Friday, February 26, 2010

Harnessing relevance with the Generation Next..& Unbound Opportunities up Ahead

The Season of prosperity unfolding slowly. This may be the umpteenth time that I blog this -"We are living in unprecedented times" & the opportunity before us is one that our forefathers never could have imagined.Call me an optimist but I see pavements glitzing in gold..and we have to pick the lazer cut diamonds from the streets..but for that..we need to wear a sneaker which time flies & ensure the laces of SHOE STRINGS arent tied to the either feets..

Parents for starters shouldn't conjure imaginations of a Greg Louganis Olympian in their kiddos..Let the children conjure their own dreams and size it to their potential..but some parents are hell bent to size it to their 70 mm 1980 or 1990s screen..if they did there will be a blurred vision for sure..

...I am telling students to nurture more than 4 crafts and it will be nice if these are a part of their passion instead of being thrust upon a stereo type career calling fitting social stigmas of today.

Most of todays teens juggle their time at college with DJing, trying their hand at music , and other career streams prospect..I am sure when they take up that job they arent ready for a 9-7.30 detention in green glassy campuses ..

Irregular earnings (income) flow will be the order of the day.So consumption lead economic growth may create pit falls. Saving for rainy recession/uncertain days ahead seems to be the mantra. We are our business capital..and the capital crunch is in the vault on top of our eyes..the keys to unlock the vault is also in there..the Older we get the more rusted the lock gets ..they eyes see less and the mind makes it see lesser...

Call it age factor ..the young today can see the future more than the old ..if only they took their eyes off the iPOD & sms texts ...their young heart pumps hot & energetic blood to power their dreams..the broadband can be put to better use..broadband get them global faster than it did for teenagers of 1990's..the 3G spectrum will get them hooked on to instant NOW syndrome..and i am willing to only look at the positives with a what next approach

I am saying all this ! THATs right , Haven't been practicing all that so far..will do hence forth. But the kids are lapping it up..I wish this talks work well for them.......Kal Aaj Aur Kal...Gen X to Gen Z..we changed a lot ...from a 2 track careers in 1980's to todays 1000's of opportunities as career roles..lets roll on for the better ..roll a world with more vibrant colors .. to lets imagine more on this ...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Human Resources for OneWorld

Human Resource isnt finding another brick in the wall,it about finding humane leaders & thinking followers to build a purposeful world of existence beyond stock markets into societies we inhibit. Business have long chased the cause of finding followers who had an implicit ability to follow like automated machines.Others did better. They charged the manpower with an ambition of self wealth generation thus creating a society of selfish islands working to meet their narrow objectives.The aspirations of the society therefore was ill with values stopping at nil.

The knowledge economy & the power of internet creates a possibility of sharing information wealth selflessly.We have already seen that information when shared increases in its intrinsic value. Now if only business & societies found a purpose of sharing services in tandem with knowledge to one & all. I guess once the purpose finds its mark the means of wealth creation is easy to follow.Leaders than will arise to serve the cause & followers shall think with their hearts & follow to serve & share

A flaw which exists today is the way capitalistic forces incentivise a select bunch of risk takers.Hence the risk takers take limited risk resulting in islands of economic progress which in any case is brittle by the quarter.

I am glad that amongst two of the greatest capitalists of our era Bill Gates & Warren Buffet have realized this and invested their hard fought/earned abundant wealth into causes elevating global good. How else can we define the acts of some of our greatest business icons spending the sunset days delivering the promise of philanthropy.From Rockfeller to David Packard.

More needs to follow.There in lies the challenge of human resource strategists to levitate the present existential bluff to a world that must be.After all its we the people who matter along with other beings on planet earth. Until then lets keep counting heads of the brittle bricks on the wall & other notional wealth.

OneWorld is the Company for which HR needs to create the dream team ! This would be fantasy for those who can imagine only as far as their life's influence.Reality & Change occur only when we give imagination a break from logic & dream audaciously. For now the human resource leaders , it suffice to start applying strategies beyong corporate balance sheets to balance of life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If you thinking BRIC , think CIBJAR..

BRIC is talking and taking shape. Lets cement it first and add in Japan and Australia into the scheme of affairs. G20 , BRIC and what i foresee as CIBJAR will ensure that Tom Friedman was right on his vision of a flat world.

