I, me and “Mein Mein hoon”

In one of my meetings in the USA a few years ago, as a true Indian salesman I rattled off my company’s achievements and for sometime did not even notice the appreciation expressed on every point by my potential American client. I was meeting him for the first time and was keen on impressing him in the short time that I thought I will get. For every point I made I got a response like “hey that’s great”, “that’s wonderful”, “wow”, “it’s interesting ” and so on. In between my potential client told me some nice things about his company and relevant to the points I made. I waited for him to finish and then I finished the balance points I had to tell.

Little did I know that I had lost half the battle. I had not expressed any appreciation nor shown my willingness to listen to his point of view.

Several visits to the USA on business taught me a lot of the American psyche which is not necessarily to do only with business. There is a big difference between how an American thinks and how an Indian from India does. The interaction Indians have is to win anything they enter in and actually they lose a lot in the process. We think we are special. We think our brain is superior and our math and science and general computational skills are out of the world. We feel we are exceptionally great in many things.

The reality is that we are not trained to think that there are more important things in life to worry and think about. Bhai… “Hum..hum hai”….”Mein Mein hoon”….we have been brought up that way from childhood….. Our schools produce “talent” is what we think is 99 percent marks! When we enter a developed nation like the USA ,that is nothing…. They have achieved a lot more with a lot less of this “intelligence” stuff. Their achievements are far bigger. And we are yet to realise that actually we have to build a great change in our systems very soon, “to succeed”.

The training in India from childhood is a lot different right from beginning than that given in the USA. Ours is missing out on so many things practically, not necessarily academically or theortically. We are not trained to listen patiently to others, big or small , older or younger. We are not trained to appreciate the points others are making. We are not trained to say “hi /hello”, ” how you are doing”, “good bye”, “have a good day” and “drive home or reach safely”. Our culture says respect elders but practically what that means is when a boss enters the office, the juniors have to say ” hello sir” or “good morning sir ” and not the other way. Why can’t the boss say “Hi Ramesh” or “Hi Deepa” before they wish him? . In fact the story in many Indian offices is that many a times the boss does not even greet his deputy back. The peon is supposed to salute the boss but the boss need not even smile back at him !

Actually all this stems out of our upbringing. We have never changed our upbringing. We think our old culture and grooming is great, based on our mythology and history. No it is not always that way…. Let us change. Let us greet, appreciate, respect everyone… not just your superiors or elders or clients . Let us gradually retrain ourselves…..many small things happen to be actually big issues elsewhere and could lose you goodwill, lose face and lose even business if we do not retrain.

Do you rush in to a lift before others or get in even before those inside come out? Do you jump a queue even accidentally? Do you walk into an office and not say hi to the receptionist? Do you have adequate driving manners and road courtesies ?

The American education system and parental training trains you a lot about this. It’s all about respecting others- big or small, elder or younger. We have to take their good points and incorporate in our training in school. Our schools emphasise to learn more and win…. Other school systems train you to live well and let others also win. They achieve many things even before winning. We lose so many things while winning or trying to win.

I had an important meeting going on in the USA when my client got a call on his pager from the Fire department and left the meeting immediately after apologising for his sudden exit. He was a volunteer in the FIRE department of the local county. He was on call that day as a trained free paramedic to save heart attack patients. His training and upbringing …. Someone’s life is more important than making money.

Another client I met had left engineering to move into farming. My Indian colleague questioned him immediately … “Is there more money in that?” His answer: “don’t know…. but it’s more enjoyable.”

We need to retrain our children into how they look at life. We should stop being achievement oriented and being possessive. All these have resulted in huge problems in our society. We have also created monstrous corruption in this process. Our “I” is more important than “we”. Actually in the process “we” are nowhere as a nation despite creating wealth and gathering fancy degrees. We are still not able to have proper support, education and life skills and help to the blind, physically handicapped, mentally retarded, students with learning difficulties and others. We don’t even have a ramp for the wheelchair bound for entering public spaces. Why is this all..? Because “I” or “Mein” is more important than “we”. As long as “I” am O. K., all is O.K., unfortunately.

A huge amount goes into charity in developed countries like the USA . So many small and large businesses contribute to the community in different ways and whatever way they can afford. People contribute personally to many causes in terms of time and money. Where do we Indians stand here? We contribute a lot to temples ! That money lies unutilised. Why is this happening ? Because the money contributed to God was actually done for seeking God’s blessings for ” me and my family”….. once again “I” or ” Mein” has come in here …..just thinking only about oneself. All this originates actually from our upbringing and training to think about himself or herself first , right from childhood.

A lot of effort needs to go into our educational system to make our children think that life is far bigger than what is there for “me”, “I” and “Mein”. This actually will enrich their lives and make them really happier and more successful in the real sense, even successful internationally and become a real winner .

Dinesh Bandiwadekar
Director
Www.personaacademy.in

USA mobile 321 337 5878

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Have we made a monster out of the English language in India ?

