Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Temping : Indian Perspective

In India there are 40 crore organised class workers, upto 3.5 - 5% of them are on temping. These employees somestimes even earn better than their permanent worker counterparts. Sometimes upto 20 % premium in salary. But the disadvantage is that they don't get perks like pension, paid vacation et al. But these temp workers get flexible working hours. Most of these people are in their 40's looking for flexible working hours, as they may be house wives or people with stagnating careers.

In the last 3-4 years the average salary of these people have almost doubled from the previously 5-8,000 Rs to 11-16,000 currently.

So, what do you think of temping.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Importance of Delegation

Are you a person who thinks that I am the best person. I can do a task best. If I do it myself then I can expect that the task gets completed properly. That a wrong thinking. If you are a manager learn to delegate. A team is always better than a one man army. Learn to delegate the task to your subordinates. That way you free your self up for more important tasks. You are a manager and are expected to do strategic thinking and get the big picture right for the company. If you do all the small things like attending all telephones et al then you are doing nothing but micromanaging and burning your-self out.

If you want your subordinates to do the task well, there are two thing which you can do. Let s take a look at what these things are. Communicate well with your subordinate. Make sure you made him understand exactly what you want to achieve through them. This can be achieved by regularly communicating with your subordinates so that you know what is their wavelength. Also give them theie space. Yes , space is something which even a close relationship like spouse demands. Give space, set goals and make them accountable. I bet you will see result. Use the least force or co-ercion which can have a negative impact.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Recently I was reading the editorial of 4P's which said that Corporate Social REsponsibility is sheer non-sense and that its actually Govt. Shirking REsponsibility (GSR ). They feel that a corporation earns profit and pays tax.Thats all about it. Social welfare is the work of Govt. which its trying to impose on the corporations. They seem to have a point. Is the government only for the sole purpose of propagating hatred among communities and corruption in the country. If they delegate their core tasks then what is the purpose of their enjoying the office? Govt. can not impose CSR on corporates. It is totally voluntary and an opportunity to earn profit and contribute to the society in a positive manner.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lateral Movements

The role of Board doesn't end at placing people in the right slots. Especially the top management ones. The performance of the businesses under the leadership has to be tracked constantly. There are some leaders who are more charismatic than others. Some are turn-around champions. Such leaders have to be moved into slots which require more apt handling of the situation. Where business is stable a normal calibre leader would do. Some leaders who have the track record of delivering in difficult conditions should be placed in top slots of such companies which are faced with declining fortunes. Hense there is a need for constant lateral movements in the Group Companies. Also there are some leaders who want challenging jobs, they perform at all cylinders firing only in challenging circumstances. To retain such top managers also need lateral movements. Have you hired one lately?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Advertising and Creativity

I was recently reading the latest issues of 4P's in which they were discussing the role of ceativity in Advertisements. My take is customer is no fool. See compare the situation with the Indian election scenario. People inthe 70's and 80's gave majority vote to congress or BJP and mandated them to form a government. Since they learnt that all and sundry are corrupt and there is no other choice but to choose between them, they voted in a pttern that for more than a decade now is the norm rather than an exception. The existence of coalition governments. Want power, enjoy sharing? Similarly consumers know all the time that Advertisers are lying and fooling them. The catch is that they allow them to do that. And why? Because they need to buy one product or other, even if it is from the stable of liars who are trying to emotionally manipulate them. Doesn't a husband and wife keep manipulating each other? But there is an iota of love which keeps them together.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Corporate Blogs : New Marketing Techniques

Corporate blogs are being used for Marketing, PR and CRM. A corporate blog can be used to publish the products of a company, for the users to comment on. Prior to launching and post launching of the product, feedback can be collected from users regarding the product. People can post their experiences on the net and suggest improvements or shortcomings of the product. So in short corporate blog can be used for showcasing the products to the consumers.

PR or public relations and Customer Relationship Management CRM functions can also be effectively be carried out by the corporate blog, you may ask how? Feedback of consumers and customer complaints and greivance section can be created. This will be giving credibility to the general public that the company is transparent in its dealings. Also PR can be maintained by posting relevant details about various CSR and other programmes being carried out by the companies. Company can post its mission and vision for the benefit of the public.

Some companies allow their employees to freely blog while some consider it as a sensitive matter as to what information is leaked by the employees to the consumer.

