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

Friday, February 24, 2006

Emerson's best...

Here are a few of my favorite Emerson's quotes...Truly inspiring!
1) Self-trust is the first secret of success.

2) To be simple is to be great.

3) He has not learned the first lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.

4) A man is what he thinks about all day long.

5) Where there is no vision, people perish.

6) God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please - you can never have both.

7) We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

8) Do not be too timid and squeamish...All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.

9) We are always getting ready to live, but never living.

10) To believe in skepticism.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Newton's Laws to the Software World

Did you know that the renowned scientist Isaac Newton had created laws for the software world??? Here it goes…

Every Software Engineer continues his state of chatting or forwarding mails unless he is assigned work by an external unbalanced manager.

The rate of change in the software is directly proportional to the payment received from client and takes place at the quick rate as and when a deadline force is applied.

For every Use Case Manifestation there is an equal but opposite software Implementation.

Bugs can neither be created nor removed from software by a developer. It can only be converted from one form to another. The total number of bugs in the software always remains constant!

America's most admired companies

FORTUNE recently dished out its recent list of America’s most admired companies. Rankings were arrived at based on the following criteria: -

1. Innovation – Apple topped the charts!
2. People Management - GE and Anheuser-Busch score maximum marks
3. Quality of Management – P&G, GE and United Health Group are the best!
4. Financial soundness - Exxon Mobil is the best!
5. Use of corporate assets – It’s Exxon Mobil once again!
6. Long-term investment – REPEAT…Exxon Mobil again!
7. Social responsibility – UPS does it!
8. Product / Service quality - Nordstrom, United Parcel Service, Walt Disney, and FedEx are amongst the Top-10 this year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Well, I guess most of us know (knowing is doing?) what “Kaizen” means…For those of you who don’t…please read forward.

Kaizen is a Japanese management concept (philosophy) for continuous (incremental, gradual) improvement. In short, Kaizen = Continuous Improvement. This philosophy is the backbone of other Japanese concepts like JIT (Just-in-time), TQM (Total Quality Management). QC (Quality Circles) etc.

There are 5 components to the Kaizen philosophy:

1) Teamwork – There is no ‘I’ in Teamwork! Teamwork is basically dividing the tasks and doubling the success / output.
2) Personal Discipline – As Jim Rohn says “Discipline is the bridge between goals & accomplishments”…without self-discipline nothing much can be accomplished!
3) Improved Morale – In George Marshall’s words “Morale is the state of mind. It is steadfastness and courage and hope. It is confidence and zeal and loyalty. It is élan, esprit de corps and determination” – WOW!
4) Quality Circles – Professor John Oakland (a leading authority on Quality) defines a QC as a ‘group of workers who do similar work and who meet voluntarily, regularly, in normal working time, under the leadership of a supervisor, to identify, analyze & solve work-related problems and to recommend solutions.’
5) Suggestions for Improvement – In short, “Everything can be improved – continuously!”

Did u know that there is also a “Kaizen 5S framework” for good house-keeping? Remember….everything BEGINS at HOME!

1) Seiri – Tidiness
2) Seiton – Orderliness
3) Seiso – Cleanliness
4) Seiketsu – Clean-up
5) Shitsuke – Discipline

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Everybody is in service!

While I was at a meeting yesterday, I heard a few guys talking about industry sectors like Manufacturing, Services, IT, Telecom etc and their perspectives & outlook in the near future based on past trends and analysis. Then…something struck me….I began asking this question to myself - Is “Services” a sector in itself??? Is it something disparate & independent of other sectors??? Actually, I thought everybody was (is) in service! Don’t you think so? Consider this…

Well, would it be OK if a company manufacturing CNC machines in Hamburg doesn’t provide service (after-sales service) to its customers in Haryana?

Would it be OK if a copper mining & manufacturing company in Tasmania doesn’t provide adequate service / customer care to its customers / vendors / suppliers in Tamil Nadu?

Would it be OK if your local telecom company (service provider…..see the name says it all!) doesn’t provide service / solutions to its valued customers?

Would it be OK if a car manufacturing giant (like GM, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler, Audi, Honda et al) doesn’t provide adequate service in the upkeep / running & maintenance of your car??

Who the hell is not in service??!! I truly believe “EVERYBODY IS IN SERVICE”….If your not in service, your not in business. Period.

Service isn’t something that is a prized possession of a few sectors like PSFs (Professional Services Firms), Healthcare, IT, ITES, BPOs etc. Its high time we realize that “EVERYBODY IS IN SERVICE”….does anyone beg to differ?

Point of View (POV)

Imagine you are at an Airport. While you're waiting for your flight, you notice a kiosk selling cookies. You buy a box, put them in your traveling bag and then you patiently search for an available seat so you can sit down and enjoy your cookies. Finally, you find a seat next to a gentleman. You reach down into your traveling bag and pull out your box of cookies. As you do so, you notice that the gentleman starts watching you intensely. He stares as you open the box and his eyes follow your hand as you pick up the cookie and bring it to your mouth. Just then he reaches over and takes one of your cookies from the box, and eats it!
You're more than a little surprised at this. Actually, you're at a loss for words. Not only does he take one cookie, but also he alternates with you. For every one cookie you take, he takes one. Now, what's your immediate impression of this guy?Crazy? Greedy? He's got some nerve? Can you imagine the words you might use to describe this man to your associates back at the office?
Meanwhile, you both continue eating the cookies until there's just one left. To your surprise, the man reaches over and takes it. But then he does something unexpected. He breaks it in half, and gives half to you. After he's finished with his half he gets up, and without a word, he leaves. You think to yourself, "Did this really happen?" You're left sitting there dumbfounded and still hungry. So you go back to the kiosk and buy another box of cookies. You then return to your seat and begin opening your new box of cookies when you glance down into your traveling bag.
Sitting there in your bag is your original box of cookies - still unopened. Only then do you realize that when you reached down earlier, you had reached into the otherman's bag, and grabbed his box of cookies by mistake. Now what do you think of the man? Generous? Tolerant? You've just experienced a profound paradigm shift. You're seeing things from a new point of view. Is it time to change your point of view?