Time and again, I get requests from young college students and working professionals to help me improve their chances of getting through personal interviews, written tests, group discussions and a few related things for entering management colleges or even getting technical jobs. These candidates feel that they are stuck somewhere in their endeavor to progress in their careers and also at times in their lives. Some of them feel that they have hit a wall, and further progress is impossible unless they bring in a change in their “personalities” ! Ok , whatever that means- when I drill down into this problem, I realize that most of the people are asking me to improve their communication abilities in English !

This problem has now “outgrown” to such an extent that in India we have started defining personality development as “English speaking“ ! To me Personality & Personality development is far, far beyond just speaking good English. It means a number of things really beyond the limitations of any language. But our craze for English has even changed our thinking !

However, we seem to have resigned to the fact that someone speaking good English is someone of the managerial calibre, and a more capable person. That is certainly because the kind of importance that we have given to English and have put it on a High Pedestal. Corporates are conducting GD’s & PIs only in English and they eliminate the weaker English speakers at the GD stage itself. Management institutes are doing the same. My question- why have we to link competence with capabilities in English ? In the many countries I traveled in Middle East and Europe- all developed and more prosperous than India- all the selections and interviews are done in the national language of the country- say Arabic , French, Italian , etc. Do Chinese rate their own students and employees on basis of their English skills ? All these countries could well do it in English as well, but they have their own priorities . I am not saying that we need to conduct GDs and interviews in Hindi or a local language, but our outlook towards the amount of importance that we give to English has to change. Don’t you agree that after selecting a person after conducting an interview in English, we always communicate with him or her in Hindi or a local language in the office ? So why make such a big issue about English in the first place?

The importance of English in India is restricted to a small section of our business and social operations and endeavors. Business of billions of rupees is transacted in Hindi and local languages. MBAs selected on basis of their English prowess in most cases end up discussing business with distributors, dealers, stake holders and customers in Hindi ! It is within the metros that English has a say. When you go to a small town or even smaller cities like Indore, Jaipur, Raipur, Kakinada, Kottayam, Patna or Bhubhaneshwar, you may risk losing business if you insist in talking in English ! Even in the multi billion dollar middle east / Gulf market, if you speak a high level of English, it is likely that the Arabs could get frustrated dealing with you and you could lose some big orders ! We are recognised the world over because of our maths , science ,and technical skills – so let us be proud of the same . Why are we paranoid about English?

The passages that we normally encounter in CAT or any MBA entrance exams in reading comprehension are such that ever the best of English speakers and MA’s in English cannot get the answers right. The words in English vocabulary testing that we normally encounter in such entrance exams are such that most of them are never used even in business dealings, forget day to day life.

So why are we giving so much importance to English the way we are currently doing, to shortlist candidates or eliminate them from jobs, MBA entrance exams etc? . As you travel in the Indian hinterland we see a lesser and lesser usage of English. Rural markets which are huge, are being addressed in Hindi and local language advertising. Do you think our stock exchanges, our commodity markets , our trade in various products – goes on in English ? Even then we want our MBA marketing graduates to excel in English ! When you get down to the basics of business, English is really not in sight. It is just a small fraction of our educated elite speak in English .When just a fraction of our 125 crore population speaks proper English, and which is the source of intelligent and talented people, why then do we want to create an obstacle of a language that can actually impediment the growth and success of these people ? …just because in offices we want to make presentations and reviews in English?

Also, why don’t we make it compulsory to speak, Spanish, German, French and Italian, if we want internationalization and excel in business ? It is high time, we looked at our own languages from a business perspective and unshackle the highly overrated “English speaking” ability/ skills expected of our young people. This way we open up the doors for highly talented students from the Hindi and vernacular mediums. The best of doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists and writer in India have studied in the vernacular medium. Had they been subjected to English language proficiency tests, they probably could have been eliminated from their field of study. Thankfully, they were not and they made it big. Their course content was far beyond the limitations of ANY language. I think we are making a big fuss about English- that is being done where in courses there isn’t really a very high level of intellectual content required like MBA/MMS etc.- and these courses need more of style & “gas” than the grey matter and real fundamental understanding of any complex phenomenon. Sorry about this comment. Why don’t you select a heart surgeon for an MS or a ENT course basis his English, but why you can risk to apply that parameter for a someone going to study Marketing for selling face whitening creams? It is the depth of knowledge requirement- if you have to study something elementary and yet make a 2 year course out of it and want to charge Rs 7 lakhs as fees, then you need to have such embellishments . You need to sort out the creamy layer to pay your fees, and market research shows those who can afford it are basically those who went to English speaking / English medium schools . Well, it’s business after all.

Can’t business be taught in Hindi or any other language? For centuries we have been doing business in our local languages. The few stalwart business communities even today do not speak ‘good English” ! Did the Marwari community do business because for years just because they did an MBA or was good in English ? So today why we are creating an obstacle for our young people? Talented vernacular students have been forced to take a back seat because of this new issue and average students speaking good English have been made into “smart guys” with so called “good personalities”. The matter is serious and the governments should take appropriate steps on this. Don’t forget that we Indians speak normally upto 3 languages fluently and understand 1 or 2 more. Why do we underestimate our own potential and check ourselves for a language that was not our own? Why are we blindly following the requirements of US/ UK/ Australian and other universities? If they had reading comprehension of high level English passages , why are we just copying that ? Why don’t we have our own standards and languages for testing candidates? Why don’t we check out English, Hindi and Marathi/Gujarati/ Tamil etc. as well?

