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

English version to follow soon….!

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Surviving in the Corporate Jungle

BookFrontCover

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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On the occasion of Thiruvalluvar day, celebrated on this day in the state of Tamil Nadu in India, in memory of Saint Thiruvalluvar who is said to have lived in a period between second century BC and 8th century AD.

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Thirukkural (திருக்குறள்), also known as the Kural, is a classic Tamil ‘sangam’ (3rd century BC to 4th century AD) literature composition. It has 1,330 couplets or ‘kurals’. It was authored by the renowned poet Thiruvalluvar.

The Thirukkural is one of the most important works in the Tamil language. This is reflected in some of the other names by which the text is given by such as ‘Tamil marai’ (Tamil Vedas); ‘poyyamozhi’ (words that never fail); and ‘Deiva nool’ (divine text).

Just like ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’, ‘Bhagavad-Gita’ and other scriptures, Thirukkural is also replete with words of wisdom. It is simple and contains profound messages.

Thirukkural has 133 chapters, each containing 10 couplets. Broadly speaking, all the 133 chapters can be divided into three sections: Righteousness, Wealth and Love. In the text below, the serial number of each couplet appears on the top, followed by its Tamil text and then by…

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The Indian view of the discipline of management speaks of four pillars of Integral Management – Wisdom, Power, Harmony and Perfection. Of these, Power is a potent tool which, when harnessed judiciously, enables organizations and individual managers to scale greater heights.

Organizations wield tremendous power. They do so not only by virtue of their financial prowess but also by way of their brand equity, their size, their reach in the market and the kind of innovative products or services they offer. They exercise influence on the society – first, by identifying its latent desires, and then by serving the same.

Individuals who are part of organizations also wield tremendous power over its resources and its people. Arrogance and exploitation could easily follow.

However, if Power is understood as “strength and force, Shakti, which enables one to face all that can happen and to stand and overcome” difficulties connected with “men, events, circumstances, means”, then Power could be used for the overall good of humankind.

Thus, with power comes the attendant responsibility of using it wisely and equitably. Checks and balances need to be put in place to ensure that boundaries set by values and ethics do not get transcended. Keeping a strict control on arrogant behaviour is the sine qua non of long-term success in career.

Power needs to be used in a socially responsible manner. Using the power to share the gains of business with relevant stakeholders makes good sense. Deployment of power to benefit the society at large, that too in a manner which does not harm the environment, ensures that the business remains sustainable.

Managers also have a latent power – of their mind, their will, their ambition, their attitude, their passion and their soft skills. By channelizing the same appropriately, they could rise to greater heights and become more evolved persons, exercising greater influence on the events and people they are connected with.

At a one-day seminar on “The Element of Power in Management” organized by SACAR on the 6th of August, 2016, speakers from a wide spectrum of managerial expertise shared their views on the judicious and responsible use of power in day-to-day operations.

SACAR Power Aug 2016 B

Dr. Ananda Reddy, the Director of SACAR, elaborated upon the four components of Management ― Perfection, Harmony, Power and Wisdom. He said that one could be spiritual at all the four levels – physical, vital, mental and psychic by aspiring towards what are called perfection, harmony, power and wisdom. These, he proposed, present a new paradigm of Management. On the level of thought, Power comes into play. Higher level management has to deal with the power of thought, of planning, of setting up realistic targets. He highlighted the importance of using power in a responsible and judicious manner.

SACAR Power Aug 2016 A

Dr. V. J. Chandran, IPS, SSP, Government of Puducherry, spoke of the need to use the power at one’s command in a spiritual manner – for the overall good. He highlighted the need to punish people in proportion to their crimes or indiscretions. While dealing with tough situations which present moral dilemmas, the Principles of Natural Justice have to be always kept in mind. Assuming responsibility and accountability is important. Improving upon one’s quality of work, one’s ability and one’s personal expertise alone helps. He shared with the participants certain instances where abuse of power led to severe complications for the society at large.

