MANAGEMENT is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; LEADERSHIP determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall - Stephen Covey

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Engineer vs. Manager

A man flying in a hot air balloon realizes he is lost. He reduces his altitude and spots a man in a field down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"
The man below says, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, about 30 feet above this field."
"You must be an engineer," says the balloonist.
"I am. How did you know?"
"Everything you told me is technically correct, but it's of no use to anyone."
The man below says, "You must be in management."
"I am. But how did you know?"
"You don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me to be able to help U??!!

Managing the "American" way!

The Americans and the Japanese decided to engage in a competitive boat race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day they felt ready. The Japanese won by a mile. Afterward, the American team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found, so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and recommended corrective action.

The consultant's finding: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering; the American team had one person rowing and eight people steering.

After a year of study and millions spent analyzing the problem, the consultant firm concluded that too many people were steering and not enough were rowing on the American team. So as race day neared again the following year, the American team's management structure was completely reorganized. The new structure: four steering managers, three area steering managers and a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide work incentive. The next year, the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American corporation laid off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem! Whadda way to go! Sure shot success strategy??

Management Lessons?!

Management Lesson – 1
A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?" The crow answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story is:
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Management Lesson – 2
A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy." "Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients."
The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fortnight, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.
Soon he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.
Moral of the story is:
Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Monkeys & Management!

What you are about to read now is called the *8 Monkey Experiment* conducted by a few UK Scientists...
Put eight monkeys in a room. In the middle of the room is a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the ceiling. Each time a monkey tries to climb the ladder, all the monkeys are sprayed with ice water, which makes them miserable.
Soon enough, whenever a monkey attempts to climb the ladder, all of the other monkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up. Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder.
One of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in the room. Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the other monkeys are doing the obvious. But undaunted, he immediately begins to climb the ladder. All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him silly. He has no idea why. However, he no longer attempts to climb the ladder.
A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the crap out of him. This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he's not on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he's attacking the new monkey.
One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced. Eight new monkeys are now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water. None of them attempt to climb the ladder. All of them will enthusiastically beat up any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.
Now, I hope you understand how any company's policies get Established!

Friday, November 25, 2005

F.W.Taylor (1856-1915)

Taylor was an American engineer who worked his way up through evening studies for a qualification. . From being an engineer in a steel plant, he became one of the first of a new breed of very influential management writers and theorists. He is known for defining the techniques of Scientific Management which is the study of "relationships between people and tasks for the purpose of redesigning the work process to increase efficiency".
He was writing at a time when factories were creating problems for management who needed new methods for dealing with managerial challenges. Taylor was one of the first to attempt to systematically analyze behaviour at work. His model was the "machine" therefore his ideas are often characterised as the "machine model of organisations" wherein each task was broken down to its smallest unit to identify the best way to do each job and the supervisor would teach the worker and make sure that the worker did only those actions essential to the task. This is why it is referred to as Scientific Management as Taylor attempted to make a science (remember cause & effect relationship?) for each element of work and restrict alternatives to remove human variability or errors.
Do you think that this system of work practise holds true & valid in our technological age?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

10 reasons to consider Online Banking

Many a times I have mentioned about the robustness of online banking in my blog. We all know that the internet is definitely (and rapidly) changing the way we live. It has quickly become the most preferred choice of communication for many and has also become a major factor in the financial lives of millions. Using the Internet to interact with a Bank can help simplify your financial affairs. Here are ten reasons (though not ranked in order of importance) to consider using on-line banking.
1) You can pay your bills online 24x7/365.
2) You can apply for loans online...Did I say it gets approved online too?
3) You can review your account activity (summary & a detailed view!) and see your balances up-to-date.
4) You can transfer funds (inter & intra bank transfers) in a jiffy.
5) Costs peanuts! (maybe even cheaper?)
6) You save tons of time! (when was the last time u stood at a bank queue?)
7) You can get the most up-to-date rates.
8) It is safe. Most on-line banking activities use highly sophisticated encryption devices to ensure safety and privacy.
9) You can receive valuable information (market-info!). Many banks provide electronic newsletters and e-mail messaging to keep you fully informed about any special offers they may have and about latest trends.
10) Lastly, you can learn how to make better-informed financial decisions.
Banking at the click of a button! WOW! Happy banking...

