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Leadership

Leadership (32)

With changing landscapes and blurring borders between countries, the landscape of Leadership is forever changing. A good Leader is one who is able to become better by the minute in sync with the environment that he is operating in. Read the views of some seasoned Executives on leadership in this section.

India is a Power house to the world as far as Information Technology is concerned. Our IT industry is powering up a lot of efficiency across industries and around the world. But, the adaptation of Information Technology in Indian Manufacturing can be improved a lot. 

 

Many companies are yet to take the full advantage of the ERP that they would have implemented a few decades back. Most of the features may be lying unutilized or bypassed.

 

In many companies, the Finance module continues to be the most utilized one. Very few companies use the Production / Sales & Marketing modules efficiently.  

 

Whenever there are some proposals for a Software such as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or a Planning Software are made, the support for such proposals is not very high in the companies. 

 

The Management of many companies regard Software as a luxury as most of these are not getting implemented well. The results from these Software are not commensurate with the resources spent on it. 

 

I cannot say this phenomenon is universal. There are some companies that are successful in using the Information Technology more successfully. 

 

If we consider that the IT can be used at least in three ways:

 

 

Most of the Indian Companies are at the Bottom of the above Pyramid and some are just touching the second tier. 

 

There are many reasons for this low adaptation of IT in the Indian Manufacturing. One of the important reasons is the low participation from the Functional teams. IT is considered as the agenda of only the IT Department and sometimes the agenda of the Head of the Company or Head of the Finance. 

 

In most of the Companies the Head of the Finance is the Head of IT that tells us the story of adaptation of the IT in a company that restricts to Finance function. 

 

 

Advent of Industry 4.0 

 

We are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is inclusive of Cyber Physical systems, Internet of things, Cloud computing and Cognitive thinking. 

 

The various technologies that are available today can be leveraged to drive the efficiency in the Companies. 

 

Companies are trying to monitor the Machines using Sensor technology and trying to make sense of various parameters of the Machine like Heat, Vibration etc and trying to predict Break downs. They are collecting plenty of data and trying to analyse the data. 

Companies are trying to monitor the condition of their Machines / Products remotely using the Internet to help Customers get best performance from their Machines/Products.

 

Companies can now monitor the vibration of the Tool holder in a Machine tool to decide when to change the Cutter.

 

Companies have many options now to monitor the performance of the employees and help them conduct the routine in the Companies in a regular manner. The Mobile technology can help them in this. 

 

Companies can use the E-Learning concept to train their employees in a systematic manner.

 

There are several opportunities for companies to use the existing elements of the Technology in a manner that is unique to them and get a competitive advantage. 

 

We can see basic interest in various companies. Many companies are trying out some elements or the other. 

 

But, the knowledge of the Engineers and their participation is still very low. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approach it differently! 

 

To take full advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is not enough if your I.T department is active. The whole company has to be actively seeking to use the various elements of the Industry 4.0. 

 

You need to train the Manufacturing Engineers in the modern technology. Without this, the I.T department will struggle to implement the new technology and the result will not be any different from your experience with ERP!! 

 

IT Aptitude: While everyone can not have the aptitude for I.T, there will be some people in your teams who may be having this aptitude in ample measure. 

 

I have experienced this in my career. When we picked up a few people in Manufacturing and other functions, trained them in IT and encouraged them to develop applications, they made a big difference to the company. 

 

Find your team: Identify those bright sparks that can make a difference for your company. You need to understand this and build your conviction of using Manufacturing Engineers for I.T Projects. 

 

Big Goals: To ensure your team puts in their best effort, you need to challenge them with BIG GOALS. Ensure these Goals will help your Company to go to a next level in your chosen field. Eg. If you want to reduce the losses in the Shop floor, aim at ‘Zero’ losses in a limited area. Do not take up a small Goal. You would not be challenging your team to go to the next level with the help of the Technology. 

 

Train them: Expose the team to various Industry 4.0 practices. Theory and Practice. It would be good for your teams to visit the companies / universities worldwide that have progressed in the technology that you are interested in. 

 

Full time team: Establish a Task force that will work full time to make progress in to your Goals. A part time effort will not be enough in this area. 

 

Top Management Support and Focus: The Top Management’s unwavering support is needed for this team to deliver. 

 

Every Company needs to adapt the Technology as their medium term focus. It has to be the BIG enabler in the next three years! 

 

So, what are you going to achieve in your Business in next Three years by leveraging Industry 4.0 .?

Sunday, 14 April 2019 00:00

Indian Model for Leadership

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Today, India is becoming more and more prominent on the world stage. Whether it is the Business arena or Political arena or Health, Art & Culture, the world is looking at India with higher expectations. Indian Leaders are playing a prominent role on the World Stage. Whether it is the Sundar Pichaiah (Google), Sathya Nadella (Microsoft), Shantanu Narayen (Adobe) or Dr.Soumya Swamnithan (WHO), many more Indians are in prominent roles world wide. Indian Businesses are going out to the World. Acquisitions by Indian Companies are increasing. 

 

Indian Leaders to prepare themselves !

There are several Leadership Models that are available in the world including several with the Corporates. Many of these models are having ‘Self-Management’ as one element of the Leadership. But, they are all predominantly ‘outgoing’. They talk about what the Leader has to do out in the world. In Sanskrit these are called ‘Paraak’ (Outgoing). But, for a Leader to be effective, he has to be a master of his ‘self’. He has to undertake a journey in to his ‘self’. This is called ‘Pratyak’ (Inward).

 

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Description automatically generatedIndia is having more than 5000 years of History in this Science as recorded in the Vedanta and Upanishads. This is the Science of ‘Self’. While I have read some of the Upanishads as explained by Swami Ranganathananda ji (EX-President of Ramakrishna Mutt), I am not an expert on this subject by any yard stick. 

 

But, I strongly feel we as Indians can adapt a Leadership Model that is focused on ‘Self’. Whatever the Leader may want to get done in the outside world, whoever he may be dreaming of influencing, he has to start with himself. He has to manage his ‘self’ and develop his ‘self’ to inspire others. 

 

A well evolved Leader can project a New and Dynamic world around him/her. 

