Posts Tagged ‘Management’

Chief Executive Officers and  top honchos should retire themselves every five to six years. This would ensure some sanity in the operations of the company. As to lesser mortals, there is no point in clinging to their seats of power till ill health (or worse, death) comes knocking on the door.

Life is much bigger and brighter than work. The many shades of life which remain to be explored after retirement include simple joys – spending exclusive time with one’s spouse, putting life in the reverse gear by playing with grandchildren, taking up hobbies neglected for years, and fulfilling other desires which had merely remained benign intentions all those years.

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently. The Portuguese version of the excerpt follows.)



Os Diretores Executivos e os manda-chuvas devem reformar-se ao fim de 5 ou 6 anos. Com isso garantem alguma sanidade às operações da empresa. Quanto aos simples mortais, não há nenhuma vantagem em manterem-se agarrados aos seus lugares de poder até que os problemas de saúde (ou, pior, a morte) lhes venham bater à porta.

A vida é muito maior e mais interessante do que o trabalho. Entre as muitas nuances da vida que continuam a ser exploradas após a reforma estão as alegrias simples – passar mais tempo com o cônjuge, fazer marcha-atrás e brincar com os netos, dedicar-se a passatempos que foram negligenciados
durante anos e cumprir outros desejos que nunca passaram.

(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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Hire a quality expert who is practical and does not live in an ivory tower, or else your billings may nosedive and your entire manufacturing team may end up doing only rework.

In the services sector, quality invariably means an extension of the core job being done. A shipping agent who keeps you updated of the status of a shipment at all times is a delight to work with; so is a dentist who sends you a discreet short message reminding you of your appointment that evening!

To quote Dr. Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull: ‘…man cannot achieve his greatest fulfilment through seeking quantity for quantity’s sake; he will achieve it through improving the quality of life, in other words, through avoiding life-incompetence’.

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently. The Portuguese version of the excerpt follows.)


Contrate um especialista em qualidade que seja pragmático e não viva numa torre de marfim; caso contrário, a sua faturação poderá cair a pique e toda a equipa de produção pode acabar a retrabalhar produtos e nada mais.

No setor dos serviços, a qualidade significa sempre uma extensão do trabalho principal que é feito. É um prazer trabalhar com uma transportadora que o mantém a todo o momento a par do estado de uma encomenda; tal como com
um dentista que lhe envia uma mensagem breve e discreta a lembrar-lhe que tem consulta nesse dia!

Para citar o Dr. Laurence J. Peter e Raymond Hull: “…um homem nunca estará realizado se procurar a quantidade por si só; realizar-se-á através da melhoria da qualidade de vida, ou seja, evitando as incompetências da vida”.

(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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Good public relations could keep your business image bright and shining. With the advent of the Internet, it has become easier to be in the public eye. To ensure you remain so for the right reasons depends upon the quality of product/service on offer, the manner in which either customer complaints or labour issues are handled, and your corporate governance record.

In a large complex business, you may need to hire an expert to handle your public relations. Check the guy’s credentials and sign him on for a maximum period of two years at a time. Better still, get one of the smart secretaries to handle it in-house.

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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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An effective tool in the management’s arsenal to reward and motivate guys who excel in their jobs.

There are two key challenges faced in case of promotions:

  1. Pressure for time-bound promotions

Everyone expects to get promoted after having slogged it out at a given level in the organization for a few years. The reason you find most organizations top-heavy today is because the management twenty years back did not pay attention to managing the aspirations of its people and instead went along with the philosophy of time-based promotions!

  1. Managing is different

Doing a job yourself is one thing. Getting it done through others is a different ball game altogether. To be a good manager, one needs to be a leader, bestowed with skills in team building, communication, delegation, and supervision. Often, two-thirds of the promotions in corporates are based on incumbents putting in an impressive show in their present role. Once promoted, the incumbent is left twiddling his thumbs, trying to figure out how to manage the same activity through others.

