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Posts Tagged ‘Jugaad’

Finland is a country which has smoothly embraced rapid change from being an agrarian economy to being a knowledge economy. Innovation happens to be a key priority. India, on the other hand, is still grappling with the disruptive changes that the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution bestows on its citizenry. It has earned global acclaim in the realm of “Jugaad”, which could be translated as either Informal Innovation or as Frugal Engineering.

INTERNATIONAL MINDS in FINLAND (IMiF) is a global community of 500 plus inquisitive souls whose IQ (read Intelligence Quotient, also Inquisitiveness Quotient) is rather high. It believes in co-aggregating and creating value in/with/for Finland. The community works with the single purpose of soaking in as much knowledge and wisdom as they possibly can from our vast universe. To this end, the community provides a platform for such persons of universal good will who would not mind sharing their knowledge and experience with them.

And that is how it came about that yours truly recently had an opportunity of interacting with some of the finest minds in Finland. While more than 500 luckier souls comprising the community continued to play the roles assigned to them in life elsewhere, a motley group of 5 singularly unlucky ones had to undergo the trauma of listening to some boring stuff dished out by yours truly. Their risk taking appetite surely deserves kudos.

While Lorena provided administrative support, Ludwig (Mylly´s CEO), Alexey (A professional who has mastered some of the intricacies between Russia and Finland, even in terms of logistics), Roman (IMiF´s Chairman and founder of TPOINT), Olavi (Young at heart, though an officially retired university professor), MARCO (co-initiator of IMiF) and Tim (An international business person), assembled at Mylly, a cultural centre at Kotka, to hear what yours truly from far off India had to convey.

Title of the talk

Surviving in the Corporate Jungle.

Key Takeaways

Analysis Paralysis

The role of intuition in decision-making can never be underestimated.

Meeting bosses half-way through

It is crucial to help one’s boss to keep his blood pressure under control.

Female Power

It pays to have gender parity at the work place.

His Master’s Voice

Avoiding being a Yes-man pays. Senior managers have the responsibility of registering dissent.

Overstaying One’s Welcome

Does the flight of your career appear to have rough weather ahead? Press the EJECT button in the cockpit.

Managing Stress

Build inner resilience. Meditate regularly. Do not allow garbage to get collected in the mind. Carry out a cleaning exercise every single day.

Quotients

Intelligence Quotient and Emotional Quotient are fine. What we also need to develop and use in business is our Spiritual Quotient.

Work Life Harmony

Avoid becoming a slave to technology.

Of Production, People and Ethics

Various leadership styles emerge. Charmless Charlies. Missionary Zealots. Road Rollers. Armchair Revolutionaries. Crazy Conformists. Sponge Comforters. Incumbent Chiefs. Super Chiefs.

Details can be accessed here.

A comment from one of the five wise men

Why is SQ (Spiritual Quotient) so very important in decision-making?

Being spiritual means one takes decisions which create a win-win situation for all stakeholders. Ethics and Values also come into play. In the long run, brand equity grows. So does shareholder wealth.

An example from the Tata-Benz collaboration during World War II was cited. Details can be found here.

(Others skipped discussing any other ideas, so relieved they were that the ordeal of listening to yours truly was finally over!)

The global nature of management thoughts

Managerial thoughts transcend national boundaries. Possibly because the principles of setting up and running an enterprise happen to be universal in nature. The core of the psychology of a manager also does not vary from country to country.

It is great to be able to share some experiential insights with, and also learn from, senior professionals who operate in another business environment and in a distinctly different work culture.

 

(Notes:

IMiF can be found:

In the public presence https://www.facebook.com/internationalmindsinfinland

In the private presence

https://www.facebook.com/groups/INTERNATIONALMINDSinFINLAND

Presentation based on my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently.

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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Howsoever dark a cloud is, there is always a silver lining. For those of us in India who are in a mood of despondency these days and continue to be defensive about quite a few things under the sun, let me list out what is there to cheer about.

  • There has been a record reduction in poverty, but we do not wish to announce it to the world. One, we are still concerned about the ones still lagging behind in the economic growth rat race. Two, we are not too sure about our own numbers!
  • There has been a sustained increase in rural wages and incomes. Pretty soon, we shall find that the market is being propped up by rural demand, while our urban folks continue to be in a doom gloom phase. While FMCG honchos are busy designing packages specifically targeted at the semi-urban and rural hinterlands, we continue to be diffident on this front.
  • In five year’s time, we have set up one-fourth of our installed capacity for power generation.  We have also laid power lines to 4.6 lac villages. We can not claim this to be an achievement because we have failed to provide back-up linkages of fuel, leaving vast swathes of country reeling under a power shortage.
  • On the road to financial inclusion, we have created and rolled out a programme which gives each of us a unique identity. This is also likely to help us plug leakages of subsidies, making resources available for other social welfare measures. We are defensive about it, because we are not too sure it would eventually work out. Sure enough, for the un-entitled ones who have been enjoying subsidies so far, the cost of living is just going to go up.
  • We have laid fiber optic cables to 2,50,000 panchayats. The only plausible reason for our hesitation to energizing the same and converting our narrow band capabilities into genuinely broad band ones  could be our fear of a majority of our denizens being covered by snooping measures of some foreign intelligence agencies!
  • Our parallel economy continues to thrive. Our politicos and private sector do not appear to be in a mood to stifle the same any time soon. However, one does come across some  papers and articles which indicate that post-Lehman Brothers, India faced the effect of a meltdown much later, the insulation having been provided by our underground economy. So, may be, we are being smart, allowing black money to proliferate!
  • Our rural tele-density at the beginning of this millennium was close to 1. As of now, it is around 40. We are quite defensive when it comes to claiming this to be an achievement because of some scam ridden decisions which were taken by those at the helm of affairs in the interim.  The argument is not that corruption is acceptable; it is only to say that there is indeed a positive aspect  which needs to be kept in mind.
  • We have also orchestrated a structural transformation of the economy. With the ratio of those engaged in agriculture coming down below 50%, we appear to be on our way to get more industrialized. We feel shy of talking about this because we have not pro-actively addressed the issue of urban housing and reforms.

Forget the ‘Incredible India’ campaign. The credible India has much going for it – a thriving democracy, a robust corporate sector, a young population, a growing and aspirational middle class, increasing urbanization, to cite some of the long-term strengths.  Brand India is there to stay. The devil is in the details – a tendency towards jugaad or short-term fixes, a habit of claiming rights sans any feeling of responsibility, a poor track record in implementation of grandiose projects, and the like.

So, here is a glass which is half full. Admittedly, there are mighty challenges ahead.  Just  as in the case of individuals, nations can learn to manage better from crises. If 1991 brought us economic reforms, the current crisis could prod us into reforming our legislative, executive and judiciary. Bolder and structural reforms could improve the standard of living of millions of Indians in the days to come. Let us be self-confident and push ahead in these times of economic turbulence.

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