Dr. Shashank Shah: “Creating Purpose-Oriented Organizations[…]” | Talks at Google

Dr. Shashank Shah: “Creating Purpose-Oriented Organizations[…]” | Talks at Google

[MUSIC PLAYING] SHASHANK SHAH: Good afternoon. It’s such an honor being here
at the Google headquarters in Hyderabad and
sharing my perspectives on creating purpose-oriented
organizations and the millennials’ mandate. Let me begin by sharing a
story that often inspires me. The story is about us and how
we, as these human beings, use our limbs and organs
in perfect harmony to achieve our workaday personal
and professional targets. For example, let me take a very
simple instance of us wanting to pluck a fruit from the tree. We see the fruit. We get inspired. We walk that distance. Then we bend down. In the olden days, pick up
a stone, throw at the fruit, let the fruit fall. Bend down again, wash
it, bite it, chew it. Let it go in. The sweet juice and the
pulp goes to the stomach. The enzymes digest it. The arteries spread the
blood and the nutrition to all parts of the body. And what we have
is a healthy body. Now, which single
organ or limb was responsible for contributing
to the health of the human body in the example I just shared? We cannot identify a single
organ or a single limb which played an important role. When all the organs and limbs
played their respective roles well, was the human body
able to enjoy as well as remain healthy? I believe what applies
to the microsystem of a human body can also apply
to the macrosystem of the world at large. And the various limbs and organs
that this macrosystem has, if they work in unison
with a common purpose, how we can have a
healthy, global body. Let me take you through
my story of a millennial, before I get into
the details of how purpose-oriented organizations
have been created and successfully. The school days of most
millennials in this room witnessed a lot of
change in India. We moved from Thums Up and
Limca to Coke and Sprite. We moved from Fiat to Ford. We moved from DD Metro
to ZTV and Star channels. We moved from the Bank of Baroda
and the State Bank of India to the HDFCs and ICICI banks. I still remember very palpably
that change happening right in front of our eyes. I remember going to college and
studying commerce and business, economics, and the
history of how our freedom struggle and subsequent
to that brought forth two different economic paradigms. Of course, being a grandson
of a freedom fighter who spent two years in jail for
[? quitting ?] their movement, gives me a lot of
satisfaction when we see a thriving democracy today. There were two clear streams
of economic development. One was the Gandhian
approach, which believed in [INAUDIBLE],, or
the benefit of the last person in the line. And the other was in the
[INAUDIBLE] approach, which kept the public
sector center-stage. And we modeled ourselves
on Soviet Russia, until a point in time that
Soviet Russia ceased to exist. We also got into this frenzy
of nationalization of banks, licensing, and all of that. A very aggressive
taxation system. And in my study, I
discovered that between ’62– 1962 and 1973, taxes in India
increased from 75% to 97.5%. To add to that wealth tax,
the net tax rate was 105%. So for every 100 rupees
you earn, you end up paying 105 rupees tax. That was the kind of
extremes we went to. And that gave birth to what
we call now the black economy. We also saw a lot of transition,
post the liberalization. In 1991, after 45
years of our existence, liberalization finally set in. The structural scaffolding of a
socialist economy was removed. And India opened
up for the benefit of having multinationals
enter this country. I remember when the Bombay
Stock Exchange first crossed 5,000 points, 5,000
balloons were left into the sky from the terrace of the
Jeejeebhoy Tower in Bombay. Today, we are seven times
that, and the growth is still not ended. We are up, up and going ahead. There was also a time where
the IT bubble in the US was at its peak. And we had some of
these companies which were considered super successes,
and had some fantastic market valuations. But in 18 months,
the bubble burst. And what we had was a loss
of $5 trillion on NASDAQ. We thought that would be the
destination for all our talent. But things did change. And once that concluded,
another set of companies came into the limelight. And this was the kind of
Enron and the power companies, which had fantastic revenue
of about $111 billion dollars at its peak. And when the skeletons started
tumbling from their cupboards, it was realized that
they had indulged in every possible
malpractice that could form an encyclopedia
of what one should not do while doing business. Effectively, their share price
tumbled from $90 per share to a few cents. And most of the senior
leadership was jailed. I thought this happens
only in the US. India is better. And so I was
progressing with my MBA. And that’s when I discovered
