Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

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Lalu denied entry at the India International centre, There and at IIMs, who is really eligible to enter?

October 9, 2006

Yesterday(8/10/2006), the Sunday Times reported that Railway minister Lalu Yadav was refused the much sought after membership of India International Center which is considered a kind of “arrival statement” by Delhi’s Intellectual circuit :-

Elite IIC refuses to take lalu as member

The high esteem membership was refused on the grounds that Lalu was charge sheeted in criminal cases. One is prompted to ask “What’s new?”. If he could lecture impressively at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad on September 18, why such a hue and cry over membership of another elite institute? Five days after this post, on 13/10,2006, former Union minister, Dr Karan singh(son of Hari Singh,erstwhile king of Kashmir) resigned as one of the life trustees of IIC on failing to deliver on his promise of securing a membership for lalu. Now, if people of that kind of stature want lalu as members, one can hardly grudge him that.

In an article,”Are you club class?” in the Sunday Times(15/10/2006), Meenakshi Kumar says that some clubs like Delhi Gymkhana insisit on a certain status and stature( a Janpath shopkeeper being refused membership)and some like Delhi Golf club insist on sporting talent. At the Gymkhana, people may have to wait upto 35 years. IIC on the other hand insists on members who help sustain the international character of the centre. On being told once that the Japensese can turn Bihar into a Japan in a few months, Lalu replied that he could turn Japan into a Bihar in a few days. That’s all the internationalism lalu’s got but jokes apart, he would simply be as much of a misfit in these clubs as a club member would be in his native Bihar.

The Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh has publicly praised Lalu very highly for his turnaround of railways.However, following the news that lalu was going to address the students of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and after he gave his lecture, a lot of blogs questioned the validity of granting him such an honor stating that the railways turnaround could not be attributed to him directly. Some argued that even if for a moment, it is believed that he had a major role to play in the railways turnaround, considering that he had made a mockery of democracy and governance in Bihar for a decade and a half, his overall record was grossly negative and a person like him had no business lecturing at premiere Management institutes of India.

Laloo interacting with management students at IIM, Ahmedabad.
(from Hindustan times archives)

In the book “The war for Talent”, the authors day” Manegerial talent is at the epicentre for the war for talent. Mangerial talent is a combination of a sharp, strategic mind, leadership ability, emotional maturity, communication skills, the ability to attract and inspire other talented people, entrepreneurial instincts, functional skills and the ability to deliver results”.

Lalu may not be a manager in the true sense of the firm but one wonders how much of this applies to him.When lalu first became CM, he was lauded for his unique administrative style like doing surprise checks at odd hours among other things. Personally speaking, I admired him for his rustic wisdom and supreme artistry at playing to the gallery. However, he flattered to deceive badly and also got embroiled in the fodder scam.

Rather than get into debates on Lalu’s credibility, one should focus on those who really deserve the honor. Where are the Shahrukh khans and Sachin Tendulkars of management? Can the information revolution and mass communication unearth those chupa rustams(hidden talent). Unfortunately, such talent is not as transparent as acting or sports. I had the pleasure of coming across one such prodigy.

Ashish Kundu and I were in the same school and same class for four years between 1977-81. We bumped into each other in the Kedia group(1992-1995) in September ’1992 when he joined as Assistant Manager(Exports) and I as Assistant Manager(MIS). The kedia group which specialized in liquor had a turnover of about Rs150 Crores at that time. Though he used to come on a motorcycle initially, his prodigious talent soon got him three cars(two from the company) and several promotions within a span of a year and he rose to become CEO. Eminent novelist Agatha Christie had once said that everything could be done creatively and it was my pleasure to see Ashish do something as mundane as administration in a unique style( doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way-it is one thing to read about it and another thing to witness it). He excelled both vertically(each post from assistant manager to CEO) and horizontally( Finance, Marketing, Personnel, operations etc).

He completely outclassed the powers that be in the company in front of the political leadership of a southern state and foreign collaborators with whom they were contemplating various projects. Much later,after leaving his job, he established a big project consultancy business of his own in next to no time.

Poetry being the spontaneous flow of powerful emotions, he inspired this out of me in August’1995 when we parted ways in the corporate world. The quality of poetry is not as important as the fact that his brilliance inspired it. It is more of prose in poetry than real poetry.

I have said in other posts that Greatbong is my favorite writer in the blogoshpere. Here is the other greatbong in my life. As I say this I would like to add that had it been possible ,maybe the people of Bengal would have loved to see his meteoric rise as much as Saurav Ganguly’s. It was like watching a superstar take off. Here then, is a tribute to a wonderful friend and an outstanding business executive:-

Poem- Tribute to an outstanding corporate executive

Within the first month of our bumping into each other in the corporate world, on watching his razor sharp business brains and superb communicating abilities, I predicted that one day he would make it very big in the corporate world. Now, If only I could predict share prices like that, I would have become the Indian Mr Buffet by now. Despite knowing each other since school days and being regularly in touch, I always think of him as boss first, an attitude which is at great variance with some of the other bosses I have come across in my life

Jokes apart, can there be two opinions on whether or not such people should be allowed to address premiere management institutes? IIM ne bulalaya lalu, inko kya main bulalu?

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R e p a r…tea

November 13, 2005

On my recent trip to South east asia, I was served huge glasses of tea which reminded me of an interesting incident that happened several years ago.

My immediate boss was tremendously entrepreneurial( He was to get three cars and six promotions in just one year and go on to a build a big business of his own) but at that time being at a relatively junior level, he was saddled with a boss who was exactly his opposite and used to impede every major and minor initiative/ issue with “Let’s discuss”.

When me and my boss got an opportunity to meet the chairman’s son, he tried to prevail upon him the danger in discussing every minor issue. Observing that he was very upset, the chairman’s son told him ,” Lets discuss this over a cup of tea”.

Over tea, my Boss began explaining how things were becoming bureaucratic and stifling with every minor step being impeded with “Let’s discuss” . Then looking at me he said ,” We are not schoolchildren that we cannot take decisions ourselves. Why don’t you say something?”

He said this so suddenly that the tea in my mouth almost spilled out. For a moment, I was perplexed. Then I got a bolt from the blue. Addressing the chairman’s son, I blurted out, “ The situation is so bad, sir that even at his Wedding night, he probably did nothing. They probably spent the whole night discussing”

Needless to mention, my boss and the Chairman’s son were in splits. Later on I came to know that even the Chairman had a good laugh. That was one heck of a repartee over tea.

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Management of self-watching dispassionately

June 30, 2005

In one of the books on management of self it was given that if you are sitting on a chair, you cannot move yourself. But once out of the chair , you can move yourself and the chair as you are unattached to it. Similarly in meditation the maximum benefits are obtained when you are able to detach yourself from the mind to watch dispassionately. That is how by observing and watching the mind without reacting, it becomes a good servant.

This is an excellent technique of stress management. In management people talk of responding instead of reacting but one needs a technique to fructify the idea. Half the inter-personal conflicts would never take place if people stop being judgmental and impulsive.

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Einstein and management by objective

June 30, 2005

There is an interesting story about Albert Einstein practicing management by objective. Einstein once wanted a paper clip for putting his papers together but the only clip that he used was severely bent out of place. His assistant found a whole box of new paper clips and thought that he had solved the problem but to his dismay Einstein used the new paper clip as a tool to straighten the old paper clip. Explaining his eccentric behavior, he stated that once he was own to something it was very difficult to deflect him .

This is such a refreshing attitude than bully bosses who try to be aggressive all the time in getting their subordinates to be focused. It only goes to show the power of an example to resolve inter-personal conflict. 

 

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