Monday, November 21, 2005


One of the most fascinating concepts ever propounded in management is "Management By Walking Around" a.k.a. MBWA....which means MANAGERS and LEADERS consistently reserve time to walk through their departments and/or be available for impromptu discussions. As Edward Deming rightly coined "If you wait for people to come to you, you'll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big problems are where people don't realize they have one in the first place." Therefore, MBWA is a hyperactive, out-of-the office, interventionist top management practice. It frequently goes together with an open-door management policy. It was MBWA that made leadership more effective in many well-run organizations.
So, what are the thingz managers / leaders should do?
Well, the three thingz they MUST DO & COMMIT to are...
> Listen to what people are saying. Have an open mind & a cool head.
> Use the opportunity to transmit the company's values face to face.
> Be prepared and able to give people on-the-spot help / advise. - Remember, managers must "hit the nail on its head"!

Quote ensemble on Insanity!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes on Insanity....
a) Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein.
b) Love: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage - Ambrose Bierce
c) The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success - Bruce Feirstein
d) There is no great genius without some touch of madness. - Seneca
e) There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line. - Oscar Levant
So, is it worth being insane or freaky? I remember a TP presentation that talks about "Why do I love freaks" and the first & best reason is ...." because when anything interesting happens … it was a freak who did it. (Period.)"

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Error regretted

An article by name "Deserve before you Desire" claiming that Mr. R.Gopalakrishnan succeeds Mr. Ratan Tata as Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd is FALSE and UNTRUE. Regret this misleading information published. The article has been since deleted.
My personal apologies to Mr. R.Gopalakrishnan & Mr. Ratan Tata for publishing the same & will henceforth ensure that such misleading / false information is not published. Also, my heartfelt apologies for any damages caused. This was totally unintentional & will NEVER be repeated.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Tribute to Peter F Drucker 1909-2005

As a tribute to Prof Drucker and to the benefit of the world at large, please find below a few of Drucker's quotes...very inspiring indeed!
Drucker on Business...."Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation."
Drucker on Teamwork...."Efficiency is doing better what is already being done."
Drucker on Integrity...."It's more important to do the right thing than to do things right."
Drucker on Leadership...."No executive has ever suffered because his subordinates were strong and effective."
Drucker on Mistakes...."The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question."
Drucker on Efficiency...."There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."

Peter Drucker passes away

Peter Drucker, the most influential management writer of the modern era, has died age 95. A spokesman for the Claremont Graduate University in California, where Prof Drucker worked since the 1971, said he died peacefully on Friday morning after a short illness. Click on this link to read more....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Women & Work

I recently read an article on the web which stated that more than half of female workers have already left or are seriously considering escaping conventional 9-to-5 working in a bid to invent their own working patterns, according to a report. This survey was conducted by Hudson HR Consultancy of UK where more than 1,000 UK employees and 500 employers have found that the majority (84 per cent) of professional women believe the 9-to-5 routine is being spurned by their gender! They are instead preferring to follow a career path offering flexibility and professional autonomy rather than fit in with the demands of the corporate world and this includes planning to set up their own businesses, retrain, work flexibly or pursue a "portfolio" career.
Who knows whats in store for these lovely ladies..? Maybe, we could have more of Anita Roddicks, Audrey Baxters, Meg Whitmans et al...

Risk Premium & Investment!

The RISK PREMIUM is the excess return above the risk-free rate that investors require as compensation for the higher uncertainty associated with risky assets. The five main risks that comprise the risk premium are business risk, financial risk, liquidity risk, exchange-rate risk and country-specific risk. All these five risk factors have the potential to harm returns and, therefore, require that investors are adequately compensated for taking them on.
Business Risk: This is the risk associated with the uncertainty of a company's future cash flows, which are affected by the operations of the company and the environment in which it operates. It is the variation in cash flow from one period to another that causes greater uncertainty and leads to theneed for greater compensation for investors.
Financial Risk: This is the risk associated with the uncertainty of a company's ability to manage the financing of its operations. Essentially, financial risk is the company's ability to pay of its debt obligations. The more obligations a company has, the greater the financial risk and the more compensation is needed for investors.
Liquidity Risk: This is the risk associated with the uncertainty of exiting an investment, both in terms of timeliness and cost. The ability to exit an investment quickly and with minimal cost greatly depends on the type of security being held.
Exchange-Rate Risk: This is the risk associated with investments denominated in a currency other than the domestic currency of the investor. Exchange rate fluctuations cause these risks.
Country Specific Risk: This is the risk associated with the political and economic uncertainty of the foreign country in which an investment is made. These risks can include major policy changes, overthrown governments, economic collapses, war & not to forget potential for terrorist attacks!
How many of us actually consider any/all of the above risk factors prior to investing?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Legendary Drucker