The repercussion of the “English Speaking” phenomenon has serious implications. Vernacular medium schools in metros are slowly shutting down. Even the poorer section of society wants their children to study in English medium schools. The outcomes of these are going to be evident over the next 20 years, when we will have adults who are neither good in their own mother tongue and just average in English. Unless we make our vernacular medium schools as “dual medium” with a lot of emphasis on English right from the start, we will actually end up closing these schools. Another fall out of the phenomenon is the rush to so called international schools following the curriculum of other countries and ignoring Indian languages in the endeavor to be more westernized/ global.

I think we have made English into a very commercial proposition and actually made it into a monster. I think its high time to allow other languages to be considered for selection processes into management colleges and other places. Why should the interviews and GD’s not permit say Hindi or a local language to be used for entrance level testing. Example: Hindi/ Gujarati/ English should be the official options for GCs & PIs in selections for management institutions in Gujarat , and similar arrangements in other states. ……..after all, 95% of the time, all these graduates are going to speak in Hindi and other languages only after they start working ! Another solution could be also testing one’s prowess in Hindi and one regional language of the candidates choice during the entrance, and that could set things in a right perspective in a major way.

If the so called management institutions do not fall in line, we must allow new institutions to come up which will value local languages and Hindi, and conduct entrance tests in these languages. You will notice that there is a huge “business potential” is starting such institutions offering MBA & related course for those strong in Hindi & local languages and that could be the next craze. Are you aware that in Mumbai itself there are so many minority institutes from Gujarat or South India that prefer selecting students of their own communities or their mother tongues/ languages. So why these institutions should create the drama of English testing while selecting the students ? They may as well conduct the interviews in the Indian languages and Hindi as well ( or in their own lingo )!

C’mon- lets be practical. I am not being anti- English, anti –establishment or anti-“phoren”. English is an important language for us to learn and progress ( and we have benefited due to English ) , but it should not be a barrier to all the talented Indians who are spread far and wide in the country. Does a young man from Durg in MP who has studied in a Hindi medium school and who is very intelligent not have the right to study business in a good business school ? After all, what would have been the condition of our country today had we decided to select our prime minister on grounds that he should be a good English speaker ? Let’s focus on delivery, not a language. Let’s start changing- we have a long way to go, and we are amongst the largest populations in the world, and we could be dictating terms in centuries come. For all you know, international students will one day land up in India to study and we will test them for their Hindi skills. That is if we have adequate self esteem and a long term vision. Great personalities are built on so many different things like these, English is just one part of the process. Let’s give it the right amount of importance it deserves, but not any more than it deserves.

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

THE GULF BETWEEN THEN AND NOW……

My recent visits to the Middle East makes me feel good that I am now working in India. Having spent close to 10 years in the Middle East (Gulf ), I am happy that I have settled back in my country which is really progressing well and far more professional in handling its affairs, specially the economy.

Till ten years ago ( 2005 ) it seemed the middle east was a good place to be in and make some money and invest back in India. That is a general statement. The talent that was required in the Gulf and the labour as well, was sourced mostly from India. Indians excelled in all types of jobs and generally they took advantage of their good education, polite behavior and ability to converse in English. The Gulf was the destination for the “not so elite” Indians . The elite ones got better jobs in India and USA and in the developed world. Gulf has long been the main stay for Indian blue collared work force and labourers.

When the Indian economy took off around 2005, several changes started happening at the same time in the Middle East and elsewhere which have affected Indians. In the 2000’s I hardly found Africans in big numbers in any hospitality industry. Now, I find them actually dominating some jobs. Most of the jobs where Indians dominated are clearly the strong hold of the Filipinos now. Egyptian and other Arabic nationalities were always there in some numbers , thanks to their Arabic language skills , but now the Egyptians and people from other Arabic nations have a total domination in many fields. Never did I see Nepalis in the Gulf 15 years ago, but now you see them in plenty. Bangladesh is one such country as well. I was shocked to see a construction site where only Arabic workers dominated, a stronghold of Indian labour till ten years ago. The situation in the last 10 years in Syria, Palestine, and some other countries have forced them to take up jobs in the Middle East at survival rates.

The salaries that are generally been paid now are excellent figures when converted back into the currency of their home countries- for the Nepalis, Filipinos, Bangladeshis and the for African new comers. Not for the Indians though. The conversion and the cost of life back in India does not entice Indians much- specially at the middle management level and for skilled blue collared workers – to go to the middle East anymore.