that the brother of Enron was here in Hyderabad,
Satyam Group. The company which was
acknowledged with the Golden Peacock award in
corporate governance revealed, finally,
that it had committed a fraud of 5,000 crores. The rest is history. The corporate governance
standards in India have changed since then. But the business researcher
in me was shattered. I thought, is this all
that business is about? Does it mean that we
need to make money at the cost of everybody
who contributes to the success of the business? And only those who are
contributing financially end up benefiting, and all
others are left high and dry? I came across this book by
the Dean of Harvard College, Professor Khurana, which
said, from higher aims to hired hands, and captured
the devolution of management education in the
US, which started with higher aims
of what managers can do for the economy, and
ultimately ending in producing hired hands which can be used
for creating lots of profit for corporations. That’s when I first
started studying that corporations
need to be looked at from a
multi-stakeholder lens. I studied business history. And I realized that over
3,000 years, [INAUDIBLE],, Aristotle and Adam Smith,
from India, Greece and Europe, gave the same message that when
economic and ethical interests coalesce, societies
and corporations can remain afloat and contribute
in a substantial measure. It was for that
reason, probably, that Adam Smith who’s considered
the father of modern economics, first wrote “The Theory of
Moral Sentiments” in 1757, and then wrote “The Wealth
of Nations” in 1776. Unfortunately,
modern day economists focus only on the second book. And the first part
has been forgotten. I went out and interacted
with over 200 subject experts, industry captains, business
leaders across the globe. And the most important point
which was emphasized was this. Capitalism is the greatest
system of social cooperation ever invented. It’s about how we
cooperate to produce that which no single person
can produce in isolation. Profits are an outcome
of this process. To say that profits are
the purpose of business is like saying making red
blood cells is the objective of the human body. My research led
to my contribution in the form of three books,
which were introduced just now. And each of them have
built on this ideal and communicated that business
is not a zero-sum game. We are always taught that
business means you at my cost, or me at your cost. Can’t we co-exist? Can’t we have win-win solutions
to business problems, such that both of us can succeed? The main problem is
that a complex activity like a business organization
has been reduced to a mathematical
equation benefiting just a single stakeholder,
which is the shareholder. When this objective
changes, will we see a lot of difference
in our approach to the way we do business? Coming to the contemporary
times, this decade– and I’ll tell you why I am
sharing this story right upfront. India is likely to be a larger
economy than the US by 2030, as per a latest
Standard Chartered report, with an economy of $46.3
trillion dollars at purchasing power parity, US
at $31 trillion, and China at $64.2 trillion. Over 100 crore Indians will
enter the middle class, out of the total 400
crores in the world, which means every one of four middle
class people in the world would belong to India. And the per capita income
will increase five times from the current
$1,500 to $7,500. So what we see is a
phenomenal increase in scale, size,
capacity, and ambition. Fabulous. Can corporation ask
for anything better? But how will we achieve
this and remain there so that as predictions by one
great industry captain recently, [INAUDIBLE] suggests,
that by 2050, India would even beat China and become
the world’s largest economy? This is surprising
for many millennials, and it was for me too,
until I came across a report by OECD, which said– because for long
years, we were always made to believe that
India can grow only at the Hindu rate
of growth, which is taught in the colleges,
in the commerce textbooks, and economics textbooks. But the OECD study revealed
that between 1 AD and 1750 AD, there was one economy
which was contributing 35% of the global
economic growth. Which economy was that? India. Between 1750 and 1850,
it came down to 25%. And between 1850 and
1950, India’s contribution came down from 25% to 5%. And Britain’s contribution
went up from 5% to 25%. Interestingly, when
Lord Clive Lloyd– Robert Clive
attacked Murshidabad in the Battle of
Plassey in 1757, he was amazed at the
affluence of Murshidabad, which was far greater than
that of London in 1757. So you can imagine the
kind of economic progress India had made in those years. But the resilience and the kind
of entrepreneurial capabilities that we have, within 100 years
of political independence, India has got the
opportunity to bounce back. And by 2050, will
be, again, going back to contributing the
