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Archive for December, 2011

The way we have been mistreating Mother Earth, plundering its precious resources, the day is not far off when we shall be making wide-eyed touristy visits to Earth II, one of the new discoveries by astronomers of planets which imitate the climatic comfort zone of our Earth. Such planets offer our species a second chance to learn to rein in its greed, behave more responsibly and live in a more sustainable fashion! Some of us may even decide to settle down there, in relative calm and repose, devoid of slogan mongering crowds, chaotic traffic conditions and garbage laden habitations.

Even if Earth II is said to be 600 light years away, a small distance by galactic standards, at our current space travel capabilities it might take us 22 million years to cover the 9.4 trillion km to Kepler-22b, the current hot favorite amongst strong contenders for the title of Earth II. Sure enough, our scientists would soon find ways and means of not only making us travel closer to the speed of light but also of extending our life spans, so a successful trip could be made. Even if this were not to come about, our future generations, born and brought up on space shuttles, could surely end up colonizing Earth II.

Since the trip would be frightfully expensive, only a collaborative effort by all the major economies of Earth would be able to pull it off. So, there will be a single planet administered by an UN-like body, and no countries at all! To put it simply, no passports, no visas and no currency exchange blues. Possibly, only an Aadhar no. to identify its habitants!

Kepler-22b is said to have a year of around 290 days. This would imply that the number of government holidays would need to be rigorously pruned down, so the official machinery may deliver some results. The number of sessions of our legislative bodies would get curtailed, providing much relief to our elected representatives who could possibly utilize the extra time for developing their constituencies in right earnest. This would imply their becoming more pro-active, bringing in policy measures designed to address such mundane issues as farmers’ suicides, etc.

The private sector, already a stickler to 24x7x365 working, would have to re-engineer its processes to ensure that the same amount of work would get done in 290 days. In other words, higher productivity norms would follow, thereby giving the original earthlings a run for their money. Management institutes advocating the mantras of higher efficiency and productivity would sprout all over. Since the executive compensation packages will be more lucrative, employees would be queuing up for promotions to a branch on Earth II. As a result, HR honchos would be breathing easy.

The weather on Kepler-22b is said to be moderate all over, so burnt out executives would no longer feel like venturing out to fancy locales on exotic vacations. With little diversity in climatic conditions at the poles and at the equator of Earth II, tour operators would shut shop and instead take up more serious vocations which would boost the economy of the entire planet. There will be no reason to take off from work, leaving managements laughing all the way to the bank.

As to hapless employees, having no avenues for leisure related expenditure, savings would multiply, resulting into funds getting ploughed back to Mother Earth, thereby resolving the crunch being experienced by most of our developed economies. Bankers and financial consultants handling inter-stellar transfer of funds would have a field day.

Another advantage of having moderate climate all over the planet would be to do away with such carbon generating gadgets as air-conditioners. Power requirements would be a fraction of what they are on Mother Earth. Earth II is said to be mostly water bound. So hydro-energy would be the mainstay of civilization. There would be no need to grapple with the cost benefit analysis of power from other sources like thermal or nuclear.

With valuable lessons learnt from over-drawing on the resources of Earth I, our future generations may adopt a more eco-friendly and sustainable style of living on Earth II. Come New Year 2112, and this could well be a real prospect. Amen!

 

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ACCESSIBILITY

True leaders of men are always accessible to their team members, 25×7. Hide in an ivory tower and your people would hide their good ideas and also Accessibilitytheir problems from you, thereby stunting your own growth.

Follow an open door policy (especially when you work with a lady secretary!) and reap rich rewards in your career.

ADVERTISING

As a CEO, if you hire a M F Hussain to create a corporate emblem for your company, would there be any point in getting a bunch of VPs and GMs to meddle with his final work? Define a target and a budget, and let the agency have a free hand.

As a trainee, join an ad agency if you love irregular working hours, midnight escapades and hob-nobbing with the hoi polloi of creative geniuses whose king (or, queen) size egos need to be managed at all times, with client’s deadlines looming large over your work horizon. Depending on your skill set, you may gravitate towards copywriting, production, media planning or client servicing. In all cases, creativity under pressure should be the motto of your life.