 

The Indian philosophy of Leadership is that you have all that takes to become a fantastic leader in your ‘self’. It is already there. You have to only unlearn your old habits and take off the dust on the ‘mirror’. Once you take the ‘dust’ (old habits), your ‘self’ will shine through. 

 

On the basis of this philosophy:

 

We can adapt a Leadership model that centers around ‘Wellness of the Leader’ through maximizing the Four Energies that all of us have and Inspiring a Wonderful Change all around us. 

 

The Energies

 

 

 

If a Leader can Manage and Maximize his four Energies and use them well, he can have a wonderful effect on the world around him.  He / She will be able to inspire the people around them and help them achieve something Superlative. 

 

Physical Energy: A Leader has to manage his Physical energy very well. My observation is that only a small proportion of the Leaders who are actively managing high responsibilities take care of their Physical energies. A Leader may maximize his/her Physical energy by Physical exercises / Walking / Zumba/ Yoga or any other means. Those of you who regularly exercise will agree with me that a good Work out actually lifts your energy and not consume it. 

 

Emotional Energy: A Leader has to manage his/her emotions and maximize Positive emotional energy and minimize Negative Emotional Energy. You would have noticed that Positive Emotions would propel you to do more than what you would have thought possible and Negative Emotions would kill your day on an otherwise wonderful day at office. A Leader can use the energy from the Positive Emotions while avoid becoming an Emotional Person. 

 

Mental Energy: A Mind that is focused can work like a Laser beam. Today, we have several threats to our Focus in the shape of several Electronic Instruments around us. ‘Multitasking’ is becoming the order of the day. Multitasking simply does not work. You cannot be efficient while handling several things at a time. You would have experienced a wonderful efficiency when you simply shut out everything and focused on one task. You would have also experienced a situation where you were trying to do several things and not able to do anything properly. 

 

Spiritual Energy: This perhaps is the most powerful energy that all of us have. But, many of us would not have tapped in to it as yet. This is the energy that we can access when we keep a higher goal for ourselves that is beyond our selfish interests. One of my friend participated in helping the Chennai Flood victims a few years back. He worked for 20 days every day about 16-18 hours travelling all around Chennai. He says he was totally drained of his physical energy. But, was able to carry on as he felt he is doing something wonderful to the fellow human beings. After this experience, he has become a Believer in working for something higher ! Now, he has a higher goal in his life to help people around him while he is working and earning for his family which is a basic need. 

 

If a Leader is having a higher goal of doing something beyond his selfish requirements, he will tap in to this energy. He will do a larger good and he will also achieve his/her own personal goals too. 

 

An Entrepreneur may have the goal of achieving Rs 1000 Crores , he may also redefine the goal as ‘Giving employment to 2000 employees’. If he redefines it as the second one, he may go beyond his own selfish requirements. By defining it in the second way, he need not sacrifice his first goal. 

 

You would have noticed that Big companies like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Tata Steel have their Goal that look beyond themselves. The Social Goal becomes the bigger goal. Their own Financial goals become a sub set of the larger goal. 

 

How to Develop ourselves as per this model?

 

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Description automatically generatedIndia has the resources to help us develop ourselves as per this Leadership Model. We have several Spiritual Leaders who are propagating these methods. These are Yoga, Meditation and several other tools. I am not sitting in judgement of how good the Spiritual Leaders are individually. But, the methodology that all of them are using is something that can work for us. Take what is good from them. 

 

As I know, this Leadership Model and this methodology to develop ourselves has nothing to do with any Religion. It has got everything to do with Human Beings. As such all Human Beings can use it! 

 

What is Critical: One needs to learn about the ‘Indian methods’ that are available in India. We need to explore more in to the concepts to decide how it can help us!!

Sunday, 07 April 2019 00:00

Job or Business - 2

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For those of you who have been on your own for some time, I do not have to convince you about the fact that your Energy levels may be much higher when you are on your own as compared to the time when you worked in a Job. This is not to blame the job or Boss or anyone else. This is just a fact. 

 

 One can realise the highest level of Energy if you are not just chasing higher money and you are chasing your dream in terms of the higher achievement in your life / Career. When you are on your own, there is no difference between your life and your career. 

 

I have been on my own for the past 6 years and more. I could clarify to myself that the higher goal for my life is to ‘Help others to grow’. I need to earn money to take care of basics for life. But, my philosophy is to ‘Help others to grow’. So, I am not looking for money in everything. I am able to enjoy my work more when I free myself from this necessity to ‘look for money in everything’. If you are progressing towards your higher goal, then your lower goals would be met. Have no doubt! 

 

 

What are the Energy Blockers in Job?

 

There are certain Energy Blockers when you are in Job. These Energy Blockers may not be there in equal proportions in all companies. There may be some companies who may be able to enable the energies of the Stake holders to flow freely and achieve higher goals. These companies typically have their Mission also in the higher terms. For example, the  Mission of Mitsubishi is to ‘Move the World Forward’ with its’ prime movers Engines / Motors and so on. The mission of Toyota is to ‘Further the Mobility on the Planet’. 

 

 Tata Steel’s tag line is ‘We also make tomorrow’ highlighting their intention to contribute to the tomorrow of everyone. I remember a few years back Tata Steel used to talk about ‘We also make Steel’ to highlight the fact that they are ready to contribute to much more than just Steel. 

 

These companies do not look at furthering their own agenda and ignore the people involved. If the companies are guided only by the Annual / Quarterly results, then these companies will not be good places to work. The companies that I spoke about earlier do take care of the Annual / Quarterly results by not being obsessed by it.

 

Let us look at couple of Energy Blockersthat may be there in a Job:

 

 

01.  Image result for job that you do not like You may not be doing the work that you like: A higher percentage of today’s youngsters are trying to do what they like and are trying not to get in to whatever is available. But, still majority of the Job seekers at all ages are just getting in to whatever is available. So, you may not be doing what you really like. But, you need to reflect whether you know ‘What you really like’. My observation is that many of us need to ‘unearth’ our Passion. It may not be very apparent. Whatever you may think is your ‘Passion’ may not live long. Try ‘unearthing’ what your Passion is..You need to really reflect to do this.

