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

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Getting organized!

I recently read a FORTUNE article - "Is a messy office hazardous to your career?" by Anne Fisher wherein she eloquently suggests tips for having / maintaining a tidy work-desk / cubicle. She also says “Your office is a reflection of your capabilities” - SO DAMN TRUE! Well said Anne!

Its’ time to get organized folks…sooner the better…sadly, you CANNOT outsource this process to India / China / Philippines – YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Lean Management!

For those of you who don’t know what Lean Management is about, here’s what it means – Lean Management is the effectiveness & efficiency of an enterprise in delivering value to its customers. In short, delivering customer value without waste. The term ‘Lean Management’ is borrowed from Toyota’s production system (lean production) and is applied to the modern day organization. There have also been books on ‘Lean thinking’ and ‘Lean solutions’ written by a few authors. Lean management (as suggested by a few authors) focuses on:-

a) Managing the scopefocus on products where benchmarking shows high costs for relatively little value
b) Understanding the customerestablish a value-definition
c) Process Ownership - assign clear process ownership for the value stream that produces the product / service.
d) Measurementestablish clear & frequent measurement of processes’ effectiveness & efficiency.
e) KAIZENbuild a culture of continuous improvement.

Well for those of you who are familiar with Six-Sigma…does it sound similar to define-measure-analyze-improve-control???

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


A boy worked in the produce section of the supermarket. A man came in and asked to buy half a head of lettuce. The boy told him they only sold whole heads of lettuce, but the man was persistent.
The boy said he'd go ask his manager what to do. The boy walked into the back room and said, "There's some jerk out there who wants to buy only half a head of lettuce." As he finished saying this he turned around to find the man standing right behind him, so he added, "And this gentleman wants to buy the other half."
The manager okayed the deal. Later the manager said to the boy, "You almost got yourself in a lot of trouble earlier, but I must say I was impressed with the wayyou got yourself out of it. You think on your feet, and we like that around here.
Where are you from, son?"The boy replied, "Minnesota, sir."
"Oh really? Why did you leave Minnesota?" asked the manager.
The boy replied, "They're all just prostitutes and hockey players up there."
"My wife is from Minnesota," the manager said.
The boy replied, "Really!? What team did she play for?"

Lies, Damn lies & Statistics!

Three statisticians go out hunting together. After a while they spot a solitary rabbit. The first statistician takes aim and overshoots. The second aims and undershoots. The third shouts out "We got him!"
Now, you know why they say "Lies, Damn lies & Statistics"???

Inside Insurance!

Here goes a nice joke that I recently read...
Three guys are fishing in the Caribbean. One guy says, "I had a terrible fire; lost everything. Now the insurance company is paying for everything and that's why I'm here."

The second guy says, "I had a terrible explosion; lost everything. Now the insurance company is paying for everything and that's why I'm here."
The third guy says, "What a coincidence. I had a terrible flood; lost everything. Now the insurance company is paying for everything and that's why I'm here."

The other guys turn to him in confusion and ask, "Flood? How do you start a flood?"

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Coool 1-liners...

Here is a list of one-liners (akin to Dilbert’s) that I find to be cooool…dunno its author – definitely NOT ME!

> Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.
> If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos...then you probably haven't completely understood the seriousness of the situation.
> Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG fourteen times gives you job security.
> Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
> Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity.
> A person who smiles in the face of adversity...probably has a scapegoat.
> Plagiarism saves time.
> If at first you don't succeed, try management.
> Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.
> TEAMWORK...means never having to take all the blame yourself.
> The beatings will continue until morale improves.
> Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups.
> We waste time, so you don't have to.
> Hang in there, retirement is only thirty years away!
> Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.
> A snooze button is a poor substitute for no alarm clock at all.
> When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break.
> Succeed in spite of management.
> Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment.
> There's nothing permanent except CHANGE!!!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Top-10 Customer quotes…

Here are my favorite quotes on customer / customer satisfaction...
1. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning – Bill Gates

2. If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful – Jeff Bezos

3. Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you – Mark Cuban

4. Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business – Zig Ziglar

5. In our way of working, we attach a great deal of importance to humility and honesty; with respect for human values, we promise to serve our customers with integrity – Azim Premji

6. If you have a good relationship with your customer, the business process flows that much more smoothly. – Richard Pratt

7. If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours – Ray Kroc

8. Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.Working together is success – Henry Ford

9. The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer – Peter F. Drucker

10. You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied – Jerry Fritz

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Recruiting the right person???

