WHAT DOES GLOBALLY RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP MEAN TO ME Gone are the days when the primary focus of all business organizations was profit maximization and to be the no 1. Today the principles of triple bottom line i. e people-planet-profit (having replaced the double bottom line) , sustainability, corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibilty have occupied the center stage of all business processes. Apart from the interests of shareholders,it is imperative to take into account the stakeholders too that include workers, clients, suppliers, environment, the community and the future generations.
The performance of an any organization is not just gauged by its performance on the bourses but parameters like: 1) Are the activities sustainable and not detrimental to the environment directly or indirectly. 2) Are the business decisions taken after considering the underlying risks with sufficent contigency plans. 3) Is sufficent care taken to ensure the welfare of the workforce and regulated monitoring done to ensure malpractises like child labour are not present at any level of working of the organization. Leaders all the world are embedding global responsibilty in the fabric of their business to deal with these challenges.
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Some of the efforts that have been taken henceforth include fair wages increase ,ensuring latest health and safety procedures are in place like the care centers , recycling and developing renewable resources and philanthrophic initiatives undertaken. As the business processes are getting globalised ,spreading their existence world over it is required that global leaders work across personal boundaries of social identity, internal boundaries of level and function and external boundaries of organization,country and region. Thus the concept of integration is indispensible part of global responsible leadership.
In this global society,national ,international and multinational companies are a conglomeration. There can be different standards and diverse challenges which can be turned into opportunities by integration. How this is achieved shall be discussed little later but at present I shall focus on some of the leadreship practises to achieve global responsibility. 1) Developing a framework with a vision in mind and then planning out the strategies and policies to achieve the same The basic requirement is to develop a vision keeping in mind the strengths and focus of the core business and also the demads and expectations of the stakeholders.
The advantage of creating a vision is that it acts as a guide book for the company to prioritize the tasks undertaken by the company. This is followed by crafting the strategies which can enable business opportunities,social good and environmental protection. The policies are then fabricated to link the vision and strategies with the operations of the company. 2) Top management support The success of the organization in achieving global responsibility rests on the fact that how proactive is the management – senior leaders and executive team in supporting to this cause.
This practise particularly becomes important in challenges like rising cost, decreasing revenues,convincing the client with the credibility of the Globally responsible policies etc. 3) From planning to incorporation After the framework is made through a vision and crafting the strategies,the challenge that lies ahead is the implementation ie integrate the Global responsibility policies into the business in such the way that the entire process gets in sync and does not disturb the supply-chain management. ) Carrying the global responsibilties beyond the “Traditional Walls” This is a crucial practise and has a big role to play in the success of the Global responsibility leadership of the company as it includes approaching the stakeholders which include the employees of the organization,the suppliers,vendors customers members of the community and non-profit organizations.
Here I would like to quote the words of a veteran,working on this front just to give you an insight into how challenging the task can be: “First you have to talk their language, so you don’t talk sustainability, you don’t talk GRI, you don’t talk because they don’t know whatever it is and they don’t care. But you just have to go ok, this is a project. We want to reduce the losses from our factory – and benefit the extended community by donating the leftover production. ” (CSR manager)
To achieve this task of carrying the global responsibilty leadership initiatives across the border requires leaders to study and understand the diverse cultures and systems to approach the stakeholders and this highlightes the role of played by integrity in the success of this practise. To achieve this the leaders develop relatonships with the stakeholders which is achieved by power sharing, dialogues and inquiry bridging the differences and boundaries. 5) Performance and accountability
Global responsibilty norms can be set up at individual ,group and organizational levels. a) The firms employ initiatives like employee performance plans,feedback sessions,certifications,rewards etc which not only ensures that the employees practise these policies but also helps to achieve continuous improvement. b) At organizational level, audits and regular reporting helps to ensure accountability. 6) Ethical role models As one CEO revealed during an interview: We really tried to get our principles right before we tried to communicate them and already put them partly in place so that people recognized, when we started to talk about sustainable development, what it was about at least partly and that it wasn’t something new that was being heard at a certain given time but was already starting to become part of the fabric of the company. ” Leaders and managers who openly practice global responsibility in their personal life are role models for the workforce.
Employees are more convinced to adopt globally responsible actions when leaders exhibit personal examples of how to bridge personal and professional responsibility, such as being involved in charity or volunteering in social and environmental activities. Thus, having discussed the major practises quintessential to global responsible leadership we now build upon the fact that having gathered here gives a platform for the present and future corporates to analyse the challenges that exist today and what initiatives could help to make feasible the achievement of this into the business processes.
The concept of global responsible leadership is still in its inception and hence the onus lies on us to make this an integral part of the business processes. Today when the world is facing the challenges like global warming, the disturbed ecosystem and paradigm shift of business activities to the developing world,the concept of global responsible leadership makes it imperative to refurbish our policies and develop a more socio-friendly working place where these issues are redressed and dealt with a scientific approach to offer the best solution and we can achieve the goals set forth in limited time and with the limited resources available.
The beauty of events like this is that it gives a platform for a tete-a-tete where the enterprenaurs of today apprise us of the challenges they face and this gives an opportunity to the future corporates to learn from their experience. The probloms faced by the future corporate houses may not be similar to the ones faced today but the policies today will have their implications tomorrow. So a raw picture of the same can be drawn and analysed. From my personal experience,I would like to share with you all my learning on this ground during my professional work experience with TCS.
I feel highly priveledged to share with you the GLR initiatives taken by TCS-Maitree group, established with the clear misson to imbibe the values of GLR into the TCS work culture. From cracking quizzes to conquering tall peaks, from shaking a leg to bending it like Beckham, employees have reveled in the excitement and fun of all Maitree events. And that’s not all. Workshops on theatre, yoga, origami, flower arrangement, chocolate making, and a host of others have allowed the employees to learn and know about things they always wanted to.
In addition to this, Maitree also strives to enable the development of the society. Some of the projects undertaken include working with the differently-abled, aiding under-privileged children across various schools in Mumbai, and helping rural community in Vazapur, among others. Many programs initiated by Maitree, like employment opportunities for the differently-abled, HIV/AIDS sensitization, peer education, Green Audits to check the excess consumption of energy resources have now been accepted as best practices by the organization.
The best part about maitree is that its not just limited to a particular part of a country or a particular section of the society,instead Maitree is trying to reach out to all parts of the country. The idea is clear ,if all organizations take initiatives like this, the day is not far when the world would turn out to be a better place to live in. At the end I would like to say that The recognition that global responsibility is a never-ending journey rather than a destination indicates that only innovative, continuously improving leadership practices will enable organizations to progress.
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