For a woman to be truly successful, in today’s world would involve a complicated micro-neural surgery or a lobotomy of the cortex which stores the cultural conditioning. The society conditions the gender of certain norms to conform by, which might have been applicable several centuries ago but are now a dormant baggage – specially for women.
The age old concept of a woman being the gatherer still exists in the memory of our ancestral DNA and is being reinforced by the society with slight modifications over the years. These socio-archetypes are so deeply rooted in our psyche that even hypnosis cannot bring it to light. The evidence of this conditioning is so obvious by the way both the genders are treated irrespective of Geographical coordinates.
I have the rare privilege of regularly speaking to and working with business leaders around the world – from every type of business be they family, not-for-profit, publicly traded or private and from every business sector imaginable. Over the last two years I have made a number of visits to the beautiful country of Pakistan and worked with business leaders in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Men and women in pharmaceuticals, refining, bottling, banking, communications, insurance, confectionary, medical, advertising, engineering and many others, running their own businesses, or running publicly traded corporations, charities or subsidiaries of overseas multi-nationals.
So, I am often asked, what are my experiences of Pakistan business leaders and how do they differ from elsewhere?
Management is about improving today; leadership is about creating the future. This is the overwhelming consensus among practitioners, gurus, wits, and savants. the title makes the point: we need leaders first. But we need more than rhetoric-gushing futurists. Grand visionary plans for the future are often far too abundant in developing countries – as they tend to conveniently distract from the nettlesome and more dispiriting realities facing us today.
Everybody’s got within them the capability to do different things, but sometimes we limit ourselves to one niche,” says Leon. “Personal empowerment is the issue closest to my heart, and this is across gender, minority syndrome, the disadvantaged syndrome, or anything other such thing. The power does not reside outside the person. It is inside of us. The negative beliefs and hurdles are all inside of us. It is a matter of courage, and not analysis. It takes courage to make the decision. The solutions are all inside of us as well.
The senior HR presence at Eastern Federal Union insurance company is Arshad Abdullah, a veteran of corporate training, and amongst the pioneers of the field in Pakistan. Arshad spent 30 years at PIM, with the last 10 as its Director, retiring in 1994, and handing over its reins to Zarrar Zubair who continues to hold the fort at PIM to this day. He is the first academician to move to the private sector after retirement, joining EFU at the top management level of Executive Director HR.