Due credit also must be given to countries such as Philippines where they have massive skill development campaigns and programmes to “create” overseas Filipino workers- a brand “OCW” by itself . India did not do this for close to 40 years. Thanks to recent efforts, we have started, though quite late. Had we done this decades ago, the result would have been many million dollars more as remittance from the Gulf.

I noticed a great improvement in the English speaking abilities of the average Filipino, the Average Egyptian, other Arabs, and even Bangladeshis & Nepalis. This could be an effort from those countries to improve the English of their countrymen and better their job prospects in the Gulf Region. A lot of jobs lost by Indians, specially in the service industry could be because of this, and of course the relative conversion factor.

SO ARE WE THE LOSERS ? I think NO. On the FLIP side, our progress in the last 10 years has been excellent. We have created work opportunities for our own people in our own country. What could be better than that ? The plight of people in Gulf at the lower categories is pathetic. No one discusses this. The life in India is far, far better. Of course, more money helps. On the FLOP side, we lost a few million dollars income from the GULF , but we are on our way to a trillion dollar economy.

The Middle East is likely to be a dream which is getting over very soon. Everyone discusses in hushed tones so many related issues.

Does a country invest in anything just because its oil prices are high? Can only fancy looking skyscrapers and nice highways drive an economy? Is this a correct model of sustainable growth? The Indian model of development is far more logical and comprehensive. It does not need high oil and gas prices. It is a great economy by itself. Progress is assured in India and higher incomes as well for all. In India, oil prices do not decide whether the government is to build a hospital ! When we know we need it, it is done. There are adequate sources of financing. The basic need and demand , drives the completion of a project, not anything else. When that demand is there, things are in the right direction for an economy.

For Indians employed in the Middle East, The Gulf Between “then” ( 1970-2005) and “now” ( 2005-2020 ) has widened a lot. But, the Gulf between India and the Middle East has narrowed a lot. It makes more sense to work FOR your country , IN YOUR country and “BUY” in your country !

Dinesh Bandiwadekar

Should Indian students go for higher studies to USA in the 2016’s and after; & later settle in there ??

Should Indian students go for higher studies to USA in the 2016s & later settle in there ??

Back in the 1980’s when the American dream was still made in USA and not in China, I desperately looked forward to migrating into that coveted country. That was the time of pink colored inland letters called pre-apps which were to be sent to the American Universities and in turn they would send you back thick envelopes with application materials.

For some reasons I never made it to the USA, and the regret of not having made to the most prosperous nation lasted in my mind for the next 25 years. A month long technical training at a young age of 26 to that country led to a further strengthening of that feeling and a continued realization of having missed the “Greyhound” bus.

25 years later, two trips- a family vacation and a long business trip to USA, completely changed my perspective. The business trip took me to many extremely fast paced cities, and around the beautiful American country side and to some exclusive neighbourhoods where a lot of Indians stay. Also the difficult & dangerous neighbourhoods as well were on the travel itinerary – where most of the colored community stays. The great navigation tool GPS also took me through cities which were almost deserted and decaying and infrastructure (specially steel bridges) needing a huge revamp. It also took me to areas where industries had closed down long ago and people having moved out to other locations. A number of commercially active cities of the 1980’s have changed into ghost towns with the people being hit hard by the production moving out to China and other countries.

Staying in India, one does not know what’s happening in USA, exactly the same way staying in Dubai does not tell you what’s happening back in India. The vice versa is equally true. The fact is that a lot of water has passed under the bridge, and it is time to take stock of a lot of issues in migration that our next generation may be planning.

Who are the types who can migrate to the USA now? Mostly- the wealthy middle and upper middle class people- those who incidentally are having a set up for a good life in India. It is not the lower middle class and poor who are in a position of migrating. A complete balancing statement of life is necessary if you are already doing well in India and if you still want to migrate to USA.

India though not the best place now to stay, is the correct place to be in if you are reasonably wealthy, have a roof over your head ( mostly inherited from our parents !), and if you enjoy the pleasures of low labour costs even unknowingly. I see a lot of families from the middle class who now have a driver, a full time cook, a couple of visiting servants, tution teachers for the kids, a full time nurse for the old grandparents, and also a couple of cars for the family . This is in addition to affording all the fees that are needed for college for a couple of bright children.

Honestly, things have drastically changed in India. I remember, back in the 80s, a manager in a public sector drew Rs 50 k as his annual salary at retirement, and a second hand ( pre owned) Ambassador car costing as much as Rs 40 K ! People stayed in rented flats till they retired and moved out to their own homes with their lives savings – almost at retirement time, to cheaper areas -a virtual surrender to the fact that you could manage your own house/ home only at the fag end of your lives .
Things have changed, the same manager at age 35 draws Rs. 30 lakhs or much more, and a brand new Japanese car costs just 1/3rd of his annual salary. A driver comes in at Rs 13000, ( USD 200 ) a month. A full time maid comes in around the same price, and if she does not turn up, the “Poli Bhaji” Kendra next door serves you home cooked chappatis & vegetables for Rs 100 ( USD 1.5 ). Do you realize the extent of salary income increase and but also notice that basic life essential services still being available at throw away price ? Neither do you have to drive your kids to their dance class or swimming pool- there’s always that noisy Auto which taken you to your destination at quarter of a dollar. And, it does not snow in India , so either you don’t have to rake up the snow or pay for doing the same.

