|LETTERS FROM CHAPTER PRESIDENTS OF CONFERENCE CO-HOST|
|CXO PANEL DISCUSSION|
|THE VOLUNTEER STORY|
Organizations in today’s environment need to create value beyond the usual cost, time and quality management. The pressure is now on the leadership of Indian companies as they brace for stiff competition from global companies. Mr. K. Venkataramanan outlined the challenges that lie ahead for organizations and ways to mitigate risks in his presentation, ‘Sustainable value creation through project management excellence’.
“Companies today need to institutionalize project management by integrating it through the value chain—from licencees, external engineering, procurement and construction contractors and customers. Companies need to follow an integrated execution approach by creating standard operating procedures and templates across its divisions,” Mr. Venkataramanan said. He believes enterprise-wide project management will be a reality only with the commitment of the management.
What should today’s project environment consist of? “The project manager has to be ﬁnancially savvy: cash ﬂow is like oxygen for a project. Periodical risk assessment and management is a must. We have to harness the captive knowledge in organizations through knowledge management. One way is to initiate communities of practices. We need to inculcate a culture of safety. The approach should be from chairman down to the site level, and not the other way round. Safety practices will be a key differentiator for companies in the days ahead,” he said.
Is there any place for mythology in business? You may think not. But Mr. Devdutt Pattanaik would like you to believe it does. Discordant strains of thoughts ﬁ nd harmony half-way through a skillful story-telling session. After all, it’s a story woven by the Chief Belief Ofﬁcer!
Mr. Pattanaik drew analogies from Greek and Indian mythology to decode the Indian psyche. He argued through his presentation, ‘East vs West’, that even in the global village, there exist pockets of local cultures and inﬂuences.
Mr. Pattanaik said, “Organizations must look at people as individuals and not human resources. We all belong to a belief system that acts as an invisible cultural lever through our life. What we call a project today is what the Bible calls the Promised Land. It promises moving from an undesired state to a state of milk and honey. But how we propose to reach the Promised Land, or in other words, complete the project, depends a lot on our belief system.”
The western world believes in one life, whereas in India death is a comma in the larger karmic cycle of life, death and rebirth. “They believe in one life, and they want to live it right. But if death is just a comma, what’s the hurry? The project will happen…one day. In the west, there is a sense of climax; for us, it’s all about eternity!” said Mr. Pattanaik. He traced the propensity of Indians to customize in the way they are brought up. “Indian food is known for customization. No Indian raga is sung or played the same way each time. Compare that with the west, where the table is laid out in a perfect structure and the food eaten in a particular sequence. Their music is orchestrated by a conductor in perfect harmony, where the notes follow a set pattern,” he pointed out.
Belief systems cannot be wished away or prejudices taken away by a corporate agenda. “Culture is a local truth. We have to understand people’s behavior and not treat all human beings as a single corporate entity of human resources,” said Mr. Pattanaik.
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