The Business Today Knowledge Management Forum, which was held in the Capital on June 14, revolved around the theme ‘Leadership, Participation and Measurement: The Foundation of a Thriving Organisation’. America’s foremost experts on quality and leadership, Patrick Townsend and Joan Gebhardt, were there to provide their insights on the topic. The forum will also take place in Mumbai on June 16.
Aimed at offering a common ground to business leaders and managers of India Inc to listen, discuss, debate and deliberate with visionary leaders, management gurus and business titans, addressing the opportunities, strategies and tactics, required to face the challenges of today’s business landscape, this edition of the Business Today Knowledge Management Forum was organised in association with Apollo Tyres Ltd.
The morning session commenced with a welcome address by Pavan Varshnei, Publishing Director, Business Today. He said, “The aim of the Business Today Knowledge Management Forum is to bring business leaders and managers to discuss issues that are very dynamic in today’s business domain.”
Patrick Townsend began by quoting the definition of leadership from ‘Five Star Leadership’ according to which, “Leadership is the creation of an environment in which others are able to self actualise in the process of completing the job”.
Townsend further said, “Leadership is a behaviour and not a position. Leadership is both rational and emotional, leadership is interaction with human beings and humans are both rational and emotional.”
The forum, which was very interactive, dwelt on the aspect whether leadership is an art or science. Most of the audience considered it to be an art, Joan Gebhardt agreed with the audience. Talking about followership, Gebhardt said, “You have to know what you want from your followers.” A list of followership principles from Five Star Leadership acted as a catalyst for discussion.
Townsend and Gebhardt attributed integrity, technical competence, passionate belief in the goal, care for people, unwillingness to ask others to do what he/she would not personally do, trust in others to follow his/her example, mastery of the gesture (to succinctly project an idea) and little tolerance for incompetence, as some of the characteristics of leadership.
Both the speakers then laid stress on the styles of leadership, which according to them are authoritarian, participative and delegative.
Townsend and Gebhardt also dwelt on the aspect of Corporate Culture, which is about encouraging initiative and meeting subordinate’s needs. They also talked about the interconnection between love and leadership and measurement of leadership. According to them, ‘morale’, ‘discipline’ and ‘proficiency’ were some of the parameters to measure leadership.
The first half of the day concluded with an emphasis on creating a focus, which according to Townsend and Gebhardt, was about ‘quality in fact’ (which is about meeting your own specifications) and ‘quality in perception’ (which is about meeting your customer’s perceptions).
Townsend said, “It’s about continually evolving effort to ensure your specifications and the customer’s experiences are the same. If they are not the same you must do something, either adjust your specifications to meet their expectations or educate their expectations to match your specifications and then insure that you are meeting your specifications.”
When asked to comment on the three aspects of leadership, participation and measurement as a whole, Townsend told exchange4media, “These three elements together give a chance to a company to be a quality base competitor. Companies need to understand that they need to simultaneously pursue all three in order to make it thriving.”