First we brought down the Berlin Wall , then we are erecting the BRIC bloc , next we need to bring the Great Wall of China ( pun Intended) . An open and liberalized China will do a lot more good then their present role as manufacturing home to the world and buying the American government bonds to inter exchange their myopic objectives.

Aravindan Umashankar wrote:
June 25, 2009 2:10

The raise of the BRIC block is significant in many ways.For the first time in over a half a century; the world order has moved on from a bipolar to tripolar to a flatter agglomeration of BRIC nation as diverse in their make and function , yet synonymous in a factor of "Growth" while the world slips into red. "Growth" plus consumption make the four nations formidable. BRIC has shown promise, but it will take long for them to impact on an equal footing to the EU & US on world economic affairs. With 40 % of world population who by the way are way too younger than the rest of the world represent a inferential force that can be wishes away.Lets fuel this raise and watch this closely with out prejudice. A flat world with political and economic balance is always better than a polarized world. Celebrate the raise of the BRIC with responsible ra ra. Time will tell the rest!

Aravindan Umashankar wrote:
June 25, 2009 2:31

BRIC is presently a BIAS! That most are leaning to this is another matter altogether. The famous four are seen to be relatively unaffected by the the global melt down. Even as we pick up the BRIC connotation from a wall street exec research work ; the block represents us as unit of optimism. Their ebullient growth will cheer economic analysts and financial gurus who dabble in numbers in green and red. To me they are in their present form a lesser evil bunch of malleable fundamentalism. Since they consume on their own what they produce, their growth and raise wont hurt vested interests of the other famous colonizing counterparts in the west. CIBJAR is more like it the way I would like to see adding in Japan and Australia. Spread prosperity and the cause of a green world to the entire planet is the ultimate goal. For now the BRIC medicine is appropriate to quell a century old stereo type of the world view & mind set.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Government Motors but Dammed Detroitosaurus can still Disco !

THE demise of GM had been expected for so long that when it finally died there was barely a whimper. Wall Street was unmoved. Congress did not draw breath. America shrugged. Yet the indifference with which the news was received should not obscure its importance. A company which once sold half the cars in America, employed in its various guises as many people as the combined populations of Nevada and Delaware and was regarded as a model for managers all over the world has just gone under; and its collapse holds important lessons about management, about government and about the future of the car industry.

"Managing Culture is our main Business" was said by the most famous 1990s American Manager who penned "Who Say Elephants Cant Dance" ? For starters he saved an American icon which is curently OnDemand. Now they are Thinking of a Smarter Planet. Not only did Big Blue change the rules of business engagement, they exited some head ache loss making businesses. Even those which were core to their identity like the PC and other hardware business.

Today more than a third of their business profitability comes from Software business and their over all business sweetly rewamped in a portfolio of annuity business. Now that was transformational.

Apple shrugged the looming online music piracy bane and converted into a billon dollar rainmaking cash cow ! the apple story is outstanding in context as Apple II is all about music sales as much as it is about computers. And guess what the Computer in Apple Computer got dropped last year. The Personal Computers from the IBM PC got sold to lenovo.

May be GM should let go sales of cars with its badge and focus as a contract manufacturer , Supply chain management company globalised in operations and service hub fueling next generation cars with bio fuels and brainy rechargable batteries. That'll create more jobs and avoid the legendary plants at Detroit and Delaware from being shut !

Now that a huge ego issue for America .isnt it ? Thats is a cultural issue in as much as it is a ego hassle. So we expect a lot from the "New Government Motors"

For several decades or so it seems that GM was a victim of the industrial megalomania and corporate nar⋅cis⋅sism that self consumed the gaint with inefficient , gas guzzling , American ego fueling , SUV's ( Super Useless Vehicles). When the nimble footed japanese and quality focused germans and super fast Koreans hit the fast lane , they not only came up with smart cars but lean ones too , mean performance, quality and value for money and light on pocket & light on environment four wheelers!

When times changed the GM think tanks also tried to shrugg of the SUV mistep. But the GM culture was deep and cancerous. Now lean and mean with half its original line up , they are better positioned to adopt Kaizen principles ! Look for Blue Oceans and Compete into the future.

With Hummer going going gone under the hammer and saturn, saab and pontiac eclipsed the new GM can drive with green Cadillac, Chevy,Buick and GMC mostly on Indian and Chinese roads more than at Mountain View.

