"These businessmen understand local
conditions, government policies, fix achievable targets and make efforts to come upto the
By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Sep 13 - 19, 1999
"Change is pervasive and the rate of change is phenomenal
now-a-days. Change is pervasive because of independence of business, government and
society. The rate of change is faster than before because of the revolution in information
technology and the rapid pace of innovation. The rate of change has accelerated due to
process of globalization, increasing competition within the sectors and changing customer
behaviour. People who are able to understand this, emerge as successful business
leaders." This was said by Fazle Hassan, Director, Institute of Business
Administration (IBA), Karachi.
Forecasting and monitoring change is not only vital, it is
indispensable for institutions that produce movers and shakers who lead business.
Responding to the faster rate of change, IBA must also continue to develop new programmes,
courses and teaching skills. Now the business executives have to play the role of
entrepreneur in a pursuit to achieve better performance. This is the name of the game and
the basis for strategic planning and decision making.
In view of the changes in the economy and the demand of business, IBA
identifies these changes and forecast the type of demand for the next decade so that we
can continue to make our graduates better equipped to deal with the ever changing
environment. This will ensure IBAs position as the leading business school in this
part of the world.
To be a successful business leader, it is necessary to achieve higher
productivity through long-term planning. Planning is a continuous process of thinking,
evaluating new risks and opportunities and redefining the plans to meet new challenges.
Strategic management comprises of strategic plans, decision making and implementing the
decisions. This needs vision, creativity, intuition and innovation. The academic knowledge
provides the vision, experience enhances understanding of the issues, intuition helps in
making better decisions and the overall expertise gives courage for taking innovative
measures to remain a leader in the changing environment.
With the growing specialization, it has become almost impossible for an
individual to understand each and every issue and find workable solutions. It becomes more
difficult due to time constraints. In such circumstances, the CEO has to form a team of
executives to help him in better understanding, suggesting alternative decisions,
evaluating various alternatives and finally reaching a consensus. Many of the decisions
may not look ideal for an outsider. However, the decisions are the best in given
circumstances or prevailing conditions. The constant appraisal of actual results with
targets and an eye on changing environment help in redefining objectives and policies.
Let me give you two examples from real life. Engro Chemical, despite
having a large share in urea market, enjoying capacity utilization above designed capacity
and making constant expansion in installed capacity, decided to diversify into bulk liquid
chemical handling and storage facility. I understand that it was due to their realization
that further investment in urea production may not yield similar results achieved in the
past. Their new venture has not only met an unfulfilled need but also has the potential to
yield higher rate of return on equity.
Similarly, the diversification of Dewan Salman into acrylic fibre
production not only gives them a monopoly status but will also help them in revamping
their textile units to produce cotton-acrylic blended products. This can help them in
creating their own niche market.
Look at another group, having futuristic vision Sapphire Group.
They have increased the installed number of spindles at their mills. They also produce
items with highest value-addition. One of their products is dyed cones of cotton yarn.
They were the pioneers of this product in the country. Apparently, this product was to
meet the in-house demand but now they have customers from outside also. Hardly a few other
spinners have been able to emulate their example.
Let me also tell you that successful business leaders are not a product
from outside. They are the people from with in Pakistan who understand local conditions
and government policies, fix achievable targets and make efforts to meet the targets. They
are the biggest critics of their own policies and actions and every year upgrade their
targets. When they are not able to achieve the desired targets, they do not feel
frustrated. They compare the actual performance with forecast, find out reasons for the
deviation and next year try harder to overcome past inefficiencies. They aim at constant
improvement in results, return to the shareholders but the main objective remains