maximum, along with China. About 50% of the
global economy would be contributed by India and China. But what can mar
this growth story are the social indicators. Let me share some of them with
you in some of the key areas as to why purpose and
profits need to go together. What are some of them? Let us take health care. 45 million children
under the age of five are stunted in India. One fourth of the global
tuberculosis cases occurred in India. And around 220,000 deaths
are recorded every year. Almost 6% of India’s GDP,
according to the World Bank, is lost due to adverse
economic impact of the costs connected with
lack of proper health care and sanitation. Let us look at education. In the Prosperity
Index of 2016, India ranked 102, much behind its
developing country peers, like Malaysia, China,
Sri Lanka, and Mexico. In terms of skills, we have
the largest youth population in the world, but only
2.3% of the Indian youth, which is almost 100
crore population, have been provided
some kind of skills. You talk about gender
justice and empowerment. Even today, 2,000 girls are
killed every single day, some just before
their birth, and some immediately after that. Compared to the literacy rate
of men, women are about 20% behind. Let’s see environmental
degradation. 10 out of the top 20
cities in the world which are most polluted are in India. Recently, 15 of the most hot
in terms of the temperature cities in the world were in
India alone, in the last week. That’s the kind of impact
that environment degradation is creating. We are facing that. Villages. You’d be amazed to
know the kind of income that our villagers have. Across 17 states, it was found
that the income of farmers– annual income, and
I’ll come down directly to the daily income, is about
55 rupees per household of five, which is about 11 rupees per
person, for the whole day. That’s the kind of
income they have. Slums. Almost 8 crore
Indians live in slums. And this is a recorded number. There is a far
larger set of people who are not even recorded as
to their staying in the slums. And almost 14 out of 1,000 girls
living in slums reach class 10. So what are we staring at? If we are going to be
economically super successful, we are staring at social
inequities of such huge scale that that economic growth is
not going to be sustainable. Here I’ve shared with
you the 2013 figures which show that almost 4.25
billion people in the world are at the base of the pyramid,
earning less than US dollar 5 per day. 4.25 billion people. This, by the time
it’s 2035, would move to the stomach of the diamond. It will no longer be
an economic pyramid. It will be an economic diamond,
and these 4.25 billion people would move to the core, the
stomach of this diamond. If this has to be made
possible and sustainable, there is a great
opportunity to create purpose-oriented organizations. Now, why do I need to mention
the name of millennials? Because the millennials
are far more conscious for
incorporating purpose orientation in businesses
along with profits. A study suggests
that 75% millennials would take a pay cut to work for
a socially responsible company. And 76% consider a company’s
social environmental commitment before deciding where to work. By 2025, in India alone,
75% of the workforce will be millennials. So we will no longer
be the emerging cohort in corporations. We would be the main
cohort in corporations, as the movers and shakers
of business organizations. So now, going to
the next part, which is, what is important
is for the millennials, as per their own
passion and commitment is, to have organizations which
have a double bottom line. Profits with purpose,
and making money along with having a mission. I am going to share with you
how some of these very, very unique purpose-oriented
organizations have been created across
India and some other parts of the world, and what
we can learn from them as to how profits and purpose can
coexist in several industries and sectors. And what does it
take for millennials to learn from them in order to
replicate that in whichever way we think as entrepreneurs,
as managers, as tech experts, or just as
members of this global society, to make a difference so that
these inequities that we see along with the fantastic
economic opportunity, can be possible in
a very balanced way. These are the six areas. And I’ll take you
through each in brief. First is the example
of purpose embedded in the corporation’s existence. For long, social
enterprises were considered as those which are
supposed to be doing good. Whether they make profit
or not is inconsequential. And we usually used
to consider them as those that are giving doles,
so that a particular section of society can benefit. That paradigm is changing. Not recently, but
for several decades, there have been
several entrepreneurs who have been
trailblazers in this area. Let me give you the example
of this social enterprise in Rajasthan,