But Rajeev recommends a corporate blog.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Recruitment by Performance

Indians want everything assured. Assured returns from MF, assured returns from relationships. But without proper inputs, entropy soon takes up the healyh. Infosys now has no assured placements for campus recruits. They have to clear Merit tests which were reduced in Number from six to two attempts or else you have to quit the company. This emphasis on performance is creating a lot of flutter among the recruited people. In one sample 200 out of 600 failed in the first atempt creating a lot of anxiety in recruits. A sure shot attempt by Infosys to promote meritocracy and unshackle inertia among youth.
Rajeev recommends the process to other corporates, sure it will add to productivity and an increase in bottomline in the long run.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Innovative Marketing

Sunsilk from the stable of HLL faced stiff competition from Garnier. It reverted back with style . They launched an online website sunsilkgangofgirls.com. They have two lakh members and crossed 150 hits recently. They offer tips to girls on beautification and enjoying the girlly life better. They suggest makeover of the girl online if a photo is posted. It i slike a all girls online community. They enjoy a clear first mover advantage in Innovative Marketing, by creating a Buzz around the product. Full marks for comprehensive marketing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Of Sexual Harassment

It happens everywhere, in all the offices and at all the times. This all pervasive, ubiquitous phenomenon. The girls in offices have to behave as surrogate wives of their supervisors to continue to solicit employment. This is not direct harassment, but it is tacit. If you don't co-operate then there are other ways of causing mental harassment to females. So most consent to some form sexual advances of males. Guys world is changing for the better. In my own experince of a small software firm where all collegues were male ( probably homosexuals ), I was troubled and fired in two months when I didn't concede to their advances ( I am a Male). Same goes with girl-to-girl relationship and all other permutations and combinations.
Be wise, if working, be the boss.

Critical Appraisal

Performance Appraisals are pertinent to org. performance. Employees should be continuously made aware of what is expected of them and provided the requisite future direction. The employee should take the feed back as a learning experience and hone his strengths while oovercoming his/her weaknesses. To avoid the unpleasant consequences of PA, it should be done in an informal atmosphere in a friendly manner as a positive affirmative action by th esupervisor or the immediate manager. In organisation of any size this could be done in an ongoing fashion instead of being quarterly or annual ritual, a stitch in time saves nine and a lot of ill will.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Unorganised Crime

They slog while we celebrate. Even labourers are better off. Ever thought about these sales people at the mall or other high street stores. Adorning an Inviting smile, always at your service. Why defame only FW Taylor for scintific management or Jack Welch for the massive Layoffs during his tenure at GE. The whole nation stays comfortably unaware of the plight of the unorganised sector in India. With 1-2 % working comfortably in Govt. sector with good pay and perks, I am referring to a large chunk of unorganised Indian Sector population. Are they not human? Are we Human? Crores are spent on charity for the poor. But nobody thinks about these educated exploited who are not even aware of their rights. What happens after they age? What if they develop debilitating back ache or other problem. The problem is not of Third World countries alone. Walmart recently decided to cut health related and other benefits extended to long standing employees so that expenditure can be kept under check. They would fire employees after two years. Is this not inhuman. Is this the new world order of the globalised world. How can politicians and intellectuals tacitly agree to such atrocious arrangements. Is India shining heartlessly?

Customer Loyalty Cushion

Build relationships with customers. It helps in the long run. They would want to deal with you. It gives you time to react to the competitors moves. A good product may hit the market which may be technologically more advanced than yours. If you did not have the foresight of anticipating, but you had proper relationship with the customers, they will wait for you to develop the product and sell them. Or they may buy both the products. So Mr. Marketer, do you remember your top ten customer contact persons names and preferences. Talk to your customer, understand their needs, continuously delight them with new products and innovations, and you have a loyal customer base and repeat business. Did you know that the best companies like Infosys has 95% repeat business.
So keep that relationship going.

Customer Loyalty Cushion

Build relationships with customers. It helps in the long run. They would want to deal with you. It gives you time to react to the competitors moves. A good product may hit the market which may be technologically more advanced than yours. If you did not have the foresight of anticipating, but you had proper relationship with the customers, they will wait for you to develop the product and sell them. Or they may buy both the products. So Mr. Marketer, do you remember your top ten customer contact persons names and preferences. Talk to your customer, understand their needs, continuously delight them with new products and innovations, and you have a loyal customer base and repeat business. Did you know that the best companies like Infosys has 95% repeat business.
So keep that relationship going.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Indian Brands rule the Roost

In 1996 34% of Indians expressed confidence in Indian companies, today 56% do. Of the top 20 brands in India , 8 are Indians, the likes of Tata, Godrej and Bajaj. The foreign brands which succeed in India are the ones which are involved in Indianisation of their brands, ie catering to the local tastes and preferences and also appealing to the low cost - high value for money inclination of Indians. India is a complex market with 23 official languages and 1000 dialects. This makes even communicating a major challenge to the marketers. Clearly Indian companies have an advantage as they understand Indian sensibilities better. But Indian attitudes are more open today. They embrace modernity within tradition.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pros and Cons of Cross-Border M & A's

