Published: 19:37, April 12, 2024
‘Managing for Social Impact’ conference encourages innovative strategies, practical approaches
By Mike Gu in Hong Kong
Local and foreign panelists discuss sustainable leadership and management in the “Managing for Social Impact” conference in Hang Seng University of Hong Kong on April 12. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

Business and social leaders can make a sustainable and ethical impact following innovative strategies and with practical approaches with help of new technologies, according to the “Managing for Social Impact” conference in Hong Kong on April 12.

Jointly organized by Hang Seng University of Hong Kong and the MLA Academy and held at the university, the event attracted managers, entrepreneurs, and change-makers who explored ways to create positive changes in society even during turbulent times.

The conference also drew inspiration from Peter Drucker's philosophy of management as a social function and liberal art, as Drucker is widely regarded as the father of modern management, and his theories laid a solid foundation for the core ideas presented at the conference.

Bernie Jaworski, chair in management and the liberal arts at the Drucker School of Management, emphasized the importance of balancing performance and purpose in pursuit of Drucker's ideal of a functioning society. He introduced Drucker’s Five Questions as a framework for sound management: "What is your mission?", "Who is your customer?", "What does your customer value?", "What are your results?", and "What is your plan?"

Philip Kolter, a distinguished professor of international marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University of the United States, emphasized that management involves teamwork and sharing profits with stakeholders, as well as improving the lives of customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

Management ultimately seeks to balance prosperity, people, peace, and the planet, he said.

Kolter also highlighted the importance of aligning management practices with the advancements in New Age Technologies, including AI, generalized AI like ChatGPT, machine learning, the metaverse, Internet of Things, robotics, drones, and blockchain.

He further addressed the need for companies to prioritize environmental and social sustainability in their growth strategies. He stressed the importance of reducing pollution, waste, and excessive use of plastics and packaging, while encouraging companies to adopt circular resource utilization. He advised companies to embrace sustainability as a goal alongside profitability and to align their efforts with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Sarah Tam, principal consultant of Astoch Strategy and Communication, highlighted the significance of ethical leadership and promoting social harmony. She shared an example from her own experience, where her boss advised her to always do what is right and ethical when faced with challenging customer demands. This anecdote exemplified the importance of ethical decision-making, which Tam discussed during a panel discussion at the conference.

Kevin Lau, founding executive chairman of Trinity Medical Group, emphasized that leadership revolves around prioritizing the well-being of those being served. He also stressed the importance of empowering women and enabling them to leverage their capabilities and advantages in the workplace.

Thought-provoking panel discussions at the conference addressed topics such as navigating uncertainty, fostering good leadership for social harmony, and sustainable leadership.


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