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'Organisations need to prioritise transparency while navigating transition to AI': Dale Carnegie's Joe Hart

The global CEO and president of the management and training institute speaks about finishing two decades in India, what lies ahead, the key trait he has seen in most leaders, and more

Anubhuti Matta
Published: Aug 24, 2023 03:40:57 PM IST
Updated: Aug 28, 2023 06:34:46 PM IST

'Organisations need to prioritise transparency while navigating transition to AI': Dale Carnegie's Joe HartJoe Hart, global CEO and president, Dale Carnegie. Image: Amit Verma

In 2003, when Dale Carnegie's training began in India, learning and development was not an industry we now know it as, says Pallavi Jha, chairperson and managing director, Dale Carnegie India. "Now, it is a lot more ROI [return on investment]-driven," she adds. What’s changed is also that organisations now invest in training all employees, rather than just leaders. "Soft skills have become ingrained at all levels,” she adds.

As the global management and training institute completes 20 years in India, along with Jha, its global CEO and president, Joe Hart, talks to Forbes India about its plans in the country, job security and artificial intelligence (AI), and more.
Edited excerpts:

Q: Can you share some of the impact Dale Carnegie training has had, especially in India?

Hart: Out of the many countries we operate in, I’d say Dale Carnegie in India is one of the best. It’s one we are proud of. We have trained over 700,000 people in 20 years, which is a significant number and more than any other operation we have elsewhere. I also think this country has an incredible future because it is now one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and therefore, it is a very important territory for us.

Q. How has the pandemic changed your business?

Our business is very different today than what it was. In January 2020, 95 percent of our business around the world was in-person and face-to-face. The pandemic forced us to re-examine our strategies. We were working through a digital transformation, but the pandemic accelerated that. In four months, Dale Carnegie trainers were able to deliver online. Therefore, the number of large companies we’re working with has gone up significantly.

Q. Since the pandemic, do you see a shift in how people view work?

Hart: There's been a significant paradigm shift. How we work, where we work, when we work—the pandemic has changed the way employees look at work. They are looking for greater flexibility and balance in their lives along with more meaning in their work. While organisational direction, leadership, and compensation remain important, employees will now leave a role if it doesn't meet their personal needs in terms of their family and the things that they want in their life. And, I think this is a challenging time for leaders. When I talk to CEOs and executives, one of the things that keeps them up at night is people retention and investing in their development. Leaders are thinking about creating a hybrid culture and investing in their employees.

'Organisations need to prioritise transparency while navigating transition to AI': Dale Carnegie's Joe HartPallavi Jha, chairperson and managing director, Dale Carnegie India. Image: Amit Verma

Q. What kind of unique challenges have you faced in training people in a country like India?

The biggest challenge is in our diversity. We have a different ethos about how we work, how we relate to each other, and more. So we have to be sensitive and keep that in mind while designing programmes.

Also read: 'It's crucial to acknowledge that AI can perpetuate inequalities, fraud': Dalberg's new APAC regional director

Q. You’ve completed 20 years in India. What lies ahead?

Jha: We are now looking to penetrate Tier-II and Tier-III cities and tap more into the startup ecosystem. Although we have trained across India, so far, we have been focussed on large cities because that's where the corporates come from, but now we’re looking at building a sub-franchise network.

Q. How do you address the challenges posed by AI and automation in the workforce, and what role does your training organisation play in preparing employees for this shift?

Hart: The impact of AI on jobs and roles remains to be fully seen, but it's clear that organisations need to prioritise culture and transparency. Employees who understand their role in a changing landscape are more likely to embrace AI. It is time for companies to be able to communicate with their employees with transparency and authenticity. And, it is an opportunity for leaders to define a culture that’s going to make the integration of their people and AI successful. Our training programmes focus on developing skills that AI cannot replace, such as effective communication, influencing decisions, and creativity. We help individuals adapt to change, become tech-savvy, and emphasise personal growth. Open communication about changes and opportunities is essential in navigating this transition successfully.

Also read: Leaders, don't be afraid to admit your flaws

Q: How do you handle the challenge of generational differences in the workplace, especially when it comes to communication?

Hart: Generational communication challenges are prevalent in today's workplaces. Understanding different generations' perspectives is crucial. We emphasise empathy and teach effective communication across generations. Encouraging open dialogues helps bridge the generation gap and fosters collaboration. Each generation brings unique strengths, and we aim to help organisations harness these strengths through improved communication and understanding.

Q. You interact with a diverse set of leaders and professionals. What are some of the common traits you see?

Hart: One key trait is humility. Successful leaders are approachable, willing to learn, and open to others' perspectives. They are also themselves and have a strong sense of purpose that drives their decisions. Effective communication and the ability to build and lead teams are also essential qualities. Ultimately, a successful leader combines authenticity, adaptability, and a strategic vision to inspire their teams and achieve meaningful goals.

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