called Jaipur Rugs. Many of you may
have heard about it. Many of you may not. I’ll share in brief the
story of Jaipur Rugs, and its founder, Mr. Chaudhary,
who is lovingly called [INAUDIBLE],, which means
brother in Hindi language. He started his business in 1978
in the courtyard of his house Churu in Rajasthan, which is
incidentally among the hottest towns in India, crossing
45 degrees centigrade during summer. With a nominal loan of 5,000
rupees from his father, he started with two
looms and nine weavers. 40 years later, he now has
7,000 looms and 40,000 artisans helping him in his rug
business, where the products are sold across 40 countries. How does he do it? By empowering the artisans. Let me briefly run
you through that. The women in these villages
are provided an opportunity to be trained. Given a stipend,
training is free. After being provided
with the stipend and learning how
to make rugs, they end up earning between 3,000
to 14,000 rupees a month. I just shared with you
what is their usual earning on a monthly basis. Ensuring that it doesn’t remain
a social enterprise where people buy these products
because of some kind of love for humanity, they decided
that the sustainability of the business will depend
on how much the customer centricity aspect is
embedded into the business. So they ensure that
the rugs, which are long-lasting products,
are of such high quality that customers are able to
enjoy that for several decades. So they used very high quality
bamboo, yarn, silk, et cetera. And priced their products
in a premium way, so that you get high
quality branded products. They also had another category
of products for the value conscious customers. They engage with
international designers so that you have designer rugs. They used IT to
ensure that they’re able to trace the quality
problems to the grassroots. All in all, they ensured
that the entire organization is run in a fashion that is
sustainable and profitable, because if these 40,000
artisans need to be continuously provided with that kind
of economic empowerment, the customers who are buying
the products in the 40 countries need to continually
be interested and invested in this
particular company. The work of Jaipur Rugs,
highly acknowledged as one of the finest
organizations working towards empowering the
base of the pyramid. And they were also studied by
University of Michigan Ross School of Business
for integrating these rural artisans
in the supply chain. Let me take you through
another example. This is of the Jain
Irrigation System, a similar kind of a background. This gentleman, called
[INAUDIBLE] Bhavarlal Jain, started his journey
in Maharashtra. He wanted to contribute to
the well-being of the farmers. And for that, he took a loan
of 7,000 rupees from his mom, and started with the objective
of helping the farmers at the subsistence level in
order to ensure and boost their productivity, both
in terms of qualitative and quantitative output. In 1983, he discovered the use
of micro-irrigation systems. He ensured that the farmers
that acquainted with that, especially at a time where
140 million hectares in India are still dependent on rains. Which is 55% of
Indian agriculture is still dependent on the
benevolence of the rain gods. By using the
micro-irrigation systems, the farmers would be able to
provide more crop per drop, and also were groomed
into better utilization of fertilizers. Not just that he
wanted the farmers to get into the global
food value system, value chain, so he ensured
that you purchase the products that the farmers
make in the form of concentrated and dehydrated
products, vegetables, fruits. And then provide these
to Nestle, Coca-Cola, and other food and
beverages companies, so that the farmers have a
regular sale of their products, and they are not just
dependent on an uncertain buyer for their high quality products. A lot of training, a
lot of handholding, a lot of acquisitions. And today, Jain
Irrigations caters to over 8 million
farmers across the world, through 11,000 distributors. And you’d be surprised to
know that Jain Irrigation is the largest– and I’ve made a
note of what it is. Jain Irrigation is the second
largest irrigation company working towards providing
total crop solutions to small, as well as marginal farmers in
the United States of America. That’s the kind of scale and
scope they have achieved. But they didn’t
just end at that. They created a trust
so that eventually, the benefit of the
farmers continues to be a priority for the family
and the subsequent generations. And this trust would ensure
that farmers’ well-being is integrated into the business’s
priorities for the future. Purpose achieved through
commitment to the supply chain. You may not always be able
to have a business which is fully focused on
integrating the interests of the stakeholders into
the business itself. How do you do that through
a particular supply chain? Let me share with you what