SACAR Power Aug 2016 3Ms. Mamatha Gurudev, Managing Director, Vijay Spheroidials, Bangalore, spoke of the power of beliefs while recounting her journey as an entrepreneur. She held that believing in oneself was the single most important trait of an entrepreneur. It makes sense to cultivate a habit of looking within and of being in touch with one’s own inner self. Trust reposed in one by others also empowers oneself. The focus should always be on the process, not on the person. She exhorted the participants to change their attitude from ‘I can’t do it yet’ to that of ‘I can do it’.

SACAR Power Aug 2016 4Ms. Padma Asokan, Director, Omeon Solutions, Chennai, elaborated the art of leveraging the power of money. Money needs constant activity and circulation. It should be used to increase wealth and prosperity. Wealth belongs to the divine and those who hold it are mere ‘’Trustees” and not “Possessors”. Investment in people is as important as investment in business. To be successful, a business needs to make money without diluting its core values. She shared with the participants quite a few of her experiences in running her business.

SACAR Power Aug 2016 5

As part of an interactive session, conducted by yours truly, participants spoke of the various ways in which they had experienced, and occasionally countered, the abuse of power. Clips from the movie ‘Erin Brockovich’ were shared with the participants, showcasing the challenges inherent in trying to stand up to big corporates polluting the environment with little regard for the community in which they operate.

SACAR Power Aug 2016 6

Mr. P. Rangaraj, Chairman, Chemin Controls & Instrumentation, Puducherry, spoke of the power of innovation in business. He touched upon some unique success stories and highlighted the need to make frugal engineering a routine habit. He described the kind of disruptions that innovation normally causes and explained the elements of perfection, harmony and wisdom which are necessary to upscale and market a new product or service.  Identifying market needs and fulfilling the same with innovative products needs to be part of a company’s culture. This alone could lead to sustainable growth and a strong brand image.

SACAR Power Aug 2016 7

Mr. Jayprakash Thindiyote, Managing Director and CEO, PSL Management Software Technologies, Puducherry, touched upon the power of technology. He spoke of rapid advances in the field of robotics and the advent of Artificial Intelligence. He felt that the more the technology evolves, the higher would be the need for bringing in spirituality at the work place. Having respect for alternative views, effective communication, genuine compassion and a creative approach to problem solving alone could help a business grow in future. He exhorted managers to be like an I-POD, that is, have an Inner Peace but be Outwardly Dynamic.

Mr. Ganesh Babu, Founder and CEO, Winning Minds Solutions, Puducherry, and Dr. Arvind Gupta, Assistant Director, Directorate of Distance Education, Pondicherry University, coordinated the entire event. Their back up support was invaluable in the planning as well as the hosting of the entire event.

Dr. Shruti Bidwaikar, Assistant Director, SACAR, summed up the proceedings and offered a vote of thanks.sacar-power-seminar-hindu

The seminar received an overwhelming response from participants coming from various walks of life, like government officials, management educationists, corporate executives, businessmen, Aurovillians, entrepreneurs and students.

The Integral Management Group of SACAR had already covered the facet of Perfection and Harmony in the past. The next event, focusing on the facet of Wisdom, is planned to be hosted during March, 2017.

(Link to a write up which appeared in The Hindu of September 13, 2016:

Best Regards

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LEADERSThere is something unique about managers from India. Apparently, they have a Western mind and an Eastern heart. In other words, a unique combination of analytical prowess and intuitive faculties.

Here is a thought-provoking guest post from Mr K V Rao, Resident Director – ASEAN, Tata Sons Ltd , Singapore.

“I was born and raised in India in small towns, and started reflecting how is it that so many of my compatriots make it to global leadership positions ?

Many of our ilk have left the shores, for distant foreign lands. Have studied and imbued the best of cultures, but retained some of some of that inner rusticity, and native eclectic personalities. They have made it to the top jobs of Google, Microsoft, Mastercard, or a Pepsi, and the list is endless and still more to surface. All have been exceptional fighters, who seem to compete fiercely but fairly, often guided by their simple inner compass. All have had their roots in Middle Class India. What is the magic that’s at work ?