02.  Your Organization and you may not be aligning: You may think you like what you are doing. Infact, some people may think they are ‘really enjoying’ what they are doing. One agenda is to ‘unearth’ what your real passion is. But, your Energy may not be flowing fully as it is very difficult for everything in your organization to align with your thinking. You may not agree on the Ends or Means to achieve the Ends.There can be several reasons for the non-alignment. 

 

What are the Perks of being on your own?

 

01.  You can create your story: When you are on your own, you can be the creator of your Story. You can plan your Career / Business and ensure progress on it. This is the most obvious perk that you can have. 

02.  You can build up your Story as you like: While you may start with what you like, you can develop it and make it flower the way you want. You may build several steps towards your Life / Career Mission. 

03.  You can do what you always wanted to do in addition to your Business: For example, If you always wanted to contribute to a Social cause in addition to your work, now you have a wonderful chance to just do that. 

 

01.  Image result for real you You can be in touch with your ‘Real You’: When you are an Entrepreneur, the need to be in harmony with the world around you will ensure that you keep your ego aside and deal with everyone around you. This is a huge opportunity for you to be in touch with your ‘Real You’. Of course once you are successful, you may go back to your ‘old being’. But, you have the opportunity to choose the ‘Real you’. 

02.   You may earn much more than what you would earn in a job: You normally start off with this goal. But, you may have to wait for some time before you can achieve this. You may earn much more than what you would earn in a job over a period of time.

03.  You may create something that is lasting: Every Entrepreneur has this chance to create something that is lasting beyond himself. You have a chance to create a great value for the Society. 

 

 

There are so many benefits that if you use this opportunity well, you can learn much more in life than what you would do if you work in a Job!

 

Critical factor: If you are on your own, I feel the most important thing is to have higher Goal and really enjoy what you are doing. All other Commercial Goals will be achieved if you are progressing towards this higher Goal. All the Very Best !! 

Sunday, 31 March 2019 00:00

Job or Business?

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In the last few years, we can see a very good Start up culture across the Country. We can see Youngsters and Older people alike getting in to some Business or the other. Industries across India are in a ‘Correction mode’ where they have stopped recruiting as they used to and are in the phase of improving People Productivity. So, the Jobs are not available in plenty. This is also pushing some people to go on their own.

 

A picture containing sky, outdoor, tennis

Description automatically generatedI consider this as a highly positive development. People of India have the choice of going on their own. Many Professions are gaining the respectability that they deserve. Some years back, selling food on the Road side may not have been preferred by Educated youngsters. But, now the Food Trucks are well respected and you can see well educated youngsters getting in to it. This is how a Society develops. More Capable people enter in to every area and generally there will be an upliftment of the work concerned with Customers getting better Quality for lesser price. 

 

You can see this happening in Politics too. More Educated people are getting in to Politics. You can see some good examples like Nandan Nilekani who are prepared to throw their hat in to serve in a field. I am sure this will lift the arena of Politics and Politicians. We need more to happen in this area.

 

Job or Business ?

 

I notice that there are atleast Four types of People around us.

 

01.  A picture containing sky, different

Description automatically generatedEarly adapters: These people may be second Generation in a Business Family or they may be first generation Businessmen / Women who chose to go on their own immediately after Education. I personally like this category very much as I feel they have chosen their Mission early on. 

02.  Planned adapters: I see a lot of people coming in to Business this way. They earn some money and experience before they make up their mind to do what they want to. 

03.  Better Late than never adapters: These are the Professionals who would have put in 15-25 years in the Industry and then decided to leverage their long experience to do something on their own. 

04.  Second Innings: These are perhaps people who start doing something after gaining lot of experience and saving some money.

 

I belong to the third category above. I personally feel there is nothing wrong with any of the above categories. We are all what we are ! Each of us have our own Priorities and Compulsions in our lives. 

 

Why do we want to go on our own ?

 

It is perfectly okay to Work in a Job or Be on your own. We need to understand what drives us as individuals. 

 

Job types

 

Some of us are quite happy working in a 9 – 5 Job. We get adjusted to the demands of the Job. We find our peace in it. We build our lives around the Companies that we are working for. Some of us may not be working in a single company. We may shift our jobs. But, we are quite fine with working in a job. We build our homes, educate our children and we keep progressing in our lives. This is perfect as long as you enjoy what you are doing. 

 

Own Types

 

There are some of us who are not happy doing the 9-5 job. You always have this burning desire to do something more and something what you always wanted to. This person also has the same needs as the person discussed in the previous para. But, this person is motivated by something more. Initially, this person may not have his Goal clearly spelt out. This person may be unhappy many times at the job. There may be nothing wrong with the job. But, what is causing the struggle in his/her mind is his/her own ‘nature’. He wants to do something on his own and Create something in a different manner. 

 

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Description automatically generatedPut your finger on it..

 

I request those ‘Own Types’ to recognize this desire in them. It requires some amount of reflection and soul searching to find this. There is no point in blaming the job you are in or your colleagues and your Boss. What is causing the discomfort is ‘your own nature’. Recognize this and take steps to fulfill this in a nice manner. For all you know, you may be able to do something for the Company that you have been working for. 

 

What to look out for?

 

Having been on my own for the past 6 years, I have gone through the metamorphosis of being in ‘Senior Positions’ to being ‘on my own’. I would like to share my experiences on being on my own and what you can look out for:

 

 

01.  Leave your ‘I am Boss’ feeling in your last job: When you work in a fairly Senior Position in your Company, you would have gotten used to being pampered by your team. You get a lot of respect whether you deserve it or not. That comes with the Position you were working for. When you come on your own, you have to EARN this with every single person that you meet. Your ‘Past’ can get you somewhere. But, not everywhere. So, clearly ‘What got you here, won’t get you there’ !

02.  Learn to do small things on your own: When you work in a Company, you would have gotten used to getting things done by your Team. There would be a Battery of people to do several small things like booking an air ticket, booking a taxi, preparing a presentation and so on. When you come on your own, you need to learn to do these things very quickly. 