And things are changing further…….jobs lost in the USA are found in India. India is 25% of the American working costs for skilled labour- and if the outsourcing continues, India is likely to be the greatest beneficiary of the high cost US economy. Recently, USA increased its minimum wages, yet you see boards everywhere “ Positions Open” and “NOW Hiring”. USA is in real shortage of lower end “willing” workers, and India is flush with them. This economics is going to work out well for Indians. 30 years ago, Indians rushed to any core engineering stream for university admissions, and later found jobs in those fields. Those fields are now almost defunct. Those jobs have moved out elsewhere, India is a distinct beneficiary- but our poor quality has left us much pretty behind in the race.. We still have a chance here, though. No doubt that the USA is the top end destination for software & hardware jobs , but then equivalent jobs will be created here as well.

Yes, I accept that there is no comparison between the quality of life in the public domain in USA & India. Those standards will never be reached by India in the next 500 years or ever. The roads, the driving, the cars, the discipline, the education, any infrastructure issue, and public healthcare system is beyond imagination of that of India’s.

Life is pretty tough in the USA, even for the best of professionals. They work 9 to 11 hours a day, drive their own vehicles, come home & cook food, clear the dishes, and do all their chores on Saturday & Sunday like washing and ironing, gardening and all kinds of cleaning and dropping kids to school and classes , preparing for the next week and face bitter winters for about 4 months. They do all the work, not because they cannot afford the help, but do so because everyone does all these things on their own . Even the CEO of any organisation drives his own car. Anyway, what’s wrong in that ? They struggle to pay huge college fees and medical & other insurance costs. In most cases they just own one house, may be because the government has ensured that basic needs of life like a house is not where you invest and speculate. In most cases, both the husband and wife toil hard to have a good life for their kids, and for themselves sometimes. However, if the family does not have a decent income for any reason, it is very difficult to have a good life for all including the kids.

In the personal domain, things can be great by local standards or more likely haywire by Indian ethos. The younger lot do not seem to find the need to marry. By choice many are single mothers, and divorce lawyers advertise their services widely. Though first generation Indians do not get affected much by this, approximately the third generation of immigrant Indians is no more “Indian”.

Nowadays, a number of students who go for the fall admission, return in 3 months in the Christmas vacation for a short stay in India . That was not the case 30 years back- when students arriving in USA, normally went home for the first time after 2 to 3 years after their education or after getting a job. Several lakhs of Indians are now financing their own education at US universities. This change in wealth pattern for Indian students and parents, itself tells the story that India is doing well and quite differently now, and staying back in India may make a lot of sense in the future. Or put it more correctly, it is great to go the USA as a student, but even better to return in time to cozy India. If you are in a financially sound position to go to the States now, it is possibly more likely that you will have a much easier & prosperous life in India ! Choice is yours …I just explained one option in detail.

CEO @ Rs 3 crore per annum & sales executive at Rs. 30,000 per month……The fallacy of paying exhorbitant salaries to CEO & CXOs- the time for owners to think seriously

Recent pay packages to so called professional CEOs have reached the sky. Nothing seems to be the limit. Salaries like Rs. 2 to 5 crores per annum seem to be common. Yet, how really effective are these CEOs 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 CEO’s really convince the management that they are worth that much ?

Point No 1 that comes to the mind- is the CEO 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, he really does not deserve the pay.

Point No 2
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 gone means he has saved Rs 1.5 crore, say 50% of his salary he has saved ! Another Rs 1.5 crore comes from reducing advertising and travelling budget due to “austerity” measures! – so he can now show the management that his salary is recovered !!! . Such CEOs always immediately on joining cut expenses on advertising, marketing, sales, personnel & travel and company lunch to cut costs and show profits, but these are the decisions that cost the companies crores of rupees in business !!

Point No 3
The other things this type of CEO 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 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 is new,
the management does not object and the staff does not dare to protest.

At this stage 3 to 6 months have passed !! ( Rs 1 CR Nett after tax is in the CEOs bag ) . Company has not shown any improvement , in fact there deterioration in sales & profitability.

Point No 4
What next… the management is starting to get jittery over their selection of the CEO ( & his salary )….Really when can we see improvement in sales and the bottom line?…The CEO 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 then identifies a few people who are in the salary range of Rs 30 to 40 lakhs 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 1 crore. The CEO has something to talk about !!!
At this stage 9 to 12 months have passed !! ( Rs 2 CR Nett after tax is in the CEOs bag ) . Company has not shown any improvement , in fact there is further deterioration in sales & profitability.

Point No 5
What next……at the AGM, there is serious discussion about the the company’s performance. The owners are really wondering their decision to hire the CEO was correct. They question the CEO. 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 goes home, a lot of tension on his head. He has already chucked out a few guys, cut down on expenses , tried some cosmetic measures to to change the company, but now what ? What next can be done? The market situation is too bad, China is destroying his market share, no idea will really change his sales and business. The CEO knows he is losing out. He takes out his laptop, searches for his last CV ,and updates the same.