Monday, February 13, 2006

India Everywhere @ WEF!

Did you know that “India Everywhere” was the branding strategy at World Economic Forum (WEF) held this year at Davos? Well if you didn’t …it would be informative to note that people passing through Zurich and other Swiss airports in the last week of January were likely to have heard somebody humming a Hindi song or draped in an Indian pashmina shawl!

India seemed to be everywhere at the annual meeting of the WEF, where global political and business leaders congregate each year to ponder the fate of the world. By all accounts, discussions about India and China figured prominently at this year's forum, undoubtedly in view of these countries' growing role in the world economy.

Did you know that Indian business and government leaders spent some two years and more than $4 million putting together an elaborate marketing and PR campaign - much as a multinational corporation might plan a major branding initiative - to ensure that the "India story" got prominent play and did not get lost this year amid the chatter at Davos. The core message of the "India Everywhere" campaign, as its organizers called it, was simple: It presented the country as an attractive destination for foreign investment, as an emerging manufacturing hub and as a credible partner for world business – WOW!

To top it all…when work was not on the agenda, the Indian delegation lavished Davos attendees with lunches, dinners and cocktail hours with Indian liquor and cuisine, Indian art exhibitions and gift hampers. The entertainment high point was a four-hour soiree on the last evening with Bollywood songs and dances that went on until early morning.

In one word – Excellent!

Strategy & Strategy Evaluation

The term Strategy has been so widely used for varied purposes that it has lost any clearly defined meaning. As most of you are aware, the concept of strategy has been borrowed from the military and adapted for use in business. Strategy is a term that comes from the Greek strategia, meaning "generalship." In the military, strategy often refers to maneuvering troops into position before the enemy is actually engaged in an attack. Strategy also refers to the means by which policy is effected.

Strategy according to Professor George Steiner is that which top management does that is of great importance to the organization. Further, Professor Mintzberg defines Strategy as a plan, a "how," a means of getting from here to there. He also says “Strategy is perspective, that is, vision and direction.”

Well, what then is STRATEGY???? Strategy is all these (4Ps) — it is Perspective, Position, Plan, and Pattern. I recently read an article which stated that Strategy is one element in a four-part structure. First are the ends to be obtained. Second are the strategies for obtaining them, the ways in which resources will be deployed. Third are tactics, the ways in which resources that have been deployed are actually used or employed. Fourth and last are the resources themselves, the means at our disposal. Thus it is that strategy and tactics bridge the gap between ends and means.

Strategy Evaluation is all about ensuring that the path laid out has been walked (or atleast traversed through) and also ensuring that you walk the right path! Basically, the evaluation aspect of Strategy should not be a rote exercise…it should be a consultative & an inclusive process wherein the real hurdles / inconsistencies should be made note of & action (preventive / corrective) duly taken. To ensure a fair evaluation Strategy must be:
a) Consistent – It must not present mutually inconsistent goals & policies
b) Responsive – It must be responsive to external environment & to critical changes
c) Competitive – It must provide for the creation / maintenance of a comparative advantage in its chosen area of activity
d) Feasible – It must be do-able!

Well, I guess its time corporates paid attention to the evaluation aspect rather than the creation aspect!


This word has been discussed widely in various newspapers & journals. A search suggests it has been in use in the USA for about the past year but is only now beginning to appear in print.

It refers to people who have been laid off from a multinational company because their job has been moved (outsourced) to India— a business practice designed to save money that is arousing passions in some countries, especially Britain and the United States. Bangalore is cited in particular because of its reputation in the USA as a high-tech city (Indian equivalent of Silicon Valley), that has benefited significantly from such outsourcing.

It would be informative to note that a website is selling T-shirts with the slogan “Don’t Get Bangalored!” as a way of telling people about the outsourcing phenomenon. What’s odd about the term, from the point of view of language, is that it’s unusual for a place name to become a verb.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Team Building

To all those noble-beings (managers) out there - How many of you spend quality time in a "Team Building" exercise for your organization??? I guess the answer is not a very satisfactory one. Most of us pay 'lip-service' to team building...its more said than done! But why??

The reason is that bosses always like to maintain a distance (I call it the "Great Wall of China" syndrome) with their subordinates because they think they might lose respect (they think they deserve!) by interacting with the rank-and-file. Well, did we hear someone say "Command Respect, Not Demand"??? I guess in todays'’s the other way round!

One has to get up-close & personal with their staff / subordinates (of course officially!) inorder to help, guide, coach, mentor & mould them in a manner that is desired for mutual (employer-employee) growth & benefit and its always BEST TO BREAK THE BARRIER between superior-subordinate relationship...obviously, you gotta meet your boss everyday!

Today’s leaders are finding themselves as members of all kinds of teams including virtual teams, autonomous teams, cross-functional teams, and action-learning teams. Team building in the form of team dinners, face-to-face meetings / interactions, management games, role-play, team progress report, mini-surveys and a host of other effective tools developed by various management theorists & practitioners would be of invaluable assistance in devising an effective "team-building" exercise.

Trust me… its better late than never and its all TEAMWORK!

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