Nutshell Forum is a small but unique organization
committed to creating opportunities for both sectors of our corporate
society to have dialogue for making policies, setting goals, and
developing strategies for the enhancement of the National Human
Resource Management. It is working for organizational and corporate
transformation to achieve unprecedented results.
Pakistan Human Resource Strategy Forum has become
an event of the year for our corporate sector. This year's forum
created a rainbow of experienced and seasoned professionals with the
dominant color of "Emerging Issues in Human Resource
Management" as a theme of the discussions.
English Biscuit Manufacturers (Pvt) Limited
participated in the conference as the Headline Sponsor. GEO TV
contributed its role in the event as the Strategic Partner. Habib Bank
Limited was the Co-sponsor, whereas Air Blue performed as the Official
Carrier. National Commission for Human Development, Government of
Pakistan, and The British Council endorsed the contents of the
The discourses, analyses, and debates were divided
into four diversified topics, including the inaugural session. The
stars shining on the sky of head table were Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman
(Federal Minister & Chairman, Higher Education Commission), Sadia
Naveed (Director Operations, English Biscuit Manufacturers), Barrister
Shahida Jamil (former Federal Minister for Law & Parliamentary
Affairs,) Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali (former Federal Minister for Education
and Special Adviser to Prime Minister), Aziz Memon (Chairman, Kings
Group of Companies and Adviser, Nutshell Forum), Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar
Baig (Chairman, SITE Association of Trade & Industry), Sohail
Ahmed (Group Director HR, Jang Group) and Navaid M. Khan (Senior
Associate, Nutshell Forum).
After recitation from Holy Quran, Muhammad Azfar
Ahsan, CEO, Nutshell Forum, started the proceedings of the day by his
opening address. "The purpose of the conference is to nurture our
available human and natural resources in tandem so as to convert them
into our development resources for achieving harmonized economic
development to make our significant place in the world to enter the
domain of globalization," he said.
He further added: "All we need is to create an
environment where our available manpower in skilled and unskilled
sectors can be provided with a platform where they can utilize their
skills and talents in a positive way which is beneficial to them as
well as to the country".
The first session was devoted to the theme of
"Moving from Operational Manager to Strategic Thinker." The
learning objectives before us were to provide the participants basic
guidelines for creating changes in their organizational role to direct
their team to greater readiness and competitiveness, add value to
their organization by understanding the needs of their customers. How
they can anticipate, innovate, and initiate strategies to move them
closer to their vision, recognize opportunities to influence and
create strategic alliances, identify the strengths and weaknesses in
their work unit, learn to develop an important/priority matrix, and to
take risks with confidence.
Charlie Walker, Director, British Council, was the
curtain raiser of the first day's show. He made his presentation about
the main theme of the session focusing The British Council as a case
study by relating his own experience with the institution, which
created a strategic frame of reference for the audience. He described
the key components of a strategic frame of reference, defined the key
outputs at each level, and then developed a strategic thinker's
approach for work environments. Mr. Walker provided the basic tools to
understand one's current operational mission with three words phrase -
team, customer, and competitors. He clarified the purpose of work
group in the context of organization.
Some of the slides were about developing a
strategic vision: moving from what is to what if. He elaborated how to
assess customers' needs, wants, and expectations, to determine optimal
approaches for developing customer data and input, to learn to use an
importance/performance matrix to set priorities for work group,
understand the power of vision, and to prepare an initial draft vision
statement to move work unit toward the future. In short, he exposed
the key value of a strategic thinker that how operational managers can
make their vision a reality by influencing key stakeholders.
Rakesh Gupta, Chairman, Astra Netcom, India, was
the keynote speaker. Expressing his views in the conference
optimistically he mentioned that CBMs introduced by the governments of
Pakistan and India would play a pivotal role in boosting confidence of
the people residing in these two countries. He very skillfully
demonstrated his experience regarding developing and balancing
operational and strategic management skills. He started by
establishing a working definition of operational management, explored
the key attributes of today's strategic thinkers, disclosed how one
can find the balance between those core competencies, and reflected on
currency use of operational management and strategic thinking in work
thinking in work settings. He, in an excellent manner, did justice to
his assignment by quoting various examples from his mother country and
from rest of the world.
"We have abundance of talent in all the
sectors but the need of the hour is to nurture this human resource in
such a way that these people can play their due role in the social and
economic development in their respective countries," Mr. Rakesh
Federal Minister and Chairman Higher Education
Commission, Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman, in his presidential address,
laid emphasis on the abundance of talented human resource and the need
for proper research and training facilities to groom them for the
advantage of the country. He underlined the need for human resource
development to achieve desired socio-economic goals, saying the
government was spending Rs. 1.7. billion on promoting higher education
in the country.
