2018-19: THE YEAR OF THE FALL – What do you learn from it and what your next generations should learn too… ( lessons for business owners, employers, and employees)

2018/19 saw the end of many powerful people and companies in the corporate world and business in India. Many well known persons and not so well known persons have lost face in the recent few years. What is the lesson to all of us and to the future generations? One does not need to be a Philip Kotler to understand or write about this, but anyone with extensive working experience across organisations can certify that the following is true…..

1. Lessons to Promoters, Shareholders, and Owners:

a)Never bank upon one person in the organization. No one is so great that he or she can do what the others cannot. Actually, do not overrate anyone or glorify one person.
b) Build a team of good people and good successors.
c) Train many of your staff well so that they can take up a bigger responsibility at an overall lower cost.
d) Build a brand name, do not build only individual strengths or select employees.
e) Develop all round resources. Do not allow people to build power centers. Do not allow key people to play politics.
f) Keep a close watch on your key employees – Are they ensuring the above 5 factors or are they also playing politics that other good people leave and they become indispensable.
g) This is the time of disruptions. New technology can put your business our of gear. Keep in touch with younger generations to learn new stuff.
g) Your HR head has to be as strong as your Operations head. Also, check if your HR head / team is hand in glove with the Operations head? Do not have an ornamental HR team, but have a real policeman’s approach here.
h) When your organization is doing very well, ensure that you build teams to balance strengths and share powers. If you are diversifying or openings new businesses, ensure that all is not controlled or dominated by one person.
i) If a lot of key people leave your organization, start acting fast and find out the reasons.
j) Never divert from the core competency of your organisation.
k) Do not rely on one external auditor, one consultant, one due diligence officer, one accounting head. Otherwise they could exploit the situation for the benefit of a few employees.
l) Ensure all the above people in K above, understand the domain of your business and not just balance sheets. Do they understand the idiosyncrasies of your business area or are just balancing figures and amounts on paper.
m) Do not value only hi-fi qualifications, but value commitment, hard work and longevity and trustworthiness of your employees too.
n) There is nothing to replace proper experience, no piece of glorified paper from any University can replace experience. Note that a person may be an excellent technocrat but he may be a poor marketer or a poor leader.
o) Ensure that you build leaders in your organization and not politicians and power mongers. Ensure your key team members build proper teams under them which you could use in the case of exit of some top people.
p) Do not overrate any particular academic degree. Ensure people know a wide range of skills. Check on the core competency of employees, and do not assume that they know other functions and that they have adequate leadership skills besides domain knowledge.
q) Intense competition and globalisation could turn your company redundant or its services or products irrelevant.

2. Lessons to employees:

a. When the going is good, you never know when there could be a fall. So prepare for a bad patch when the good patch lasts .
b. Its the time of outsourcing- you never know when you could not be required.
c. Build multiple skills.
d. Retirement age in the private sector is slowly coming down from the late ’50s to early ’50s, so plan for an early exit.
e. Know that you succeed more due to the strengths of your organization and less because of your personal capabilities. Know where you stand and know that in most cases organisations make people and in a fewer cases, people create businesses, but they in most of the time cannot create organsatiozs.
f. Do not invest in hi-fi expensive properties if you are doing well today as you never know when that could be a great burden later . Invest carefully. Or you could be worried about your EMIs for a long long time
g. You are as important as the seat you hold. People respect your chair. Once you are out of that chair, no one gives a damn.
h. High fliers or those who are successful in organisations must know that if possibly they were to get into business themselves, they would be failures, as doing business is extremely difficult and being part of large successful organisation is relatively extremely simple. In many cases incapable people survive in large organisations only because they flow with the success of the organisation.
i) Know your core competency and try to work around that. There is too much of a competition from thousands of academically qualified people, as capable as you, and a lot of street smart, not so qualified people.

3. Lessons to All

1. Money is not everything. There are a lot many things to do in life other than money or wealth or acquisitions.
2. Focus on building goodwill and relations and network with good people.
3. Everything that goes up comes down ( not just airlines ) is a simple thing accepted across many cultures and religions across the world.
4. Family ties, relations and transparency in person and business life is of utmost importance. No amount of wealth can replace these things. Money spoils relationships too.
5. Do not defer enjoying a good life till late in life. You may not be there or not have the wealth or have the mindset or the health to enjoy it in later life. Enjoy sports, exercise, travel and meet friends on a regular basis.
6. Eventually, you do not stay in a 2/3/4 BHK, but stay within your 250 cu.cm. brain and mind and in your thoughts.
7. Eventually, you need 6 ft x 4 ft space to spend 1/3 rd of your life ( sleeping ) and that has to be a proper sleep.
8. You need one simple car to move around and 3 square meals a day to live well and a roof over your head to be happy..
9. Have friends and time spent with old friends has no substitute. Nothing can replace the great feelings of being with old friends and relatives and no amount of property or wealth can replace relationships.
10. A lot of your success is based on fate and luck as well, not just your capabilities and hard work The latter do not change, but the earlier ones and government rules do ! ( demonetization, tax net and competition )
11. With changing wealth creation patterns, government rules and regulation, and the aspirations of the next generations, all your investments may not turn out to be perfect ones.
12. Donate – need not be money always, could be knowledge, could be guidance and counselling. Contribute to society and poor people around you , mentor the under privileged. This is also a way of wealth creation.