Rallis India, among the leading agro-based companies
of this country, did with their MoPu, or
More Pulses, project. The Indian pulses market
is a 2 lakh crore market. And you’d be surprised to
know that 30% of the world’s acreage of pulses is in India. And yet we import 24,000 crores
worth of pulses every year. And there are countries,
like Australia and Canada, which grow pulses only
for India to consume because they don’t have any
of the pulses they grow. And the whole
problem with India is [INAUDIBLE] though
acreage is very high, the kind of crop per acreage is
low, 750 kilograms per hectare. China has twice that. France has seven times that. So Rallis thought, why not
we do something in order to ensure and encourage
greater production of pulses by these farmers. Farmers were not getting
into the pulse business because the minimum
support prices that the government
provides for pulses is lower than wheat and rice. What is the guarantee
that I’ll be paid well? So Rallis assured that we
will purchase your pulses at a superior price,
market plus price, so that you get a regular
supply, a regular order for your pulses. They engaged with the farmers. They taught them how
to optimally utilize the fertilizers,
nutrients, et cetera, so that the
productivity improves. They developed a very good
rapport with the farmers because the farmers do
not just trust anybody, because their usual experience
has been that they are always exploited. So the first
opportunity they got was when they engaged
with the government to ensure that the subsidies,
which the government provides, reached the farmers. When they were a
part of that process, they were amazed to note that
the farmer was shocked when they got the kits
from the government, that such subsidies
existed, and they were eligible to get these kits. Which meant that for
all these decades, the subsidy kits for
the farmers, which were provided by the government,
by the money that you and I pay as taxes, never
reached the farmers. Those were the kind of problems. They didn’t end at that. They exposed them
to the kind of MoPu, or the More Pulses
project’s success in other areas, where the
farmers were doing very well. And ensured that they
improved their productivity. Then in turn,
another company, Tata Chemicals, and said that, you
take care of the back end. We will take care
of the front end. Why Tata Chemicals? Among all the Tata
companies, the company which has the largest customer
base is Tata Chemicals. Why? Because every alternate
Indian consumes a product that Tata Chemicals makes. And that is [INAUDIBLE]. That is the jingle
we’ve all grown up with. 65 crore Indians
consume Tata salt. So they have a fascinating
rural retail network. And they ensure that
all of these pulses, with proper quality
gradations et cetera, are sold through these networks. And the farmers are assured not
the opaque pricing system which was there in the [INAUDIBLE],,
but a transparent price system where, based on
their quality, they are paid at market plus prices. They branded these
products, provided them as Tata [INAUDIBLE] and
Tata Sampann later on. And there was
another problem now. How do you attract customers
to consume non-polished pulses, which are far more nutritious
than polished pulses, which are actually
sometimes carcinogenic and even poisonous? So they brought in
a celebrity chef and tried to have the
endorsement from him, because only when a
celebrity chef tells us that these kinds of
pulses are good for us are we willing to go for this. Through this particular
project, these two companies ensured what was called
the farm to fork model. Right from the time
the product grows on the soils of
Earth, all the way through the product landing
on our fork on the table, they are providing the entire
value chain end to end. Effectively, 4 lakh farmers
across 10 states in India benefited from this
particular project. And of course, it
improved livelihoods. It improved productivity. It also reduced, to an
extent, the kind of imports that the government of India to
undertake to fulfill our pulses requirement, which is a very
important source of protein for vegetarians. And above all, it also gave
wealth to shareholders, because this was all
a for-profit venture. Let me run you through
another example. This is Hindustan Unilever. I was in INSEAD
in France in 2011. And I had the CEO of Hindustan
Unilever, of Unilever Inc, presenting at the plenary
session at the conference. And there I hear a hymn
from the [INAUDIBLE],, which is a Hindu hymn, very
popular in Andhra Pradesh. Now, of course, Andrah
Pradesh [INAUDIBLE].. I was amazed. Why is this gentleman
playing this particular hymn in a presentation in France? Nobody understands
Sanskrit here. That’s when he shared
an initiative which they considered was their
flagship program of integrating social value creation that
led to financial success. And that is what they called as
