Posts Tagged ‘CEO World’

How does one handle bosses and secretaries? What are the scientific laws which govern interpersonal relations? What kind of management lessons can be drawn from Indian epics?

Launched in the Portuguese market in March 2016, the book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’ was recently unleashed upon unsuspecting business magnates and management honchos at Pondicherry in India.

The book, published by Partridge India, presents insightful lessons for managers at all levels – the aspiring kind, the practicing and the tired kind, and even the retired kind. For hassled business executives and entrepreneurs, relentlessly chasing goals and deadlines, the punchy prose – infused with a Wodehousean humour – should come as a relaxing and uplifting read.  

No connection with Vasco da Gama

One does not claim to be a descendant of Vasco da Gama, but it so happened that the original manuscript, penned in English along the coast of the Bay of Bengal over the last three years, found its way to Porto, Portugal, on the Atlantic coast. CEO World, a unique start up there, managed to secure the support of Liberty Seguros. Vida Economica took it up for publication in Portuguese.

The Portuguese version, ‘Como Sobreviver Na Selva Empresarial’, has found its way to the office of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Portugal, His Excellency, Mr. António Luís Santos da Costa, GCIH, who has roots in Goa.

It has also been presented to Ms. Clara Nunes dos Santos, the Ambassador of Portugal in Norway, and to Mr. José Manuel Castro Santiago, Minister – Counsellor at the Embassy of Portugal in Switzerland.

The book has also been discussed at IMiF (International Minds in Finland), a select group of entrepreneurs and intellectuals in Finland.

English version launched at Pondicherry, India

Recently, a book launch function was organized at Pondicherry, India, by People for Pondicherry Heritage (PPH), a group of individuals and NGOs who are passionate about protecting as well as showcasing the unique heritage of Pondicherry.

Ms. Sunaina Mandeen of PPH spoke of the need to preserve our values and our rich heritage, the latter including works of literary kind.

Ms. Sunaina Narang introduced the author to the audience.

While launching the upgraded English version of the book, Mr. R Mananathan, Chairman of Manatec Electronics Private Limited, spoke warmly of several topics covered in the book. He found it to be a unique book which covers a vast area of business management. In particular, it touches upon leadership, administration and refined concepts in the domain of human resources. He felt that I deserve credit for having summed up my forty year long practical experience and present it in a crisp and humorous manner. He wished that the language used could have been somewhat simpler in some parts, though.

Mr. P Rangaraj, Chairman and Managing Director, Chemin Controls and Instrumentation Private Limited, said that the book is replete with rich management lessons which would be useful to managers and business owners of all kinds. He was appreciative of the fact that the book also draws upon such Indian ancient scriptures as Ramayana, Mahabharata and Thirukkural.

The book presentation on the occasion touched upon some of the hundred odd topics covered in the book, like Meeting the Boss halfway through, Female Power and Stress, among others.

The presentation also brought into focus a new perspective on leadership by means of an upgraded Blake Mouton Grid, wherein a third dimension is proposed – that of the Concern for Ethics. It advocates the importance of developing not only one’s intelligence and emotional quotient, but also one’s spiritual quotient.

The book transports the reader back to an era when the instructive yet delightful works of such luminaries as C Northcote Parkinson, Lawrence J Peter and Sharu Rangnekar ruled the management book market.


The launch of the book in two countries is a reaffirmation of the fact that managerial knowledge and skills happen to be universal in nature. Books can act as bridges between two countries and two civilizations and bring these closer to each other for the purpose of forging mutually beneficial relationships.

Press coverage

Here is a press report covering the launch event: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/the-art-and-science-of-management/article19338392.ece


“Surviving in the Corporate Jungle”

By Ashok Kumar Bhatia


(This is how you can lay your hands on the Portuguese version of the book, launched in Portugal during March, 2016.)

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Celebrating the first anniversary of having launched a book in Portuguese in March 2016.

English version to follow soon….!