03.  That ‘Secure’ feeling: When you are in a Job, without you realizing it you feel very secure in several situations. You know the Company would take care if you fall sick or if any of your family members fall sick. You may have a Mediclaim when you get on your own. But, still the ‘Secure’ feeling will be missing. You would have been getting the support of the Company in several areas without you realizing it. Like a quick word from the MD for admission of your Kid in to a good school / college or the help of your Colleague to get appointment in a Busy hospital and so on. These are all small things. But, your family would have gotten used to all these. Now, you will not have this ‘warm blanket’ around you when you get on to your own. 

04.  Have you really ‘been there and done that’: Many of us may not realise that the Big wins that we had in our career would have been contributed largely by the team that was working with us. You would have been a good aggregator working at the top end ! If you did not get in to the Shop floor and implemented the practices yourself, then suddenly you may find that you cannot really help a client or yourself when you get in to the Shop floor to repeat it when you are on your own!! This is a serious problem. You have to measure yourself on this scale even before quitting your job ! 

05.  A drawing of a person

Description automatically generatedCan you Slow down and empathize with others: When you are trying to help others as a Consultant or trying to get something done with your team in your own Venture, you have to be able to Slow down and get down to the speed of others. You should be able to measure progress on their scale and not on your scale. This ability decides how far you can help your own team or your clients. 

06.  Can you Cross Pollinate: You would have experience in certain industries and certain situations. You would not have covered the whole gambit. If you have selected to do something in a field you have been working all your life, then you are relatively safe. But, if you have to get in to other Industries and help them, then your ability to transfer your learnings in to another set up and make them work is very important. For example, Can you bring your learnings from dealing with a Dealer network in Capital Equipment industry, modify them  to dealing with Dealer Network in an FMCG environment? 

07.  A picture containing sky, outdoor, person, water

Description automatically generatedDo you like Bungy Jumping: When you leave your job and go on your own, you may not know whether you would be successful. You may not know whether you can be successful consistently. If you are consulting like I have been doing, you would not be sure of ‘Good billing’ every month consistently. If you have set up a Restaurant, you would not know when you would get pushed off the perch by a competitor across the road. So, there is more adrenalin involved in being on your own. You will get used to it over a period of time and you may start enjoying it. I equate it to Bungy Jumping. Only difference is you do not know whether the rope is tied properly or not!! 

08.  Can you really build a team: Those of us who worked for a longer time in a job have to be aware of one more basic skill that we need. We need to attract a team and retain them for a reasonable period. When you were in job, you would have done it day in and day out. But, at that time the BIG COMPANY was behind you. Now, you are the BIG COMPANY. You need to change yourself to succeed here. You can’t be saying ‘IF this guy leaves, HR will get one more’ !! You are the HR !! 

 

 

These are some of the ‘Look outs’ for those of you wanting to get on to your own. I will share more on the perks of being on your own in next article. 

 

 

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Description automatically generatedCritical: If you are continuously being unhappy at job, recognize that it is not about your Job/Boss/Colleagues. It is about you wanting to do something more!! Respect that feeling. Analyze it. See if you are ready to take that plunge! Otherwise, it may explode in your face sometime!! 

 

 

I can help you if you need help. What are friends for?? JJ

Sunday, 24 March 2019 00:00

Leader’s Ego

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I have seen many Leaders who thrive only on their Authority and not really display Leadership Qualities. These Leaders typically want to be the author of every success around them. Somehow they would feel insecure when someone from their team comes up with a suggestion that is not thought out by themselves. 

 

The characteristics of these Leaders are:

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-      They have a misconception that as Leaders they have to bear the responsibility for every success of their team and only they have to do it. 

-      These Leaders feel they are losing out when their team members are actually stepping up and starting to flower. 

-      As they feel they have to come up with the Best ideas, they do not think any idea of their team member is a good one. 

-      They try to look for ways to appropriate the credit for the good work of their team members as they feel as Leaders, only they should be coming up with all great ideas. 

-      They would like to get rid of all those who are not ‘falling in line’ with their thinking as they feel these team members are disturbing the ‘team work’. 

-      These Leaders typically complain that their Team members are not stepping up and they are passing on everything to the Leader..

 

The effects of this type of Leadership are:

 

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Description automatically generatedTeam members will be endorsing every idea of the Leader.

-      Those Team members who feel uncomfortable will leave the team. 

-      The progress of this company gets limited by its’ y leader. Over a period of time, only those who are better than the Leader, leave the Company. Even those who stay ‘learn’ how to not mess with the Leader.

 

 

A good proportion of the Leaders that I see fall in to this category. This is generally a ‘Disabling Leadership’. There are very few leaders who can scale up / scale down their own Leadership based on the situation on the ground.

 

I heard one definition of Leadership from my ex- Boss which stuck to my mind. ‘A Leader should be  like a missing piece in a puzzle. Any piece can be missing at a given point of time. A Leader has to constantly modify himself to become that missing piece of puzzle’. So that the team always succeeds.

 

A Leader needs guts to adapt this Leadership Style. 

 

This Leadership Style is defined by the following:

 

 

 

 

 

01.  Longer Term Objectives: This Leader is not worried about the short-term results and he is always looking to achieve the longer-term objective. This Leader is not worried about his own contribution. He wants whatever is required to achieve the longer- term objectives to be done. He looks at himself as an enabler of these actions and not necessarily as a person who has to do everything. This is a higher point of view.

02.  A close up of a flower

Description automatically generatedTolerance to Diversity: This Leader is tolerant to diverse opinions. His only Objective is to ensure progress towards goals. He is so Goal focused that he can ignore himself in the process. He gets alerted when he hears drastically different ideas. He looks at them as opportunities to find new ways to the goals of the organisation. 

03.  Confidence in own abilities: This Leader is absolutely confident of his own abilities. He knows he can raise over anything to give a good direction to his team. He knows he can transform himself in to that missing puzzle piece to complete the puzzle. 

04.  Ability to learn on his feet: One very important quality of this type of Leader is that he can learn very actively on his feet. He is capable of Learning continuously towards the Goals of the Company. 

05.  Basic trust in Human ability: This type of Leader adapts a Growth Mindset. He believes that People around him are capable and if they do not know something they A person riding on the back of a hill

Description automatically generatedcan learn. He enables them to learn and succeed. As he believes in their abilities, they deliver with their abilities. 

