Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Where is your Quarterly result?

I am always surprised by the quarterly result of successful companies. A lot of successful companies relentlessly grow quarter on quarter. They strive for some targets, achieve them and then move on to higher, loftier targets. They don’t halt to take rest, they don’t brag too much, they don’t get tired, they don’t give excuses. They do their best, and better that best very next quarter. Companies seem indefatigable whereas we human beings are so complacent, so very complacent.
We, human beings, look for growth in long term. And many a times we just lose track of time. Time just fly by us and then we wonder -- ohh the year is gone, ohh I’ve been thinking on this for past 6 years, ohh 4 years of graduation are gone, blah blah.

Why don’t we start declaring our quarterly results?

Quarterly/ bi-quarterly appraisals at work can serve the same purpose as quarterly result but in appraisals you tend to bloat your achievement in hunt of higher salary increment. So to avoid fudging data declare your quarterly result to yourself.
We make so many promises to ourselves, or give so much hope to ourselves, but things fade into oblivion during course of time as we remain engulfed in our mundane routine. And even if promises/hopes ricochet, we are so good at deluding ourselves. We have excuses ready for our every failure, every lapse.
Treat yourself as a listed company. You, owner of company, should be answerable to you, the stakeholder.When you are in stakeholder's shoes question ruthlessly why you, the owner, are not performing well. Wash down all your excuses and stop building castles in the air. Start declaring your quarterly results. In your quarterly result:

Give next year’s forecast: Write down what you want to achieve in next one year.
Give your quarterly profit/loss: Write down your successes and failures. Write down whether you are on right track to achieve your annual forecast or whether you need to alter the forecast.
Give your exceptional expenditure: Write down unforeseen blocker that caused dent to your milestones/achievements.

You can jot down a few lines at the end of every week to build a repository of your activities that you can refer and analyze later for declaring your quarterly result.

Am starting off with my quarterly result. Are you?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Presentation mirage

People claim highest, portray best and promise maximum in presentations. Is your management team claiming a lot in presentations? ‘Accrued saving of $50,000’, ‘possible saving of $225,000’ blah blah. Does this sound familiar? Why all the presentations make things look good, rosy and optimistic?

People claim tall in presentations because:
- Presentations are not connected with any statistical database so fabricated claims can’t be impromptu cross verified
- Presentations are never stored in any centralised repository. So whatever claims made last quarter are already forgotten so you can make fresh big delusive claims, yet again, and earn accolades.
- Presentations are short, one side communication meetings. People don’t ask right questions because of ever pervasive ‘time shortage’. When few people do ask some probing questions, they are replied with mundane gibberish jargon for every question. No more cross questions asked as that might seem argument and people shy away from arguments in meetings. Am good to you, you all remain good to me doesn’t solve anything.

Don’t fall prey to delusional claims. 
Make sure all claims are verified, tracked and monitored against centralised statistics repository. 
Don’t allow people give you some general jargoned nice circuitous answer to your question. Ask right question and expect right direct answer. Anything less is blasphemy.
Don’t feel guilty that you might put people in a fix in the meeting. Don’t give people leeway on their non-performance. 
Be the yardstick of quality, to yourself, to others, always.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don’t push me to the brink

- Mobile number portability got introduced in India some days back. When unhappy customer tried moving to other telecom operator she is given cheaper monthly rental and very attractive call rates plan.
- An employee stays with a company for years but when desired growth doesn’t happen she finally resigns, disgruntled. Then same company offers her a good salary hike plus other perks.
- A service offered is not up to the mark. Customer requests, grovel, cries; in vain. She threatens to sue the company in consumer court. Service is provided and some placatory compensation is doled out by company.

Why companies push people the brink and when customer is about to cut loose then same company try to retain them. It doesn’t work. Once human loyalty is hijacked, you won’t be able to rekindle same faith in customer. You might be able to retain customer but she won’t act as your advocate. She will be there with you just for the time being and something better will lure her away. Broken trust is nearly impossible to repair. And in this lightening paced world people don’t have time to trust you for the second time.

Dear corporation, don’t push me to the brink.

Dear Executive, Are you reading the stats on how many people were pushed to the brink in your company, how many of them stayed back, stayed for how long, anything you could have done to not to push them to the brink?

Write to me

Managers/Leaders/Executives often ask themselves: How do I build trust with my team. How to open floodgates of communications? How to tell team members to open up  so as to seek real feedback? How to create an environment of openness?

