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

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Who needs CEOs?

Wondering what am referring to? Nope…it’s not what you think! Its Chief Ethics Officer and not Chief Executive Officer. Does having a CE(thics)O really help companies to walk the talk when it comes to good governance & ethical practice? Hannah Clark of FORBES shares her view in this brilliant article titled “Chief Ethics Officers: Who Needs Them?” I love it when she says “Chief ethics and compliance officers have become trendy in recent years, but some experts fear they act mainly as window dressing” – so true isn’t it?


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Karma Capitalism!

I was thoroughly inspired by reading this BusinessWeek online article recently.

To cut the long story short, 3 Cs to Business Success as laid out by Swami Parthasarathy are Concentration, Consistency and Cooperation

An interesting and noteworthy statistic: About 10% of the professors at places such as Harvard Business School, Northwestern's Kellogg School of Business, and the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business are of Indian descent - a far higher percentage than other ethnic groups.

Prof.Vijay Govindarajan (VG) says that his work is inspired by the concept of karma, which holds that future lives are partly determined by current actions. "Karma is a principle of action. Innovation is about creating change, not reacting to change”.

Do read the article in full by clicking here. I hope you enjoy reading…

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jeff Skill(ing!)

Wondering why I titled my post that way??? Well, because all said & done, JS (former CEO of Enron Corpn) was a highly skilled man – more for the wrong reasons than right…after all, he received his B.S. in applied science at Southern Methodist University (1975), where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi and decided to get into HBS to pursue his MBA, where he was once asked by the interviewer "Are you smart?" – to which he famously replied, "I'm f****g smart"…now you really know how smart this guy could get…I really wonder why such a f****g smart guy would need an Ivy league MBA education!

Well, after graduating in the top 5% of his class from Harvard, he set sail to join McKinsey & Company as a consultant (not too sure how smart he was back then at McKinsey) in the energy & chemical consulting practice and then began working with Enron (well, I guess McKinsey & Company could have put its client’s interest first in this case!) way back in ’87, helping the company create a forward market (its basically a OTC financial market in energy contracts for future delivery) in natural gas. Kenneth Lay was obviously impressed and hired JS to become the Chairman & CEO of Enron in ’91 (I guess he was turning out to be a very creative CEO trying to create off-balance-sheet transactions!)

Well, the last few years have not been that good for Mr. Skilling – he was indicted on 35 counts of fraud, insider trading, and other crimes related to the collapse of Enron and pleaded not guilty to all charges. The main reason for his arrest was his probable knowledge of the fraudulent (creative!) transactions within Enron. It’s astonishing to note that Mr.Skilling spent close to $40 million in preparation for the trial, at least $23 million of which going to his defense lawyers' retainer…no wonder as the old adage goes “UK is made of accountants and USA is made of lawyers

On May 25, 2006 Mr. Skilling was found guilty on 19 counts of conspiracy, fraud, false statements and insider trading and yesterday, Mr. Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison and fined $45 million for his role in the collapse of Enron. He plans to appeal (skillfully, I suppose!). Good Luck with your skills Mr.Skilling!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina

I recently read this FORTUNE article based on an interview by David Kirkpatrick with Carly Fiorina and was taken aback to read a few remarks that she had given on HP & its leadership…

Her remarks about…

The recent HP scandal - "Forget the legality. Let's go back to character, judgment, ethics, perspective. I think there is an impact on the Hewlett-Packard reputation, and I think it's very sad."

Her successor Mark Hurd - "I think to call the last 18 months a turnaround is frankly foolish. That's not to take anything away from what Mark has done... Certainly I agreed with his decision to continue to cut costs. It was what I was planning to do." She says that "clearly" HP is on the same course she charted when she was CEO.

HP - "Everybody at HP focused on incrementalism." "HP had become a bureaucracy." "We had 87 different product lines that never talked to each other. This was not a customer-focused business."

I am just puzzled with her comments on HP!

My questions are…Who created an incrementalistic approach / culture at HP? Who shaped the bureaucracy? Who created 87 different product lines with china-walls? Who or what was the reason for HP not being customer centric?

I BELIEVE THE ANSWER TO ALL THE ABOVE QUESTIONS IS LACK OF GOOD ‘LEADERSHIP’ AND ‘CORPORATE GOVERNANCE’... as I always say “Bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle” – Well, anyone cares to disagree?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Numero Uno" Nooyi

FORTUNE magazine releases its 2006 WOMEN POWER list i.e. 50 most powerful women in business (Ofcourse, it’s an annual ranking of only America’s leading businesswomen). The best thing is that Ms.Indra Nooyi (CEO of Pepsi w.e.f. Oct 01st) has already been ranked numero-uno!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Performance vs. Position

This is really a wonderful joke that enlightens the difference between Performance and Position...
A priest dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who's dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket and jeans. Saint Peter addresses him, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you into the Kingdom of Heaven?"

The guy replies, "I'm Joe Cohen, taxi driver, from New York."

Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi driver, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

Now it's the priest's turn. He stands erect and booms out, "I am the Right Reverend Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary's for the last forty-three years."

Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the priest, "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

"Just a minute," says the priest. "That man was a taxi driver. Why does he get a silken robe and golden staff?" "Results," shrugged Saint Peter.
"While you preached, people slept. When he drove, people prayed."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Celebrate Work!?

I recently read this FORTUNE article titled “Going down the talent drain” and I must say it was definitely interesting and thought provoking. I feel in today’s corporate world, many executives with exceptionally good qualifications who are highly talented & motivated, aggressive with relevant experience (at middle or senior levels) and who have a ‘never-say-die’ attitude tend (have the guts!) to try something new & innovative with small (or smaller) firms rather than end-up with a humongous large dinosaur-type (bureaucratic) organization that neither recognizes all of what is mentioned above nor creates an atmosphere (platform) for grooming & garnering young & hungry talent to manage the next-gen organization.

Instances of high-level career shifts (to small / smaller organizations) in the recent past is nothing new…its been happening for quite a while and many feel that money could be a major measuring rod for such career decisions. Well, in some cases “yes”. However, money is NOT everything when it comes to a few high-level exec shifts. If you look at FORBES TOP-500 pay rankings (2005), you would be amazed to know a few execs who are actually very famous (and have rocked the corporate world) and are indeed high-flying actually rank at the bottom of the charts…Steve Ballmer (Rank: 478), Jeff Bezos (Rank: 495), Steve Jobs (Rank: 496), Eric Schmidt (Rank: 494)…Need more names & numbers???

Now, do you think these execs don’t love their job or don’t want their job because they are ranked at the bottom of the compensation pyramid? The answer is “NO”. They love their job immensely (ofcourse, results speak!) because they ‘Celebrate WORK’ and enjoy every moment at work. The bottom-line is no matter where you are or what you do, just DO IT and ENJOY DOING IT!

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