New Editor: Shishir Pandit

IShishir Pandit 7NTRODUCING Shishir Pandit.

We are delighted to welcome Shishir to join the Consulting Blog as an Editor for 2013/14.

Currently based in Melbourne, Shishir is a Management Consultant at Deloitte and a Strategic Advisor at the Global Consulting Group (a non-profit consulting organisation).

He was a finalist in the Victorian Young Business Person of the Year Awards, and holds a combined Commerce/Law (Hons) degree from Monash University.

Shishir has a passion for social causes and likes to play in the intersection between corporates, non-profits and social enterprises. Above all, he believes in helping others develop a questioning, positive and socially-responsible mindset.

One of his passions is his work with GCG, an organisation which provides free management consulting advice to non-profits and social enterprises. His focus has been on sharing his expertise to help guide the direction and expansion of the organisation around the world.

Shishir has a wealth of practical insights gained through his work as a Management Consultant and Strategic Advisor, and we look forward to benefiting from his unique perspective over the coming year.

Please join us in welcoming Shishir!

Giving and Growing

Business can step up by reaching out, but it needs to adopt a new approach

Shared Value

THE OLD MODEL of corporate giving involves the CEO championing a particular charity, and then writing a cheque.

The old model is broken.

Broken because it relies on the whim of the CEO, who could change her priorities at any time. And, while the generosity continues to flow, the beneficiaries of this corporate largess become dependent on hand-outs rather than learning to catch their own fish.

Broken because it fiddles shareholders, who pay the CEO to reinvest profits or pay a dividend. And, if the CEO instead uses shareholder money to champion her favourite charity, then there would seem to be a problem. Would it not make more sense to pay a dividend and allow shareholders to decide which charities to support?

Supporters of the old model will tell you that it works just fine, so long as the chosen charity prominently displays the firm’s logo on the charity’s website or at a high-profile community event.

We agree. This works. But it’s not charity. It’s advertising, it’s marketing, or it’s a PR campaign.

Call it what you will.

If you care about charity, there is a better way.

Shared Value – the new approach to charity

The new approach to charity is to tie it in with what your firm already does, and to use your existing resources and capabilities to reach out to the community (people, charities, government agencies, and existing suppliers and distributors). For example, if you run a private healthcare centre, or a pharmaceutical company, then there may be opportunities to help the growing number of people who are struggling with substance abuse problems.

The naysayers will tell you that charity is for the Church and solving social problems is a role for government (and fortunately there are already public support services for addiction), but this kind of thinking is both defeatist and short sighted.

There are three good reasons why reaching out to help the community makes good business sense:

  1. Motivation: By giving back to the community, you can create a higher purpose for the work you do and increase employee motivation;
  2. Learning By Doing: As early as the 19th century, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus identified that (as you would expect) people become more efficient the more times they perform a particular task. And so, by helping the community, by doing what you do best, you are actually helping your employees learn by doing;
  3. Connections: Friendships are valuable, and you never know who you could meet by reaching out to help others.

So, take some time to consider your core values, investigate what your competition is doing, and consider your options for embracing the new model of charity.

Who do you plan to help, and why?

5 Steps to Creating Great Strategy

Developing excellent strategy consists of just 5 steps

Creating Great Strategy

HERE are five steps that you can use to formulate great strategy:

  1. Diagnose: assess the lay of the land. Understand the company, the competitive environment and the broader economy. What is the company’s business model? Who are the competitors? Who are the customers and suppliers? And, what are the current market conditions?
  2. Forecast: accept that change is constant. Identify industry trends and potential opportunities. What’s the next big thing?
  3. Brainstorm: think of a range of options. How can you provide more value to customers in a way that takes advantage of industry trends? Can you provide existing solutions in a new way or in new markets? Or, are their options to tackle new problems?
  4. Commit: select a strategy. Set SMART goals to help you achieve the strategy, and commit organisational resources to support it. Hemingway once said that you should “never confuse movement with action.” And by committing to a well thought out strategy, a business leader can help to ensure that she is taking meaningful action rather than just going through the motions of day to day business.
  5. Commence: the final step is to begin. Decide on the next step, and take it. While starting can be scary and may not immediately lead to results, remember that “action is the foundational key to all success” (Pablo Picasso). Or, as Goethe once said, “Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”