Interview with Sangeeth Varghese from LV file
Sangeeth Varghese is the founder of LeadCap Trust and founding member of Leadership Village YLP Wayanad. He is the board member of the Global Business Oath chaired by Nitin Nohria, dean of Harvard Business School. He has appeared in several television and print media including BBC, CNBC, NDTV, and TimesNow. He was a contributing editor for Forbes and Economic Times. Prior to this he was a principal Consultant for UNO based out of London. Sangeeth Varhghes has researched and studied leadership at Harvard and London School of Economics with gold medals. He is the author of international best sellers `Decide to lead’ and `Open source leader (Penguin Books)’. He is the founding curator of Global Shapers, a World Economic Forum initiative for youth.
You have a wide reach out across the world. Why did the world`s first Leadership Village start in Wayanad?
Wayanad appealed because of two reasons. First, it is closer home. I relate to the people, I relate to the sentiments. So, as a pilot there could not have been a better place at all. Second, to make the dream of LV come true, it required a bunch of passionate people. And that came in the form of Anil and Laila. A vision itself is not enough, but it requires people who are willing to get out there and put in to action. It requires a ground that is fertile and ready for the change. Both are in Wayanad.
How does the Leadership Village concept match with your research in LSE on leadership? Did you find any difference in the theory and practice of Leadership practiced in LV?
My research at LSE told me two things. One, that leaders are not born or made. They are not the ones who are born with a legacy or who go to Ivy League schools. They are the ones who are bold enough to decide when faced with a defining moment. Exactly like Mahatma Gandhi, who did not have any skills or talents that we expect from a traditional leader. But turned around to be the biggest leader the world has ever seen because he took a decision to lead when faced with a defining moment. At LV the vision is to evangelise this concept – that leadership is not far away for anyone – so that they are prepared when they face their defining moments. So, that way it has definitely been successful, as more youth from Wayanad are stepping up.
Secondly, when people discover their leadership skills, then it is impossible for them to just sit there, but would join in the nation building mission. I am sure as time goes by, this would start happening in LV
What is the relevance of Leadership, especially for students and youth, in a country as diverse as India.
Without leadership emerging from the youth, in no time the demographic dividend of India would turn to be demographic curse. More youth will be without jobs and without a mission. Which could be disastrous for the nation. But as more youth step up – they create opportunities, jobs, creativity etc
.Do you feel LV has made any impact, even minute, in Wayanad and elsewhere?
Definitely, LV has made an impact. However, I feel the impact of LV is yet to be realised in its full potential.
What is the ultimate aim of LV?
Ultimate aim of LV is to unleash a revolution of LVs across the nation – where youth irrespective of their birth or living conditions can discover their true potential.