AGGRESSIVENESS

A Chinese proverb says: “Pity is a sentiment that befits the lion”. If you are in a line job, aggressiveness is a must. If you are in a staff function, you can possibly afford the luxury of being docile and meek and still lead a team.

AUDITORS

An auditor’s primary function is to provide an honest assessment of the financial health of the company. In other words, to keep the investors well informed. In the long run, investors’ ire can be incurred only at the company’s own risk and peril. A correct assessment of the company’s finances also helps the operating managers to take corrective steps before it is too late.

Treat an auditor like an insider, share business plans with him in advance, and reap rich dividends in the long run.

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BEING UNREASONABLE

Taj Mahal was not created by a Mughal emporer who decided to be reasonable with the artisans. Great works of creativity, whether in the realm of science, fine arts or culture, did not get done by leaders in respective fields who decided to be mediocre in their approach. Nelson Mandela won over apartheid because he decided to be unreasonable and swam against the current. Of late, the Jasmine Revolution sweeping a part of our planet and the kind of social activism which we find blossoming within India, reflect social changes which could not have come about based on a doctrine of conformity and reasonableness. India can justifiably boast of business houses which have spurred the economy’s growth based on principles of fair practices in conducting their business and also a policy of pegging their business plans and targets much higher than what many would consider unreasonable in the present. The future is surely shaped by level-headed achievers who do not take “no” for an answer!

To quote George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

BEING AN OSTRICH

Most leaders operate on early warning systems. Those who do not foresee a problem coming up often repent at leisure.

BIG FISH IN SMALLER OUTFITS 

In a smaller outfit, one can get a closer view of the core business processes. If you have an entrepreneurial bent of mind, and love the unbridled authority, go for it.

Small enterprises are generally leaner and fitter; in fact, too bare bones for executive comfort. The idea is to hire a single guy when three are required. As a result, the exposure one gets is pretty rich and multi-hued. In comparison, larger outfits tend to accumulate more flab and less muscle.

Be aware that in smaller enterprises, authority flows from a single person (or his/her kitchen cabinet). Thus, the level of authority required at any point in time could vary depending upon the whims and fancies of the top dog (or bitch, if you like). In larger outfits, one could draw authority from multiple sources, and thereby enjoy better survival prospects!

BOSS – MEET HIM HALFWAY THROUGH

Amongst other things, you also get paid for keeping your boss’s BP under check. Pity the poor over-stressed guy and update himBoss - Meet Him Halfway Through before he thinks of any project assigned to you. In other words, meet him half way through.

If it is getting delayed, or worse, not getting done at all, make him an accomplice to murder by keeping him informed in advance. In case you are likely to meet your target, present him with a draft report/outcome before the deadline. In case the target itself gets upgraded or modified, it would give you a clear advantage.

BRAND BUILDING

Creating and maintaining a good corporate culture, giving employees a sense of ownership, is the first building block. Long term investment in R&D, quality and innovation is another sine qua non.

Trusting and empowering employees helps. So does having a numbers target for all departments, leading to easier evaluation and a transparent reward system.

BURN OUTS

A mental state attained by those who believe they are working very hard, thereby catapulting them to the category of those who are hardly working. Three clear signs of attaining this state are exhaustion, fatalism (leading to cynicism) and inefficacy. Causes could be an information overload, unrealistic targets and perpetual “busyness”.

The antacid cures for burn outs could be delegation, focusing on important rather than urgent and counseling.

BUSINESS SCHOOLS

The academic exposure is great, and leads one to visualize the impact of one’s decision across varied functions. If one believes that academic brilliance translates into business success, one is miles off the mark. The former is directly proportional to one’s IQ and the latter to one’s EQ levels.

Formally educated managers often suffer from the Analysis Paralysis Syndrome. A smaller company hiring more than one MBA is quite likely to go bankrupt. A larger behemoth can surely afford the luxury, and cannot do without quite a handful of them.

When it comes to creativity and innovation, they could drag you down. HR departments need to remember that Newton and Einstein never went to a business school. Had they done so, we might have never heard of them.

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