If you don't have a presence in the acquired company's nation you get a ready market. You can take advantage of the good business conditions and infrastructure readily available in another country by investing in that market. You could take the advantage of flexible labour laws or high economic growth trajectory. You could be gaining advantage of customers who are more tech-savvy and form a more compelling audience. You can take advantage of libral tax regime. You can gain by a better work culture. On the flip side there may be a cultural misfit with the acquired company. There may be legacy jealousy lik ebetween UK and its erstwhile commonwealth countries. So don't just jump into the bandwagon of M & A'a. Hire a consultant to make a proper acessment of the complimentarity and fits and misfits between theh merging entities. Remember a whopping 70 % of mergers fail.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Line HRD

There is a school of thought which believes that routine tasks of the HR should be outsourced but HRD dept. should concentrate on more strategic issues like profitability of the organisation in the long run and growth issues. This according to them can be achieved by making HR more accountable to key results. Proper care should be taken to annoint a proper achievement oriented line personlaity with Aura and charisma into the head HR position. But what are the issues involved. How does the performance appraisal gets takes care of? Who sets the goals? There would clearly be a conflict between th eline and HR depts. There is also a duality of command and its inherent accompaniments.
"Does some one disagree".

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Woman good at Relationships

A IIM-A study shows that women are more polite and compliant to Authority compared to men. People react to criticisms by embrassments, mild irritation, open hostility to physical assault. Stress at workplace, Work-life-balance, inter-gender interplay and workplace violence are some other areas where research would be elucidating.

Management Research Update

India ranks 5th among countries surveyed for discriminating work practices. Age, Gender and Disability and Educational Qualifications werer cited in that order as impediments to ones career in a equitable manner. More research should be undertaken in order to understand the new and intricate subject of group dynamics and team play. Crores of Rs. in India and Globally is lost due to dysfunctional office politics and lack of synergytic teamwork, not to mention the training and recruitment cost. Managers in India need some theoretical knowledge of management to avoid reinventing the wheel.
"India sounds bullish".

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Did I hear the Word Alacrity

Apples I-Pod has enjoyed a monopoly for over 4 years since its launch in '02 capturing over 75% market share. Recently Microsoft has announced the launch of a substitute portable music player " Zune". Zune to be launched in NOv'06 is supposed to have multiple functions and priced lower to I-Pod. Apple nimbly responded by announcing price cuts and better design I-Pods to capture and defend its market share. Thats Alacrity. More value-for-money proposition in effect. So they are probably skimming the market. What makes me wonder is that why no on could give competition to Apple for so long.
"Laziness only means lost opportunisties and losses".

Ad Glitz : O & M

Oglivy & Mather is the leading ad agency of India. It handles accounts like Fevicol, Perfetti, Cadbury, Asian Paints, Close-Up et al. According to Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman of ( O&M), the USP of the company is its respect for customers. You need to connec to the Customer, he avers. He emphasises on teamwork and understanding that complimentarity of the members of the team results in Synergistic goal attainment for the organisation. He says, "Today even management is a part of the team, and has to contribute".
"Are you bedazzled by the Glitz".

Commendable Ad.

Heard the latest Radio Commercial ( RC ) of Radio Mirchi. It exudes humour which can be extolled. The ad begins with the keynote speaker saying the company sales is down, followed by an applause, there are losses quarter after quarter, applause, units are shutting down, applause, all the staff is being retrenched, applause, the company is bankrupt, applause. A series of morose announcements followed by constant applause.
The Tagline , " Mirchi Sunne Wale, Always Khush".
Those who listen to mirchi are always khush.
Highly innovative and use of good humour in am Audio Media.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Experiential Marketing : XM

Enter into a Planet M Store and there is a Jockey playing some cool contemporory albums hits. There are Kiosks where you can listen to your new album releases before buying a CD. Welcome to the world of Experiential Marketing. Occasionally Melas or Exhibitions are organised by various industries like digital products where people can go and experience the product before buying the product. Remember the bad experience of Shr Amitabh Bachchan in Baghban where salman khan comes to his rescue from a bullying salesman pushing car sales. XM is to overcome such experinces in a congenial manner. Google promotes its Adwords program by occasionally coming up with free vouchers ( with denominations of Rs1000 and so on ) in India. Experience more visits to your web site before actually buying the service. The only difficulty I faced was I didn't have a credit card.
" Welcome to the X-World".

