#MeToo an indictment on corporate governance: Author Stuart Drew to WION

Author Stuart Drew. Photograph:( WION )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 12, 2018, 02.03 PM (IST) Minakshi Das

Management guru and now an author, Stuart Drew, has said that there is no place for discrimination of any sort in business let alone abuse, and in an ideal world the #MeToo movement should be unnecessary.
 
"It is an indictment on corporate governance over many years that such movements needed to be created. Basically companies need to become absolutely dedicated to creating a corporate culture based on only one thing, a transparent meritocracy. The #MeToo movement is only one example of bias based harassment in the workplace," Drew tells exclusively to WION.
 
No one would want to work at a place where toxic masculinity exists, he further adds.
 
Drew, who has vast managerial experience, says the work environment today tests managers on new parametres and they are often faced with issues that burden them and limit their performance.
 
"Businesses today require managers to prove themselves on a regular basis. This differs from past times where jobs were long term or for life. Also, team members are now much more demanding and are prepared to challenge the status quo and are no longer willing to put up with poor management. They want to be recognised as making a difference or will move on," he says.
 
Drew has decades of experience in managing teams and has now forayed into launching a dotcom start-up. He has been a chairman of a private members club and chairman of a European trade association.
 
"In any competitive market, the surprising thing is how similar companies' offerings are, and not how different they are. Furthermore in most high value procurements, external advisors are employed to use their procurement processes to ensure bids are able to do the job fairly evaluated and that the eventual winner provides best value for money. They seek to create 'a level playing field'. The question therefore is: If several bids are similar, how does a bidder expect to win more than a fair share of business?" he says.
 
The answer, he says, lies in deploying a strategy that focuses on your bid being Differentiated, Innovative and Disruptive - an approach popularly known as DID.
 
Drew explains, "Some examples for differentiation are creating a Customer Value Portal where value in excess of contractual commitments can be measured and signed off by the customer. I personally gave spoof cheques to customers with the value of signed off benefits. These frequently were in the millions of dollars. Creating a Customer Experience Room that brings to life the elements of your proposal. By demonstrating a complete understanding of the customer needs and objectives, through face to face discussions with no PowerPoint presentations, helped customers appreciate the individual nature of the proposal. This allows the customer to fully engage in debate on delivering best value for money. In the vast majority of cases this included the customer evaluation team lunching with the junior delivery team with no managers present. This unfailingly showed the customer team the depth and quality of the people, even juniors, delivering the proposed solution.
 
"For innovation, the customer team was invited to engage in a betting game that was used to verify customer alignment around what benefits they were seeking from the proposed solution. This invariably led to a debate among the customer evaluation team on the priority of benefits. The last 'D' is Disruptive. This might seem strange as disruption is not always seen as a good thing. However in competitive markets it is the disrupters that generally produce superior performance. I contend that spending time on how your company can be a disruptive business partner will pay handsome dividends."
 
He also stresses the need to understand 'cultural dynamics'. Having worked across global cultures and industries, Drew understands the need to be open to learn about different cultures, both in business and in life. "We live in a multi-cultural society where global travel is affordable for many people. Social media is the catalyst for international connections that were unavailable to previous generations. It is our duty to be open to learning about different cultures both in business and in life. Ignorance too often results in laughable outcomes, parodied by comedians or worse yet triggering international incidents," says Drew.
 
"Making the effort to understand different cultures and, perhaps more importantly, to understand one’s own culture in the context of other cultures represent ‘table stakes’ for managers today. The word ‘yes’ can be used to illustrate cultural difference. In the USA ‘yes’ is most often assumed as ‘it will be done’. In the UK, it can mean ‘I understand’. In India there is a to and fro sideways head movement for ‘yes’ and a more vigorous movement for ‘very yes’. In other countries ‘yes’ can mean ‘I hear you’ or ‘that sounds reasonable’. Even this one simple word can be the cause of immense frustration," he further adds.

For measuring successful leadership, Drew formulated and introduced the Personal Share Price (PSP) model. "This is a concept that I created to better understand my own value to the business. The concept understands that success and influence are dynamic and can vary in the short term. The expression ‘you are as good as your last performance’ captures that idea. I propose there are three components that combined create a PSP, namely behaviour, presence and performance. These three elements work together to deliver superior value to the business," he says explaining the concept.
 
During his tenure in India, Drew grew increasingly fond of jugaad (a Hindi term which means overcoming harsh constraints by improvising and effective solution using limited resources) and believes that it is crucial for the survival of start-ups.
 
"In part of my career I was CEO of a dotcom business start up. I would argue that subconsciously most start up companies will only survive if they use jugaad techniques. For example building a solution based on software services to address a market need can be done from ‘a garage’. However to scale-up the solution takes investment that may be hard to obtain. As a given solution becomes successful, managing the balance of limited financial resources between investment and development becomes a key capability. Building the infrastructure ahead of demand can lead to bankruptcy. Building it after demand will lead to customer dissatisfaction. So using scarce resources to optimise performance requires, in my opinion, a jugaad mindset. This was the idea developed in the Harvard Business Review 2010 publication encouraging businesses in the USA to use the jugaad concept to do more for less," says Drew.
 
Drew has come out with a book called 'The Liberated Manager' which shares his experiences of delivering differentiated and sustained performance over many years as a manager through releasing the hidden and potent potential in the teams under my management. The book covers how managers can liberate themselves from concerns including, having to have all the answers to team issues, liberation from risky hiring, liberation from worrying too much and negativity, liberation from one's own cultural heritage, liberation from coming second or worse too often in sales.