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WITH LOVE & RESPECT TO THOSE BORN IN THE 1960’s

In the last few weeks some unique events happened in my life that set me thinking of my generation in depth- a retrospection which was much due considering that my active working life is now slowly on the way out and also coupled with the fact that my small business made me recently interact with hundreds of people, mostly half my age. The generation I am referring to is of those born in the 1960’s. The first few events were that I saw two movies based on PL Deshpande the famous Marathi actor, writer and intellectual, and also the movie Thackeray based on Bal Thackeray the Shiv Sena founder. The other event was that I met my old college friends at a get together at Dadar where I grew up, who all were born in the early 60’s.

All the discussions that happened in the get together of those close friends were based on our college days till mid eighties and the settings and events captured in the movies were in the era 1960s to 1990s. Though the events were Mumbai / Pune centric, they were, nevertheless possibly applicable to all those born in the early to mid sixties, all across India.

One thing that I realised in the past few weeks was the fact that those born in the sixties were extremely fortunate people. Fortunate, not in monetary terms, but in terms of living and life. Why ? Because, this particular generation has seen the most of the great changes in an entire lifespan that perhaps no generation in India has seen. What this particular generation has seen and experienced, perhaps no one prior to and later than in their mid fifties now, will ever experience.

This generation has seen it all. From the days of not having a refrigerator and a landline at home to times when people have the latest smart phone in hand, which is now extremely misused and which has taken over your life. The transition from going to a neighbour’s house to make or receive a phone call on a heavy, antiquated black phone piece to a 200 gram smart phone that tells you that you have to have your food. Through that journey was a push button electronic hand set landline , a cordless phone, a pager and an “‘un-smart mobile phone””. I remember asking my friends if they had a phone and a refrigerator at home in the 60s and 70s, and I remember having a FIAT or an Ambassador car was the sign of the super rich. All along school and college, I nurtured a dream of owning a second hand FIAT car which was finally realised after I turned 32, full ten years after I graduated. Today, my generation’s sons and daughters are taking cars and bikes to college.

I remember me and my friends scheduling a meeting together 7 days in advance and honouring a commitment to meet, without calling or speaking to each other in the intervening period, as there was no way to get in touch.

This is a generation that had the best of exposure to our own culture, our own languages / mother tongue and a fantastic reading exposure to a foreign language- English. This was a generation that went to Marathi and other vernacular medium schools, yet spoke English quite well in due course of time. International schools were unheard of. Going to Balmohan Vidyamandir, RM Bhat, ANZA and other neighbourhood schools was just the perfect thing to do, and branded schools and colleges and foreign boards were unheard of. Becoming an engineer or doctor meant that you had made it to a very few colleges in the state and that you were really good at studies.

This was the generation that knew the BeeGees and also knew our own PuLa’s, Gadimas and Shrinivas Khale’s. This generation read Enid Blyton ( Famous Five/ Secret Seven ), Mills & Boon, Tin Tin comics and also Faster Phene ( Marathi ) in school, and later Agatha Christie, Irving Wallace, W Franklin Dixon, Arthur Hailey and also James Hadley Chase ( the last being read secretly after parents were asleep ) ; besides reading famous Indian language books by P L Deshpande , and poems by G(a) D(i) Madgulkar, literature by V(i) S(a) Khandekar, Acharya Atre and others- all borrowed from libraries with great effort and walking & cycling . This was a generation which was extremely comfortable in their own mother tongues and also in English. The environment that prevailed during that time, would not let you be anything else. Now the same generation is quite happy with Kindle, Amazon, Whats App and Twitter, but misses the old world charm of books. Unfortunately this generation finds their own next generation, not reading anything at length other than their academic studies, and busy forwarding short messages and jokes all the time- which hardly adds to their knowledge or content- despite having all books on Amazon and Kindle to read.

This is a generation that has seen huge changes in India’s fortune, experiencing poverty like situation to stable prosperity 20 years later, and later on also experiencing the pitfalls of excessive investments beyond their own means in properties more than what was possibly required. This generation was one that went to US for studying only if one had ample funds or was getting a scholarship or was having an uncle out there. Migration to another country for education meant a return to India after a 2 year ‘Vanvas’. The same generation sees their children return in 3 months for the Christmas break, after starting their fall semester. Isn’t that prosperity for you ? An extra tuition class besides your college education was unthinkable for many, while the same generation sees their kids going to expensive classes for all kinds of things, for possibly no reason. This generation was comfortable driving vehicles such as Fiat and Ambassador ( which were obsolete even then ) and are now happy driving high class automatic transmission cars. This is the generation that used a T Square, a Drafter, Log Tables, Scientific Calculators and then Computers. They used crazy programs like Fortran, Cobol and Pascal, and later went on to use MS office and PPTs and laptops only in their mid thirties- but are now proficient with the latest in software. This generation possibly used PPTs in their mid thirties after having made slide transparencies on plastic sheets, using overhead projectors ! Now the same generation also uses the latest toys for office meetings like PPT on Windows 10 ! Any yes, this generation does not understand how anyone becomes an AVP or VP or GM at age 30, and with no one working under them, and without any powers. For us, a Manager post itself meant something big, sometime back .

This is a generation that thrived on playing real games, being physical and working out on the grounds. Also, from watching just 2 channels of DD ( Doordarshan ) airing some fantastic programmes in Hindi ( Phool Khile Hai Gulshan Gulshan, Chitrahaar, Ramayan, MAhabharat, Buniyaad, the Sunday movie at 6 pm, stupid jokes of Yakub Sayeed and Babban Prabhu on a Sunday morning, and Marathi master piece programmes like Gajra ) and other Indian languages , this generation now also flips through 150 channels dishing out bad debates. This generation has seen it all. This generation waited for test matches which were played only once in a while, and waited for their heroes like Sunil Gavaskar to reach his century and Kapil Dev to get his next wicket – all on a 21 inch B&W TV.