The solution possibly lies in building up a culture which rewards good performance but does not overlook the projected managerial talent of the promotee. Job rotation, counselling, and job enrichment are some of the tools which a wise Human Resource guy may use to manage the majority which deems a promotion as its birth-right, based only on the fourth dimension of our universe – time!

A populist approach like resorting to time-based promotions can also be practised, provided there is an aggressive scheme in place to enforce employee separations as well, that too in a time-bound manner!

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently. The Portuguese version of the excerpt follows.)


Uma ferramenta eficaz no arsenal de gestão para premiar e motivar os indivíduos que se destacam nas suas funções.

As promoções levantam sobretudo duas dificuldades:

1. Pressão para ser promovido dentro de um determinado limite de tempo

Qualquer um espera vir a ser promovido depois de se ter arrastado num determinado nível da organização durante vários anos. A razão por que a maioria das organizações hoje em dia são tão pesadas é porque há  vinte anos as chefias não souberam gerir as aspirações dos seus subordinados e deixaram-se levar pela filosofia das promoções baseadas no tempo!

2. Ser chefe é diferente

Uma pessoa fazer um trabalho ela própria é uma coisa. Fazer com que esse trabalho seja feito por outros é uma coisa completamente diferente. Para ser um bom chefe, é preciso ser um líder, dotado de competênciasde
coordenação de equipas, comunicação, delegação e supervisão. Muitas vezes, dois terços das promoções das empresas baseiam-se no facto dos candidatos à
promoção ressaltarem de forma impressionante as suas funções atuais. Uma vez conseguida a promoção, o promovido fica a girar os polegares, a tentar descobrir como realizar as mesmas funções através dos outros.

A solução passa, possivelmente, por estabelecer uma cultura empresarial que recompense o bom desempenho, mas sem negligenciar o potencial talento de gestão dos promovidos. A rotação no trabalho, o aconselhamento e o enriquecimento das funções são algumas das ferramentas que um Diretor de Recursos Humanos sábio poderá usar para gerir a maioria dos colaboradores que estão convencidos que a promoção é um direito que lhes assiste desde
a nascença, com base apenas na quarta dimensão do nosso universo – o tempo!

Uma abordagem populista que recorra a promoções baseadas no tempo também pode ser praticada, desde que esteja igualmente implementado um sistema agressivo que permita distinguir os colaboradores, também de forma
limitada no tempo!

(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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Packages are negotiable only at the entry stage; later on, they tend to lose their elasticity!

Bear in mind that packages are not necessarily related to the innate worth of an incumbent. These have more to do with the company’s corporate ego (read brand value), and also the comfort levels offered. Companies offering high-pressure assignments in high-entropy business environments tend to be more liberal with the packages they offer.

The rate of growth of packages outside the company would always be better than the jumps you get in-house. If you are willing to challenge yourself and move out of your present comfort zone, do not grumble for long; find another exciting opportunity and move on!

As postulated by the Motivation-Hygiene Theory of Herzberg, packages fall in the Hygiene category of rewards. To use a medical analogy, their presence does not necessarily make a person healthier; on the contrary, their absence can cause deterioration in health.

To put it simply, when it comes to individual motivation levels, packages have a rather short shelf life.

When it comes to chucking out the deadwood, organizations could come up with innovative severance packages!

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently.)

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All ideas which sound revolutionary from a new incumbent fade exponentially over a period of time. The incumbent himself gets bored and a sense of fatalism sets in. A smart incumbent would call it quits before he reaches this state of vegetation.

Seniors who decide to overstay their welcome run the risk of being derided and hounded out. They do a great disservice to the organization and also end up lowering the morale of their would-be-successors who have to wait interminably for getting a shot at occupying the throne in the corner office.

A tired and exhausted lion can no longer afford to cling to his seat of power.

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently. The Portuguese version of the excerpt follows.)


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