 

I call this an ‘Enabling Leadership’ style. Leaders need to raise up to this Leadership Style. Leaders normally evolve in to this type of Leadership Style over a period of time. 

 

For the journey to begin, one has to know and accept that this higher plane of Leadership that exists. Then the creative tension may set in. 

 

END

Ram is the Head – Sales & Marketing for the company and he is in the Weekly review with Manufacturing head. The other functional heads are also there in the meeting. Ram is struggling to get the commitment from Manufacturing head for the deliveries that need to happen in the next week. 

 

Individual Problems and Collective Suffering

 

The Problems of the Manufacturing Head seems to be unending. There are several Part shortages on a daily basis as the Customer demand is going up without notice. There are Quality problems in the New Products introduced and the Process is not yet stabilized for a big number of Products introduced in to the Manufacturing in the past 6 months. The Machines are having higher break down hours as the Preventive Maintenance is not happening regularly. The list is long. 

 

 

The Quality Head, Materials Head, Engineering Head spoke about their own problems. All the Problems sound genuine. No one seems to have a good solution with some time lines to implement. The Weekly meeting ended with a few arguments, blaming each other and without a proper solution to the problems on hand. 

 

This is a very common situation in many Manufacturing Companies that I have seen. These weekly meetings go on without end and normally gives the same output as explained above. 

 

What is the solution?

 

How to ensure a good team work happens in the company and the Customer is serviced much better?

 

I think the Root cause lies in the way the Manufacturing Companies are Operating. We seem to be pushing the Functional teams away from each other and this is resulting in lack of team work and lack of respect to the internal Customers and bad service to the external customers. 

 

There are five essentials to ensuring good Customer orientation in the company and promote Team work in the company.

01.  Stabilize the Routine: If the Routine is well defined and stable, the teams will have less flash points. The Routine in each function has to be defined in terms of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This is a continuous journey for Indian Companies as the growth is higher in our companies and things keep changing on the ground every day. A Company should recognize this need and put effort on stabilizing the routine. 

 

02.  CFT Culture: The Cross functional Team culture has to be promoted in the Company. Some critical elements in the CFT Culture :

a.     Goal deployment: Goals that have to be achieved together have to be deployed to ALL the relevant team members across the functions. 

 

b.     Working methodology: The CFTs should have a strong Work ethic and methodology. The methodology should promote a systematic achievement of Goals.

c.     Peer assessment: The team members have to be assessed by the Peers in addition to the Bosses. Peer assessment is very powerful and a Group assessment technique has to be used for this purpose.  

d.     Internal Customer rating: The company can promote the culture of rating by Internal Customers for all the Internal suppliers. This way the Internal Suppliers will get periodic feedback from the Internal Customers and they will have to act upon it. 

e.     Process based teams: It would be good to seat the teams as per the Process. For example, the team that fulfills the orders of the Customers can sit together in one place. This team may consist of members from Sales, Purchase , Stores, Dispatch etc. This will ensure that the team understands each other and gets formed as a ‘real team’. 

03.  Functional orientation of Senior Leaders: The Senior Leaders are one of the main reasons why the Silos gets built up in the Companies. The attachment of the Senior Leaders to their teams and to their own Functional Points of view is a big issue. Functional point of view is important. But, the administrative point of view is a daily issue in any company without which the result will not happen. The role of the Senior leaders is to build Functional Competence in the Company. They should allow their team members to work along with the other Functional team members freely. The Senior Leaders should play a subtle role at the back ground to build the Functional excellence. The teams are more than capable of achieving the goals of the Company. If they play their teams too close to their chest, they would be doing a disservice to the company. 

 

The Leaders of the Company have to build this work culture in the Company. The Senior Leaders may need some help in this aspect. 

 

04.  Training as teams: If the Cross Functional Teams have to stick together and work together, they have to be treated as teams in every sense. They have to be trained in Leadership skills together as a team. While they may learn Functional skills individually, they have to be brought together as a team for teaching Leadership Skills. This would help in building them as a team. The Training should encourage talking about the working methodology of the team.

 

 

05.  Assessment and Rewards: The Cross Functional Teams should get assessed as Teams and a good part of the reward has to be given as a team. This would push the team members together. They earn as a team or lose as a team. 

 

A company has to learn the art of getting results from their teams. They can speed up their learning if they go about it in a systematic manner as explained.

 

END

 

 

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 00:00

What is wrong with being Judgmental

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How I used to be highly Judgmental..

The ‘Professor’ got up and went to the Board to make his point. I and my colleagues exchanged glances and our eyes smiled at each other without being obvious to the ‘Chamchas’ around. The scene was our regular Monthly Performance review meeting and the ‘Professor’ was our Boss who was going to the Board to make his point by drawing some pictures / models on the board. He loved illustrating his point with a model. So, I labelled him as ‘Professor’ and enjoyed making fun him behind his back. Not a very harmful fun. But, I labeled him anyway. You would have noticed that I have labeled a certain others in the meeting as ‘Chamchas’ too. 

I was preparing to meet ‘My enemy’ for a short review meeting. I was expecting to hear a lot of objections from him for my proposals and was getting ready as to how I can ‘take him on’. This ‘My enemy’ was again my Boss in another setting and I always expect trouble from him as he ‘does not like me’. I always used to go to him with a lot of preparation. But, somehow I always used to lose the battle/s. 

I was very happy I have ‘My big supporter’ in the coming meeting. I know he is going to back me up on the few targets that I have not achieved. The meeting started and I started presenting my KPIs. When I reached the failed KPIs, I expected a word of encouragement from ‘My big supporter’. What I got was a cautious ‘you should better and you should do it fast’. But, still I felt ‘My big supporter’ is my only hope in this company with a lot of ‘enemies’. 

I just came home from office and was getting down from my car. The ‘Pain in the a***’ neighbor wished me and wanted to know how my day was. I wished him with a brief hi and ran in side the home as I ‘knew’ he was going to drill me on my opinion about several happenings in our residential community and try to enlist my support to his views. 

The list can be long and unending. I always used to have an opinion about everyone and everything around me and the list of ‘good’ people and ‘bad’ people was always growing. 