Point No 6
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.Goes back to his laptop and uploads his fresh CV to consultants loyal to him. 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 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 settles the 1 crore bill of the consultant and organises a lot of procedural changes in the organisation, which saves a couple of crores more in salaries, but does not improve anything !! At this stage 15 months have passed !! ( Rs 2.5 CR Nett after tax is in the CEOs bag ) . Company has not shown any improvement , in fact further deterioration in sales & profitability.

Point No 7 :
In the next quarterly meeting the CEO is taken to task by the board. The CEO 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 CEO goes home, gives final touches to his CV and sends it to his HR consultant friends and to people he knows. Another 3 months pass.. The CEOs bag is Rs 3 crore nett full.

Point No 8
What next ??? The management has started the search for a new candidate. The CEO s aware, but his new flat booked in Powaii is almost ready. He is looking for a job now in Andheri East. The sales do not improve ,the collections do not improve, the bottom line takes a hit. The CEO complains to his wife that the management does not understand his long term plan for the organisation. and he is 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 IIT hostel mate who heads a SAP company, and agrees for a contract of Rs 3 crores.

The management comes to know this. They meet at a Malabar Hill flat of one of the investors & decide to throw this guy out in 3 months. The same night the CEO has taken stock of his earnings in 2 years- Rs 5.25 cores after tax. The empty “gala” under his Powaii building is on his radar for a purchase and to plan his consultancy business after retiring “early”. He writes the cheque for the down payment……. A new consultant has emerged.Next day, there is a call from his friend for a CEO level position in another limited company. The CEO rushes for the interview, shows his salary slip and luckily get the job at Rs 4 crores per annum negotiating a 30% pay hike.. Finally another “BAKRA” Company ( scapegoat )has been found by the CEO. Spending the next 2 years at least is not going to be a problem!!! A new CEO has arrived !!!!

THE CEO calls a meeting in his current company. Privately expresses his ” gross dissapointment” 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.

Rs. 6 crores with tax has gone in the drain due to the CEO. 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 CEO who they knew did nothing.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS, OWNERS & INVESTORS—GENTLEMEN & LADIES- ANSWER THIS PLEASE:
DOES A CEO 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 RS 5 TO 40 LAKHS AS PAY AND THE CEO RS. 3 CRORES? WHAT EXACTLY DOES THE CEO DO ? DOES HE CREATE MAGIC ? DOES HE MEET TOP LEVEL DIPLOMATS & PRIME MINISTERS AND OTHER CEOS 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, OR COMMERCIAL WELL ?

Actually when you hire a CEO at Rs 3 crores p.a.& above and all other staff is at an average salary of Rs 15 lakh p.a., automatically you have send a signal to the CEO that he is GOD and all the others below are idiots. The excellent guys down the line also accept willingly that if the CEO is so good to get a fantastic pay, then let him do wonders for the organisation, why should I at such a paltry pay ?

Solutions to avoiding such CEOs and avoiding losing tons of money are simple HR rules- old ones from the time there were no VP (HRs) and 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 draw Rs 3 crores and your VPs Rs 40 -50 lakhs, and your Managers just Rs 15-20 lakhs 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’s salary as performance bonus to staff, your company will not need a CEO and will do twice the business that the overpaid & insecure CEO 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 CEOs, 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 organisation, forget a ordinary mortal whom you have put on a pedestal just because of his professional degrees.
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’s status . A
ll the difference can be made by all your people in the organisation. So do not waste your money on one person , better invest in all your employees.

7.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 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 of rupees of salary is ever required.

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

Written by Dinesh Bandiwadekar

While glorifying the IITs, let us not underestimate the ITI’s and polytechnics

We hear a lot about the IITs nowadays. We read all kinds of admission news, placement news, students moving from the IITs to IIMs and IAS, getting plum jobs in consulting, and of course the millions of dollar advertising spend of private coaching classes which conduct coaching for IIt entrance. From IITs to US universities and to MBA courses in India and abroad and then to non engineering jobs , is yet another story- but not in the purview of this article.

While discussing IITs and their inherent strengths, has anyone however wondered what is the backbone of the Indian Engineering industry ? Have you thought about who trains “hands on”, our engineering workforce which works on the latest design and drafting softwares, executes the drawings then created, and those who slog out in the plants and work sites to ensure the project is a reality ?

You will be surprised to know that the core engineering, design and the execution in field, is the contribution of hundreds of ITI’s and and lesser known diploma colleges and unknown engineering / semi technical institutions in the private and unorganised sector. The output delivered by IIT engineers and engineers from other similar well known institutions is just a tiny fraction of the contribution made by the thousands of engineers & technicians from these lesser known ITI’s / polytechnics & unknown institutes from all over the country .