Writing, personally, to your team once a week (or once in 2 weeks) is the mantra that can make things happen. It can be sort of blog but you send that in a mail to your team, directly to their inbox. When Leader writes to me directly apprising me of the plans, happenings, learning, successes, failures, i feel special. I feel being valued. I feel that am worthy in hierarchy and not just a  cog. I will appreciate that you took time to write to me.

Make this writing subtle professional with a touch of team warmth. Write some informal stuff at the end to give it a personal touch and not just any newsletter.

Benefits to this practice:
- It kills rumors. I strongly feels that ‘Rumors are failure of leadership’. People usually get information through various informal channels but when a leader substantiates/discard/reason the rumours/happenings then it breeds faith and kill future gossips.
- It gives a sense of reassurance  to people at ground level, at all levels, to your team.
- It creates openness. People will write more to you giving you right ideas/feedback/opinions.
- It gives people a chance to confide in you. It open direct channel, kills hierarchy.
- It pushes your middle management layer to be more open, deliver more and keep promises. 

Whether you are doing good, or its just business as usual or you are in some unruly crisis, write to me.

PS: While i was working for British Telecom, Mark use to write to entire team every week and i just loved the concept. Thanks Mark.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


The other day I was at a clinic for some eye procedure. You tend to feel fidgety when someone is playing with your eyes, so was I. When procedure was on, the doctor kept on reassuring me that everything is all right. She keeps on giving me updates on what’s going on and what's coming up. Every step was communicated, “we will fix your eyebrows so that you won’t blink”; “a machine will start and you will hear some noise and that’s perfectly normal”; “you will get some smell, may feel some pain and that’s perfectly normal”. Then suddenly I realized that all my uneasiness vanished. Because I was continuously getting updated and was not just treated like guinea pig on operation table. A supposedly complex exercise went so smooth mainly because of continuous reassurances.
Reassure your client, customers and other stakeholders. Reassurance creates conducive environment for peace and when people are at peace they create a facilitative environment for you to operate hence increasing your efficiency. If I’m about to fly I need continuous updates about status of my flight. Either airline keeps on reassuring me or I will keep barraging their call center or website.
If your customer complains you of something (say broken gadget) and you know that it will take 3 days to fix, reassure customer and keep reassuring till it’s fixed. People might trust your brand but further reassurance strengthens customer’s faith in your brand. People trust that Fedex will reach anywhere on time but still Fedex keeps them updated on progress of dispatched material.
People say “keep me posted” or “keep me updated” but it’s reassurance they are seeking.
Human minds need assurance. Something is wrong, Reassure; everything right, Reassure. Reassurance breeds peace and creates Trust.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It’s just an Excuse

We make so many excuses, to ourselves.
We make fool of ourselves with those excuses.
We want to believe in those excuses so that we won’t feel guilty of our lethargy, our cowardice, our inertia.
Whenever you feel that you are shirking from something, anything, just tell yourself “This is just an Excuse” and you will know what to do.
I don’t have time for exercise. It’s just an Excuse.
I still don’t have the right money/idea for the startup. It’s just an Excuse.
I can’t find time to write blog. It’s just an Excuse.
I can’t. I will not be able to. I should not. I may not. Tell yourself, “It’s just an Excuse”.
It’s just an Excuse.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Certainly, It's Love

Sometimes something seems so interesting, enchanting, riveting that you feel that you are in love with that thing. But then due to certain circumstances you move on. Then you wonder was that really Love? What do I really love? What are the things that are just a fad, what are the things that I do/did for the heck of it, what are the things that are just chance occurrence? How do I differentiate them from my real passion or real Love?

Then, one fine day, that thing comes back to you (Or you go back to it). That time you realize that you didn’t really move from that thing. It just got subdued in flux of other things in life (or mundane routine). This time, again, you can claim that its mere reemergence of infatuation with that thing. But your real Love will happen to you again and again, then again. It will keep calling you back.

If you feel that you are in love with some Business idea and really want to execute it, give it sometime to settle down. Till then toy with some other idea/thing. If that idea is your real calling, you will go back to it and you'll implement it. Here am not preaching procrastination in the garb of finding love. If you find your Love first time itself its just stupendous. But it's certain, if you come back to something you have far more conviction than the first time and you develop unflinching faith in your idea by this.
Once you realize you love something just stick to it. Don’t dally. Don’t leave it again. If you let it go, you will come back to it for sure but you would have lost some of the most beautiful time by then.
You can extrapolate this for human beings as well. It’s all the same.

Find your calling.

Image: wordle