Surviving in the Corporate Jungle


This is a short introduction to a book by yours truly, the Portugese version of which is getting launched in Portugal shortly. The launch event  in Porto is planned on the 2nd of March, along with a talk on “Work Life Harmony” at the  Catolica Porto Business School  of  Universidade Catolica do Porto. The launch event in Lisbon is planned at Universidade Europeia on the 3rd of March, 2016, as part of an event titled ‘Passport to India.’

How this book happened

Forty years back, the School of Business at a prestigious university in India made a big mistake. They awarded me a degree in Business Management. They were so very happy to see me off the campus that they even awarded a silver medal to me.

I owe this book to my professors – some of whom taught so well that I learnt a…

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BookFrontCoverAn interview of your truly which appeared in Vida Economica in Portuguese some time back:

1. You are publishing your book in Portugal in March. What’s your relationship with Portugal? Why Portugal to publish your book?

It would be recalled that the relationship between our two countries goes back quite a few centuries.

At the personal level, I have several friends from Goa and Cochin in India, both of which were the seat of power for Portugal till the 1960s. I have always people from these areas to be highly committed but fun-loving at the same time.

At the professional level, having worked in the leather footwear industry for a long time, I had occasionally been in touch with some such businesses in North of Portugal.

Some time back, I came across CEO World, and felt connected to your lovely country.

Relationships evolve over a period of time. It is time to improve the engagement between our two countries. Traditional knowledge and management wisdom is just one facet of the possibilities. That is how, the thought of publishing a book here came up.

2. Amazon said recently that they will not fail to be a major player in India (as it happened in China). They will invest much more this time. How do you see the opportunities for Portuguese companies in India?

Against the gloomy backdrop of major economies, India happens to be a bright spot in the world today. The new government has grand plans for development and is taking steps to improve the ease of doing business in India. The potential in the semi-urban and rural pockets of India is great. Portuguese businesses have a unique opportunity now to enter into tie-ups with companies of Indian origin.

Globally, the largest pool of educated manpower willing to work hard is available in India. History has taught Indians to live harmoniously together, despite wide-ranging diversity in terms of religion, languages and castes. These are unique strengths which can be effectively leveraged by businesses in Portugal.

Companies which want to do business in India would do well to (a) Identify their key strengths which would be of relevance to India, whether in the field of infrastructure, renewable energy, farm productivity, leisure and tourism, etc, (b) Take the help of experts who can put them in touch with reliable business partners in India, and (c) Be clear and patient about the characteristics of the market segment they identify to cater to.

3. “Surviving in the Corporate Jungle” mixes humour with management. Why do you think it should be read by Portuguese managers?

Management concepts are universal in nature. When you wish to motivate your team members, it does not matter whether you are in Porto or in Mumbai. When you are down-sizing, the challenges are the same, irrespective of whether you are in Lisbon or in Delhi.

Portuguese managers who follow one of the effective habits popularized by Stephen R Covey – KEEP SHARPENING YOUR SAW – would greatly benefit from the managerial wisdom of India.

The messages conveyed in the book are serious in nature. Their packaging is not. Profound truths conveyed with a dash of humour, I believe, have a better chance of being effectively communicated.

I believe the upcoming book can help managers in Portugal and elsewhere become smarter, in other words, more effective.

4. Why did you decide to become a founding member of the Portuguese start-up CEO WORLD?

We live in times when the world is shrinking faster than ever. We are at the cusp of a new kind of ‘Industrial Revolution’ which is knowledge-driven. Call it a ‘Binary Revolution’, if you will. Technology is making information more democratic in nature.

Start-ups which enable sharing of management practices across the world serve a useful purpose in the society. Moreover, when we share challenges and discuss possible solutions on a global platform, we gain in terms of empathy and expand our consciousness. We are then making a small but significant contribution towards global harmony, much like a small group of violinists which is a part of a grand orchestra.

For example, one of the platforms CEO World offers is that of Peer Groups. Here, I get to share my current challenges with CEOs from all over the world on a video conference platform. There is no conflict of interest, there is accountability, and there are no travel costs involved. As and when one is visiting each other, one can take the discussion forward.