What is wrong with being Judgmental?

Looking back, I realise that I was being highly critical of the world around me. I was suffering some consequences of my behavior which I may not have realized at all. I would have taken all these as ‘normal’.

01.  Missing the other point of view: By filtering what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ for me, I would have lost the opportunity of listening to the other point of view. I was limiting myself in to a cocoon and missing out several Learning opportunities.

02.  Limiting my world: By defining what was my world, I excluded a lot of people from it. Probably lost out the opportunity to make many more good friends. 

03.  Making it tough for myself: I always was thinking about the ways and means of tackling the ‘other guys’. Putting a lot of strain on myself. I was actively contributing to more similar behavior from everyone around as I have put filters and not accepting anything else. 

04.  Making it difficult for my Bosses: I had been a consistently good performer wherever I worked. My Bosses were having a tough time with one of their Stars being highly judgmental about the people around and hence dividing the organization in to pro and anti. 

How not to be Judgmental?

Over years, I have realized that I can be non-judgmental.  

01.  Be in the present moment: Look at what is happening now around you and deal with it. Try not to put the color of ‘your experience’ on everything around you. While I would have ‘certain experience’ in the past, that does not mean it would repeat every time. By responding to the moment genuinely with current facts, I am not punishing people for something from the past or giving them credit in the current situation for something from the past. 

02.  Look at the issue and not the person: Many a times I used to associate the person with some behavior. I learned how to look at the issue and not the person. This helped me in being in the present moment too. Others were more convinced that I was responding on the situation and not picking on them. 

03.  Chase what is right:One needs to go for what is right and not what either I or the other person likes/ dislikes. This requires a skill to look at the issue from a distance. You have to imagine yourself to be out of the situation and not part of the situation. To solve a problem, you should not become part of the problem. 

04.  Express your opinion nicely:I still remember how one of my ex-bosses told me not to be ‘disagreeable’, but encouraged me to ‘disagree’. You can disagree with someone. But, by being ‘disagreeable’ you are alienating yourself from the person. 

05.  Resist your ‘Urge to Control’:Very often one acts from the urge to control the situation and thus take away the control from others. You would feel if you have to ‘win’ the other guy has to ‘lose’. You are not happy unless you see the feeling of ‘having lost’ on the other person’s face! You need to have confidence in yourself that you are chasing ‘what is right’ and not ‘what you want’. This will result in a discussion with the issue on the table. Otherwise the issue will be either in your lap or in the lap of the other person. It is almost like two children fighting for a Toy. 

06.  Welcome Learning opportunities:You need to accept that there is lot to learn for you in the world and when someone presents a different point of view or does not agree with you, it is a learning opportunity. 

How does it help ‘Being Not Judgmental’? 

01.  Liberation: It liberates you from the need to look at how to defeat the others. You no longer are tense getting in to meetings with your ‘enemies’. You may start enjoying your interaction with others. You will be much more ‘at peace’ with everything around you. 

02.  Learning: You would start learning much more as your world has suddenly expanded and you are able to expand your friend circle. You would become receptive to much more learning from the universe. 

03.  Problem solver: You would turn out to be a much better Problem Solver as you are able to connect up to many more people and look at things as they are. 

04.  Better Leader: You would become a much more accepted Leader as everyone around you start experiencing you as much more ‘fair’ and a ‘respectable leader’. 

If you are non judgmental, Your Life can become a much better Learning  and enjoyable journey. I think that is a good incentive to become non judgmental!!

 

END

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 00:00

A case for managing your Self-Improvement Journey

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I have been on a Self-improvement journey for as long as I can remember and I believe it is so with most of the people around us. As an Executive Coach, I had the opportunity to work with many leaders and I enjoyed my interactions with them as every story is a beautiful one and many of the improvements that they do inspire me to do something in my own sphere. Very often, I used to fret over my Improvement journey and then look at others and say that they are not improving much. I have observed this behavior with many others too. We feel we are improving so much that we look at others and wonder how lazy they are and how they are not changing at all. 

Improve on your own Scale

As part of my Coaching a number of Senior leaders, I coached the MD of a Company. I kept feeling that this person was not improving much. I kept getting frustrated. I felt the person is not responding to me very well. But, the Coachee had been seting up the meetings for Coaching and attending all of them sincerely. I expressed to him that there is no point in engaging if there is no improvement happening. What he then said opened my eyes to different dimensions and possibilities. He listed out a number of improvements that he had achieved over the past few months and expressed a lot of gratitude that I have been able to help him a lot.  When you look at the changes that he was claiming, they were all genuine. But, in my view they were all very small improvements that do not merit even a mention. 

But, who I am I to set the scale for him? He is improving on his own scale. That is what actually matters. This tendency to continuously improve is important. I can not say it is a smaller scale or inferior scale. It is a different scale. We all have different scales. From then on I learned to measure the improvement of people around me on their own scale. It is another matter that they should take feedback about their improvement journey. But, I can not say they are not improving on the basis of my own Scale and my own perceptions. 

Who will feel the improvement?

While we feel we are improving, the improvement will be felt by people in different circles around you.

01.  People in the outermost circle: If we are trying to improve in a particular area, the people who hardly know us will be the first to feel the benefit of that improvement. If we are trying to be more pleasant with people, we are most likely to try out this new behavior with people who are not known to us or those whom we just know very superficially. The reason is that we do not have much activity with them and therefore we do not have any ‘flash points’ with them.

02.  People in the Second circle: If we are trying to improve ourselves, the people at the office (other than Boss and close colleagues) may be the next level people who may feel the improvement in our behavior. It will take some time to reach this situation. But, when you persist with your improvement journey you would notice that the people who are at office / people whom you meet regularly may feel the difference.

03.  People in the Third circle: These are typically Family members / Boss at office. When we persist with our improvement journey and keep pushing ourselves for next level improvement, we will break thru to the next circle. We may start becoming more comfortable with our Boss and Brother/ Father at home. They may start seeing some improvement in you.

04.  The loner in the Fourth circle: As you progress further, you would start being good to your Spouse! Somehow you may always feel that you can take that liberty with your spouse, you can vent with your spouse and so on. It takes quite a bit of effort to improve yourself in the eyes of your Spouse. 

