July 8, 2023
Coimbatore – With Coimbatore chapter of FICCI celebrating 40 yrs., Sudha Shivkumar, President and Rama Rajasekaran, Chairperson, FLO, Coimbatore along with committee members felt it was crucial to have a session on governance by women especially the challenges faced by them in family run businesses. The event began with Welcome Address being delivered by Rama Rajasekaran, Chairperson, FICCI FLO, Coimbatore who introduced the esteemed guests- V.Ramakrishnan, Founder & Managing Director, Organisation Development Pte Ltd., Singapore and Prashanth Subramanian, Co-Founder & Director, Quadrasystems.net India Private Limited.
Prashanth Subramanian in his address stated, “A Woman has to work 200 per cent in order to match a man working at 100 per cent. When trying to achieve a goal, there are two ways you can orient yourself- First is promotional orientation which means, you focus on positive, you focus on accomplishment, you focus on hope and the second is a preventive orientation where you are trying to minimalize loss, trying to minimize risk. There is no need for special treatment, I think the need is to put women on equal footing. There was this start-up festival funding in North America and entrepreneurs were asked questions by VC’s who could be potential investors in companies and some brilliant person actually took it upon herself to analyse all these questions, take a transcript, do a lot of statistical analysis and come out with some results. It said that 67% of the questions that were posted for male entrepreneurs were promotion in nature; in the sense they were focussed on positive opinion like what are your goals, how are you going to achieve them whereas the same amount of questions posted for women entrepreneurs were prevention oriented; you sure can you do it, will this succeed? You can see the inherent bias that comes because it’s a woman. When people were asked for their opinion on the entrepreneur, they gave very positive feedback on male entrepreneur but not so good feedback on female entrepreneurs. What is considered positive in a male context is being aggressive, being goal-oriented, being determined, go getter but if you apply the same thing to women, you know better than anybody else what people will say”.
V.Ramakrishnan in his address said, “Women with their innate ability to nurture, with their instinct to seek a balance and harmony can and should play a vital role in family businesses. Is revenue important or quality important? Explaining different models like Strategic vs Operational, Directors Duties- Brains On, Tasks of the Director, The Ideal Board-Mark Mobius, Survival Rates in Asian Family Businesses he said, you have to be proactive by staying connected to customers. The whole thinking has to be changed, connect with people and that’s the best way to look into horizon. If you consider general management as hereditary, it is very poor. There is no relation between board structure and governance, it depends on the competency of the individual. Good governance facilitates renewal and growth. You cannot be a part time Director and be successful. Today it requires around 7-10 meetings and around 21 days a year to the board. Governance is a great but you have to work very hard to make it for you. If you can’t measure, you can’t do it. Numbers don’t lie. No two directors or companies face identical situations. You want to refer value or create value; understand the environment. Family businesses contribute 2/3rd GDP worldwide. Family business thrive in a protected economy and diversification occurs because of networks. Irresponsible governance causes lot of grief. Ownership is Onerous. If you want to be the owner, you have to be accountable”