A book that looks at the responsibility strategies and frameworks of Indian and multinational firms to arrive at a new way of thinking about business.
Written by Namrata Rana PGP 1993 and Utkarsh Majumdar
Reviewed by Salil Agrawal PGP 1983
I have known Namrata for nearly twenty years and hence, when I got the invite for her book launch I was not surprised. What surprised me was that she had written a book and she would not tell me more about it.
So, I went to the book launch and what I heard in her introduction to the book sounded very interesting and got me thinking and forced me to pick up the book and start reading. Namrata has for many years been working with top Indian organisations on helping them get the most out of their CSR initiatives and a lot of knowledge gained from those experiences has gone into the making of this book. Namrata has drawn from her work with different organisations and shared some of it as case studies in this book.
But what I found most inspiring is how she has knitted this together around the theme of “Balance”. After reading it I am not sure if it is a book on how to manage the CSR function or a policy document on what sustainability means for the future or a treatise on strategy – especially the element that was missing in strategy. I think the book is about the need for redefining how we do business and how our love for mother earth needs to be an integral part of the equation.
Balance in the context of the book is the vital difference between chaos and order, between winning and losing, the difference between living and becoming prey. According to her, the current world systems are askew … At the heart of the problem is us …Designing a better world will not just be about new processes but a better way of thinking and communicating. It is about balancing the impact of our actions on people, the environment and everything around us.
Namrata brings out very beautifully the need for organisations to think of Balance in the above context, realise the need for change at a fundamental level and design their systems, processes and strategies to manage people, planet and data which are all going through change at speeds unknown in the past.
She proposes the need to develop a language of balance as different from the language of war which seems to be more predominant in today’s world. She believes that the language of balance can be used to design better systems and to design for responsibility.
I echo her sentiments and my two bit is that mankind should first learn to think from the heart and not from the head and I think that that will be the genesis of the language of balance. Remember that love for mankind is necessary to help us think sustainability.
At the end I would like to compliment Namrata and Utkarsh for this thought-provoking book. I would like to invite business leaders to read this book in the hope that we will have more people believing in the language of balance. I also believe that this book can be translated into a meaningful course of CSR and Sustainability for MBA students.