Marketing through the Internet : Social Networks

Marketing is changing with the advent of computers. Ever heard of social networking. I am talking about groups like myspace. With millions of subscribers. It makes for better targeted marketing todays generation which is more tech-savvy. They don't watch more of TV and the associated commercials. So the corporates are innovetively using this medium to advertise their products. For example music albums could be successively launched by creating a hype around the product by creating a fan club and calling the pop stars to chat and so on promoting the product. The advantage of internet as a marketing medium is that you can customise the advertisement. Also internet marketing is cheapest medium of advertisement compared to TVC's and print medium.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Overcoming that Ego

In Japan there are self-managing teams in some orgs. who have completely done away with managers. Should India go that way? Managers are good or bad? Even legendry Jack Welch entered the debate that there is a breed of boss haters. The problem is identifiable. There is a manifest conflict. But then what is the solution. People need to be compatible. They should understand that organisational goals are supreme to individual egos. And synergy is better than divergence of views and efforts. A team is 100 times better than an individual.
" Umm, Are there any boss - lovers around ..eh".

Friday, October 13, 2006

HRD Concepts : Temping

Temping is the process of hiring temporary employees as and when need arises to keep the annual salary budget down. Disadvantages arising may be a lack of proper teamwork because of new people entering the group, dysfunctional group dynamics due to changed relationship patterns, temp could be a corporate spy. The advantage is that fresh ideas and technical expertise can be brought into the company.

Skimming Price Strategy

Skimming price strategy is operated by first placing the product at the premium end ( i.e. high price) targeted at status conscious audience. After that segment is exhausted the price is progressively reduced to target the middle class and finally the lower class.A drawback of this strategy is that the brand value may be destroyed because what is offered to the lower and middle class high class people would not touch. But the advantage for the company is that profit and revenue are maximized.

" While skimming, tread with caution".

How to Build a Motivated Sales Force

To build a motivated workforce the company should be clear about their values and constantly reward and recognise the contributions of those employees who exhibit these values. Those who do not exhibit these values have to either be coached and brought into line or let go.There should be reward and recognition for employees who exhibit excellent team work, best customer relation, execution excellence, accountability and good leadership values. Leadership awards and other awards should be declared and some cash prize would do wonders.Also look at the employee welfare activities like club membership, parties, outings, games and other competitions where people get together and enjoy and at the same time getting to know each other better. Performance related payment is also a great motivator.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a Quality program comprising of four steps to be applied to processes and transactions.

1. Measure : Analyse the process to find out what are the critical variables effecting quality. Find out the number of defects based on this variable. For example a quality measure could be 10x hardness. Any hardness measured to be greater than 10x would then amount to be a defect.

2. Analyze : Using techniques like brainstorming and statistical tools find out the cause of defects. Find out the variable whose variation is leading to the defect.

3. Improve the Process : Improve the process to keep the identified variable's variation to acceptable limits.

4. Control : Make sure that improved process is being executed properly.

How to monitor the progress of Six Sigma Program?

1. Customer Feedback : Ask the user to grade your quality in a point scale.
2. Measure the cost of Quality : Inspecting the products, scrap and rework and warranties to be executed due to defects all contribute to the cost of the quality.
3. Monitor Supplier Quality : The supplier should be made to correct any defects arising in your process because of supplier error.
4. Internal Performance of the Company: It is the ratio of defects to all possible defect opportunities.
5. Design for Manufacturability : At design stage see if drawings and specifications conform to quality variables and percentage of these quality variables which are designed to Six Sigma.

"Quality has a cost of conformance and a pay-off of compliance".

How to Grow Sales

Sales can be grown not by selling more products but only through marketing and branding your products. Growth of sales is not an activity it's a strategy. It encompasses consistently communicating to your customer not through advertisements but through honest intent that you care for the customer. Its not just sending a sales representative to meet somebody and closing a sale and then harping about it in the annual report.

It's a lot more than that especially in this global world.You need to educate the customers about the product. Some industries even though in nascent stages have taken up this task. Mutual funds for example are even ready to offer you customized investment advice if you drop in ; also they try to educate you through brochures and reports. Other mature companies in industries should take a lesson. If you don't respect your customers you got no business doing business with them. Employees should be trusted in being courteous to customers. Word about bad service or rude behavior spread fast. Your employees should be your brand ambassador no doubt, add to it the fact that good behavior can make a customer your brand ambassador free of cost.Its not just about closing a sale and forgetting about the whole episode. It is providing good after sale service and maintenance. Its about trust and relationship. Its about the promise of quality and of product value or style whatever the customer desires. It entails understanding the customer needs and expectations and delivering the same again and again with constant improvements in process and continuous innovation.

There are two types of customers one existing other potential or prospective customers. The customer experience of your handling can make or mar the growth through any of these two types of customers. This is the age of freedom of expression, one wrong act on your part may invoke bad business press and spoil your growth party. You may argue what if I buy the silence of press? But friend, there are other ways like blogging and word of mouth. How would you stop these? Induce existing customers for repeat business and also keep adding new ones. All these measures are not sufficient but necessary to do business even in a third world country.

" Stop selling, start understanding and MARKETING".