On leadership dilemma & more…

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Lofty notions of leadership captivate our collective imagination, but everyday management skills that organisations desperately need remain unappreciated and ignored. In most organizations, leaders are better at assigning work than stopping unimportant tasks. Stopping a project or task—after investing heavily in it—requires courage. However, many leaders dread the resulting adverse impact and end up failing to take corrective actions, which would have enabled employees to stay efficient and agile.  This fear of action, or inaction, obstructs any hopes of clarity, stability and safety for employees, and shapes employees’ negative perceptions, resulting in dissatisfaction, lack of commitment and lackadaisical efforts. Good leaders work hard to create fair processes and hold people accountable.

Despite the massive attention given to inspirational aspects of leadership, it is clear that most people aren’t still inspired, engaged or truly committed in their work. Good leadership requires guts, grit and a lot of practice. It is crucial to know how people feel about their organisation, performance and focus.  Let’s stop pretending that it’s a lesser skill set. We need to get serious about building it. In this context, MMA in association with the Andhra Chamber of Commerce (ACC) organised a presentation by Mr D Shiva Kumar, Group Executive President – Corporate, Strategy & Business Development, Aditya Birla Group, on the theme, “On Changing Leadership Expectations” on 18th November 2022, commemorating the 100th joint event between MMA and ACC. Please read on and watch the video for the full talk.

India’s neighbourhood-first policy

A core component of India’s foreign policy, the neighbourhood-first policyfocusses on maintaining peaceful relations and fostering collaborative development with the South Asian neighbours and region.  However, it is essential for these countries to be mindful of India’s concerns and sensibilities on security, economy and prosperity.  Now, with its responsibility on assuming the G20 leadership position, India must walk the talk and build capacities to strengthen its position.

In this context, MMA organized a discussion on the theme, “India’s Neighbourhood First Policy,” which focussed on various issues confronting the country and its seven neighbours. I am delighted to present you the thought-provoking insights shared by the distinguished panellists on this issue.  Please read on and watch the video.

Beware of the crypto!

The collapse of cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, at the beginning  of November 2022 has a detrimental impact on numerous industry players.  Unfortunately, fraud has always had a negative impact on finance. Indian start-ups involved in crypto assets management have said that they have systems and protocols in place to ensure that no FTX-like situation arises with their users.  But the founders and boards must also ensure that these companies follow good governance and due diligence practices with appropriate internal checks and cross checks, and report through regulatory filings.  It is imperative that a robust risk management mechanism should be in place, especially till crypto becomes a formal part of the economy.  Creating awareness and putting in place an extra layer of oversight over crypto companies make sense and are in the interest of users.

To the 8 billion!

The world has hit a population milestone: 8 billion!  India is all set to become the world’s most populous country in 2023—much before 2027, as had been predicted by the United Nation Population Division. India is poised to gain a significant number of working age individuals in the next 25 years, almost every fifth in the world. Nonetheless, given the country’s existing labour market scenario, one wonders whether such a huge potential of human resources will really do much for the Indian economy unless, of course, we are able to enhance women’s participation on a significant scale. The country’s demographic dividend will be wasted if women stay out of the labour market. To be proactive against failures, gender differentials in access to education and skill development must be removed on a priority basis. It is also important to foster the social infrastructure to relieve women from their double burden of work and foster a “women-friendly” work culture.

In this context, MMA Women Business Forum organised a thought-provoking talk on the theme “How Gender Equality Benefits Men” by Ms Anuradha Mathur. The article on this event is published in this issue. Please read on and watch the video. Don’t let a gender imbalance drag our economy down.

Climate & COP 27

Nearly 190 countries agreed to the creation of a new fund to support developing countries on loss and damage (L&D) arising due to climate impacts. This decision was welcomed by governments and civil societies. But is this really a win for developing countries?  Who is going to contribute to the fund?  It’s my view that a small win was offered to the developing world to show that COP 27 was a success.  The debate on L&D has entered the most contentious phase and India, on its part, has to ensure that its interest is protected and the developing countries’ bloc continues to be united.

Commercializing space ambitions

India’s first private space mission, Prarambh, by Skyroot Aerospace, based in Hyderabad, was a grand success.  India is still at a very early stage in commercializing its space ambitions.  Only Agnikul Cosmos, Pixxel and Skyroot have received funding. We had the privilege of hosting the Agnikul story at MMA Management Center with very inspiring insights shared by Mr Srinath Ravichandran, Co-Founder and CEO, Agnikul Cosmos.  While Indian start-ups are still largely at the pre-commercial stage, they expect larger funding post-success of the first mission.

MMA under its CSR initiative supported by ACSYS Investments Pvt Ltd introduced an 8-week workshop “Space Connect” for the benefit of poor students studying at government-aided Schools.  The objective was to introduce students to various aspects connected with Space Science and Satellite which would kindle their interest in Space and Rocket Science.

I am also delighted to present interesting articles in this issue covering the entrepreneurial journey of Mr Muthu, CEO, Idhayam Oil, a story on Mr Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Ltd and India 2047 and more…. 

Please read on and get inspired.

As always, we would be happy to hear your views, comments and suggestions.

Merry Christmas and happy reading!