Peer Groups have been in operation since the last 60/70 years in such countries as the US, Canada, AU, NZ and UK. But the novel idea being practiced at CEO World is that of virtual peer groups which are global in nature. This is a disruptive concept led by a Portuguese start-up.

5. What are your plans for the future and how do you envision your relationship with Portugal?

As a person who suffers from ‘Professoritis’, the plans are for an enhanced level of engagement with the management institutes and associations in Portugal. Another book proposal is on the drawing board. Given support, I would love to do a book comparing the managerial styles of CEOs in Portugal and in India.

It would also be exciting to connect with Portuguese companies who want to have a better understanding of the Indian culture and market and vice versa. Perhaps I can make a modest contribution towards building more bridges between our two countries. This gets aligned with the mission of CEO WORLD: of decreasing the gap between cultures and bringing about a better understanding between the two populations.

(Source: Vida Economica, February 26, 2016)

You can buy the book here.

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Netizens who have made the cardinal error of following me on any social network could be forgiven for imagining me as a dashing speaker, blogger and author.

Not a Jeeves in the realm of Management

Snapshots, videos and blog posts would inevitably depict me as a managementPGW MuchObligedJeeves expert dishing out sage advice with an impish sparkle in the eyes, often misconstrued as indicating supreme intelligence. Seasoned observers would notice a receding hairline and imagine me to be an intellectual cove. Perhaps a head bulging out at the back, much like that of Jeeves, would lead many amongst my followers to conclude that I would have minted millions by this time, squeezing the last penny out of some Bertie-like super rich but mentally negligible bosses I would have assisted in a long career.

Well, nothing could be father from the truth. Those who wish to dig deeper into the subject of who I am would be startled to find that the responsibility of depicting yours truly in such a flattering manner falls squarely on the illusory sophistication and the veneer of respectability a lesser mortal gets imbued with, when behind the façade of social media.Panjab_University

An error of judgement

Fondly known as ‘AKB’ to my friends and colleagues, I am a management graduate of what I would prefer to describe as the pre-Jurassic period of management education. Delhi University is to be squarely blamed for dishing out a post-graduate degree to me in Physics, way back in 1974. The University Business School at Panjab University, Chandigarh, also appears to have made a singular error of judgement in awarding me a MBA degree in 1976.

Professors who had the misfortune of educating me came in several sizes and shapes. The brilliant ones could never come to terms with the singular absence of common sense in my thought processes. The mediocre ones had no other option but to feel frustrated at not being able to detain me at any level of my educational ladder. The poor ones were so indifferent that I often landed up studying the subject myself, thereby gaining more interest in those subjects.

An expert at Mismanagement

If an expert in the field of management were to put my escapades under the microscope of academic rigour, she could be condoned for recommending my appointment as a Dean of a School of Mismanagement at an Ivy League institute of international repute.Tata logo

The fact remains that several top corporates in India and abroad have had to bear with my unique style of mismanagement for over thirty-five years. The ones which have suffered in particular are such companies as Tata International, Hidesign, and HCL.

My entrepreneurial endeavours in the realm of market research and HR have left many of my had-been-clients shaken but not stirred. A benevolent client once rued how happy his company had been if I had done my own market research better and if only they had not availed my (dis)services.

A number of start-ups have seen me in the stellar role of a promoter-director. Records would show that many of these sank without a trace. I was blessed with a flair for visualizing lofty goals. I always attempted flawless planning and backed it up with miserable execution. My lack of attention to detail often left my customers exasperated.

From delegation to abdication

While in a career, I always followed the policy of focusing on the peripheralHIDESIGN_LOGO_withouttag targets, whereas my team members took care of the Key Result Areas. With me, the art of delegation often evolved into sheer abdication. Needless to say, companies were often happy to see me packing my bags and leaving.

My travels have taken me far and wide, but those who know me well are still not too sure if I have yet understood the work culture and ethics of different countries and continents.