Typically, in a middle class family, that typifies some common basics – a high dose of personal values with low resources, what in a South Indian phrase is termed as “high thinking and simple living” hard work, education, discipline are the key mantras drilled into young minds, to help them break through the glass ceiling. Exceptionally strong personal family bonds, and a natural willingness to put oneself down for the other, compassion and care seem to naturally flower

What are those simple things that make them such effective leaders. Here are some reflections:

  1. There was never enough ….’   If one grew up in my generation in middle class India, life was always on the edge. Just about balancing ends with limited means. That meant, living happily and contented with what you have, than to aspire for what you don’t. Realism, practicality. But, also have the uncanny ability to stretch the buck – unbelievable value engineers, we are naturally. No wonder, hard to beat an Indian at cost cutting. !. Defining needs vs wants was deeply embedded in the frontal lobe of the mind, filtering away desires 🙂
  2. “We always ate together….” . Families would wait for each other to eat together. (Also the fact that there were hardly fridges then, and you ate hot and fresh !). There was sharing and caring. The bonds built were deep that lasted a life time, and giving and serving each other, imprinted that quality of care for a lifetime for another member of the family.
  3. “We celebrated together, we mourned together …” Families, lived as communities, extended with relatives, friends and neighbours. Much to the chagrin of modern nuclear families, there was little private and personal space  ! … All celebrations were shared, and so were the strains of illness or misfortune. Jumping in to help, give someone a shoulder was so very natural. That was the normal thing to do, not an act of valor or sacrifice. Your loss was mine, your success too was mine. Empathy a natural flow.
  4. Maths and English, are important…. “. Our fathers simply emphasized on 2 subjects, Maths and English, particularly in South India, as if they were meant to train the left and right brains, and eventually spur some whole brain activity. In hindsight, they seem to make sense. English opened the doors to global opportunities, the computational abilities pushed forward analytical thinking.
  5. “ We laughed a lot, joked, and pulled each others leg…Families, neighbors, and community living provided the best of entertainment, and a source of immense comedy. Radio and cinema were the only companions, and Black & White TV just came in with one or two long running serials. Sense of humour was valued, and we learnt to laugh, when nothing else could be done. Being sportive and getting the rough edge, is so normal, no big deal. It built great resilience and forbearance, for there were many things we could not change but had to live with.
  6. “ We prayed together….. “ . There was always a routine of prayer, whether you liked it or not. Before you start the day, go to college, go to exam, go to an interview. All of which, reinforced the positive belief, that no matter what, there is something more powerful and higher that resides above you, and cares for you should you make the effort to reach out. It ingrained the simple truth of focusing on the effort and leaving the ultimate result to the forces that be. It also made one more prepared to take risks, and face failure – a trait that today people struggle with, to fail, and yet to rise and be innovative.
  7. “ There is always a fix ….”  Last but not the least, there was never a “no” to be taken. There is always a fix, a ‘Jugaad’ if you may, or a work around. Hard to accept and give up. Persistence, thinking upside down, creativity or sheer street-smart tactical reflexes. Or the ability to bow, and accept failure honestly and humbly. It’s a potent combination of inner strength and outer smartness, to craft a strategy that works in the face of adversity.
  8.  “ You are not the smartest .. “. When you grew up, you always had someone much smarter than you, much better than you. You often wonder you were blessed or damn lucky to be where you are. There is a common streak of simplicity and most importantly humility. Go back to point 6, above – there was also someone “above” there who wished you well. Humility reinforced. !

It is not the top management schools that honed the skills alone, but the middle class homes of India that gave many of our generation, that inner compass and embedded CPU that makes one see life with a set of different lenses.

Leadership today, hinges on the ability to inspire, share, care, lead with empathy. Inflect clarity, sharpness, and fight the forces of competition with courage and tenacious persistence, never to give up. The ability to remain cheerful, spread laughter and joy around the work place. The training school of which is located in middle class Indian homes, that have often produced top class international business leaders.”

 

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On the occasion of Women’s Day, here is a post which salutes some of those who have broken through the so-called glass ceiling in the management world!

