An international conference organised last month by Jagannath International Management School, Vasant Kunj has injected belief that the neo-normal has the potential to pave a better future for mankind.
At a time when COVID is being seen as all doom and gloom, an array of speakers, including marketing gurus, CEOs and business stalwarts narrated their life experiences to highlight how life and livelihoods are being salvaged.
The international conference on "Management Strategies: Retrieval, Resilience and Re-modelling in Post-COVID World" could not have been better timed. Philip Kotler, Rohit Khosla of India Hotels Private Limited, Justin Paul of IIM Kozhikode, Neeraj Walia of Montblanc, Sanjay Bhan of HeroMotocorp, talent coach Luk Dewulf and Viola Edward de Glanville, a famous psychotherapistand breathworker, were among the speakers.
Professor Paul probably put the conference in perspective. He said: “Covid-19 is a ray of challenges and opportunities” and how important it was to manage ourselves and our businesses strategically, diplomatically and sincerely since global economy is expected to shrink and labour-intensive industries will face more challenges.
Professor Kotler, whose words have wisdom have won him the title of father of modern marketing, advised a more humanitarian approach and told business leaders to eschew a profit-making mindset because times were rapidly changing due to the more than year-long pandemic.
The nonagenarian Kotler, who was born in Chicago and authored over 80 books, has created a concept of social marketing that focuses on healthier and safer living styles. It’s his belief that stakeholders hold the key to the future and companies should give them priority over shareholders.
Professor Justin Paul at the conference. There is a solution for every problem if the mind is positive, he said
“No doubt, shareholders are very important to give a strong financial foundation to the business but it is important not to think in terms of profit margins but in terms of making world a better place to live and sustain … to be able to pass it to the next generation,” said Kotler.
Khosla echoed Kotler’s sentiment and said how the hotel industry in India was already putting humanity ahead of dwindling profit margins during pandemic times. Khosla said how the Indian Hotels Company Limited had converted hotels into temporary COVID isolation wards and provided beds, ventilators and free meals. Despite the financial constraints, the hotel industry managed to save the jobs of permanent employees but failed to protect vendors on contract.
Both Dewulf and Dr De Glanville talked about stress management and health. Dewulf explained how workflow and talent were interrelated. “Flow helps to work hard without making us feel tired. It makes us feel relaxed and highly motivated at the same time,” he said.
Saying how important it is for workers to be joyous in work and be socially engaged, Dr De Glanville said how modern leaders and managers could include emotional intelligence and mental fitness in their training strategies.
Professor Paul indicated how the new has overtaken the old as concepts have changed with time. “We need to rewrite and rethink our traditional ways of businesses so that it will be easy to manage the businesses in the new era,” he said.
In a question-answer session with students, Professor Paul said there was enormous scope for small businesses and start-ups during COVID times. “Performance is the function of potential, process, path, pace and problems and one should always prepare the business plan properly,” he advised.
The entire conference was full of guru mantras. CEOs like Walia would surely have penned down a few notes because at the end of the day, Montblanc will still have to write its profits but the path can be less ruthless and more humane.