Project Shakti, or Shakti Amma entrepreneurial program. Now once the liberalization
was introduced in India, a lot of multinationals
came into India. And Hindustan Unilever was
facing the heat of competition. They wanted to increase
their rural reach. And so they wanted to reach
the media dark regions. Now how do you reach
media dark regions for a company which is used
to using all the radio, TV, and other kinds of
communications in those years? There was no social media
and internet, of course. Google hadn’t yet come into
existence in the mainstream format. So they started this
micro-entrepreneurship program, where they realized
that microfinance is a very powerful tool for
empowering the entrepreneurs, but that is possible
only when you have the right kind of
investment opportunities. These Shakti ammas, or
the Shakti entrepreneurs, were rural housewives who
became door-to-door distributors of actual products. They were trained,
transformed into business-savvy professionals
on how to do marketing, sales, et cetera. And ensured that they
had a monthly income of about 1,000 rupees. And again, if you
compare with what I shared as a typical monthly
income in the rural areas, it’s almost an extra 50% income
coming into the families. Not only that, this improved
their status and stature in the society. Women, once they
started earning, had a say in the
decision-making in the families. It happened in Jaipur Rugs. It happened as a part
of the Shakti project. And over these 20 years,
almost 80,000 Shakti ammas were providing products in
one lakh 60,000 villages. Sometime in the last
five years, they also introduced along with Shakti
amma, the Shaktimaan project. Now, who is the Shaktimaan? The Shaktimaan is the man along
with the woman, the male member in the household. He was given a bicycle. He used to assist his wife
in distributing the products all over those villages. So almost 50,000
Shaktimaans joined the fray. All of them improved their
livelihood and their earning capacity. And Hindustan Unilever increased
its reach in the rural areas, introduced sachets, more
rural-friendly products, and created a win-win
situation where there was social empowerment and
as well as wealth creation for the company. A fascinating example. Tanishq– all of us wear
jewelry, men and women. Tanishq is, today, the
largest branded jewelry chain in the country, with
almost 86% market share. A part of the Titan
Company, which was the market leader in watches. Tanishq realized in the
first decade of its existence that while its employees are
retiring at the age of 60, the supply chain
members, or the artisans, were actually designing the
jewelry that you and I wear– have to retire at 40. Why? Because these
[INAUDIBLE] are forced to work in ergonomically
unhygienic environments with limited access to light,
ergonomic seating, ventilation, et cetera. Consequently, they develop
health issues, lung issues, and lose neurocoordination
between their eyes and hands. By their early 40s, they give
up their role as [INAUDIBLE] and join as watchmen
in metro cities. So Tanishq decided, why not
I empower the supply chain so that this art form doesn’t die? Because tomorrow if
there are no [INAUDIBLE],, there’s no jewelry. Because this cannot be made
in machines in its totality. You need the artistry of the
human hand to contribute. This started what was called
the Mr. Perfect Program. I’ve elaborated that in my book
as well, on the Tata Group. The Mr. Perfect program aimed
at providing these [INAUDIBLE] the kind of ergonomics
and work life experience as their counterparts
in the IT and BPO industries have. They were given a uniform. They were given identity tags. They were given air
conditioned workspaces. They were given ergonomically
sound seating arrangements. Not only that– 60% of these
[INAUDIBLE] come from Bengal. They’re called Bengali babus. So they were provided
with Bengali food in this [INAUDIBLE] parks
where they had accommodation arrangements for stay. They were also provided
Bengali movies and DVDs, and accommodation
for their families to visit them
sometimes in a year. When they were asked how they
felt as a part of this program, they said, I feel great. I will now get better
offers for marriage. And I’ll also be able to
feel proud of my profession when I look at others who
are not in this space, but in the IT space. Tanishq benefited also. The productivity levels
improved from 750 grams a month jewelry
making to 4 kg jewelry making because of
the efficiency that was introduced by this kind
of a change in the work life of the [INAUDIBLE]. It always pays to look at
the long term in the process, benefit those who are
contributing to your success, and achieving success
yourself in financial terms. Purpose achieved through
dedicated brands and products. Here’s a great example
of a unique collaboration between the Danone
foods group from France and the Grameen
group in Bangladesh. They got together and
formed this Grameen Danone company, a social
