Navigating the Complexities of Leadership in Today's Business Landscape

Navigating the Complexities of Leadership in Today's Business Landscape

Aditya Mehta, Senior President and CFO, Orion Group, 0

Aditya is an accomplished professional with over 21 years of diverse experience, currently serving as the Chief Financial Officer of one of Bangladesh's largest and most diversified business groups. He has held leadership roles in renowned organizations like TVS, Citibank, and Cargil, spanning areas such as sales, product management, strategic business development, corporate finance, structured trade finance, banking, and team management. Aditya's journey showcases expertise across the value chain, from marketing to operations risk management to to supply chain management, treasury, digital finance, sustainability and board-level contributions.

In a conversation with Bimlesh Prasad, Correspondent at CEOInsights, Aditya emphasizes the importance for business leaders to adapt to tech changes, prioritize ethics, ensure safety, manage compliance, and promote sustainability, especially within the healthcare and pharma sectors. Below are the excerpts from the exclusive interview –

How should Business leaders adapt to rapid technological changes? How can they effectively integrate technologies like AI?
Rapid technological shifts can disrupt industries and organizations. Business leaders must swiftly adapt to ensure survival and prosperity. To integrate technologies like AI effectively, fostering an innovative, resilient, and agile culture is crucial. They should embrace a long-term vision, planning years ahead, executing in months, and living day-to-day.

Julian Birkinshaw’s Harvard Business Review article outlines four response strategies for disruptions, including rapid technological changes. These strategies are offensive vs. defensive and focus on existing vs. new markets.

I. Double Down: Strengthen the position in the existing market.

II. Fight Back: Take an offensive stance in a new market for growth.

III. Retrench: Defensively scale down existing markets and build alliances.

IV. Move Away: Give up the old, diversify or enter new markets exploring fresh opportunities.

Each strategy has its benefits and risks. Business leaders should assess their situation and choose the strategy aligning best with their goals and market conditions. These strategies apply to the pharmaceutical industry and other sectors, helping navigate technological disruptions successfully.

How do leaders find the balance between business goals and ethics, especially in data privacy?
From my perspective, there's no need for a delicate balancing act between business objectives and ethical considerations. To effectively employ these strategies, both the organization and its leaders must have clear business objectives in mind. In the ongoing struggle that business leaders across industries face, particularly in areas like data privacy with the advent of technologies such as artificial intelligence, there is no room for compromise. There exists no middle ground. Leaders must do what is right, and they must do it in the right way. Furthermore, they must project an image of doing what is right and doing it correctly.

In my view, ethics should always take precedence. The business objectives of any reputable organization can and should be achieved ethically. Leaders who accomplish this not only foster long-term value creation for their organizations but also establish a sustainable foundation for their own success.

How should business leaders maintain patient safety while introducing new technologies?
Safety holds paramount importance in any organization, representing a fundamental prerequisite. In addition to fostering an environment of innovation, instilling a robust safety culture is imperative. This responsibility must emanate from the organization's upper echelons. When an employee or client enters an organizational framework, an implicit contract is automatically established between the entity and the individual. Consequently, it becomes the duty of the business leader to meticulously assess, oversee, evaluate, and transparently communicate all safety facets.

Incorporating new technologies demands well-researched, expertly guided, and comprehensively documented safety protocols. Therefore, business leaders must embrace full accountability for any shortcomings. The absence of this accountability on the part of a business leader can jeopardize the organization's commitment to safeguarding clients, patients, and employees when introducing novel technologies. Thus, to truly prioritize safety, business
leaders must set a standard of accountability that reverberates throughout the organization, ensuring the utmost dedication to safeguarding all stakeholders.

What concerns might arise regarding the ethical and legal implications of robotic-assisted procedures, and how can leaders address them?
The rapid adoption of groundbreaking surgical techniques, like computer-assisted robotic surgery, has revolutionized healthcare. However, this progress brings exponentially increasing complexity across medical, legal, and ethical domains. Robotic surgery shows great potential but requires specialized training, extensive experience, and rigorous quality checks for optimal patient care.

The legal landscape remains stable, but robotic surgery's integration adds complexity that may complicate future litigation. Manufacturers could face legal action alongside healthcare providers for unfavorable outcomes. Ethical concerns loom large, focusing on equipment safety, data security, informed consent, and confidentiality. Cost and limited availability in public hospitals, especially in the Indian subcontinent, hinder broader access to these innovations.

Incorporating new technologies demands well-researched, expertly guided, and comprehensively documented safety protocols.

Business leaders must craft strategies aligning AI-assisted procedures with their goals, including robust risk management and cost-benefit analysis. Neglecting these steps risks reputation damage and exposure to various risks. Successful implementation hinges on meticulous planning and a proactive approach to multifaceted challenges, ensuring the promising future of robotic surgery in healthcare.

How can business leaders ensure compliance with financial regulation and ethical standards while pursuing business growth and innovation?
In recent decades, global challenges like climate change, sustainability, and biodiversity preservation have prompted financial institutions worldwide, including central banks such as the Bank of England, and organizations like the United Nations, to establish robust reporting frameworks. These frameworks, like the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), and Network for Greening the Financial System, offer valuable tools for organizations. Business leaders should integrate these frameworks into their reporting practices, conveying a positive message to stakeholders and financial markets, creating long-term value. Similarly, frameworks exist in areas like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and it will be prudent for leaders to leverage them, ensuring transparency and accountability while saving resources.

How can business leaders ensure this cyber security and data privacy trends?
Cybersecurity and data privacy intersect significantly with safety concerns. Recent insights from Verizon in 2023 reveal that identity is a primary target in most organizations’ attack surfaces. Compromised user credentials have become hackers' favored entry point in breaches over the last five years.

In 2022, the Identity Defined Security Alliance found that 84 percent of organizations reported identity-related breaches, with over 75% of critical infrastructure service providers falling prey to insider-driven cyber threats. These statistics emphasize those gaps in employees' knowledge offer opportunities to threat actors.

Verizon's report underscores that phishing remains a top method for infiltrating organizations. Attackers often target humans and steal credentials, avoiding direct technological breaches. Business leaders must prioritize comprehensive phishing training across industries. Neglecting this training elevates the risk of cybersecurity and data privacy breaches, as attackers frequently exploit the human factor as the primary entry point. Therefore, I recommend that business leaders prioritize rigorous phishing training in their organizations to effectively mitigate these threats.

How can business leaders promote sustainability and social responsibility within this pharma industry?
Sustainability and social responsibility are closely linked. Sustainability encompasses corporate social responsibility (CSR) and related themes. Research shows pharmaceutical and healthcare companies actively engage in initiatives for societal well-being, including financial support, sustainable projects, addressing social challenges, health awareness campaigns, and healthcare investments. As these sectors safeguard human health, they must prioritize CSR and sustainability.

Consequently, comprehending the multifaceted facets of sustainability and seamlessly integrating it into an organization's business strategy and annual budget becomes a more reliable pathway to successful CSR implementation. Business leaders in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors should collaborate to exchange insights and adopt industry best practices, tailoring them to suit the unique needs of their respective organizations. This collaborative approach is pivotal in fostering sustainable social responsibility within these vital industries.