Only Quality of life ( just like on the 2 TV channels ) mattered and Quantity of things possessed just did not- since those did not exist. This generation still has a value system in place, like mutual respect and friendships . A generation that saw all- frugality, comfort and excess. It however knows even today that not having something does not matter, and there is a lot to have and be happy, even when not actually possessing many things physically.

This generation however carries the responsibility to convey to the next few generations- be frugal, don’t be possessive, and that to be happy actually is a state of your mind and not a state of your pocket. There is a lot of nice things to enjoy in life like healthy interactions with others, reading great books, watching drama, theatre, mehfils as seen in the 2 movies of Pu.La. As we discovered in our get together, Memories and Friendships are to be possessed and nurtured rather than only shares and properties- the latter which you never take away with you.

Born in the 1960’s ? Maan…you are lucky! Give yourself a pat on your back !

By
Dinesh Bandiwadekar
http://www.PersonaAcademy.in

Badly needed- more IIMs, IITs, IAS, IPS, IRS, IES and the likes, on every street……..pl read till the very end.

As the Thanksgiving week approaches in the USA, many would wonder what relevance it has to India. More so, you will wonder what the title of the article has to do with it!

Thanksgiving is not just an American phenomenon. Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated also in Canada, some of the Caribbean islands, and even of all places, Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan, and of course, not to forget our own country India. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.

With what is going on in our country, I think it is time to celebrate the same in India, possibly the way it is celebrated in the USA for the past many decades. That’s the time of the year Americans say “Thanks” to their parents, relatives, friends, clients and mentors. Though now not really connected just with the harvest, Thanksgiving connects families and many people working together. You see children coming home to their parents for a great family dinner at least this time of the year, and it is the time when you see a huge surge in traffic on the interstate highways, the airports etc.

Thanksgiving “per se” / by itself, is what Indians have almost forgotten. That is precisely what we must start learning and training young people in this country. If you watch the TV debates on various channels in India, what are we getting known for?: Insulting others, Criticising others, Backstabbing, Playing office politics, Corruption, Open fights- physical or otherwise, reckless and mannerless driving , misbehaviour towards women ? ( in comparison, watch the polite way in which debates happen on BBC and CNN ) . This is the best sign of a country deteriorating in ethics and public behaviour.

Today, we aren’t able to appreciate a single thing that is going on in our country. We are not able to applaud any good work done by anyone. We have also stopped appreciating good manners and propagating the same. All that the younger generation is now learning is, how to find faults, how to make more money, how to become more popular, how to push others behind to go ahead. We are not able to develop basic courtesies in life, have basic manners in place and follow basic public rules. From the way top political leaders talk in TV debates and argue in a manner less way, with even some political leaders going overseas and criticising our own countrymen openly, industrialists looting banks and disappearing abroad, down to the ordinary citizen not following basic traffic rules and courtesies, all these are signs that from top to bottom we are a society that has no basic grooming in place or we have lost all the values we had.

My personal experiences were a number of relatives who came for a number of years to my home when I was a kid to seek help and financial assistance. That was definitely at some cost which affected my education and life as well as during those frugal times, even any amount was a big packet. After their motives were achieved they never even bothered to inquire about my family. I always thought that it was a one-off incident. As I progressed to my job and business, I saw it happen unfortunately everywhere.

To ensure that we change over years and not get recognised as “one of the fastest growing and possibly the largest economies BUT with the least of morals, ethics and manners, the time has come to revamp our education system- from KG to PG!

We need more IITs, IIMs, IAS, IPS, IES and IRS and the likes. Surprising ? Not at all. I mean we do not really need any more of the elite institutes producing well-paid monsters who possibly make a difference to their own pockets, BUT we need on every Indian street- Indian Institutes of Thanksgiving, Indian Institute of Manners, Indian Appreciation Services, Indian Privacy Services, Indian Ethical Services and Indian Reciprocation Services. We need to change the mindset, manners and behavioural training of our future generations, starting from school level. We need basic changes in our society for the masses and not just focus on imparting high-level education for a small fraction of our society. The change in our behaviour will take us a long way for future and future generations to come. It is time to focus on the basics. We need a huge cultural change happening all across the society to take this great nation forward. Otherwise, we are bound to have a tagline very soon….”Just economic development, no ethics”.

Have a Thanksgiving weekend beginning 23rd November at your home this year. Let’s begin from home, thanking all those who mattered in your life right from your early days. Why celebrate only Valentines Day?
———
Written by Dinesh Bandiwadekar
Director http://www.personaacademy.in

Newton ( the film nominated for 2018 Oscars ) and the Elphinstone Road station tragedy

In case you have not seen the movie Newton, please do so. In any case, you can read a great review here to know about the movie

http://www.hindustantimes.com/movie-reviews/newton-movie-review-a-charming-satire-on-the-dance-of-democracy/story-51KAdBEEbNmGFmdWzPjkzI.html

I happened to see this movie the same day the Elphinstone Road Station tragedy happened. I was in no mood to watch the movie and instead wanted to watch the TV debates on the tragedy but went to see as tickets were already booked. My mind kept shuffling between the movie and the day’s morning incident as I used to take exactly the same F.O.B.( foot over bridge ) 25 years ago when as a lesser mortal I travelled by train and visited some clients in industrial estates near that station in the then lower-middle-class area.

As the intelligent movie directed by Amit Masurkar progressed​, I actually started seeing the real story that is​ there ​ even in a metropolis like Mumbai, and not just in the ​N​axal​ite​ area of Dandakarnya. The movie, as I interpret, is not just the reality ​of​ the Maoist infested region​ ​( of which many of our high profile​,​ educated and sophisticated urban elite is not even aware)- but a stark reality in a different way of the overall conditions of India.

