Tata Steel

Tata Steel / 5 min read

Common Purpose India was commissioned by Tata Steel to deliver three modules of a leadership development programme to senior frontline Tata Steel officers.

Tata Steel in India was developing a new steel plant in Kalinganagar, Orissa State in Eastern India and recognized the impact of the project on the local communities. Tata Steel wanted to use this opportunity to sensitize its frontline officers to the specific demands of their roles when engaging with the local community and wider stakeholder groups. It wanted to ensure that its senior leaders delivered a successful outcome to the project for all parties involved.


Common Purpose India was commissioned by Tata Steel to deliver a leadership development programme to senior frontline officers to enable them to:

  • enhance their ability to lead in very different and unfamiliar contexts by developing Cultural Intelligence: the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures
  • operate effectively, work collaboratively and build trust with various stakeholders – internal and external
  • increase their awareness and sensitivity for wider society, especially the local/tribal communities in Kalinganagar

“We recognized the need to bridge the gap between our officers and local communities to achieve better outcomes for us all. Common Purpose opened our eyes and lit the way for us to embrace our corporate responsibilities." Suresh Dutt Tripathi, VP HR, Tata Steel


Common Purpose designed the programme as a structured learning journey comprising three parts, each lasting two to three days. It encouraged individual participants to take ownership of their own learning from the outset and to draw on the knowledge and experience within the group as a vital resource. 

The journey began with sessions on Cultural Intelligence (CQ) and complementing these sessions were interactive learnings from the field. These were delivered in a variety of ways; from meeting a leader in action to immersion visits. Participants were encouraged to make a deep dive and experience field scenarios, facilitating real-time and hands on learning.

The programme culminated in creating a leadership development plan which could be applied to the individual, the organization and the local community.

"The programme exposed me to a totally new concept of leadership beyond authority. Excellent programme!"

Sandeep Bhattacharya, Chief Finance and Accounts, Orissa Project

The outcomes

Through the immersion technique used on the programme, the Tata Steel officers:

  • gained insight into local organizations that were dealing with hugely complex social issues
  • acquired a deeper understanding of local communities and learned new techniques for building trust with multiple stakeholders
  • appreciated more clearly the importance of inclusive leadership
  • felt a deeper sense of corporate social responsibility.

This learning was evidenced through some of the ideas that emerged from the programme. One of the key ideas revolved around creating a communication channel between the local community and corporate businesses.

The ‘Community-Led Community Engagement Model’ would enable community leaders to educate the community (in areas of health, education, environment protection and infrastructure development), which, in turn, would ultimately build a consensus amongst the community and a means to sustain the project implementation.

"All leaders of TSL should undergo this course, especially the project members.

KV Singh. Chief Project HSM, Steel and Mills, KPO 

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