Art of unlearning the Alfred Sloan legacy will be tough. What got GM here wont get New GM there ! Chevy Volte is a spec of possibility on a road long captured by Toyota's Prius and other hybrids.They need to take a leaf from guys at as the world needs a betterplace.

Recreating a industry model like the thought behind "betterplace" can be a market making endevour. An Ode to Ford and study of the beasts from the east like
Tata's "nano" is still very much plausible !

But then culture vultures needs to be in sync with the necciated dictats of what the individual customer can afford in these times of recession and future fossil fuel independency. Be it biting cold or blazing sun , the billions in India and China will buy more cars than the whole world put togather in the next five years.

If markets are shifting then why not shift the corporate strategy, people strategy , design strategy , execution strategy and management strategy. Why not make culture the key strategy !

"When the rate of change outside the organisation is greater than the rate of change inside the organisation then the end is in sight" - Yes we sighted the Chapter 11 end. Now for a new start ! GM Redux will depend on the following points :-

Fritz Henderson must get this guy "Shai Agassi" on the Board along with "Ratan Tata" and Edward Whitacre, Jr. as Chairman of New GM not such a great idea.He already sit on the heavy weight Exxon board and he builds a New GM running on fuel cells and solar power. Conficting isnt it ? AT&T is also such a dusty legacy right?

Even as we tune into twitter and facebook for the re:invention of the New GM a few glaring and uncomfortable questions around cultural transformations remain. Its about execution like the Big Blue did and reinvention like Mark Hurd HP has !

The political time window is the next 3 years or further 4 more if Obama lasts another term unscathed from the global recession.

New GM need to fit in the new global economic architecture integrating the Americas, Dragon Land , Land of Raising Sun , EU and BRIC walls .

Assuming that Capitol Hill and Unions stay subtle at management interventions and management swift to external changes!Government Motors is Dammed but Detroitosaurus can Disco ! IF Only ............................................

Before it too late ..Henderson catch hold of the "The LongTail Pipe" ( The Green phrophet Shai Agassi Blog" | |

And more as yours truly will add to cement some points and perspective to put them in meaningful context ..stay glued !

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Treasure of Life as an Experience !

Money has no memory. Experience has. You will never know what the total cost of your education was, but for a lifetime you will recall and relive the memories of schools and colleges. Few years from now, you will forget the amount you paid to settle the hospitalization bill, but will ever cherish having saved your mother's life or the life you get to live with the just born. You won't remember the cost of your honeymoon, but to the last breath remember the experiences of the bliss of togetherness. Money has no memory. Experience has.

Good times and bad times, times of prosperity and times of poverty, times when the future looked so secure and times when you didn't know from where the tomorrow will come... life has been in one way or the other a roller-coaster ride for everyone. Beyond all that abundance and beyond all that deprivation, what remains is the memory of experiences. Sometimes the wallet was full... sometimes even the pocket was empty. There was enough and you still had reasons to frown. There wasn't enough and you still had reasons to smile. Today, you can look back with tears of gratitude for all the times you had laughed together, and also look back with a smile at all the times you cried alone. All in all, life filled you with experiences to create a history of your own self, and you alone can remember them all.

The first time you balanced yourself on your cycle without support... The first time she said 'yes' and it was two years since you proposed... The first cry... the first steps... the first word... the first kiss... all of your child... The first gift you bought for your parents and the first gift your daughter gave you... The first award... the first public appreciation... the first stage performance... And the list is endless... Experiences, with timeless memory... No denying that anything that's material cost money, but the fact remains the cost of the experience will be forgotten, but the experience never.

So, what if it's economic recession? Let it be, but let there not be a recession to the quality of your life. You can still take your parents, if not on a pilgrimage, at least to the local temple. You can still play with your children, if not on an international holiday, at least in the local park. It doesn't cost money to lie down or to take a loved one onto your lap. Nice time to train the employees, create leadership availability and be ready for the wonderful times when they arrive. Hey! Aspects like your health, knowledge development and spiritual growth are not economy dependent.

Time will pass... economy will revive... currency will soon be in current... and in all this; I don't want you to look back and realize you did nothing but stayed in gloom. If you are not happy with what you have, no matter how much more you have, you will still not be happy.

Make a statement with the way you live your life.

Respect life, live with passion.


Catch two remarkable movies that epitomize the undeniable magic of life , that magic of positive thinking and the magic of hope !