If we study carefully, aren’t we the ordinary train travelling( and even otherwise) Mumbaikars and other citizens in other cities, in many ways the same as the tribals in the Dandakaranya region? Does anyone care about us and also that we are capable of changing our life situation- be it our economy, our job profiles, our bosses on one side​, the government departments and all our life​ in general​?. Especially consider what is happening around you and the country, as an effect of the political systems and the politicians, and more specifically with the government,the MCGM, the Railways and all its senior officials who have great salary and perks and do not wish to deliver in th​e first place . If anyone who wished to deliver, he is like Newton, – who just can’t deliver anything to the troub​l​ed and harassed ​ tribals​.

Watching the movie​ Newton​ made me feel, that it was replicating the story line of the Elphinstone Road FOB disaster. ​To draw a parallel, the tribals of the Maoist region are like the average people of Mumbai who are exploited to the core, the Maoists are like the high positioned government officers like the IAS / IES / Railways officers heading various departments in Mumbai- like MCGM, MMRDA and the Railways specifically in this case who will never lose their jobs for not doing anything and for any major lethargy in their work and who could be highly corrupt and inefficient and waiting for their retirement, and Newton Kumar (​ played by ​Rajkummar Rao) is like any average clerk ( in all of us ) ​who wants to do something but just cannot- as he is ignorant of the reality and how the system works. The para military Commando Atma Singh (​ played by ​Pankaj Tripathi)( who is supposed to maintain the law and order at the polling booth, is the like the railway police, who actually are playing their own game, more interested in protecting their own lives like the Commando and his team. The two clerks who assist Newton in his role as the Presiding officer for the election booth are the guys like ​your ​co- passengers in the train who are least interested in changing anything in the system and who are just waiting for their station to arrive and disembark ​the​ crowded train.​ The “local” girl Malko Netam played by Anjali Patil, is like any local political party which knows exactly what is happening around them as they have grown up in the region​ and are part of the “developmental” process​. They also know that it takes time for anything to change and possibly it is impossible to change, so why take that effort​ in the first place​ is what they believe in,

​Like nothing is going to change in their area is what the tribals are well aware, Mumbaikars also know the same about their city- despite any number of tragedies like this disaster or the flooding that happened on multiple occasions.​ IAS officers will come and go, do nothing about anything and be part of the corrupt and inefficient system, Railway top bosses will occupy their chairs doing nothing but taking salaries till retirement, Municipal bodies will work the same way as their jobs too are very secure, and the corporate elite living in their own world, will scout Naukri.com for fatter packages. On one side we will claim we produced IITs and IIMs and IAS etc, but in reality all the graduates from these institutions all are clerks like Newton, not able to do anything , and like the other characters in the movie, not wanting to do anything ! And yes, the tribals of Mumbai will take Monday’s 8:27 local train after the Dassehera weekend is over, just like the tribals of Dandakaranya will go next day for picking up Tendu leaves.

Written by Dinesh Bandiwadekar

98% marks: Congratulations ….52% marks: Congratulations in advance – you could do much better and be “ Qualified to Succeed in Life” – just do the right thing now.

As the “Results Season” dawns in India with all Boards – Central and various States declaring the results, students and parents go into an ecstasy mode if their children have done very well, and those whose children have not, resign to the fate that they are not going to make it big in life. These “marks” which many a times even touch 100 /100 in many subjects, have made people think that these are only the parameters of future success. Unfortunately adults, parents, the media and the coaching classes and private for profit universities have created such a hype that we are turning to be a nation of so called highly educated brilliant students, but most of whom do not deliver in life. The many competitive exams that our students keep working for over years and trying to excel in have actually made our younger generation follow meaningless pursuits and forget other better aspects of life.

This is the most appropriate “season” or time, to tell our youngsters and even our parents, the real facts of learning, education, life and happiness. This is the time when teenagers to be told that if you have not succeeded in getting a good score in exams, nothing, and really nothing matters much

Parents, if you always wondered what will happen to your children if they do not excel in studies, let me tell you that your fears are extremely unfounded. If they excel in studies, there is no guarantee that they will excel in life and reach high positions. If they do not excel in studies, there is actually a greater chance that they will succeed in life- provided their leadership qualities, interpersonal skills, language skills and many other aspects of their personality are developed. Some of the best political leaders, best business persons, best corporate leaders are not having great academic skills/ certifications/ degrees. They are simply great leaders and that’s why they are there. Some of the best CEOs and leaders are excellent speakers at forums, have a wonderful thought process and convincing abilities and extra ordinary knowledge, but in many cases they were not brilliant in academics. At least they were not toppers ! Why? It is only because during their many formative years they were exposed to far more than books and academics only. May be they were involved in a lot of extra curricular activities, had innumerable friends which we now call as “networking” and developed many qualities which actually matter in life more than your marks or academic excellence.

With my 30 + years of working experience in responsible positions in India and overseas, I feel academics plays just 25% role in the success of your career or in the success in your life . The rest 75% that will make a difference in your profession, career and life is your leadership skills, your self esteem, your confidence level, your convincing abilities, your communication skills, your interpersonal skills, your dynamism, your networking ability, your ability to interact with a wide range of people, and your ability to lead teams . Unless you are a surgeon/ doctor, a scientist/ research engineer, or someone really hands on technical- only then academics may play a greater role in your success than other qualities. For the remaining 90% of the masses , it is your leadership ability, soft skills, your personality that will take you places . It is most important to build your personality along with your study skills for a real success in life. The earlier you start, the better. 75% of the best jobs actually seek out people with excellent personalities and very few people really are looking out only for academic talent.