At ninety-five Peter Drucker is a living legend, one of the world's most respected thinkers on management and society. His thinking has inspired many business leaders from around the world, as well as in the non-profit sector, while influencing companies both large and small. Over six decades, as a journalist, teacher, consultant, and author of more than thirty-five books, Peter Drucker made management theory a respected discipline. He has a brimming lifetime of wisdom to share and expertise that reaches well beyond the confines of the world´s largest companies.
Drucker was born in Vienna in 1909. He studied law in Germany, then moved to England to escape Nazism and later to the United States. In 1945, his book Concept of the Corporation, based on a two-year study of General Motors, became an instant best-seller. Since 1971, he has taught management at Claremont Graduate University in California, which in 1987 named its school of management after him. He is the ultimate guru to generations of executives and students of management theory, of how organizations succeed, and why they fail.
When asked the difference between Management as a Practice and Management as a Science, Drucker says "I very rarely speak of management as a science. Management is a practice like medicine. There's medical science and there are medical scientists to support medical practice. And management, like medicine, is a practice. The results are not in theory but in what actually happens. Management science supports the manager by furnishing the tools to acheive the desired results. But the implementation of those tools, the actual use of management tools is a practice, not a science."

3 "Ds" of Customer Experience

I recently read an article posted in HBS Working Knowledge on The Three "Ds" of Customer Experience and they are...
1. Designing the right offers and experiences for the right customers.
2. Delivering these propositions by focusing the entire company on them with an emphasis on cross-functional collaboration.
3. Developing their capabilities to please customers again and again—by such means as revamping the planning process, training people in how to create new customer propositions, and establishing direct accountability for the customer experience.
Each of these "Three Ds" draws on and reinforces the others. Together, they transform the company into one that is continually led and informed by its customers' voices. Sounds fantastic....?

Quotes on Success

I read a few quotes on SUCCESS and thought I could share it with ROW (rest of the world). Hope u enjoy reading these…

a) Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. Courage is what counts. - Sir Winston Churchill
b) Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. - Anonymous
c) Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas Edison
d) Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. - Malcolm Forbes
e) Not every successful man is a good father. But every good father is a successful man. - R. Duvall
f) The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. - Benjamin Mays
g) Victory belongs to the most persevering. - Napoleon
h) I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. - Christopher Reeve
i) What comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside you. - Wayne Dyer
j) Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. - Abraham Lincoln

As Vince Lambardi rightly said "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." Do you have the will to make it BIG?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Albert Einstein at his best!

a) Albert Einstein once went to a restaurant. The waiter placed menu-card before him. Unfortunately Einstein had left his reading-glasses at home, so he said to waiter," would you please read it out to me?" The waiter hesitated a bit and then replied," I would have been glad to, Sir, but I am also an illiterate like you."
b) After the birth of his sister Maja, the two and a half year old Albert Einstein was told he would now have something to play with. After looking at the baby, young Albert complained "Yes, but where are its wheels?"
c) Einstein never has to dress well. When Einstein's Wife told him to dress properly when going to the Office he argued: "Why should I? Everyone knows me there."When he was told to dress properly for his first big conference:"Why should I? No one knows me there."
Happy laughin!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Failing Forward!!

I recd a mail on the subject frm a dear friend of mine (MuraliKrishnan - a.k.a MK) and i must say, i was absolutely thrilled to read it. It talks about:
> "Failing forward"
> 7 things failure is NOT
> 7 abilities needed to fail FORWARD
> Benefits of ADVERSITY
> Traps that make people back away from RISKS
> Questions that you should ask to LEARN from your FAILURE
> Top-10 reasons people FAIL
> 4-point plan for approaching ACHIEVEMENT
To summarize, it goes like this....."15-steps in FAILING FORWARD"
1) Realise the major difference between average and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure
2) Learn a new definition of failure – what it is, and what it is not
3) Remove the ‘you’ from failure
4) Take action and reduce your fear
5) Change your response to failure by accepting responsibility
6) Don’t let the failure from outside get inside you
7) Say good-bye to yesterday
8) Change yourself, and your world changes
9) Get over yourself, and start giving yourself
10) Find the benefit in every bad experience
11) If at first you do succeed, try something harder
12) Learn from a bad experience and make it a good experience
13) Work on the weakness that weakens you
14) Understand there’s not much difference between failure and success
15) Get up, get over it, get going
Thanx MK....I truly enjoyed reading ur mail & am seriously thinkin on FAILING FORWARD!

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