Prof. Atta-ur-Rehman recalled that Pakistan has a
massive force of 90 million youths and priority should be given to
resolve all educational problems, in this regard, he said a program is
being chalked out to send 10,000 students abroad annually for higher
education and specialization.
After tea break, the first panel discussion
regarding "Transforming Training Investment into
Performance" was relished by the participants. Paul Keijzer
(Director HR Unilever Pakistan Limited), Uzma Basher (Group Chief
Organization Development & Training, NBP), Tariq Razvi, Deputy
General Manager, Pakistan State Oil Company Limited) and Javed Ahmed
(Chairman, Dept. of Management & HR, College of Business
Management) constituted the panel.
Wali Zahid (Country Director, British Council MDS,
moderated the rhetorical course very skillfully. The diversity of
panelists is obvious by the above list. All the panelists took part
from their respective organizational perspectives and the multiplicity
of points of views ultimately made a beautiful blend of conclusion.
Calculating the return on investment for training
programs makes sense only insofar as success criteria are available
that can be quantified and for which a monetary value can be
calculated with reasonable effort and confidence. As long as
"hard" criteria for success are available, such as:
. the number of units produced/sold,
. the time required for manufacturing a product or
. the time required for providing a service,
this appears feasible. However, in case only
"soft" criteria for success are available, such as:
. the motivation of employees and their commitment
to the company.
. the service orientation of employees or
. the creativity of employees,
this becomes much more difficult.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that sales
trainings are popular examples of model calculations of the return on
investment of training programs. Calculating the ROI for training
programs whose effects do not show short term but only after longer
periods of time (e.g. management development) is much more difficult
to achieve with a reasonable effort and with reasonable confidence.
What is more, the calculation of the ROI for a training program does
not provide any indication as to what needs to be done to improve such
a program in order to make it more successful.
After prayer and lunch break, our second panel
discussion captivated the participants by not only the attraction of
its topic "Human Communication within Organization" but also
by the dynamic comparing of moderator Ramiz Allawala and diversified
scholarly conversation of all the panelists.
The panel was composed of John R. Stoney (Chief
Executive, ICI Pakistan Limited), Nadeem Karamat (Country Manager,
American Express Bank Limited), Badruddin Fakhri (Advisor, SAFA and
CFO, Pioneer Cement Limited), Mansoor Farooqui (Divisional Director
HR, Siemens Pakistan Engineering Company Ltd) and Brig. (R) Aga Gul
(General Manager HR, SSGC).
In humans, there may be neurological or
physiological disorders, which interrupt or prevent the free flow of
messages to and from the various parts of the body. Whatever its
cause, any obstacle to proper communication within the body usually
has negative consequences. Problems of the human nervous system always
require prompt and vigorous treatment. Communication problems within
the organization need to be treated in the same manner.
The human communication within organization is a
process of creating and exchanging messages within a network of
interdependent relationships to cope with environmental uncertainties.
The panelists sought to expand our understanding of
the processes, prospects, and challenges of communicating and
organizing in a global society. Our scholarship articulates concepts
and theories to better understand these processes, develop the tools
needed to investigate them, and help to implement the social practices
to improve them.
They examined how communication shapes and is
shaped by organizing across a range of contexts. They also studied a
variety of multi-level phenomena including discourse and discursive
practices, communication of emotions, leader-follower communication,
and democratic communicative practices. They elaborated the
significance of negotiation and bargaining, group processes and
decision-making, socialization, power and influence, organizational
culture, organizational language and symbolism, communication and
conflict, identity and identification, adoption and appropriation of
communication technologies, emergence of organizational and
inter-organizational networks, and new organizational forms.
As with any concept, idea, or research, there are
always discussions, disagreements, and contrarian viewpoints. It was
the case in our last technical session. Jehan Ara (President, Pakistan
Software Houses Association) spoke first regarding the use of
technology in our corporate sector specifically and in our common life
generally. Adnan Kehar (Director, Bearing Point) presented his
presentation about technological restructuring of corporate
institutions for gaining rapid practical results as compared to the
In considering the theme, "Technology and
Human Resource Culture", it might be interesting to examine what
we mean by the human part of the future that we share with technology.
Such an inquiry does not imply that the human dimension is separate
from or in some significant sense in opposition to technology rather
its aim is to ask about the nature of human identity and its crisis
during technological development.