Ten years in the Middle East exposed me at times to some of the UK based schools that a lot of people sent their students to. I was amazed at the skills in communication, impromptu speaking, confidence levels, and clarity of thought and expression that even 12 year olds had, even the Indian ones. It was obvious that these schools focused right from the beginning on these areas , which are practical requirements of life, and not just academic excellence. Most American schools and universities have on going testing during the entire year , where you evaluate a student with a test at the end of the lecture or at the end of the week, ensuring the student actually learns “during the lecture” itself, rather than at the end of the year. I know we will come to that stage sometime now or later, but all the many years that our schooling / educational system has taught us has either not being relevant fully to our lives or they have not being instrumental in improving our thought processes. I realized in USA that a Community College diploma holder, who has landed up there as his family cannot raise a huge sum for University fees, is far better in his work and focused on the job than an Indian engineer qualified as a BTech or BE. In Dubai I noted that the Italian Technician with 10+2 education at a Polytechnique was far better hands on in his work than many Indian engineers put together, due to his training at work/ internship.

At my personality development institute I have encountered “scholars” with 95%+ marks who are shy, or unable to articulate a point or who have great problems in confidence and also very weak in spoken English despite getting 90%+ marks. I have “professionals” coming in who are doing quite skilled jobs and holding responsible positions but who are unable to handle bosses or colleagues, speak at meetings and hold fort in important meetings with clients. I guess there are a lot many things that are just not right while we learn during a long 17 -18 year learning process.. That could have something to do with our parents, schooling and the government. A very minor fraction of our population is of course is super excellent and goes on to head large corporation internationally, but is that what we seek as a country ?

Specially in my last 20 years of work, I noticed 2 types of professionals. Both types had equally good domain knowledge of their work / subjects. One type had in addition, excellent communication skills and were also good in many different areas like Public Relations, making friends, winning over people , clients and making excellent personal contacts. These guys/ gals most probably were also more active in extra curricular activities during school & college times. I noticed that these guys moved up the corporate ladder very fast and moved on to take on wider & higher roles and responsibilities. The other type also did well, but only those who had a really excellent domain knowledge did make a good mark. I am pretty sure that all the others in this second type, if had rounded off their personalities well in time, could have got a lot more in return.

In fact I remember a large multinational company hired only one person from a choice of many, during the placement season at my engineering college due to his other abilities than just academics. This person had a poor academic record of several ATKTs, Today the same person runs a very successful electrical products manufacturing company- not just because of his technical knowledge, but due to his DYNAMISM and being extremely MARKET SAVVY and STREET SMART. These word in CAPS have nothing to do with your marks. I have seen highly qualified people from top institutions of engineering and management who have not made any mark in life, as they were very inhibited in their approach, were selfish and lacked leadership and team building skills.

Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge. ( like Technology, Science, Accounting, Engineering, Software etc )

It doesn’t matter if you did not receive the best academic training from a top university or a great school. A person with less education who has fully developed their overall skills will be far more successful than a person with an impressive education who falls short in these other categories. Yes, it is certainly great to be good in academics, be an intelligent person good in math, science and logic etc ,and be a rational thinker, have a high IQ; all these are an important assets ….but you must realize these are not enough. Your IQ will help you personally, but other things will benefit you and everyone around you as well. If you can master the complexities of these unique and often under-rated forms of intelligence such as communication skills, team building skills, leadership skills, networking, research tells us you will achieve greater success and be regarded as more professionally competent and capable.

In many developed countries the above qualities are rated as a great form of competence along with typical academics. I want to tell young boys and girls- marks are just ONE thing for success . So if you do not have great marks, just don’t get bogged down by it. There are so many things in life that you can excel in, provided you are well developed as a person, a great human being . Why do we glorify only board toppers ? Why do not we give publicity to those who top armed forces exams, police entrance exams, fireman exams, social workers, sportsmen and good politicians too ? Are these not essential professions ? Don’t these services need great people and is that not a form of achievement? Why don’t we congratulate and have awards for small entrepreneurs. In many cases to excel in many areas that are relevant to our country or elsewhere , you need different levels of achievements other than academics. We must change the way we look at marks. The change must start with parents, with schools and the government.

Recently I asked one of my Asst. Managers who is an Engineer-MBA from a good university, who has super excellent marks if she and her brother had read during school -Famous Five, Secret Seven, Hardy Boys, Mills & Boon, and Tin Tin- forget Shakespeare .Unfortunately she did not know any of these books or its authors like Enid Blyton or Franklin Dixon, something my generation of youngsters devoured during school days. Then I asked her marks in English during the boards, and it was a fantastic figure. I could only tell her that she has missed out on life in the process of scoring great marks ! The real charm of learning, growing up and studying is getting lost under the super tough academic competition. Lets us admit that thousands who get 100% in science and math at the SSC/CBSE levels do not make it in the IIT entrance. So young people, do not give too much importance to the marks. It is not a guarantee for anything. It does not tell your real competence.

For those who seek degrees or achieving academic qualifications in life , or even those who think they will “miss the bus” of professional qualifications, do not worry- it is possibly the best time for you . Nowadays you can get any degree from anywhere in India or in the world. The options are many: full time / part time / correspondence/ on line or just by sending your fees/ payment ( unfortunately ) ! Many well known educational institutions are into this business now , selling degrees or other certifications in bulk. So everyone is going to be a qualified person, regardless of your marks. Many US / UK universities are full of Indian students now. Not because of the fact that Indians are well educated and intelligent, but because their parents could pay the fees or take loans. So even there are going to be too many foreign returned educated persons. ‘It is all about money’ -is the another story that is taking shape in India. You may thus be “qualified” in the academic sense. In this scenario of oversupply of all professionals, the questions to ask yourself are: Are you good enough to beat the competition…… are you employable…. whether you can be a leader / entrepreneur?, more specifically : Are you “QUALIFIED TO SUCCEED IN LIFE” ? That may not need great marks in the first place. You just need to keep working on yourself continuously- with specific work related skills and life skills: not a one time academic certification.

