Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lahore Management Summit 2009

Fortunately I got the chance to be in the organizing committee of Lahore Management Summit 2009. This event was hosted by Nutshell & TIE. The theme of the conference was “Management in Turbulent Times-The Way Forward”. All the speakers had a chosen a topic which revolved around this main theme. It’s not possible to write about all that was disused there, however I am going to try & narrate the crux of the 9hr long event.

One thing on which everyone agreed & believed was that we should not give hope in any case. Yes, these are difficult times but then these are the very times when success is available if you are able to provide solutions.

Another focus point was the leadership. Here again examples were quoted about some of our great cooperate leaders which made me realize that we need to stop whining about the lack of leadership qualities of our people. A bit of organization is required to bring this talent to the for-front.

The role of a positive media was also discussed & during different presentations specially that of Badar Khushnood, Country Consultant Google Inc. Pakistan we got some very positives aspects of our country which I believe that our media has failed to promote. For example the fact that we are at number 3 when it comes to the usage of the internet even with one of the lowest literacy rate.

These were the three main points which turned our pessimistic approach to a more optimistic one for which I was personally quite glade…;-)

Now for small summaries of the topics which different speakers spoke on.

As the summit was divided into three sessions. I was not able to attend the first one as I was at that in the team which was handling the registration of the guests. The topics of that session were:
Recession, Survival & an Opportunity.
Managing in Turbulent Times-The way forward

The second session was a panel discussion on “The Leadership Challenge-Sustaining Growth., Expanding the Boundaries”, The panelist talked about different challenges that we all are facing not just in Pakistan but the world over & how with innovation these challenges should be faced. Every company will go through the cycle of good & bad times but it’s the way that these companies specifically their leadership’s reaction to such circumstances, that determines whether they are to survive of perish just like some of the very grand names that we have witnessed collapsing. During this session emphasis was also given on the use of blogging for discussions.

Mr. Haroon Bhatti (Director People Excellence & BPI, Telenor Pakistan) presented on “Why Change is Bad”. His main point was that most of the time change does not produces the intended results & also the company does not reviews whether the change introduced has been approved by the customers or not. He said that his statement was not to be taken as a thumb rule but that according to his observation & experience, as in organizations personal interests exceed the organizations interests.

This was followed by Mr Tahir Basharat Cheema (Managing Director, PEPCO) who talked on “Efficient Energy Use in Turbulent Times”. He gave a much elaborated presentation loaded with statistics about the past & present situation. He also told the audience as to what are the measures that he is taking to improve this situation & what potential exists.

Mr. Fredrik Nillson (Managing Director, Oriflame Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited was the first speaker of the third session. His topic was “Harnessing Sustainable Growth in Emerging Markets”. He took the example of his own company & explained that it is not compulsory to follow the pattern which everyone is following. Being a cosmetics company their main marketing style is by the word of mouth & their stronghold is direct sales. Adopting this approach has proved fruitful for them & they have invested happily in Pakistan & don’t regret the decision.

Next was Miss Sheeza Mohsin Dhanani (CEO, Complete Solutions & Leadership Strategist, USA) & her topic was “Managing Talent & Organizational Conflict during a Downturn”. In her interactive presentation she first laid the ground work by discussing the common patterns which we adopt for conflict management. Then she cleared the difference between what’s the right strategy & what’s the wrong one. The conclusion was that you should not just be depending on one individual which in the most cases is the boss to look after the conflicts. Instead every individual should develop this habit to become a conflict manager. Adopting this patter will help in the efficiency of the work.

She was followed by Dr. Khalid Javed Chawdhry (Member; Board of Trustee, TiE Global Inc). His topic was “Entrepreneurship opportunities in the Downturn”. He’s a MBBS doctor & a banker as well. He served in USA for 26 years & then came back to Pakistan. His focus was how to exploit the opportunities which still exists it’s only the matter of exploiting them. Answering to a question he said that his concern was that we have a lot of talent but the problem is of financing & he is concentrating on this aspect.

Mr. Badar Khushnood (Country Consultant, Google Inc., Pakistan) presented on “Marketing in Challenging Times”. He was the one who gave the figures on where Pakistan stands on internet usage etc. Focus on blogging & other tools related to the IT were his focus as new mediums for marketing as the trends are changing.

The ceremony was closed with the address by Sartaj Aziz.

This was the first time that this conference was taking place in Lahore. Before this event has always taken place in Karachi. Hopefully everyone left the Crystal Hall of Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore full of optimism as when we were entering the hotel the addition of security measures was a sight. The change in the entrance gate, sand filled drums etc. However, after listening & interacting in with people who were full of hope & ready to materialize their imagination the mood changed with a 180 degree angle.

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