I do believe I attract people with my positive vibrations, but I have played no role in the recent confirmation of the existence of gravitational waves by physicists. I might sound like a global manager, but have not been successful in cross-cultural validation of any of the management theories and concepts.

The perils of those who receive my services

Having hung my boots in the corporate world, I am now working with some NGOs in the field of Management and Spirituality. One can only wish these outfits well.

I am aware that I happen to be an active blogger whose tardy progress in the blogosphere is being watched with little interest by any of my occasional followers.

Yes, I am passionate about movies. Many movie directors are delighted at not having been approached by me with any script of a likely blockbuster. This way, their careers are not likely to go bust any time soon.

Of ‘Wodehousitis’ and ‘Professoritis’

I am happy to be suffering from “Wodehousitis” and “Professoritis” and do notHCL logo seek any cure for these ailments. A scholastic attitude and a habit of “keeping my saw sharpened” have made several University departments and educational institutes invite me for sporadic guest lectures, only to repent later.

CEO World in Portugal has recently made the mistake of making me an Editor-in-Chief of their blog site. Vida Economica of Portugal has even gone ahead and taken the risk of publishing a book of mine in Portuguese.

The corporate world heaves a sigh of relief to discover that my activities are now mostly confined to Pondicherry, India. This ensures that I would spend the rest of my days on this planet in a high-spirited state of bliss, leaving them free to run their own businesses the way they like.

The Association of Ineffective and Morose Managers

If ever your luck were to run out and you were to step out of your virtual world and get to meet me in person, and also have the misfortune of spending some time with me, I would not be surprised to receive a frantic call the very next day, pleading with me to immediately assume the position of the President of the Association of Ineffective and Morose Managers.

Wish you all a goofy April Fools’ Day!

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Surviving in the Corporate Jungle

This is in continuation of an earlier post, providing a short introduction to a book by yours truly. The Portugese version of the book is getting launched in Portugal shortly.
The launch event  in Porto is planned on the 2nd of March, along with a talk on “Work Life Harmony” at the  Catolica Porto Business School  of  Universidade Catolica do Porto.
The launch event in Lisbon is planned at Universidade Europeia on the 3rd of March, 2016, as part of an event titled ‘Passport to India.’

Why the reference to a jungle?

One, it is fashionable these days to talk about environment and sustainability. Two, in many ways, the type of organizations we work in and the kind of people we meet there, many parallels can be drawn.

I believe there are three kinds of organizations: the Circus kind, the Zoo kind and the Jungle kind.

Whatever the kind you work for, you get to see Lion King bosses who are the lords and masters of all they survey. Mentors who keep an eye on the quality of work that you do, much like a giraffe would.

Colleagues who are like enchanting deers, always willing to support you. Subordinates who are snakes in the grass, waiting for an opportunity to back-stab you. Customers who are as prickly as a porcupine. Suppliers who are as cunning as a fox.

Fed up with a company? Change over to another one. You would still find people there with similar traits. Only the names and the faces would change. In other words, there is no escaping the jungle!

Some bouquets

Those who deserve bouquets for what they have unwittingly contributed towards the conception as well as the delivery of this book:

My friends, philosophers and guides: They continued to egg me on to write a book of this kind – late Prof. S. P. Singh, Ashok Kalra, S. P. Krishnamurthy, Vipin Dewan, C. S. Dwivedi, Prof. R. P. Raya, and a few others.

Thought leaders, like Peter F. Drucker, Philip Kotler, J. R. D. Tata, C. Northcote Parkinson, Laurence J. Peter, Ratan Tata, Sharu Rangnekar, Stephen R. Covey and many others.

Hapless souls who have undergone the trauma of going through and commenting upon the rough portions of this book: Miguel Dias, Founder, CEO World, Jose Antonio de Sousa, President & CEO, Liberty Seguros, Jack Jacoby, Executive Chairman, Jacoby Consulting Group Pty Ltd, and a few others.

