FICCI Ladies Organisation(FLO) organised a unique "Women on Family Boards" session at T-Hub at Madhapur. V. Ramakrishnan, Founder and MD of Organisation Devt Pvt. Ltd, Singapore and Kasturi Balaji, Trustee of Palkivala Foundation addressed the 100-plus FLO members.
The seminar series on the subject is the brainchild of Ms Sudha Sivkumar, FLO National President. Usharani Manne was Day Chair for the event.
Welcoming the gathering Ritu Shah, Chairperson, quoting Indra Nooyi said, Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But, if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader".
The topic for which we assembled holds immense significance in the context of modern society and the evolution of family structures - the role of women in family boards. Family boards have long been the cornerstone of decision-making within many businesses and organizations, and the inclusion of women in these crucial roles is a step towards progress, equality, and improved governance. It is going to be a session on governance by women especially the challenges faced by them in family-run businesses
Mr. V. Ramakrishnan said the role of the board is to govern and not rule. Is Modi governing or ruling India?, he asked the audience and quickly added and said the role of the Board has to be governing and not ruling. Governance is the GPS (Global Positioning System) and direction is the Compass.
He explained what governance is, the roles of the board, duties, major tasks etc. Governance according to him is a system of directing and controlling the enterprise. Governance is about how a company's values are created and upheld, and how to decide what course(GPS), the company should take.
He spoke about the statement of purpose of different companies. Taking an example of MicroSoft he said, Microsoft was founded with a vision of a computer on every desk and in every home. Now see where it is. It's grown by leaps and bounds. It empowers every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, he added.
In Governance, ethics are paramount important, he said.
Accountability, Integrity, probity(the quality of having strong moral principles) and Transparency are the three pillars of Governance, he added.
He gave ten duties of the board of the company--Legitimacy, Care, Minority rights, social responsibility etc
Explaining them he said CSR_Corporate Social Responsibility is rubbish. What the government didn't do in 60 years, they dumped on the corporations this responsibility. Social Responsibility can not be dumped. It ridiculed it and said, CSR is rubbish.
Ramakrishnan also gave 4 tasks of the board: Accountability, Strategic Thinking, Supervising Management and Determining and spelling out outcomes and expectations.
What constitutes family and business?, he asked and defined it, Every family must craft its own definition, said K. Balaji. Family businesses are substantially contributing to the GDP of the country.
He added, “Composition of families is also changing. There are many older people in families as the life expectancy is increasing. This is something which was not witnessed in the past. This has an impact on the family businesses. People on board should protect all shareholders and especially be fair to minority shareholders.”
He explained the complexities, challenges and characteristics of family governance. “In family-run businesses, one should detail the rights and responsibilities of ownership, detail the family’s social and fiscal responsibility and establish policies for dividends and remuneration for the board
Discussing leadership effectively, both speakers pointed out that a leader shouldn’t consider themselves as a single entity instead they are just tools of governance or management.