Posted by on Jun 22, 2011 in EPM World, Expressions | 0 comments

How My Company Hires for Culture First, Skills Second:

Yes, indeed. The approach is quite relevant for entry level induction as the enterprise doesn’t depend on their immediate productivity. Obviously, the experienced candidates are evaluated for their skills besides the reference feedback, group discussion, and many more recruiting measures in vogue. Once on board, they will invariably weave themselves into the enterprise fabric owing to past maturity and insight into the organizational requirement.

There is no point of having a team which doesn’t know the culture of organization and which doesn’t appreciate its values. The enterprise team may consist individuals from different cultural backgrounds, different work culture merits, but once they are the team of an enterprise they should follow one culture i.e. the culture of the enterprise.

Startup Visa D.O.A., and Startup America Just a Giant Press Release?

In the last one year, I came in contact with several US based NRIs who intend to invest in India. I am providing my services to some of them who have started their venture here. When I heard about Startup Visa news, I felt it would make these NRIs rethink about their investment in India. Having worked in U.S. for quite a long time, they would naturally tend to remain there in face of an opportunity like Startup Visa. I personally feel that non-implementation of Startup Visa would only help countries like India and an obvious loss to U.S.

Too Much Entrepreneurship Is a Bad Thing

I firmly support entrepreneurship even if it is termed as ‘start-up’ fever or so. I consider it as a research being done towards entrepreneurship development. The result may not be 100% but it would be worthwhile. Here I draw an analogy to the practice of research undertaken by companies at huge costs sustaining several failures. At the end they achieve their objective. Let learned people mentor the start-ups and help in increased success. Then the start-ups won’t be unproven businesses.

When Failure Hits

Great indeed!. Your success came through the right move where the engineers were entrusted with business development. It is very common that the impact and noticeability of failure is very high where the victim is a start-up entrepreneur. I am sure several such entrepreneurs would bounce back successfully provided they could gather the wherewithal to rework on the project taking the cue from the lessons learned.

Why Most Product Launches Fail

Well said. While your points are quite true with the big organizations, small businesses (a) don’t believe in market research (b) don’t allocate sufficient resources for marketing, (c) don’t believe in product branding, and (d) lack professional approach. I have seen several companies trying to market products with very badly done marketing collateral, and trying to push products through the team who lack sufficient education about their own product. At a time whenever one is trying to talk about the social media strategies, this article is a very important reminder towards the basic and first approach in marketing.

Family Firms Need Professional Management

Very true. My experience with family owned businesses is such that today I hesitate to accept them as my client(s). Even if the CEO is external, he would just be a YES man. In fact, he should act so to save his position. The descending progeny make hardly any difference even if they come from the best of business schools. They are invariably guided by the elders in the family. Rules never get changed. Business processes remain same. At times, the trust man of the family wield more power than the appointed CEO of the business. A good topic indeed.

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My comments on various topics on HBR Blogs3

Posted by on Jun 1, 2011 in Business, EPM World, Expressions | 1 comment

ON Encourage Entrepreneurs To Ignore The Word “Bubble”

A great post indeed! I was also holding my IT venture during 1999-2002. I lost my business then. But not owing to the market conditions. There were a couple of more companies who were my contemporaries then in my business line and they are doing well even today. Recession is a natural cycle. An entrepreneur won’t get impacted by ‘bubbles’ if he had chosen a potential business idea and working constructively with no hype. Every business venture inherently bears risk and it should plan for strong policy for risk mitigation which otherwise it can face the failure irrespective of market conditions. The word bubble is more relevant to VCs who should cautiously tread their investment portfolio than to the entrepreneurs who should work on the strength of business idea.

ON Integrating Ethics Into The Core Of Your Startups Why And How

Great read indeed! This article made me recall my own situation as a founder CEO. I was going very great in my vision, plans and market’s acceptance of my products in my start-up. At the same time, I had a big turmoil in the family and gradually that let lose my attention on the business. There were few of my colleagues who came to express their dissent on certain things including that of my own actions. I didn’t care to listen them. Things went obviously very bad before I could realize the damage. I relate my then situation to the points 1 & 2 above. Experience made me more matured though at a huge cost. Today, I volunteer suggestions to prospective entrepreneurs towards a better foundation. Thanks for such a great article.

ON Designing startup metrics to drive successful behavior

Excellent indeed! Very lucid explanation! In order to derive the benefit of metrics based systems or tools, it is highly essential that each and every team member gain comprehensive understanding of the tools through periodical workshops, taking the last achievement or failure as a case study. Thus, the field team or office team can precisely know the performance requirements and work accordingly towards the given goals.

ON Women Can’t Make a Baby in a Month

Lean production with strategic marketing is the right approach. Start-ups should utilize their funding more on marketing, delivery mechanism, support systems and operational excellence. More money in the initial stages brings in honeymoon momentum to a start-up shadowing the realities.