Those who have worked so very hard on the illustrations – thereby making the book a wee bit livelier.

Vida Economica, the publishers, who showed the courage to pick up a whacky manuscript from an unknown first-time author.

Quite a few others who have burnt the midnight oil, acted as proficient midwives and taken me through the labour pains of the editing and publishing process, ensuring that the baby got delivered.

The souls which play the role of my immediate family members in this life, without whose support this book would not have seen the light of the day.

Special thanks are due to my soul-mate and the very young ones, without whose support the book could have been finished in half the time it actually took to write.

Few brickbats

If any brickbats are to be hurled, those have to be unerringly directed at the author of the book. However, before flexing your muscles, please be so kind as to check if he is covered for such exigencies by any insurance policy issued by Liberty Seguros.

You can buy the book here.

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Surviving in the Corporate Jungle


This is a short introduction to a book by yours truly, the Portugese version of which is getting launched in Portugal shortly. The launch event  in Porto is planned on the 2nd of March, along with a talk on “Work Life Harmony” at the  Catolica Porto Business School  of  Universidade Catolica do Porto. The launch event in Lisbon is planned at Universidade Europeia on the 3rd of March, 2016, as part of an event titled ‘Passport to India.’

How this book happened

Forty years back, the School of Business at a prestigious university in India made a big mistake. They awarded me a degree in Business Management. They were so very happy to see me off the campus that they even awarded a silver medal to me.

I owe this book to my professors – some of whom taught so well that I learnt a lot. Others taught so poorly that I had to study some subjects on my own. So, I developed extra interest in such subjects!

I also owe this book to my bosses, colleagues and subordinates. Some of them were as tough as nails. They were a terror and kept me awake most nights.

Others were tough but deceptively soft and sweet on the outside.

Some were so systematic that I dreaded any of my difficult targets getting entered into their bulky diaries. Once the entry was there, reminders after reminders kept pouring in, keeping me forever on my toes.

Some were so chaotic in their working that I was often roped in to assist them.

Why this book happened

The creative juices sloshing about within me bear the full responsibility for this book to have come about.

It was an inner urge to share my learning with managers and executives of all sizes, stature and shapes that made me start compiling my observations. The result is this book.

So, the book you will have with you soon enough is like a management summary of a part of the life I have led for around forty years, practising as well as observing the science and art of management.

As a senior manager with Tatas, the largest and the most respected business group in India, as also in several other companies which are large corporates and single owner driven outfits, I have seen delightful facets of management.

Why in Europe?

One has had personal as well as professional relations with individuals and corporates in several countries in Europe. Portugal is an important member of the European Union. The fact that most management lessons are universal in nature also helped.

Sacking an employee in Timbuktu is as difficult as an employee in Germany of UK. Motivating a team member could be as challenging in India as in Portugal. Yes, the social context is different. The economy may be chugging along in a different manner. But the art of getting work done has universal principles.

When your boss calls you, looks you in the eye, and asks you to go and sell a refrigerator to someone on the North Pole, you know you are in serious trouble. Further, if he flatters you by saying that you are the only one who can do it, you realize you are being handed a pink slip.

CEO World

I also happen to be one of the Founding Members of CEO World, an innovative start-up in Portugal. One of the services it offers to CEOs world over is that of engagement with their peers in diverse businesses and continents; Peer Groups which are virtual in nature and work on video conferencing basis. The challenges faced by CEOs get shared in an open manner, without any competitive risks, in an atmosphere of mutual trust and complete confidence. This broadens the vistas of managerial wisdom of all the participants and improves the capacity of a CEO to face challenges better.

Statutory Warning

The messages you would find in this book are serious, their packaging is not. The idea is to make you chuckle and see if there is any solution to the present challenges that you face. The book does not offer any problem-solving guarantees.

If you do make the mistake of owning a copy, ensure that your boss or your girlfriend are not able to lay their hands on it.

If you do not find anything of use here, simply gift it to someone you hate.

This is how you can lay your hands on it.

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