Engineering is an ancient profession, in practice for several hundreds of years . It takes several years to produce an engineer and many more years for evolving a complete engineer. Engineering is so very dependent on its sub categories, like Autocad draftsmen, technicians from different fields like mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, piping and site supervisors, erection foremen & construction workers. It takes a lot of back breaking work to deliver a real project.

So where does the real contribution to Indian engineering come from ? Is it the IITs which contribute a very small fraction to this entire work force or someone else altogether? In fact, most IIT graduates move out of core engineering very fast, early in their career. Most of them want to move into more glamorous professions & higher paying jobs , like investment banking , management consulting, consumer marketing or selling noodles, soaps and creams after their MBA. THE REAL WORKFORCE THAT EXECUTES LARGE ENGINEERING PROJECTS COMES FROM FAR LESSER KNOWN TECHNICAL INSTITUTES SUCH AS ITI’s & Diploma engineering colleges, & privately run institutions ( just for example: Gupte Academy/ Father Agnel / Paras CADD and so many of them ) which provide thousands of draftsmen, technicians, and computer operators who use latest drafting softwares, machinists, technicians and construction supervisors etc., These are the people who learn in very average institutes and cling on to the engineering profession in India and deliver goods at a fraction of the cost at what their overseas counterparts in developed countries do.

The Government must refocus its HR strategy to support , develop & nurture these institutes & their students which provide the backbone to Indian engineering. Scholarships & loans to students ( who normally hail from difficult family conditions & from a lower strata of the society ), better learning facilities, developing their English speaking & communication skills, job placement guidance and encouragement to focus on their core areas of work are some of the issues the government must focus on.

The inward remittances into India from the Middle East of personnel educated and working in the lower end of the engineering workforce is several times more than all IIT graduates put together who work overseas and send money back home. Philippines -a country which is much less developed than us and tiny in comparison to us in size and population and with no IITs/or “PITs” to boast, sends a far higher number of semi–skilled & skilled engineering technicians to the Middle East than India. Their Government actively supports migration of such skilled talents and the country reaps rewards in the process. India can do far better than Philippines in this areas as our training standards and local work experiences are distinctly better. But, we still want to ignore the blue collar employees and we seem to focus on building & funding new & old IITs instead.

Casting aspersion on our IITs is not the intention of this article. Opening our eyes to the wealth of the REAL engineering workforce is the purpose. It is time our HR & education ministry takes due cognizance of the ”real engineers & technicians” and give them their due. After all, we are a country that produces a well experienced AutoCAD draftsman who draws at the most $ 400 to $500 a month !

An example why we must do it sooner is here- a well trained Revit/CADS RC/BIM/ Tekla / Autocad/BoCad/ piping draftsman / operator is outsourced at $ 500 a month- working at an Indian KPO , but the same 12 th passed person, if polished off with good English & communication skills will earn himself 4 to 5 times the amount in the international market. We must re-jig our focus on the technical staff at the ground level, and not just glorify our highly qualified IIT engineers ..

USA & other nations are now outsourcing engineering work in a big way from India through engineering KPOs; and millions of dollars are being generated by these so called lower categories of trade within India. The backbone of the new operations in putting India on the global engineering map is not really the IIT graduates, but the 12th passed , ITI graduates and their likes. Lets not forget them. Lets strengthen their position and reap rewards .

Written by

Dinesh Bandiwadekar
BE(Hons) Civil) (VJTI) PGDCM (NICMAR) MBA( IIFT)

Mobile: + 91 -9619545460
Skype: dineshb777

Mumbai, India

Don’t be a wasted Engineer ! An advise for young & graduating engineers in India….

Dear Engineer,

As head of an engineering company , in the last 30 years I have come across thousands of so called engineers who have migrated into other functions. In a few cases, the migration was gradual, but in most cases the migration was the result of mostly a post graduate management degree/ diploma like a MBA completed soon after the basic engineering degree . While going into the job market, claiming to be “Engineers + MBA” or the like, these guys & girls have actually humbled the engineering profession . With a really limited knowledge and exposure to core engineering and after quitting the engineering profession early in their careers , I really do not know whether they have any right to claim that they are engineers. At times I wonder whether the Government & Universities should step in and take action and even revoke their degrees.

Willingly many of these “engineers” have chosen to work in soft professions like banking, finance, IT, HR, consumer product marketing, advertising, sales of non engineering products, management consulting etc. In their CVs they claim “techno commercial experience”, but very honestly I feel they do not even have the basic knowledge of any engineering in place. We also now have Engg MBA Presidents & CEOs who do not have any inkling .of what engineering is, and try and run manufacturing companies under the garb of being management professionals. We now have a growing breed of young managers who claim to be engineers on their CVs but have no fundamental knowledge & experience of engineering of any type. A sad story indeed, reflecting the poor situation of the engineering field in India where we spend thousands of millions of rupees in creating engineers and then watch them migrate into softer arenas. On basis of purely better communication skills ( read English skills ) and some presentation & discussion skills – MBAs in India- in the last 25 years or so have had an edge on purely engineers. They were paid roughly 20 to 30% higher at entry level jobs than Engineering graduates, which made a lot of good Engineers make a shift into management.