ON Want Innovative Thinking? Hire from the Humanities last week

Education acts as a complimentary to the innovative thinking and creative imagination of a person and helps him understand the pragmatic value of his innovative thinking. An individual who is working as a clerk can bring innovation, a farmer who never studied the subject can apply totally new measures in the field, and a complete illiterate can become a poet. The strength of these people is imaginative thinking, comprehensive outlook, analytical understanding, and passion to find a solution to any given problem. Any team member similarly can add value to his job or project if he understands his job well and bears the above qualities.

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My comments on various topics on HBR Blogs2

Posted by on May 29, 2011 in EPM World, Expressions, Leadership, Marketing, Branding | 0 comments

(1)  ON – Make Your Competition Irrelevant:

Brand preference battles are bad approach in the market.

(I) the reason:

(a) Products are released without much gap between versions just incorporating small and ridiculous additions. Organizations are going impatient to release products with a tag ‘New’ or so just to remain in the competition.

(b) Innovation in real sense should add result oriented and unique feature or function which addresses the concerns of customer. This is not actually happening.

(c) Service after sales is more of a paper based statement than the real delivery. This is making the customers ogle at other brands.

(II) The result of the above:

(a) Rejection of a given brand by the customers after a certain experience

(b) Recall of products by the manufacturer owing to technical snags in the products

(c) Confusion being created in the minds of customers as to whom to trust

(d) So called brand preference battle.

(III) What should be done?

(a) Organizations should devote reasonable gap between versions

(b) Extend original and genuine service after sales

(c) Ensure fault free product delivery

(d) Deliver true innovation than a product

(e) Nurture customer relations.

(2)  ON  – avoiding Catastrophic Failures in Process Improvement

Process re-engineering in its comprehensiveness is similar to dismantling the building from its foundation level and erecting a new structure. Such a big exercise is more relevant to sick companies which are under revival. Established enterprises that are on growth path should (a) identify the areas where performance and transparency are a major concern, (b) understand the priority areas (c) thoroughly educate and enlighten the team about the prospective changes, objectives, responsibilities of team, and post deployment scenarios (d) deploy, monitor and affect minor changes (e) have matured SLAs with the vendor who could support in the achievement of envisaged results.

Most importantly, process change shouldn’t get badly impacted owing to the exit of an executive how much ever he was vital in the re-engineering effort. In such case, it can’t stand to the actual meaning of process or system.

Again the major concern is organizations go for process changes taking the ERP application as a bible. ERP application whether it is from SAP, Microsoft or Oracle needs to be customized according to the process blue print exclusive to the organization. At times the costs of customization, time constraints, expertise, integration issues, inability to take right decision, ignorance and several other factors constrain the organizations to go for off the shelf modules related to their industry sector.

Enterprises need sufficient plan than huge budgets. Right team / small team who understand the business domain, organizational strategy, analyze the related requirements and enlighten the management about the risks vs. benefits, matters a lot for healthy process deployment.

Finally we need right inputs to find right results even after successful implementation of the processes. This is possible if the team attends periodical workshops about the system.

(3)  ON Five Ways to Hold the Right Kind of Attention

The points 2 & 4 are very important indeed. When we pose questions and seek answers from the people, it amounts to entrusting a responsibility while raising their curiosity to get back to us. This obviously maintains the thread of relationship. Frankly, I am yet to learn this. I have a habit of volunteering answers during discussions, which would not leave any reason for people to come back. Thanks for pressing the right button.

It is a very natural inclination in today’s world that people value you and oblige you when your reach is scarce and when it needs long waiting to meet you.

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My comments on various topics HBR, Inc.com1

Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Business, EPM World, Expressions | 0 comments

ON Leader Fatigue: Making the Difficult Choice to Move On:

Name and fame are volatile unless we keep adding more and more camphor to keep the light burning. Successful leaders as such should go for a change in the environment to refresh their thought power and reinvent things. Otherwise, they will be victims to the lurking negatives of cloud9 situations. In the same vein, it is always better to build a successful enterprise and give it up for the best returns well before the complacency devour the benefits.

ON How to Use Competitive Intelligence to Gain an Advantage yesterday:

We should subject any of such approaches to professional ethics. Gathering intelligence through social network data and eliciting the opinion or knowledge of our employees about competitor’s information are quite appropriate. Any other approach beyond these needs careful consideration. I am afraid if we should seek any information from our employees about their past employer as it might violate NDAs and professional ethics.

ON How I Became an Optimist:

A great expression indeed by the author! We must plan both the optimistic and pessimistic approaches related to the significant items on our life’s agenda. Pessimism helps us in identifying the risk and optimism helps us in incorporating the risk mitigating strategies. An attitude of being possessive and developing high aspirations on any given aspect makes us go unstable when things go wrong. We must develop the courage to pronounce the word ‘NO’ when things demand. It makes matters easy and keeps us going smooth in our life’s journey.