Written by Dinesh Bandiwadekar- Director of Persona Academy, http://www.personaacademy.in

CXO’s @ Rs 30 million per annum & sales executives at Rs. 30,000 per month……The fallacy of paying exhorbitant salaries to CXOs- the time for promoters owners to think seriously

Recent pay packages to so called professional CEO/CXO’Ss have reached the sky. Nothing seems to be the limit. Salaries like Rs. 20 to 50 million per annum seem to be common. Yet, how really effective are these CXOs in changing the fate of their organisation ? Are they really worth that much. And really, how long do they last in their organisations to make a long term difference ? What are the repercussions of their salaries on the morale of their staff ? How do the CXO’s really convince the management that they are worth that much ?

The first point that comes to the mind- is the CEO/CXO’S the founder or promoter of the business ? Did he take the organisation to a great success from scratch. If not, if he was introduced into the organisation after the business reached great heights, was it his achievement ? If not, does he really deserve the pay ?

The second point is what does such a guy do after taking charge? Normally to show his utility and hide his expense, he tries to cut corners- he sacks a few people drawing say Rs 30 lakhs a year. 5 people terminated means he has saved Rs 1.5 crore/ 15 million , say 50% of his salary he has saved ! Another Rs 1.5 crore/ 15 million comes from reducing advertising and travelling budget due to “austerity” measures ! – so he can now show the management that his salary is recovered ! . Such CEO/CXO’Ss always immediately on joining cut expenses on advertising, marketing, sales, personnel & travel and even company lunch to cut costs and show profits, but these are the same decisions that cost the companies several millions of rupees in sales & profits!!

The other things this type of CEO/CXO’S does is introduce new work measurement and extensive reporting formats to make performance measurements sound more professional. The formats are too cumbersome, academic and possibly developed in another set up earlier where the CEO/CXO’S worked – and not applicable to current organisation. Another thing he does is reshuffle the organisation chart and create new divisions and verticals. All this in reality disturbs a well settled organisation and does not bring in any tangible value. As the CEO/CXO’S is new,
the management does not object and the staff does not dare to protest.
At this point of time, 3 to 6 months have passed !! ( Rs 10 miilion Nett after tax is in the CEO/CXO’Ss bag by now ) . Company has not shown any improvement , in fact there deterioration in sales & profitability.

What next ?… the management is slowly starting to get jittery over their selection of the CEO/CXO’S ( & his salary )….Really when can we see improvement in sales and the bottom line, they ask ?…The CEO/CXO’S in the board meeting says that he is just settling down, and the management should see a distinct difference in operations in a few months time…..the CEO/CXO’S then identifies a few people who are in the salary range of Rs 3 to 4 million per annum. He slowly tells them to leave and replaces a few with half their salaries, but not even with 25% of their competence. Great- the salary bill drops by another Rs 10 million. The CEO/CXO’S has something to talk about !!!
At this stage 9 to 12 months have passed !! ( Rs 20 million Nett after tax is in the CEO/CXO’S’s bag ) . Company has not shown any improvement , in fact there is further deterioration in sales & profitability.

What next……at the next AGM, there is serious discussion about the company’s performance. The owners are really wondering their decision to hire the CEO/CXO’S was correct. They question the CEO/CXO’S. His answer is -all efforts taken are in more or less correct direction, and next year the results of this will be seen….my assurance. The CEO/CXO’S that day goes home, a lot of tension on his head. He has already chucked out a few guys, cut down on some really important expenses , tried some cosmetic measures to change the company, but now what ? What next can be done? The market situation is too bad within the country, China is destroying his market share, and no idea will really change his sales and business. The CEO/CXO’S knows he is losing out. He takes out his laptop, searches for his last CV ,and updates the same !.

Next day at work…..he takes stock of his people & targets. he feels they are not performing, not him. He fires a couple of more guys , and brings in some high sounding designated people who were loyal to him in the earlier company. Salaries?- at 50% more than those fired. He tells the new guys that he wants RESULTS . He then goes back to his laptop and uploads his fresh CV to many consultants loyal to him whom he had given business for recruiting in his earlier organisations as a client. At the same time, as a last ditch effort hires an expensive management consultant to make a report on his company.( Owned by a jobless friend of his from his MBA batch of the 80’s/90’s ! ). The consultants “consults” the employees , takes a lot of information from them, and makes his nicely worded report in English and packs the old wine in a new bottle. The CEO/CXO’S settles the RS 10 million bill of the consultant and organises a lot of procedural / organizational changes , which saves a few millions more in salaries, but does not improve anything !! By this time, 15 months have passed !! ( Rs 25 million Nett after tax is in the CEO/CXO’Ss bag ) . The company has not shown any improvement , in fact there is further deterioration in sales & profitability.

In the next quarterly meeting, the CEO/CXO’S is taken to task by the board. The CEO/CXO’S has nothing much to say. His power point slides which he mastered during his MBA, do not reveal much as to how the future will change. The economic situation in the country and the Chinese belwo cost products have ruined the market, and even God cannot do anything. The CEO/CXO’S goes home, gives final touches to his CV and sends it to his HR consultant friends and to people he knows. Another 3 months have passed. The CEO/CXO’Ss bag is Rs 30 million full.

