Creating Shared Value : The ‘sunrise’ direction


What can a business do?

Like most of us who run, transact with or know businesses will say that a they can only make money! Not true any more !

A really interesting Initiative that I came across was the ‘Nestle Creating Shared Valueand their perspective towards the role of business in development is simple, clear, driven and the way I understand – Very practical.

In my humble opinion, they seem to believe ‘If they build a better world, even they will benefit from it’ something that everyone should learn from and strive towards.

Read more about their work here . Or watch a video here

I believe in this idea and want to learn more, after receiving an invite recently from the Creating Shared Value Forum,2012 (Organized by Nestle SA and FICCI) to be held in New Delhi, India on Nov 5th as a Key Online Opinion Leader, my focus is now to see what is actionable and write about it.

Stay tuned here for two more articles on this thread :

1. Creating Shared Value : The business of development

2. Creating shared value forum 2012 : Top 10 actionable items that your business can start tomorrow.

Connect with the forum directly on twitter at https://twitter.com/nestleCSV  

#NestleCSV stay tuned for my tweets from the event day

OR connect with them on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Nestle

Personally, since I am doing a workshop on ‘Execution tactics’ for a leading automobile company today, I feel the best way to sum this up for now would be to quote The Tonite Show anchor and entrepreneur – Jay Leno

“Life begins at conception and ends at execution’

Lead Yourself


‘Leadership’ has been a business buzzword for well over 30 years now, most of what could have been written about it, has been written, what could have been thought, has been cerebrated upon and yet we stand amidst people who struggle to be the leaders they have always wanted others to be.

Why is leadership such a hard choice?

Robert Frost, in his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ said the best of what I think every leader would agree to;

“And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference”

All of this bubbles out a lot of questions every professional asks at the hierarchical crossroads, and how they answer them, determine their journey ahead.

–    What is leadership?

–    Do I qualify to be a leader?

–    How can I be a successful leader?

Let’s see if we can find some simple yet practical answers for these age old dilemmas’.

–    What is leadership?

Leadership is Responsibility. You can get it or you can take it.

I learnt my lesson early here, after my father died when I was 15, we were left stranded in the middle of nowhere – financially, emotionally and socially. Expensive treatment led to debts and an expensive lifestyle, like my family had, led to problems and an acute inability to manage in less resources.

I am the eldest son in the family and it was going to be my responsibility later to do the damage control (once I grew up – Sigh!)

I just had one question, can we afford ‘later’?

Every bit of logic I had said ‘No’

The crossroads came, I had to either ‘take responsibility now’ or ‘wait or watch the things to move on their own’.

I chose to take the responsibility, surprisingly a lot of hands started to come handy.

Lesson learnt: Help comes only to those who help themselves!

My school was the most expensive school in the city, I couldn’t have paid the fee, My teachers paid it from their pockets, I never understood, why?

I was too young to work; I didn’t tell anybody my age in my interview.

I went to an international BPO, the first in town, to get myself a Job. I appeared for the interview, cleared it, negotiated my salary and told the panel all about my age and situation afterwards.

The look on their face was worth it; they asked for some time, consulted some lawyers and gave me a job. Full time, as an apprentice.

There I was, cycling 15 miles to School, 10 back to my office and another 10 back home by midnight. But I managed to support my family. My need was met and we survived the winter.

Lessons Learnt:

Hard work is good, Smart Work is great but they can’t substitute each other.

Leaders hold themselves accountable for the outcomes of their actions, even if the task was done by the one they delegated it to and speculatively take risks.

A leader takes responsibility to take control of the situations around , no matter how good or bad they may be.

–    Do I qualify to be a leader?

In my book, there are only two ways you get into leadership.

i. Designated Leadership – A leadership role granted by authority, a type of leadership where the designation makes the person a leader. This comes with power, the power to reward, punish or make decisions. So maybe your next promotion is when you can start.

Prime Minister is a good example of this type of leadership. I can also cite my first managerial role at work. Simply put, it mattered more what my business card said than what I said.

ii. Acquired Leadership – A style of leadership where an individual develops a character of leadership within by working on his strengths continuously. This can be done either by building a strong relationship with the followers, by being a source of inspiration or by developing expertise in the chosen field. This would mean you can start being a leader ‘Now’.

Indira Nooyi of Pepsico who built her way to the top through her expertise and capability or a business consultant who enjoys no designation yet caters to high responsibilities in any organization. ( Like me , Sigh !)

Lesson Learnt:

It’s not who you are but what you dream for and how desperately so, that makes you a leader.

So, of course you qualify to be a leader; but ‘How’ is still under wraps. Let’s find out!

–    How can I be a successful leader?

“Endowed with his bright armor,

He came all the way…

A spec of doubt saw not his face,

Though he had a beast to slay…

With the rising sun he embarked

To accomplish what was right…

And till this day we sing his song,

He was the Golden Knight”

We have all heard stories of Knights and Superheroes; it almost feels that you need to be one to succeed as a leader. But think of it this way, no matter what the density or depth of water might me, if you know how to swim, with the correct technique and adequate effort you can get through the liquid.

The two things, technique and effort stand out to be the mark of any leader.

Now effort is the result of desperation and passion, of how badly do you want to achieve whatever you are gunning for. It can’t be taught but can only be realized. That’s your job!

For the technique, as the poem above talks of Armor, every leader needs one.

That needs to be developed through practice and persistence.

So, what is this Armor? How can you get it?

It’s a code of conduct which if followed ensures your success and I will share this secret with you.

L.E.A.D.E.R – The Six Elements of Leaders Armor

L– Legitimate: Be whoever you are but be real and fair. Nobody respects a phony with sly perspectives.

E– Effective: Take planned action. There are more chances to succeed if what you are doing is planned well in advance versus it being an improv.

A– Assertive: Be true to your word by being logical and comprehendible

D– Decisive: Make decisions that are fair, logical and credible

E– Evaluative: Know your environment without judging people for who they are, work around what they do and make it better

R– Resilient: Learn as if there is no tomorrow, the day you stop learning, you stop living.

This is not rocket science, in fact it’s like cooking a hearty meal – a fine balance of spices masters the taste.

Now, you have the Knowledge, your key to the power which brings along with it the responsibility. You don’t have to be a L.E.A.D.E.R, but if you wish to be one,

Lead On and Lead Well!