ON Five Steps for Giving Productive Feedback:

Feedback should be a productive measure than a tool of criticism. Both the parties in the context should understand the subject value than taking things personal.

ON Put Your Customers on Stage:

When customers takeover the stage, it is possible that audience won’t get to know the entirety of the product and its application value for a given business segment. They may end-up discussing some operational issues than the functions and features of application. Besides, there could be audience from different business segments who may not be able to follow the conversation on stage. It will be a very sensitive situation unless an intelligent and conversant moderator from the company is present and reach the message to the audience.

We can probably consider organizing customer visits to a customer’s place to practically understand the product functioning and its application value. This could be arranged with small group of customers who are non-competitive in their businesses and where there is an obvious acceptance to the same between the parties. This could as well be a virtual meet wherever it is not possible to have physical presentation. Building trust is the cardinal thing in any case.

ON Report: Social Media worth the Time:

If we have the clarity about the very objective and purpose of using social media and pursue it with right strategy, then it is a great platform for swift results. We need to be very proactive, lively and intelligent to connect with the required stakeholders in our strategy. The way we are dependent on web for other purposes like Email, web address, and the very surfing for various reasons, we are also going to be dependent on social media tools to create personal branding, business network and participate in a social cause. Are we not seeing the way the SM tools are being used for even revolutions in Egypt and other places? Very recently, in fact in the last week, in its fight against corruption, India had witnessed the biggest ever public support after Independence. It happened through social media. Social Media is the most inexpensive and user friendly tool for whatever legitimate cause we like to exploit it, as I can understand.

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Some of my tweets – Part-III

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in EPM World, Expressions, Humane, Leadership, Philosophical | 0 comments

Every day hundreds of thoughts cross through our mind.  We know the majority are involuntary ones.  At times, I try to divert my thoughts to a more purposeful subject.  I love to register those important thoughts on my Twitter account.

This post comprises some of my tweets.  This is one way of sharing my tweets and at the same time having a backup on my blog.

  • Every action of ours tantamount to meditation when it is done with devotion.
  • In every walk of our life, we should involuntarily compile a risk register to consistently succeed in life.
  • People who always tend to look things through negative lens also throw negative vibes.
  • When your work is inspired by dreams, it can make the impossible possible.
  • Product innovation reduces the burden of marketing innovation.
  • When the failure frowns upon you, use the magic wand called ‘confidence’.
  • Nothing is impossible to achieve through right and disciplined communication. Trade and commerce to divinity.
  • Can ‘growth’ be a regular point of business agenda? Does it reflect positive or negative?
  • We can eradicate pain and penury only when the world stops surviving on money.
  • We care about Voice of Customer & talk about Voice of People. The consistent need, however, is advocacy to Voice of Sufferers on the street.
  • We should not need an every time wake-up call to attend to the mute appeal of people under Below Poverty Line (BPL).
  • Positive revolutions take place when intellectuals break their silence.
  • Playing or interacting with children is a lesson to us. They help us learn many things & make us understand our weaknesses / shortcomings.
  • The biggest challenge in making a project plan is drawing pragmatic sales projections.
  • The temple which is built with bricks of purity and devotion is stronger than the God.
  • Life is like a long drive. Inherently, both have joy, speed breaks, congestion, accident, breakdown, companion, entertainment, and more.
  • The true success is not in the continuing journey of success, but one being humble through the success.
  • We will feel lazy to take His name or we will ignore His prayer till we continue receiving His blessings.

I would be happy to discuss on any point if you want me to elaborate further.

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Core function of a leader

Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Business, EPM World, Expressions, Leadership | 0 comments

The primary objective of a leader is to identify the strong and unique qualities of team members and utilize the same for the project productivity. A leader, who tries to draw productivity in the grey areas of a team member, would only create a situation of disinterest and dysfunction in the team member.

A team member should always try to increase his job competence levels and narrow the grey areas so that he can gain the star identity in the project map than remaining a dot.

The core function of a leader

We have projects. We have organizations to run projects. We need leaders to successfully manage these entities. A leader manages people connected with the projects or organizations. People management is project management. Communication is the core of the people management.

The biggest challenge for a leader would be to identify his team strengths and direct those strengths for the productivity. Success or failure of a project majorly depends on this particular ability of the leader. In order to save project costs, utilize idle resources or using prerogative, leaders at times misplace or misuse the human resources creating a conflicting environment. For example, a team member who is strong in a UI designing would be forced to work on the core development side too. Such a situation would give vent to stress based conflicts even at the cost of losing the very productivity of the team member. The UI designer who otherwise was very productive would end up as a disgruntled, disappointed resource in the environment.

A leader to be successful should always identify the precise strengths, weaknesses, sensitivities, emotional quotient and professional constraints of his/her team members before they are being designated for any given assignment. It is also important to mentor the team members towards widening their skill capacity and narrowing the weaknesses.

Leaders will have successful survival only when they raise the competence and self esteem of their team members and drive them towards shared vision and a common goal.



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