enterprise in Bangladesh, to provide a product
called Shokti Doi. Shokti Doi is a product which
is a yogurt, the [? hee ?] as we say, which is also having a
lot of proteins, vitamins, minerals, calcium, and
other micronutrients, which are very critical
because almost 60% of children in Bangladesh are
undernourished, malnourished. So they worked
towards this project and ensured that
this Shokti Doi is available at a price which
is almost equivalent to 80 paise in Indian currency. Not only that, in
the process, they empowered the local system
by sourcing the milk from the micro farmers, by
engaging the local women as Grameen Danone
ladies to distribute, by also having environmentally
friendly making units, and also taking back the surplus
yogurts which are not sold. So they created a
hygienic ecosystem for the local community
by empowering them. Not giving them
doles, but also having a purpose-oriented product
which was giving profits to this enterprise, which
was a social enterprise using the profits for investing
again in the growth of the enterprise. But also achieving a
very important cause for the benefit of
Bangladeshi children. But this is an example
of two companies, not directly
connected, but having a dedicated product
or a vertical or a brand for
purpose orientation. Purpose achieved through
commitment to society. This is one company which
inspires me immensely. I have featured it in my earlier
book, “Win-Win Corporations.” It’s called Larsen and Toubro. Their tagline is,
“builder to the nation.” There isn’t a
landmark in India we see which is not built
by Larsen and Toubro, including this high-tech
building, which we see when we take a right
turn for coming to the Google campus. The statue of Unity,
the Arihant submarine, the parliament library
building, you name the project and L&T has been
associated with that, including a part of
the Mangalyaan project which went to Mars. Why am I talking about it? Yes, they do have purpose
orientation in their existence itself. But they have a purpose
orientation of another kind. Here, you may not be able to do
something for the supply chain as a product, or as
a larger ecosystem. Then what do you do? You look at how you can create
that through contribution to the society. Around the year
2000, it was realized that India has a deficit
of 3 crore construction workers who have the skill
in the construction space. So realizing that
deficit, in the year 1995, they started the Construction
and Skills Training Institute with the objective of providing
skills and contributing to skill development
in this space, so that those who have
completed class 10 or 12 are able to join the mainstream. They may or may not
join Larson and Toubro. They may join any
other company, or start their own small venture. But over the
subsequent 20 years, they trained five lakh such
young aspiring construction industry workers, who
could become independent. Some of them went to the
Middle East and earn in lakhs and become economically
more self-sufficient. Taking a leaf out of that– and this is an example
I haven’t come across in any other industry category– the construction industry
itself came up with a project. And this is, again,
a matter of pride. It was started in Hyderabad. The National Academy
of Construction, which is a unique public-private
partnership, where all of these construction
industry companies come together. The government gave land. The Chief Minister was
the head of the National Academy of Construction. And the objective
was to provide skills to people who would want to
join the construction industry. Today, they have 138 centers
across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh training one lakh
technicians every year. Their self-sustaining
model is simple. They deduct 2.5% from
the contractor’s bill towards the government of
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, so that this particular
project can be sustained. Purpose orientation in
a sustained fashion, for the benefit of the society. Here comes a name which
you are all proud of. Google. But Google Internet Saathi. Google Internet
Saathi was a project they started with in
collaboration with Tata Trusts. The whole objective was to
enable women in the rural areas be able to use digital devices
for banking, for education, for health care,
and empower them through the train
the trainers model. Tata Trusts and Google
both brought together their expertise, and ultimately,
through 40,000 Saathis, they were able to train over
3.5 crore women across 100,000 villages all over India. The outcome– more women with
access to knowledge, which will empower them in a
way that they can improve the life
of their families, and also look at opportunities
and avenues for themselves. This is a great
example where Google may not have been able to
incorporate the purpose orientation in
its core business, but brought in
purpose orientation by trying to help those
