By Brian Chernett

I have been privileged to make two recent visits to India. The first was to Kerala for a course in NLP with Sue Knight and also included some excellent Yoga on the beach with a local teacher. More recently, I was back to meet with local businessmen and to run some ‘taster’ version of the Academy for Chief Executives masterminding days.

The Academy days were held in Dehli, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad and allowed me to experience at first hand the business environment in India. Things are changing and India’s reputation for slow-moving bureaucracy is likely to be a thing of the past. There is no doubt that entrepreneurship breaking through and that things are getting done more quickly. Of the two Asian rising economies, I feel that I would be happier to invest in India rather than China.

The business people that I met in our sessions were particularly interested in soft skills development and the development of people. In the rapid growth of business in India, it has become difficult to recruit and keep talented people. Indian business is exceptionally good at innovating and there are plenty of ideas to implement. There is, however, a major requirement to find people with the skills in the implementation of those ideas. Indian GDP is growing at just over 9% pa. Hyderabad is growing at 10.8%. The infrastructure is still poor but investment is being made and improvements are being seen already.

India is certainly a good environment for Academy approach. We held mini meetings lasting four and a half hours and the attendees loved the process. In a fast growing economy, the opportunity to learn from each other and from experts in the specifics of management and leadership is some thing that can ensure the sustainability of the growth. Managers and leaders will be continually confronting the unknown but what is unknown for them may not be for others. Sharing information and skills is an important process, not just in a relatively young industrial economy.

Taking our business overseas presents it own issues for us — and, of course, we are working with our own members to understand how to over come them. In India we need to think in Rupees and balance affordability for the potential members with the ability to make a return on our investment and to be able to retain that return when converted to sterling. As well as taking advice within the Academy network, I will also be attending the Fresh Business Thinking Seminar on investing in India and I look forward to hearing other views on working in this market.