Put about 100 bricks in no particular order in a closed room with an openwindow. Then send 2 or 3 candidates in the room and close the door. Leave them alone and come back after 6 hours and then analyze the situation.
If they are counting the bricks - Have them in your ACCOUNTS department.
If they are recounting them - Have them in your AUDIT dept.
If they have messed up the whole place with the bricks - Have them in your ENGINEERING dept.
If they are arranging the bricks in some strange order - Have them in PLANNING.
If they are throwing the bricks at each other - Have them in OPERATIONS.
If they are sleeping - Have them in RECEPTION.
If they have broken the bricks into pieces - Have them in IT.
If they are sitting idle - Have them in HUMAN RESOURCES
If they say they have tried different combinations, yet not a brick has been moved - Have them in SALES.
If they have already left for the day - Have them in MARKETING.
If they are staring out of the window - Have them on STRATEGIC PLANNING team.
And then last but not least.
If they are talking to each other and not a single brick has been moved - Congratulate them and take them on to your Company Board!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Constructive Criticism!

Actually, a topic on criticism was posted by Steve Yastrow in Tom Peters’ blog today. It actually induced me to write something I have been longing to write for a while and maybe the time had come jus today! Steve had mentioned that “Some criticism is given incorrectly. Some criticism is taken incorrectly. We spend a lot of time worrying about the way criticism is given but we can learn much more from how we take it” to which my comments were…


Constructive criticism is GOOD! Usually the goal in constructive criticism is to critique an individual so they will benefit or improve. The question remains, how do we give constructive criticism without appearing to be phony or couching the constructive criticism to a point where the person does not take it seriously?
1. Constructive criticism has to be genuine. A person giving this criticism has to genuinely feel it is important to give it.
2. Be open & have the candor to say things the way it is to be said / meant to be said.
3. The person receiving the criticism must have some level of understanding of your role, and understand that you truly want them to improve.
4. Take a team approach. By doing this, you have created a collegiate type atmosphere. Both individuals are on the same level. Now you can set the stage to critique, not criticize, and then begin to construct a foundation for improvement.
5. Do not be harsh – Don’t pelt stones sitting inside a glass house!
Actually, constructive criticism takes time & practice but can be done well to see visible & quantifiable improvements in the person being criticized. Well, do you guys beg to differ?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Executives make more money?

This one is really cool…
Engineers and Scientists will never make as much money as business executives will. Now, for the first time we have a rigid Mathematical proof that explains why this is in fact true.

Postulate 1: Knowledge is power.
Postulate 2: Time is money.

As every Engineer knows, Work / Time = Power
Since Knowledge = Power, and Time = Money, we have Work / Money = Knowledge
Solving for Money, we get: Work / Knowledge = Money Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.

Conclusion: The less you know, the more you make!

If you pay peanuts...

Recently I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues about a HR problem that we encountered in our office and pat came the reply “If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys & not managers!”. Somehow, I was captivated by that statement and could feel the bells ringing in my ears (loud & clear!) for a while. Now, I believe this is something every corporate must address…how does one ensure whether he / she is being rightly (adequately) paid?

An employers’ (maybe not all but most of em’) POV – I call it the 1:2:3 ratio – Recruit 1 person; Pay 2 person’s salary; Extract 3 person’s work. – fair enough??? Don’t ask me….you think for yourself….maybe it is! An employee’s (maybe all of em’) POV – Crib! Crib! Crib! For MORE!!!

How do we bridge the gap? Is it possible for an employer to satisfy an employee at all levels and based on as many parameters as possible? If yes, will the employee ultimately stand satisfied? Tough question huh??

In today’s corporate world, many companies would wanna have a “career deal” for their employees trying to make it a “win-win” situation for both the employer & employee. Companies do any / all the following (many of you may have thought of a lot more!) : -
a) Compensation at par with the market
b) Fringe benefits customized to meet the employee’s need
c) Day care centers for children (especially for working moms)
d) Subsidized (or sometimes free) canteen (thrice a day!)
e) Free coupons (for various things)
f) Medical Insurance (generally every employee lands up being over insured…after all its not cash compensation!)
g) Travel passes / coupons
h) Family outings / evenings (subsidized / free)
i) Subscriptions
j) Lucky draws & prizes during annual dinner / luncheons

Are these really motivating employees and helping them living with reality or does it boil down to the basic statement - If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys & not managers…I believe, sometimes you do get managers for peanuts!

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