Thursday, July 10, 2008


This comment is posted two years since the posting of the blog from Nandani. Therefore i have the benefit of the hindsight and the bias of how the world have adopted the "Flat World" concept. Nandan has given a lot of credibility to the tipping point started by Thomas Friedman.
Yes we are in a manner of speaking living in a flat world. But the dimensions and contours have evolved since the time we started to think flat world.
We are living in a "interconnected flat yet matrixed world and this has far more profound impact than living in a plain flat world.
The interconnectivities are akin to the neural networks and some of the networks are congnitive and self learning and healing. The synapse connecting the many nodal networks carry a lot of vital information content which impact lives of the individuals in far flung remote locations.
Few examples :
* Sensitivity trigger to the oil barrel price points in todays time more than ever before shoots the inflation point several notches northwards and determines fortunes of the ruling governments at several hundred countries.
Why ? Inspite of the decoupling efforts of the economists and politicos , economies are connect with several flat micro matrixed synapses. Resulting in ripple effect which even the most astute investment banker cannot predict.
Second, evolving a political consensus or dividing political mandates or electing a new president for the worlds most powerful economy are all in a way influenced and triggered by the individual clicking the mouse sitting at a corner table.
Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama with Facebook fought their contest as much as they did in the speaches , debates as they did leveraging the citizen right clicking their veiw sitting at home. An edge which Obama benefited greatly by the support from Facebook.
The news and impact of bird flew in a far flung remote village in china impacted poultry prices in the down town market in India as people buzzed the panic button rampantly.
Closer to home , the bollywood industrys films fate is sealed on the weekend release effectively by the deft penning of reviews by the critics both mendia, print and online.
As for the Indian IT Sector , we have thus far done reasonably well to absorb the shocks of the flattnenning. It time now to create and control the flat neural networks with micro synapses which can propel out now 50 billion plus India IT revenue to a trillion dollar mark.
Yes today more than ever before we are living in a MATRIXED NEURAL NETWORK COMPRISING OF MICRO SYNAPSES albeit a FLAT WORLD.
Lets see if future has more dimensions being added to the once Spherical Globle. From my end i am signing off on a very upbeat and optimistic note.

The above was posted in response to a blog by one of the most accomplished Business Leaders of modern india- Nandan Nilekani.


In a Flat World, Operational Excellence is Strategy
by Nandan M. Nilekani
Over the last 25 years, IT has been the prime mover in creating millions of jobs, not just in IT firms but in all the industries and services needed to support it.
Yet in many ways the next five years are going to be critical for the IT revolution. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is not just about a few back office jobs. The flat world created by the confluence of technology, globalization, demographics and the rising economic power of India and China is making companies fundamentally alter their business assumptions. What and where they produce, whom they sell to, at what price, and how they manage it all – the fundamental tenets of their business model are being entirely revisited.
This is likely to lead to the most dramatic transformation of firms in every aspect of their business, as significant as the role of mass manufacturing in remaking the industrial revolution in the early 20th century.
In this new environment, companies that are able to increase productivity, use technology intelligently, globalize their talent base and practice financial discipline will derive sustainable competitive advantage.
But achieving this will require from all of us who are in a position to effect change, a strategic view not a tactical response to get through the next quarter. It would require us to question fundamental business assumptions and drive long-term operational changes – for in a flat world, operational excellence is strategy.
Posted by Nandan M. Nilekani on July 31, 2006 08:07 AM

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Destroying the office of the CEO

Another one of Vineets thinking which treads on a radical streak challenging conventional and historic legacy of leadership practice. In a day where people exhibit inertia to protect their office and hang around this thought is quite a departure. Appended below is my response and comments for your reference.
Source :

