Last week I was in India, serving as an executive coach in the School for Inspired Leadership (SOIL) and Mesa Research Group’s Global Leadership Program.  During the program, we had the great pleasure of meeting and hearing from Arun Maira, who is a member of the Planning Commission of India and former chairman of the Boston Consulting Group in India.

India’s growth and development – both economic, as well as in basic services such as clean water – is fraught with a plethora of Challengers.  Commissioner Maira talked of the process of planning and prioritizing and the leadership challenge of working with a broad spectrum of stakeholders in moving his beloved country forward.

He then spoke to an aspect of his leadership that goes to the heart of The Power of TED*.  In order to effectively plan and develop across multiple perspectives to meet these great challenges, he said, there was the need to first establish a healthy “soft infrastructure” upon which all the other work depends.

According to my online dictionary, one definition of “infrastructure” is “the most basic level of organizational structure in a complex body or system that serves as a foundation for the rest.”  The soft infrastructure of which he spoke was about the ways of working with others; of building and maintaining trust; of working collaboratively toward accomplishing shared goals and outcomes.

TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic), and its roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach, provides a resourceful, resilient and powerful soft infrastructure on which our living and working together rests.