who can ultimately use whatever services
Google is providing, and improve their lot. Working Connections
by Microsoft was emulated by Wipro Mission 10x. It’s another
example of how Wipro empowered engineering students
by making them more deployable. Reached out to almost 26,000
colleges through academy collaborations, so that their
teaching, learning process in the colleges
makes them not just academically sound, but
industry-wise employable. Another example. I’ll just run through
this in a minute. We all know of this Tata
Tea Jaago Re campaign. You may not be able to do all
the other things I just shared. But you may bring in
purpose orientation by cause-related marketing. Through the Jaago Re
campaign, Tata Tea achieved it through
anti-corruption, through empowerment of women,
through encouraging voting in a thriving democratic system. And of course, we see
these ads every single day. Hath Munh Bum, Bimari Hogi Kum. This is a
cause-related marketing of Hindustan Unilever,
where they’re encouraging hygienic sanitation
habits in the rural areas through this, which is a
part of their products. But it’s also going
to benefit them. I’ll conclude by saying
how these three things, how the examples that I
shared, can be categorized into three broad areas. These 4.25 billion people can be
either the low income category, the subsistence category,
and the poverty category. The low income
category can become consumers of your products. As we saw in the case of Jain
Irrigation Systems or Grameen Danone. Those who are in the middle
category, which I shared, that is in subsistence
category, can be co-producers, as we saw in the example of HUL
Shakti, Jaipur Rugs, and More Pulses. And then there is an example of
those who cannot afford either to buy at a low price, or to
be a part of the value chain. They are beneficiaries,
as we saw the example of Google Internet Saathi. I’ll conclude with
this example, which I shared in my first book,
“Soulful Corporations,” which is a magnum opus on
corporate responsibility. Purpose orientation needs to be
taking these important steps. To start with purpose
orientation because of external pressure–
what are you doing for the society at large? To moving towards
purpose orientation as a public relations
strategy, because it is going to give you
a lot of benefit, to moving towards
purpose orientation where it is a process within
the company for addressing ethical, social
environmental concerns. And finally, purpose orientation
is a core and integral part of the company’s identity
and existence, which is based on proactive
interactions with your key stakeholders. I conclude by stating that
if India and the world needs to reach where we
want to economically, the millennials have
a fabulous opportunity to contribute by ensuring
that the purpose and profits and money with a
mission are integrated. We all have vision
mission statements. Very rarely do we ask, what is
the purpose of my organization? Why do I exist? These are questions which
have baffled seekers at a personal and professional
level for millennia. If these questions become
part of our approach towards our professional
lives, millennials, who are the movers and shakers
of the contemporary world, will be able to contribute
through tangible outcomes, long-lasting outcomes,
and visionary impact. You are the future. Let’s begin today. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]


  1. D Man says:

    Corporations are like communist states operating within democratic states , its no coincidence that being "largest " matches up with least amount of rights for workers, least amount of wages. Corporations still need better laws to operate within, they have too much power over linked services also and as a result decrease individuals democratic rights, rights to privacy, they abuse people with unfair contracts, this is where governments need to get greater control globally

  2. Mike Knight says:

    Purpose orientated organisations or as I like to call them POO

  3. The Meek says:

    As you pointed out, centuries of bad decisions and failed socialist experiments, to now combining all of these into a business called Google! How about adopting a more appropriate governance model based on the U.S. Constitution and the moral and ethical model of the Holy Bible? It worked well for us, until evil progressivism crept in! Just run your company well, "Do no evil" and leave people alone! We can take care of ourselves without evil corporations meddling around in our personal lives! This whole to big to fail or take down attitude didn't work for Goliath and it won't work for Google either! God bless!

  4. Jush says:

    He lost me at Millennial Mandate. As commented before, all I see and hear is POO as well. Also, why disable comments on the Jesse Ventura Talk? Just remove the f*ckin video then.

  5. Muller Imóveis Rj says:


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