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Responsible Business | Can Business be responsible?

Words have different meaning in different context. Capitalists have been shown as cruel people with single minded focus on profit . They are not bothered about the larger well being of society. Over the years , things have changed. The government plays an important role in regulating business. Firms have to compete and play by the rules. In the modern world, business needs to be responsible to the challenges faced by society and the world. Super capitalists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook are super philanthropists too,championing the causes of the poor and the challenges faced the world.

Business is important for society as it organizes production and distribution of goods and services for people. It brings innovation and increases productivity, introduces better techniques of production , employs people, pays taxes to the government and makes profit for its investors .

A responsible business does all this playing by the rules and norms set by the community and the government . But there is more to this term Responsible Business . As I see there two main challenges which our world faces and businesses can’t be oblivious to these challenges . The first challenge is environmental problems due to economic development and burning of fossil fuels which are impacting nature in negative way. The second challenge is the prevailing inequality in the world between the rich and the poor . These problems will increase in their proportions as population of the world will increase from existing 7 billion to 9 billion in next 30 years, though most of the increase will happen Africa where consumption level is very low .

Business has the three important factors what in management jargon is said ” Triple Bottom Line ” . People, planet and profit . There is going to be tough balancing act for any company to do as the scope and range of competition at the market place are getting sharper everyday.

The economic and scientific and technological development of last 200 years have brought enormous benefits to mankind but there are downsides with serious consequences . The use of plastics is one case which is so harmful. It is choking the drains, pollutes water bodies and is non biodegradable . We need an alternative to plastics for packaging and other uses .

Companies drain their untreated chemical effluents to fresh water rivers . That is creating serious problem to large number of people. There are many examples where planet friendly business processes create higher cost to the company which affect their competitiveness at the market place . This is serious dilemma for any company to create a right long term path.

A company which can balance people Profit and Planet or triple bottom line is responsible business. A very few is venturing out in that direction in real sense. Most of the initiatives are on surface and for media and government consumption while maximizing profit remains the main mantra.

The economics and accounting measurement need to change to reflect the ideal balance which a company has achieved and that also gets rewarded at the marketplace. . Without thinking long term and aligning the personal goals with larger social goals, nothing much can be achieved .That is precisely the role of enlightened leadership. Responsible Business will stem out of responsible , visionary and enlightened business leadership.

Responsible business will come out of only from responsible leadership.

Engaging for the Future | PEOPLE MANAGER CONCLAVE 2012

IILM students participated in the IBM People Manager Conclave 2012 which gave an insight about the challenges faced by the present HR managers and what strategies/ tactics can be used in order to align their individual goals with the organisational goals. Theme of this event was “Engaging for the future.” This event involved various activities such as:-

  • Panel discussion on “GEN- Y” and “ Managing 360 degree
  • Students were enlightened on the topic by:
    • Pari Sadasivan- India Delivery Leader @ IBM Global Process Services
    • Ashish Kumar- General Manager @ IBM Global Technology Services
    • Sanjiva S Dubey- Service Delivery Executive @ IBM Global Business Services
  • Lecture on “ Creating a High Performance Culture” delivered by
    • Dhirender Jagdev- CRM @ IBM Global Process Services
    • Abhishek Sharma- CRM @ IBM Global Process Services
    • Vinayak Sastri- S&D @ SMS CoE

    GEN-Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, is the demographic cohort following Generation X. The generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, typically regarded as increasingly familiar with digital and electronic technology. The session focused on the issue like GEN-Y tends to move from organisation to organisation in a very short span of time. Role of career planning for such workforce was discussed. Thus, to have a better and motivated Gen-Y need for a mentoring program through which their career planning could be done was emphasised within the session. The biggest challenge for the HR managers would be how to retain GEN-Y employees and make them committed towards the organisational work.

    Pari Sadasivan gave her real life corporate examples which were enlightening. She also talked about the importance of the focus team session, move fast, no subtitue for the talent, integrity, clarity and humility. She concluded as how people managers were earlier considered as managers only to manage the workforce. But now HR managers are the business partners who make and support the organisational vision and strategy to be possible.

    Creating a high performance culture in the organisation through below mentioned points were outlined:

    1. Matrix organisation
    2. Decentralisation
    3. Team player
    4. Building trust
    5. 7S model of change
    6. Collaborative decision making
    7. Prepare for change
    8. Manage operation and strategy
    9. Work-life balance
    10. Performance and Benefits

    Role of HR manager in bringing about the change was discussed. HR manager should be:

    1. Change Agent
    2. Employee Champion
    3. Administrative expert
    4. Strategic Partner

    Another important fact regarding HR is managing 360 degree. 360 degree feedback is very important in an organisation but it is not necessary that employees should worry about it. Employees should be able to contribute towards the individual and organisational betterment. It is necessary to have a good feedback but it is always necessary for the employee to work in the organisation according to the need of the organisation without thinking about the feedback.

    Leadership is skill that a manger should possess. Thus a leader should be able to motivate his employee to do their work. A video on leadership of Emma Brandon, award winner of Britain’s Best Boss was shown in the conclave. She was a senior charge nurse at a mental facility who was motivating the employees and the patients. She invited ideas from the employees to make their work better and to cure the patients in a better way. Thus this increased the number of cured patients and employees were also happy to work there. The decision making in the medical facility was decentralised and new ideas were invited from all employees which made a feeling of belongingness among the employees. She also had pleasure trips and games for the patients in the medical facility centre which was a better treatment for them. Thus a leader should be a motivator along with directive and supporting.

    Another insight was given by Mr. Durga Kota on is experience in different parts of the world and how he was able to manage he work force. The keys mantras which kept in to connect IBM with Bharti were building trust worthy collaborative team, to be a team player, prepare oneself for changes, manage operation and strategy and manage matrix organisation.

    Thus the conclave gave an insight of the different aspects about the people manager to be taken to consideration as most of the organisation neglect or don’t appreciate their work. Thus it is important for an organisation to take their people manager as a business partner for the organisation.