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When a finer member of our species becomes the part of an all-men group, the results are obvious – better focus on the job at hand, a far more effective team, higher levels of decency and a groundswell of chivalrous overtures.

Chamaiporn Uerpairojkit Chamaiporn Uerpairojkit

Better still, if she happens to be a CEO, we have a boardroom which is painted a deeper shade of pink, thereby driving away the boredom from the drab proceedings. We also have a crackling company which is more result-oriented and has better empathy while dealing with diverse stakeholders. We are also likely to get a greener and cleaner business entity which believes in corporate ethics and good governance.

In the Pink of Health

Several studies done in far-flung countries such as USA, France and Vietnam have shown that companies led by women deliver better financial results. A McKinsey study compared the top-quartile of companies in terms…

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Surviving in the Corporate Jungle

BookFrontCover

This is in continuation of two earlier posts, 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.’

What is the book about?

This book is a compilation of some tactics you can use to not only survive but also do well in the corporate jungle. It is intended to amuse, entertain, and educate. It is a light-hearted take on the art and science of management, from the jaundiced perspective of someone who is still learning it!

It offers quite a few gems of wisdom meant for managers and entrepreneurs of all hues, sizes, and shapes. They could be the aspiring kind, the practising and the tired kind, or the retired kind.

Glum Chief Executive Officers, hassled by the harsh slings and arrows of managing a business, upon leafing through some of its contents, might get motivated to look at the sunnier side of life.

Nail-biting aspiring managers may understand how to successfully navigate their way through the corporate jungle.

Entrepreneurs, whether of a social or an unsocial kind, could find some clue on getting out of the blunder-prone world they frequently find themselves in.

We live in exciting times. An information overload saps managers’ energies faster than the time it takes to gulp down a cup of their favourite tissue restorative. Thanks to rapid strides in technology, newer challenges keep popping up in all areas of management.

The rigors of corporate governance keep snapping at the Chief Executive Officer’s heels at a much faster pace. Issues of gender diversity keep giving Human Resource honchos sleepless nights. Hapless managements, pre-occupied as they are with their aim of delivering better value to their stakeholders quarter after quarter, continue to miss the woods for the trees.

How does one retain one’s sanity in such challenging times? Surviving in the Corporate Jungle (A Backpacker’s Guide) is an endeavour to present to you some basic secrets and techniques of managing a business successfully and happily. You will pick up some aphorisms, some in-depth analyses, and some tongue in cheek comments.

The format of the book is that of a ready reckoner, with topics arranged in alphabetical order. Each topic gets covered in a short and crisp write up. Each topic gets a page all its own, thereby making the book easy on your already frayed nerves.

About Liberty Seguros, S. A.

Liberty Seguros has over eight decades of experience in the insurance business. They rely on the dedication of each one of our 510 employees to find the best protection solutions for Portuguese households, individuals and for micro, small and medium-sized companies.

The company has 31 business offices, called Espaços Liberty Seguros, and 7 branch offices distributed across the whole of Portugal, that give support to the insurance agents, their strategic allies, through whom they offer a broad range of products and services designed to ensure their customers enjoy safer, better protected lives.

Liberty Seguros is governed by values of Solidarity, Team Spirit, Dedication, Work Commitment and Responsibility to the Community.

Introducing Vida Economica, the book publishers

Vida Economica is the best source of information for Portuguese companies and professionals. They have an experience of more than 80 years on delivering news that their readers can use. Vida Economica is the first business weekly in Portugal.

Their activities include special interest magazines covering most important subjects for business as books. Their book portofolio has more than 300 titles with some of the best-sellers on economy and management.

Statutory Warning

This book does not guarantee solving any of your problems. Yes, it could help you to gain a fresh perspective on the challenges you face in your career.

Mandatory Declaration

No animals were harmed during the writing of this book.

You can buy the book here

(Related Posts:
https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/the-book-como-sobreviver-na-selva-empresarial-guia-pratico
https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/the-book-como-sobreviver-na-selva-empresarial-guia-pratico-2-0)

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Surviving in the Corporate Jungle

BookFrontCover

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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