05.  Your ‘Self’ in the Fifth circle: If your spouse starts noticing improvement in you, then after some more persistence you may feel ‘genuinely’ improving yourself ! This is because even though your spouse may be very close to you, he/she is still another person. When YOU feel genuinely improving yourself, then the real deep improvement starts happening. Very often we know ‘BEST’ about ourselves. Isn’t it ? 

Essentials for Self-Improvement

If you want to genuinely improve yourself, there are are five essentials that you need to pay attention to:

01.  Importance of Feedback: Marshall Goldsmith the celebrated International Coach says that Leaders who take feedback tend to improve much more than those leaders who do not take Feedback. While we have to improve on our own scale, we need to understand the effect that we are having on people around us and improve ourselves in a way in which we can generate better outcomes together. After all as Leaders we have to work with people around us to deliver some good outcomes. However good leader you may be, you can not do everything yourself.

02.  Partners in Progress: It is good to have a bunch of people around us who can give us straight feedback without a bias. You need to choose wisely as many of us do not have this skill of observation and the critical skill of giving feedback objectively. It would help to arrive at this small group over a period of time. 

03.  Take professional help as needed: I realized that using some techniques and using some professional help can really speed up the improvement and help you save on time. You may improve on your own. But, you may lose out on some opportunities as you are not ready. It makes commercial sense too to take professional help. 

04.  Planning your improvement can help: Planning about your goals and where you want to improve in next one year / next 6 months / next quarter / next month / next week / tomorrow will definitely help. The more detail you get in to, the more failures you can avoid. 

05.  Have a higher goal: Without a higher goal in your life and career, you can not get the full energy out of yourself. You will not work ‘full on’. I spoke about this in another article. 

While all of us have our own journeys of improvement, it would help to make it more planned and use good methodology and tools to get better results from same effort. 

Please share your learnings from your journey ! 

 
Wednesday, 13 March 2019 00:00

Dealing with low Profitability

Written by

Srinivas Rao K 

As I meet more CEOs across the Indian Manufacturing, one discussion that always happens is about the Profitability, how low it is and how it is becoming worse. The Best that I would have heard is ‘holding on to 3%’ for the past 5 years or something similar to that!! Clearly the Party is over for the Indian Manufacturing Companies when they would have made big profits and were high on big top line growth as well. 

 

But, when we look at the efficiencies at which we are working, I do not think we have hit the ceiling. The Labor Productivity in terms of USD of GDP per person employed for India in 1991 was 4789. By 2017 it rose to 17097 (as per World Bank report). During the same period the same parameter for USA improved from about 73000 to 113000. The same number for China rose from 2973 to 27842. We improved our Productivity by about 3.5 times. Chinese improved their Productivity by about 9.4 times. USA improved by about 55%. 

We have definitely improved. But, does not seem adequate and the good news is that there seems to be good room for improvement. Indian Manufacturing should take heart from this fact. We are no where near our peak Productivities. We do seem to be underachieving !

What is required is that we should reinvent ourselves and our Businesses. We should stop looking at small improvement like 15% , 20% and start looking for BIG improvements. How to double our Profitability, How to double our Productivity or improve it by 3 times and so on. There are opportunities available for everyone in the industry as our base is not the best one world over.

How do we do it? 

There can be a few steps in starting this Transformation journey.

 

 

01.  Big Targets: The Company should start believing that Big Targets can be achieved. It has to start with Leadership raising their expectations from their Team. The Leadership has to look around for the best performances in their field. If they can’t find any Better performances then, they have to go back to fundamentals and adapt a Zero based approach for every Cost. 

02.  Need for Change: My observation is that Indian Manufacturing is still in a zone where they think they have a lot of time to change and the need for change is not felt strongly at the Operating levels. A Company needs to have a way of convincing their teams that without change, they cannot survive. 

03.  Taking help: It is inevitable that the companies should use outside help in making Big changes happen. They would need extra energy to start this process and spread it to the whole company. Leaders should use outside help in a mature manner. 

04.  Use Technology : The Teams should be encouraged to use the Technology that is available today. The Ind 4.0 elements can come very handy in making change happen. Indian Manufacturing has to learn this skill.

05.  Model Area: Organization wide changes have to start small. They should be implemented in one model area. This model area should be chosen carefully. Initial success can energize the organization. 

06.  Task force: To ensure Model area succeeds, a full time Task force should be used comprising of Best people in the organization. If Best People are Busy in the regular work, then this initiative will not work. 

07.  Make it happen: The whole organization and leadership should focus on this model area and make it happen. There should be no options here. The result has to come. With this result, the Old Mindset of the Organization has to be broken.  

08.  Spread it to the Organization: The good result has to be spread to the entire organization. For this the Task force earlier formed should be responsible. This full time team is very essential for the success of the initiative. 

 The Leadership in all companies should start focusing on changing the mindset of the people in the company to start believing in BIG improvements. There can be more Change programs at this stage for the whole of the Organization. 

Few Examples

Recently when I was engaged with a company, I had a look at their Manufacturing operations and told them that they should aim at improving People Productivity by at least 2-3 times. There was general disbelief whether this could be done. We started with one Plant and worked with them on the Shop floor to transform couple of lines. We only had to slow down the Plant team and encouraged them to look at the inefficiencies on the shop floor closely. Then, we encouraged them to use some Lean Methodologies. With this help, they could transform these lines and more than doubled the Productivities. After this episode, we had to prove the concept on the shop floors of other plants too. Even the MD of the Company started believing in the BIG targets and started deploying bigger targets to his teams.

In another Company the Quality Losses were 15-20% on the Assembly lines. The target was taken to make it below 2% and ‘Here and Now’ approach was taken up to address the Quality losses immediately. The Senior team stood on the shop floor and the teams were encouraged to Push back the Rejections to the immediate suppliers (Internal or External) immediately. Then, the Root causes were determined and settled. Within about 2 days the Rework / Rejections on the lines came down to 2%. This was later sustained as the Root causes were solved. 

