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Murthy stresses ethics, truth
A K Bhattacharya in Davos | January 31, 2005 11:41 IST
Infosys Chairman and Chief Mentor NR Narayana Murthy stood out among other panelists at a session at the World Economic Forum on Saturday by defining a business leader as one whose biggest responsibility was to seek the truth, communicate that truth to other stakeholders and live by that truth.
Murthy said this at a session on 'Leading the Great Company' and his fellow panelists included Michael Dell, chairman of Dell, Robert Nardelli, chairman of Home Depot, Charles Prince, CEO of Citigroup and John A Thain, chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.
When asked if he was pursuing an Asian value system in his company, Murthy said values like honesty, decency, work ethics were universal and they were all a protocol for good behaviour in a community and for making progress.
He further explained the importance of values by stating that the 'softest pillow in the world was a clear conscience.'
Murthy said the responsibility of a business leader in a controversy was to tell the story as it happened, so that there were no different versions of the truth. "We pray to God and bring data to the table," he said.
When as ked to look back and suggest any change in his style of functioning, Narayana Murthy said he would have liked to be more dynamic and less conservative.
Michael Dell said leaders of great companies must lay emphasis on choosing the right business model and the right business philosophy. Admitting to mistakes and absorbing the customer feedback were also important.
John Thain felt changing the culture of a company was the biggest challenge and a leader must guard against complacency. Nardelli said giving back to the community also constituted a major quality of a leader.
William Donaldson, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, summed up the discussion by listing out ten attributes of a great business leader.
These were: Integrity, team work, conceptual approach, energy, leadership, listening ability, planning for failure, desire to seek excellence, action interspersed with generosity and a concept of having fun.