,” says Barney. “We take exceptionally high performing individuals and make them even better.”

I must admit when I think of employers helping manage your career I get shivers down my spine because of a previous employers’ badly run Personal Development Plan. The dreaded PDP was more about ticking boxes than furthering my career.

Barney agreed with me that a badly run PDP programme is counter-productive.

Infosys’ Leadership Institute in contrast is a major effort. Staff that show promise or a desire to be senior management enter the programme and receive tutoring throughout their career at Infosys. It means Infosys, which is a high growth company, can expand quickly without requiring external hires.

Barney’s team is only 7 people globally at the moment but so much importance is placed on the Leadership Institute by Infosys that the team will grow to 200 in the next four years.

In the UK there are 42 Infosys senior managers that are part of the programme, Including BG Srinivas (pictured) who has been a contributor to this blog in the past. BG is now a member of the Infosys board so he must be one of teh rock stars that has got even better. Although his status must have been helped by being involved with Inside Outsourcing.

Programme participants might learn concepts such as ethical persuasion one day and have a virtual reality meeting with a CIO customer the next to test them out. Barney also told me about the importance of charisma as well as knowing.

The leadership organisation at Infosys is split into three parts. Broadly speaking it encompasses: coaching and training, where individuals receive mentoring and training; a department that assesses employees using software and forecasts how many leaders Infosys will need; and another that plans succession to ensure if someone leaves there is a ready replacement.

It is amazing how much time, money and effort goes into shaping the current and future leaders at Infosys. If you are a CIO and have a meeting with one of them remember their rock star status.

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