One more example of Quality losses reduction happened in a Foundry where the Losses were accepted at about 10-12% for a very long time. By adopting multiple approaches like Training the Team in Problem solving methodology, addressing the Mindset change and so on the Losses were brought to less than 5%. 

In few other cases, the Ind 4.0 elements were used to drive the efficiency of the Assembly lines and make them ‘Zero PPM’ lines. 

Today the hand held technology that is available can be used to make people in factories more productive. 

There are multiple examples of Drastic reduction of losses over a period of time. There are also examples of drastic increase in Top line. Every time the improvement will not happen overnight. But, it is quite clear that the improvements are possible! Are you game for it ?

 

END

 
 
Wednesday, 13 March 2019 00:00

Target Management in Companies

Written by

While working with several companies in my career as an Employee and as a Consultant,  I have learned that it is very important to ensure  all employees across the Company are having Clear Targets for their work that hour, that day, that week, that Month, that Quarter and that year. As you look at the senior people, the targets for the Three year period too become very important. At each of these levels, the Process for achieving the Targets also has to be clear. 

Shop floor : Here and Now

If you look at the Shop floors of Manufacturing companies, you can understand this aspect very easily. 

If the Shop floor is using Lean concepts and the flow of Material is good, you can see that the target of each Worker is very clear and so is the Process of achieving it. He/She knows what work he/she has to do and how much he/she has to deliver each hour. Hence, the work moves at a brisk pace and production happens. When the work happens without break, the energy levels on the shop floor are really good. The Supervisor is happy the full Production is happening, the Worker is happy he/she has delivered what is expected of him/her. The Quality also in this situation will be at its’ best as there is a rhythm in the working of the whole Shop floor. The same Shop floor looks disorganized and without direction when the Production is getting stopped frequently due to the many reasons that the shops deal with. The Quantity suffers and also the Quality as there is no rhythm.

Recognise the potential ambiguity..

We are able to understand about the work on the Shop floor as the work there is visible and you can see the work happening / not happening clearly. But, the same concept is applicable to ALL the work in a company. The other work that happens in offices is not as clear as the one that happens on the Shop floor. This is the reason there can be more variables with reference to this work that the Staff does. The ambiguity increases as the work moves away from Shop floor. You would have noticed that the work that is done by ‘Strategy Function’ in your company is much more vague than the work that is done in .. say, Material Procurement function.

For your Employee to be Productive, the Target (What) has to be clear and he/she has to be clear about the Process of achieving the Target (How). Without the ‘What’ and ‘How’ being clear, none of the Companies can deliver what is expected. This ‘What’ and ‘How’ have to be clear at ALL levels of the Company. It is not enough if the Head of the Company is clear about his/her vision. This clarity has to go down to the last member in the Company. 

This is quite a simple concept. But, my experience is that these two elements are simply not clear in most of the Companies. Some companies do not have both the ‘What’ and ‘How’. Some may have the ‘What’ in some areas and not in other areas. Most of the Companies would be clear about how much Production has to happen as this is a physical activity visible on the Shop floor. They may not have clear Targets for anything else in the Company. Resultantly, only Production happens regularly. 

Essentials for a good Target based Work Management 

01.  Diagnosis: Every Company should start with understanding their current performance. For a Company having Financial year as Apr-March, they should do this Diagnosis sometime in January of the Year. They should Diagnose in every Function and as a Company, how well they have performed in the Current year. What did they do well and what they did not do well on the basis of data. They should draw out the Lessons from their performance in the past year. One needs to make this a very Structured exercise. 

02.  Fixing the Targets: After understanding the performance of the Company at various levels, the Targets have to be fixed for Various levels starting at the top. The head of the Company has to spell out the Big targets like Top line, Bottom line, Efficiency of various Business aspects etc. The Targets of the Head of the Company should reflect the ambition of the Company and it has to be in line with their Three year plan. 

03.  Cascading the Targets down the Organisation: The Targets have to be deployed to the last level in the Company using the Deployment methodology. The Organizational alignment in terms of Targets is important. We can’t have a situation of every one in the Company achieving their target and still the Company not achieving its’ targets. Usage of Technology is recommended here. A Good Target Deployment Software would be useful. 

04.  Break up the Targets: It is not enough to have Targets for the full year/ Quarter and so on. The Targets have to be broken up to Month / Week / Day. This is where the Quality of Leadership in a Company will be seen. How well can the Leadership help the employees to link the actions of today to the Targets. What should be done today to achieve the Target for the Week / Month etc. This is easy on the Shop floor and regarding Production. But, not very easy with reference to.. say Quality improvement / Cost reduction etc. 

05.  Ensure the Tightness of the Targets: I have seen that the Leaders in many Companies do not pay enough attention to this aspect. They feel their teams already working hard and can’t take big targets. This is a veiled populism and ‘Subsidy mindset’ ! This is one disease that can kill a company as it ensures the whole company under achieves. Teams will be able to achieve more if they are guided well. 

06.  Detail the ‘How’ part: The Targets will not be achieved, if you don’t encourage your team to detail the ‘How’ part. They need to understand the problems that they have in each of the areas and then put a detailed plan of ‘How they will achieve’ the Targets. Every company should spend good amount of time on this aspect. Every minute spent on this aspect is worthwhile. I see that a good number of companies do not pay attention to this and keep aiming at same target every year and failing regularly !! It is not enough for the Leaders to point out a ‘Pie in the Sky’ and leave it there. 

07.  Revisit the Targets every two months: The Target has to be just tight and right to each employee. If the Target is too easy, then the Company will not progress well and if the Target is too tight, the employee concerned will give up and again the Company will not progress well. The Leaders have to look out for this through a detailed process of ‘Target checking’ every two months. They have to be alerted if someone is easily achieving or not achieving at all. 

08.  Bigger Initiatives: Some times to achieve tight Targets in a function, one may have to start bigger Initiatives. Eg. If the Big Cost reduction target has to be achieved in the Company this year, the whole Staff may have to be trained in Cost reduction methodologies.  The Company should have BIG targets in a few areas and launch Broader Initiatives to help Teams to hit them. 

If a Company takes care of the above, then it is preparing the Company to achieve something superlative in the coming year ! 

How is Target Deployment in your company ?  Pl share.

END

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