18th February, 2023
International CEO Conclave "AVENSiS'' themed on "Transforming Business: People, Purpose, Predictability", powered by Aeroplane App: A one-stop solution for Authentic Advocacy, Social Connections, and Internal Communication, organized by AURACIA - The Communication Club, XLRI Jamshedpur, PGDM (GM)
The conclave started with moderation by Ms. Dilpreet Kaur, Student, PGDM (GM), XLRI Jamshedpur on the topic: Conflict management in the cross-functional project teams in an international corporate environment.
Panellists: comprised of
Mr. Palash Nandy shared that “If conflict is good or bad depends on the context. Conflict on ideas for sure is a good thing. When we take a step back, we understand that most of the conflicts happen for one, as plenty of times the team lost track of the bigger goal and get lost in the smaller goals. It becomes like the elephant in the room. Everybody is looking at the same thing but from different perspective and not ready to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Dr Harish Pillai emphasized how understanding a location's history, followed by its culture, is a vital life lesson. Due to linguistic limitations, various teams' responses to the same message would vary. Also, the concept of empathic leadership is crucial. He highlighted how the team-based approach is superior to the silo-based approach and that having a clear vision is required for the team to collaborate. Based on his prior experiences, he focused on how tailoring your management style to the country in which you are operating is the key to successful management.
Mr Gaurav Verma elaborated that there are better things to do than cost compromise in a world driven by profit and performance. A leader should ensure that team members feel engaged and know what is expected of them. It all boils down to leadership as when to step in the conflicts, open communication with the team members and being a decision maker.
Mr. Vikas Kaushik mentioned the challenge he faced during Covid in India as Indian culture was unprepared for Work from Home. This was the fertile ground for the conflict, but they found a way out with collaboration among the team. To sum up, he mentioned that being Emotional Intelligent is the trait we need for better conflict management. Listening raises you to become an Emotional Intelligent Leader.
Mr. Sunil Rana talked about how conflict resolution is built on two main pillars. Communication is essential in conflict resolution. Individual cultural values also play an important role. Corporate culture and values are critical components of conflict resolution. The complexity is changing, and clarity around the end goal is required. Respect is one of the organizational values that influence team collaboration. Today, constructive criticism, rather than conflict resolution, is required
Next was followed by a Keynote Address by Mr. Rajesh Sethuraman, CEO / President Director Indonesia & Business Head ASEAN, Godrej Consumer Products, Indonesia on the topic: How do the strategies of business transformation in organization evolve across different cultures. Mr. Rajesh Sethuraman shared that “Discussion from a personal experience on organizational change, he mentions “It is important to let go of a successful past and embrace adaptation to change and idea which comes from a different culture and makes the change relevant for the culture in context. These are reflections of the quality of thinking, clarity of vision, and conviction behind the change to land a change.
The impact of change is consistent, but culturally we should take those relevant translations. But more importantly, we must bring in the ability to convince that the change needs a cultural shift because more often, big organizations managed centrally have a potential tendency to think what is shared by the centre is applicable everywhere.
Following this, was a Keynote Address by Mr. Sandeep Uppal, CEO, HSBC, Philippines on the topic: Stakeholder management across divided geographies. Mr. Sandeep Uppal began by discussing his 33-year career, of which nearly 30 years were spent at HSBC Bank. He had 25 years of experience in managing stakeholders. He explains, "Most individuals believe stakeholder management is primarily concerned with politics. Stakeholder management is crucial for both the corporate and individual sides. It is your network that benefits the business and team. Certainly, from a personal standpoint, it is extremely fulfilling. Never attempt to control Stakeholders; instead, you must weave a purpose. There must be a reciprocal interaction or exchange of values. There is a fine line separating perception from reality. Perception is reality unless contradicted by evidence."
This insightful keynote speaker was followed by Expert Opinion (Panel Discussion) Moderated by Mr. Shantanu, Student, PGDM (GM), XLRI Jamshedpur on the topic: Epiphany of Business Transformations: People, Purpose, or Profits. Panellists comprised of:
Mr. Pankaj Aggarwal says “The three elements of profit, purpose, and people are inseparable, they go hand in hand. But we need to have the definitions correct”. He goes on to define, “Purpose is why are we doing what we are doing. But the problem is people stop at the first why. We must go to multiple levels of the why. People are not the people in the company, rather are the people outside the company, not just the end user but the society. Profit is what makes financial sense for the company. We should also add the planet to the dimension. And each of these elements would reinforce each other, in the short or long term.”
Ms. Suchi discussed how business transformation is taking place everywhere around us. There are three key drivers of business transformation, with new technology driving automation and providing opportunities for new skill development being the most significant. The second factor is geopolitical upheavals that significantly impact our lives, such as the impact of war on supply chains last year. Moreover, employment from home has gained prominence during Covid. The third factor is the environmental impact. We are now highly knowledgeable about this topic. The focus is on green products, green projects, and sustainable development.