Author : Vineet Nayyar. President and CEO HCL Technologies.
Destroying the office of the CEO
Often while evaluating the challenges and opportunities facing my organization and the industry on the whole, I am faced with a question of how to build a truly global organization having global leaders who essentially will come from the next generation. The changing environment indicates that what was true in the past is not true now. So what’s so different about the environment today than it was five years ago?
I believe the three Rs have changed - the Responsibilities are different, the Response we want from our managers is different, and Results expected from these managers are different. Keeping this in mind, would it be sufficient to just induct and manage leaders into a global culture?
What we need is a global organization- and I believe a global organization is different from an American or a European or an Indian organization. If you ask me to define this global organization, I would say a global organization is one that inverts the pyramid of the organizational structure. It is more entrepreneurial. And it has to create what I call “the democratization of the organizations”, where it is not people like us who are monitoring, managing, and hence, correcting what others should be doing. It’s all about reverse accountability- that we are responsible to help them achieve their goals, radically different than our conventional style of management.
And when we run an organization like an inverted pyramid, issues like that of cultural integration will be completely bypassed. That’s because our job will primarily be that of an enabler, a facilitator. Rather than running our organization in a military fashion with “command and control” (usually seen in manufacturing setups), you run it in an enabled fashion where responsibilities, responses and results expected are clearly defined. In an enabling environment, you create communities of interest, you create collaborative platforms, and you create sensitivity to global cultures. And you don’t intervene. At HCL, we have seen a large degree of success with this management style.
Some may wonder and argue that there is still a need of that one person to take the final decision. I disagree!
We are heading towards managing the next generation of employees who would shun away hierarchy and who would resist structures. This next generation is an internet generation and their key style is information-learning-collaborating. They would want more value, more innovation, and more collaboration. And they collaborate in unstructured formats, beyond our imagination and what we have seen so far.
Another point is, that unlike manufacturing and unlike an army, the value in an IT services company actually gets created in the interface between am employee and the customer and that interface is by far the most important in running (it services) businesses. So the global leaders have to manage these people who are different in nature, and he also has to realize that he is not the one creating value. The interface is doing that. In my mind, CEO being a “larger than life decision maker” or a visionary is some thing that belongs to the past. I strongly believe it is time to think of destroying the office of the CEO. The next generation business imperatives are about CEO’s accountability of creating enabling functions to bring about openness and build a learning ground. This will ensure that people create value in that interface where their leaders not necessarily participate. In today’s world when parents have repositioned themselves as “friends” of their children shouldn’t the boss rethink his relationship?
The relevance of leadership in tomorrow’s world is a question mark. My belief is that of shared leadership or shared accountability. A more provocative word is inverse accountability - where the leader is accountable to his employees. And unfortunately it does not exist today. We believe in democratic values in our day-to-day life, but we fail to run our organizations democratically. Reverse accountability of a leader to his employees will become a vital requisite and once it does, shared leadership will automatically emerge.

My response : Posted on April 15th 2008
That organsations need to be lead and lead towards an agreed goal is a defined practice of management in the past. This isnt going to change in the near future as well.
However the thoughts presented are a distnct departure from the past but in my view nothing radical. Instead the view one get is that of the treatment of managing and leading having evolved with the attendant forces of industry dynamics.
Darwinism has more relevance to the business of today that it ever had in terms of impact. And organisations which have survived have by sheer instincts coped with the changing dymanics of the business terrain. Some which havent have withered into the oblivion.
Successful Organisation of the future will have a distinct inclusive DNA nonetheless evolutionary DNA. For the short term investors will reward initatives involving innovation and transformational corporate renditions. The life blood of these enterprises will be Vision,Strategy,Execution,Delegation,motivation,inspiration and creating what has be dealt in your blog as ” Integrating Cross Cultures” and ” Enabling Functions”.
While i am in agreement with the several changing paradigms about employees and organisations , CEO are not going to be redundant in a hurry. Business world apart ,planet earth is still in Command Control mode. Albeit Changing to a pluralistic shift in thinking inclusion of several myraid constitunents.
How else could one explain the Military powers impacting sharing of ecomomic and welfare programs by vitrue of the ” So Called Sanctions”. How do we explain the G 8 and its strangle hold on the close knit ecomonies.
The CEO of today , many like your self have the ardorous task of being market makers , rain makers and transformation managers. Importantly as cheiftans one who can clearly articulate a vision and predict a future to the several thousand waiting to be inspired to higher degrees of productivity. Focus on inclusive programs to distribute wealth evenly amongst the societies around the world.The CEO of today has a richer charter of creating several CEO’s in pipeline to carry the entreprenurial engine chugging along definitive paths.
Its is my kind submission that with all the good points taken into consideration we should foster for a grander purpose for the office of the CEO instead of destroying it. Evolve it into a position where mere mortals can look forward to. Look forward to a future with certianity.
Comment by Aravindan Umashankar — April 15, 2008 @ 11:17 am