What of human identity? If it is an artifact, and
thereby in some sense artificial, in what sense do we identify the
self as human and part of nature. If it is an artifact, then is the
self merely a product of our own reflective creation, of technological
advance, of history, or a by-product of the latest cultural trends. On
the other hand, if the self is not an artifact, are we committed to
positing an underlying ontology of self which much contemporary
philosophy is loathe to defend. Perhaps the self cannot adequately be
located within the realms of artifice or nature and the integrity of
persons necessarily defies and eludes these categories. Finally, is
the natural or created self primarily a separate and atomistic entity,
or is its history and community constitutive of the self's identity.
Whether all economic and technological systems will
eventually converge, given the incentives, is still not clear. If we
assume convergence is likely, then what of human identity. If human
identity is structured by technological convergence, what about the
role of human agency in creating, fashioning, and shaping one's own
These very important questions were left without
discussion in this session, may be for keeping the participants free
to discover their own respective perspectives to shape their opinions
of for any other myriad reasons.
The dictionary defines culture as "the act of
developing intellectual and moral faculties, especially through
education." We may use a slightly different definition of
culture: "the moral, social, and behavioral norms of a society
based on the beliefs, attitudes, and priorities of its members."
The terms "advanced culture" or "primitive
culture" could apply to the first definition, but not the latter.
Every organization has its own unique culture or
value set. Most organizations do not consciously try to create a
certain culture. The culture of the organization is typically created
unconsciously, based on the values of the top management or the
founders of an organization.
Well, first, it starts with hiring. We are zealous
about hiring. We are looking for a particular type of person,
regardless of which job category it is. We are looking for positive
attitudes and for people who can lend themselves to causes. We want
folks who have a good sense of humor and people who are interested in
performing as a team and take joy in team results instead of
Another important thing is to spend a lot of time
with your people and to communicate with them in a variety of ways.
Moreover, a large part of it is demeanor. Sometimes we tend to lose
sight of the fact that demeanor - the way you appear and the way you
act- is a form of communication.
In both of these examples, the top managements of
the companies were vigilant about maintaining their cultures. The
behavior rules and boundaries are relatively clear and communicated
often. However, this is not typical. Most organizations operate with a
diversity of cultures. This is especially true considering the
increasing worldwide mobility of people and cultures and values.
The next day of the conference was dedicated to the
theme of "Cultural Mindset Challenges" and perhaps for the
first time in Pakistan a daylong workshop was complimented with a
conference. The workshop was uniquely developed and designed in three
modules conducted by three distinguished and experienced trainers.
. The Culture
. The Mind set
. The Barriers
Leaders' Role in Shaping Performance Culture
. The Change
. Principles for Managing Cultural Change
. Role of Human Resource & Individual
Hassan M. Jaffry (Senior Associate, Nutshell Forum)
started the session by highlighting the significance of the workshop.
He gave a brief introduction of the trainers.
Shakeel Mapara (Head of HR, American Express Bank
Limited & TRS), a very diversified and renowned human resource
consultant, facilitated the first module of the workshop. Shakeel
dealt with concept, dimensions, and significance of cultural mindset
in very interesting and skillful manner. He practically succeeded in
capturing the full attention of the participants and, in fact, he laid
down the foundation of the daylong proceeding of the workshop with a
Uzma Bashir (Group Chief Organization Development
& Training, NBP) carried the theme to its most important dimension
i.e. the role of leadership in shaping the cultural mindset of an
organization. Uzma is a seasoned and versatile human resource trainer.
She has to her credit a wide range of training experiences and the
number of her trained and benefited persons in thousands.
Rukhsana Asghar (Human Resource Consultant), who in
her own person is a personification of human resource management, took
the session to its peak. She apprised the participants about the role
of HR and the individuals in bringing changes in the corporate
cultural mindset. In an absorbing trainer like style, Rukhsana also
provided the audience the summation of the whole day proceedings in a
All the three expert trainers not only opened new
avenues of strategic thinking in the minds of the participants but
also provided the tips to travel to reach the destination.
Syed Masoud Ali Naqvi (Senior Partner, Taseer Hadi
Khalid & Company), distinguished Chartered Accountant and a
well-versed rhetorician, was the Chief Gust of the workshop day. Mr.
Naqvi, in his knowledgeable address, conveyed his feelings and
opinions about the topic and contents of the workshop in a very
scholarly style. He talked regarding the philanthropical measures to
be taken by the both sectors of our corporate society and gave example
of some unknown persons involved in the service of humanity.
Hassan M. Jaffry ended the Conference Workshop with
a vote of thanks.
Nutshell Forum organized a National Human Resource
Conference. The theme of this conference is "Emerging Issues in
Human Resource Management". Seen in the photograph Ms. Sadia
Naveed, Director Operations English Biscuit Manufacturers, presenting
a memento to Federal Minister & Chairman Higher Education
Commission Dr. Attaur Rehman at the inaugural session of the