Mr Rajesh shared his inputs on Purpose, being very meaningful. Organisations should shift their meaning of the Triple Bottom Line, People, planet, and profit, to more on Purpose, Planet, and People. Profit would undoubtedly follow the same. He elaborated on API makers' significant challenges that they are facing in compliance. We need to have the right action in place to develop the business. Any market development for the new initiatives needs to be supported with proper incentives, bureaucratic setup, and environmental norms to meet international standards.
Dr. Ramamurthy mentioned the business transformation revolving around People, process, and purpose, but this only gives a myopic view. Change is permanent, inevitable, and acceptable, but how fast and how much is the question business leaders should focus upon. Every industry is different, the countries also drive the demands, and the transformations are planned according to it. According to Dr. Ramamurthy, the business's core purpose should be to keep people happy.
Mr. Suman Bose mentions “A business exists because there is an opportunity. It is the opportunity-seeking behaviour of organizations that is why the organizations exist. It’s the need to hang the picture is why we have the nail and the hammer. Then comes the ethical parameter, and that is where the purpose comes into play. He also mentions that the biggest challenge for organizations to crack is the people. The profit is a by-product”.
This was followed by a Keynote Address by Mr. Girish Sharma, CEO, Colgate Tolaram, Nigeria on the topic: Transforming Business- Change is the only constant. Mr. Girish Sharma started the discussion by sharing his learnings with the XLRI student community and asked them to make the most of their time at XLRI. He shared insights from his journey with Indomie in Nigeria and how it has maintained its leadership position in Nigeria. One of the most important learnings he shared with the students was that companies must understand the culture of the market if it wants to sell their products. He said, “You must satisfy your customers by solving their problems. This can happen only after understanding your customers.”
The next in line was a keynote Address by Mr. Anshuman Anand, CEO R&B (KSA) Vice President, Apparel Group, Dubai on the topic: Transforming Business & People. Mr. Anshuman Anand started the discussion by highlighting that business transformation is a necessity and not just a buzzword. He highlighted various challenges such as Lack of Commitment from Company Leadership, Internal Resistance from the company and lack of clear communication at various leadership levels. These factors hinder successful business transformation in many companies. He also emphasised the need for a company’s strategy and culture to be in sync with each other for the successful business transformation of a company.
In line was another keynote Address by Mr. Suresh Sundararajan, CEO, Olam Ventures & Olam Technology & Business Services, Singapore on the topic: ‘Purpose & Profit’ -Staying Relevant in Changing Times!
Mr. Suresh started the discussion with how organizations started off and pivoted to businesses which weren’t their core competency. He highlighted the importance of identifying the core competency and having the foresight of bringing innovations that would radically change the dimension of the business. He emphasized on identifying innovations, which irrespective of the size of the business, would help in securing bigger share of market & creating value for the customers.
The last Panel discussion was Moderated by Mr. Sohrab Faraz, Student, PGDM (GM), XLRI Jamshedpur on the topic: Role of workforce in lean startup. The panellists comprised of
Mr. Mallikarjun Rao started the discussion with the importance of agility, discipline, and transparency. He further talks about the second important thing culture, which works well when organizations work on democratizing the attributes of one’s decision-making process. He also talks about in the case of lean start-ups; it becomes crucial to stick to an idea and time the decision to take the risk as the start-ups run on limited fuel. However, larger organizations can try multiple ideas at a time considering they have enough shock absorbers.
Mr. Rakesh emphasized that startups give opportunities and exposure to employees that large corporations cannot. He highlighted that an organization should be kind, and approachable and should have a flat structure where one needs to demonstrate kindness to the employees. He suggested the Mantra that all startups should imbibe is to ‘Think, Learn and Innovate’. Startups are expected to be much more flexible and the stride for continuous innovation is what will help them be flexible and resilient. He also highlighted the importance of training new joiners in a faster way so that transition time would be reduced.
Mr. Suneet Walia started the discussion by highlighting the need for the company’s workforce to be aligned in the same direction. He said, “The most critical component of a business transformation is the leadership team and its ability to align the efforts of the entire workforce in the same direction. The workforce, in this case, would include the company’s employees, vendors, distributors, and external consultants.” Mr. Walia stressed the need for innovation since you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. However, he cautioned against innovating just for the sake of innovation. Innovation should always have a purpose and it should help the customer to solve their problems.
The grand event was concluded with a Vote of Thanks by Aparajita Choudhary, one of the founding members of the Auracia club. The event was organized seamlessly under the able guidance of Prof. Kanagaraj Ayyalusamy & Mr. Rajni Ranjan and the entire Avensis Team comprising of – Aparajita Choudhary, Akshay Mali, Bharath Avasthi, Shivank Choudhary, Suman Saurav Mishra, Shantanu, and Urvashi Kaul The hosts and co-hosts for the event were – Mr. Shantanu, Mr. Surbhit Parandiyal, Ms. Pallavi Dutta, Mr. Sumit Mudgal & Ms. Sanjana Varshney respectively.