What next ??? The management has started the search for a new candidate. The CEO/CXO’S s is aware of this , but by this time his new flat that he booked at Powaii is almost ready. He is looking for a job now in Andheri East and not at Mahalaxmi The sales do not improve ,the collections do not improve, the bottom line takes a hit. The CEO/CXO’S complains to his wife that the management does not understand his long term plan for the organization, and does not appreciate his top business school MBA knowledge and have a Baniya mentality – and that he is finally fed up. As a last ditch effort, he tries to get in SAP- something that he is not aware of at all. He calls his Engineering college hostel mate who heads a SAP company, and agrees for a contract of Rs 30 million.

The management comes to know this. They meet at a Malabar Hill flat of one of the directors & decide to throw the guy out in 3 months. The same night the CEO/CXO’S has taken stock of his earnings in 2 years- Rs 55 million after tax. The empty “gala” under his under completion Powaii building is on his radar for purchase and a plan to start a consultancy business after retiring “early” is on the cards . He writes the cheque for the down payment……. A new consultant has emerged ! .Next day, luckily there is a call from his consultant friend for a CEO/CXO’S level position in another public limited company. The CEO/CXO’S rushes for the interview, shows his salary slip and luckily gets the job at Rs. 40 million per annum negotiating a 30% pay hike. Finally another “BAKRA” Company ( scapegoat )has been found by the CEO/CXO’S. Spending the next 2 years at least is not going to be a problem !!! A new CEO/CXO’S has arrived…..two more years of fooling around to be done and then to operate from the Powaii office of his own !!!!

Next week, after receiving the offer letter, the CEO/CXO’S calls a meeting in his current company. He privately expresses his ” gross disappointment” over the management not being clear in its objectives and hence he would like to move on as it is waste of time for him in the current organisation. A story is over.
By the time the guy leaves his office, Rs. 6o million with tax has gone down the drian. A lot of lower salaried employees at the same time also did not contribute properly as they felt that they were really UNDERPAID compared to the CE,O who they were sure was doing nothing.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS, OWNERS & INVESTORS—GENTLEMEN & LADIES- ANSWER THIS PLEASE:
DOES A CEO/CXO’S ONLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO AN ORGANISATION ? IF HE ALONE WAS SO GREAT TO CHANGE THE COMPANY’S FORTUNE, WHY DO YOU NEED PEOPLE DOWN THE LINE ? ARE THE GUYS DOWN THE LINE IDIOTS AND NON PERFORMERS THAT THEY SHOULD GET only 10 to 20% of the CEO/CXO’S’s salary ? WHAT EXACTLY DOES THE CEO/CXO’S DO ? DOES HE CREATE MAGIC ? DOES HE MEET TOP LEVEL DIPLOMATS & PRIME MINISTERS AND OTHER CEO/CXO’SS TO GET ORDERS AND INCREASE BUSINESS? IS HE A GREAT TECHNOCRAT IN TUNE WITH ENGINEERING THAT HE INVENTS NEW PRODUCTS AND GETS THEM PATENTED ? WHY DO WE NEED TO PUT THEM ON SUCH A PEDESTAL? DID HE START THE BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE ? HE CLAIMS TO BE TECHNO COMMERCIAL MANAGEMENT EXPERT, BUT DOES HE REALLY KNOW ANYTHING TECHNICAL STUFF PROPERLY , OR COMMERCIAL REALLY WELL ?

Actually when you hire a CEO/CXO’S at Rs 30 million p.a.& above and all other staff is at an average salary of Rs 1.5 million p.a., automatically you have send a signal to the CEO/CXO’S that he is GOD and all the others below are idiots. The excellent guys down the line also accept willingly that if the CEO/CXO’S is so good to get a fantastic pay, then let him do wonders for the organisation, why should I show results at such a ( comparatively ) paltry pay ?

Solutions to avoiding such CEO/CXO’Ss and avoiding losing tons of money are simple HR rules- old ones from the time there were no similar types of Sr.VP / EVP -HRs , and the rules are are still very effective:

1. Do not have more than 20-25% of salary as difference between 2 consecutive levels of hierarchy at top 3 levels in the organisation. Distribute pay & responsibilities equitably.
2. Pay commissions to staff on sales and other performance related incentives. The performance related should touch 50%-100% of the salary
3. Identify performers and groom them to take over higher positions. Train them at your cost. You do not need hi fi qualified candidates.
4. The pay scales at mid management levels should have 15 to 20% difference and at top 3 levels at 25% difference. In NO way, should your CEO/CXO’S draw Rs 30 million and your VPs Rs 4 -5 million, and your Managers just Rs 1.5-2 million and your field sales staff Rs 200,000 P.A. This huge difference in pay scales is destroying organisations and not motivating anyone. If you distribute the CEO/CXO’S’s salary as performance bonus to staff, your company will not need a CEO/CXO’S and will do twice the business that the overpaid & insecure CEO/CXO’S can do.
5. Assure promotions to people on a regular basis with higher positions/ promotions and just 20% higher pay every promotion. You will soon find CEO/CXO’Ss, Presidents and VPs from within who are happy, and work at normal pay levels and who deliver, rather than the monsters that you buy from the market at over valued salary levels..
6. No human being is so supreme to change business situations, or change market sentiments, or a failing economy and direct hundreds of employees to double their output. Do not try to find one.
Even Godmen cannot change the fate of an organization due to depressed market conditions, and Chinese pricing, forget an ordinary mortal doing it, whom you have put on a pedestal just because of his professional & hyped up degrees or past experience in another organization..