The above will sound as if I am casting aspersions on these engineers who have “run away” from a tough profession of engineering ( which it really is ), but the concern should not be that…but it should be why the engineering industry has let this happen- specially in the past 2 to 3 decades. A few fundamental reasons need to be addressed here, and a few strong rules & regulations be imposed. Also, the changing circumstances must be now highlighted to young Engineers , which will make them re-think about the shift into so called management.

Firstly, no one is matured enough to call himself an engineer unless he or she has hard core engineering experience of 5-10 years after his qualification. Without practical knowledge or experience it is impossible to be an engineer, just like how it is for a medical doctor . Government should step in to set up standards / monitoring conditions which make practical experience mandatory to use the engineering degree as a license or as a qualification. A practical endorsement must be made for all real/ working engineers improving their market value with further experience getting more value or points. It is time we specify grades of engineers- e.g. who is a Chartered Engineer/ Professional Engineer( like a PE in USA ) ,or similar .

Secondly, the Indian engineering industry should step in to set up management training in house to train engineers in management- who will work as engineers and continue to work as engineers . The government must give financial & tax incentives for such in house training institutes of the companies. The engineers trained here stay in the core engineering field and over a period of time mature as highly experienced well rounded off managers. This will stop young engineers leaving engineering jobs to take up an MBA and then ending up selling insurance, chocolates , garments, white goods or in banks, pretending to be using some engineering knowledge. Let us make it clear to them that a core engineering job is far more respectable than selling some consumer product, and let the industry pay well for such a job. This again is a leadership requirement from the industry.

Thirdly, industry should step in to educate the young engineers as to how complex engineering can be and how over a period of time, a core engineer matures into being a real manager handling really complex projects/ products/ companies which can never be done by a non technical person. His or her quitting engineering at an early stage can dampen his career prospects later. So, the incentive to remain in engineering is brought by the industry itself.

Fourthly, part time training in management subjects or training while in an engineering job is another area which engineering colleges or engineering companies can bring in to teach subjects of management. One need not quit engineering to learn other subjects. This initiative comes in from the industry and the education institutes both. The bond between engineering colleges and the industry has to improve and practical inputs from industry through well drafted programmes is a must for every engineering college. Engineering Management should become the by word in the industry, and new training standards set in this area to retain engineering talent within the industry.

Fifth, India should publicly appreciate the German , Japanese and Korean style of working for engineers where engineers really start with hard core practical experience and end up as highly experienced techno managers. The industry trains its engineers to be management professionals. This is evident when a German or Italian technician comes to India, his knowledge level far super seeds than that of an Indian engineers with a lot of engineering & MBA degrees from prime institutes !

Lets also start giving titles officially like “Er.” to engineers who are real engineers , the way say Egypt does, and who now dominate the entire middle east market.

If we do not start doing all this, our engineers will keep taking pride selling and marketing silly stuff and yet claiming to be engineers, wasting their own education , money & government resources and also living in a fools paradise of being called managers. In reality an Engineering job is far more challenging, complex and requires far more of grey matter than a typical job an MBA does after his studies. Our Engineers have to know this, and this can be made known to them by experienced professionals. The true merit of management comes with years of experience on specific functional roles. Engineering Management is a great profession to be in , but only after you have honed your engineering skills. You can be a fantastic techno –commercial, business administrator even after just a BE / BTech degree, but provided you have matured in engineering over a couple of decades. Now, who will explain all this to a 22 to 24 year old something that is a just fumbling to find his ropes in the bad business world?

MBA Education itself is a big business now, and marketing savvy MBA colleges will make all marketing efforts to get all Engineers to do their full time or part time MBA or other courses to get business revenue. In fact some MBA colleges even have an official Business Development Department !!! But keep in mind, to get an MBA, you can do MBA even by correspondence !!

A good thing that is finally seen lately is that with the plethora of MBAs that are passing out in India ( the way engineers did for many years ) , the value of the Indian Engineer is also now at par with MBAs and Engineer MBAs. If this continues to happen, Indian engineers may then soon lose their MBA craze and work purely as engineers. However, at this time the industry has to come in to support the engineers stolidly with the ideas discussed earlier in the article before we lose most of our qualified engineers to selling laundry detergents and soft drinks or air conditioners . Do not ever forget- Science , Medicine and Engineering are fundamental subjects needing training, learning & education BUT Management is a man made subject- ,structured, evolved & marketed into a course/ degree , crafted out of just some basic common sense . Does it REALLY add value to your knowledge after your engineering as a 2 year full time course ??

Make your choice wisely, keeping long term career goals in mind. With the kind of high tech development that is slated to happen in India for the next 50 years, we do need good engineers in their correct places who are bound to be paid well than other professions – provided they know their stuff well. Maybe it is time to do an ME or MTech now and pursue a MBA part time much later or even by correspondence. DO NOT DILUTE YOUR TECHNICAL SKILLS, YOU WILL REGRET IT IF DONE.