What one takes away from a conversation with Mani Makkar, the 27 year-old who has been chosen as the global CEO at Adecco is his confidence in himself and his positivity.
Adecco has a CEO for a month program which is much-coveted by many young entrepreneurs and especially by management students as it gives the chosen one a chance to shadow the CEO for a month. From the start of a CEO’s work day to how he/she closes it, the CEO candidate for a month gets a ringside view.
Headquartered in Zurich Switzerland, The Adecco Group is a global workforce solutions and temporary hiring firm and a Fortune Global 500 company
Makkar has been applying for this program for three and a half years now and was finally able to make the cut this year. “I have been working for three and a years with a media firm to now working with a Silicon Valley firm and have seen CEOs from afar. I am very keen to know what makes a CEO tick,” he says.
The Adecco Group's CEO for One Month programme builds next-generation leaders, with a focus on the new profile of leadership required in a post-pandemic world of work. The pandemic has demanded a new set of required leadership competencies and these expectations will accelerate the reinvention of the modern-day leader.
Following an 8-month selection process involving more than 147,000 applications from all over the world, Makkar has vaulted to the top when he was chosen to spend one month serving alongside the Adecco Group CEO, Alain Dehaze. He will contribute to the day-to-day running of the talent advisory and solutions company.
CEO for a month program
The Adecco Group's unique program CEO for One Month is aimed at making young students industry-ready, especially ready for the managerial roles that they might have to take on. The organisations' ambition is to marry social value and sustainable business to create shared value for all it stakeholders and contribute to sustainable development.
Through the Adecco Group Foundation, the focus is on two key areas: work-readiness for underserved populations whose potential is often overlooked, and workforce vitality--finding solutions to nurture a workforce that is healthy, resilient, and fit for purpose.
Makkar says he has been trying for this coveted role as, “My motivation was to know what drives a CEO to take decisions that impacts everyone, the organisation and the ecosystem, too. I applied to this program for 3 and a half years and cracked it only this time.” He was chosen out of more than 15,000 applicants pan-India and selected through a rigorous selection process for the India CEO for a month program at Adecco. This program is held in 42 other countries where Adecco has a presence.
Makkar saw the advertisement for the Adecco CEO for a month on Instagram. He related his excitement on seeing it. “I found it to be too good to be true. I mean—the chosen candidate gets to work with the CEO exclusively for a month. I did not waste a minute and dashed off my applications that night itself. The questionnaire was analytic. It is as good as writing the CAT. In an hour one gets to know how one has fared,” he said.
Makkar was among the 20 chosen for the interview. The whole premise of the job is to identify talent from among the top 20 profiles. He then made the final cut to become the Adecco CEO for a month.
What were his learnings from the program? He recalls a book he read and loved: ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. “I found the CEO in fact does what is mentioned by Clear in that book.”
Makkar responded without a pause on what his learnings were from the India program:
1) 30,000 ft learning. I wanted to see how a leader learns and feels. And the two top key learnings for me was: It flows from how a CEO works. The CEO would start off his talks with other employees across businesses by spelling out the vision of the company and how he wants everyone to dream big. I listened to that intently and was surprised when he repeated it in the next two meetings—though the audience were different in each of them. I was thinking why is the CEO saying the same thing repeatedly. I even thought he did not have the time to write something else! I then asked the CEO why he did that and he said: You may think it is boring, but it ensures everyone in the organisation know what their roles are in the common vision I have listed out. Repetition gets you focus.
2) Commit to specifics: I was part of a lot of meetings that focussed on transformation, processes improvement. The CEO would ask the employee when he/she talks about a task he is assigned or commits to an assignment; when would the process be complete and ask for a time period as the date when it would be ready and delivered’.
When Makkar was asked about his chances to become the Global CEO for a month, he was confident and was sure he would be among the top contenders.
After this program is over, Makkar has his career mapped out: To get my hands dirty by becoming a startup entrepreneur.
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