A company or organisation runs on its own strength , not on the strengths of one person. So build your organisation, do not build your CEO/CXO’S’s status & wealth . All the difference can be made by all your people in the organisation. So do not waste your money on one or five special persons , better invest in all your employees.

The middle and lower end of your pyramid actually delivers results and is responsible for the quality , speed and profitability of output and not the top end. Put your money on the right resources.

Rather than pay one person the salary of 50 to 100 average people, pay all the average people 10-20% more in terms of profit sharing or sales revenue or for productivity, and see the results improve dramatically all over. This fundamental change will ensure that no person above a crore / 10 million of rupees of salary is ever required.

ISSUED IN THE INTEREST OF MANAGEMENTS & OWNERS LOOKING FOR BUSINESS SURVIVAL IN MODERN TIMES & CURRENT SITUATION.

Written by Dinesh Bandiwadekar: has personally seen great companies go down the drain with the above phenomenon. He is Director of Persona Academy.
http://www.personaacademy.in

THE EVOLUTION OF A SENIOR MANAGEMENT PERSON & THE ABILITY TO COMPLETE A SUCCESSFUL UPWARDLY MOBILE LONG TERM CAREER UPTO AGE 58

It is very common nowadays to see talented people getting out of work or losing a job and having very few options as far as work and business is concerned. Even people in early & late forties are becoming part of this phenomenon which was earlier restricted to people in their fifties. Why are educated and “qualified” people seeing difficult days like these? Is it that they were bad in their work ? The answer is NO. What does one do to avoid this situation, where so called educated & qualified people are in over supply and techno savvy younger people are taking over jobs of the older people at lesser salaries ?

As one matures in his work in any organization, and goes up the hierarchy, his contribution shifts into delegating , directing and guiding younger people in their work. His work becomes less of a “hands on” execution of a task, but more of extracting work from other skilled persons. He soon assumes leadership and a team building role to achieve results rather than involving himself in the finer details.

At this higher level, your confidence, leadership skills, communication skills, other soft skills, motivational abilities, and general team building abilities count a lot. Not all managers are leaders, but leaders could become great managers. To move beyond a particular level in any organization you do need a wide range of skills and not just be an expert in your area of work.

These skills also matter a lot while interacting with clients, and while handling client facing roles. Your top management is certainly keeping a close look into all your abilities.

The higher level positions thus need an excellent personality and good soft skills.
As and when you grow up in stature in a Company, you move from being a skilled specialist into a skilled supervisor, and then a leader, a motivator & a guide. In short you have started mentoring people. If you do not go through these phases gradually , you perhaps are not really a senior management person.
Do look at the following age related progress expected from your side if you are to really succeed well in your career on a long term. It is also assumed that you know your core work well , such as Engineering, Supply Chain, Sales, Accounts, Finance, etc.

Age 23- 25 Trainee ( Learner )

Age 26-30 Asst. Manager / Manager ( Hard working, ground level operative , delivering results)

Age 30-40 A mature “senior manager / head of a department” with 5 to 20 people reporting to you. You play a detailed business role, supervising a team to deliver results. You do a part of the work, and oversee others doing the same for overall results. You build networks. You are improving very fast in your soft skills as well, and also on the way to become a better personality.

Age 40-45 Leader, motivator, team builder. You start having an overall control of the operations. You direct managers and future leaders . You have developed excellent presentation skills, meeting co-ordination skills by this time, and you have good soft skills at this stage. You have excellent networking skills by this time. Sr. GM / VP level designations.

Age 50-58 Leader, Motivator, Team Builder, Advisor, Guide / All aspects of mentoring …here you start being an important pillar of the company. Here you guide the senior managers . The positions that you normally are in :President/ COO/ CEO .

In this modern and competitive world, perhaps many people will be out of the Rat Race or will not be “in sync” with the requirements/ or will not really progress well in their career beginning their 40’s. This is not due to not having technical / professional skills, but because falling short of leadership , personality & soft skills. Even those with very good technical / professional skills may get stuck in their careers at this stage and find that they are not progressing.
For this survival , the senior managers/ top management personnel must have developed in them- by the time they are 40 , several essential aspects of a great personality, have excellent soft skills and more importantly great leadership skills. You have to accept that whatever specific technical work you can do, perhaps a much younger person can do it (do better as well ) – at a much lesser cost. Hence you need to contribute in a much different way with your work experience. which much younger people just cannot. At the higher level of management you need to be business oriented, people oriented, client oriented, have excellent contacts – business & social, have excellent networking skills and have great directional skills. You should not be doing too much work much yourself – ( you are not expected to do that ) and you need not be a specialist of more than one areas, but you need to get the work done from others as there are a lot many things to accomplish in a short time. This is the time you are “Creating Managers” in your organization from a long term perspective of your Company. In short, you must be a great personality yourself by this time, a leader and a motivator first. When you get elevated to top level management positions, ask yourself if you have these qualities.

When you lose a job , keep in mind you will get a better one with your personality and leadership abilities rather than one particular skill- because just that skill will be with many younger people, working at half your cost. Also while moving from one career to another or from one type of job to another- you will need to be a good leader with good personality traits and soft skills. It’s a very competitive world that we are living in. While technology can be a game changer, it can close down some businesses and wipe out many roles and positions, also competition can destroy your company. BUT nothing can affect your ability to make a come back or find another job if you have wide ranging qualities. It’s not so easy to be a specialist till you are 58, but it is possible to be a leader, a team builder, a great supervisor and a great motivator guiding other managers and specialists.

Written by
Dinesh Bandiwadekar
Director Persona Academy
http://www.personaacademy.in