Monday, February 25, 2008

The expectations of role partners

Manage Mentor

Management and Leadership Development

Christopher Mabey and Tim Finch-Lees


Drivers of career growth

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has ‘high performance work practices’ such as ‘formal policies turned strongly around the notion of measuring and rewarding individuals’ work performance against targets closely related to the company’s objectives.’
Yet a study by C. Truss (2001) found that what counted were ‘visibility and networking if people wanted to further their careers.’ Despite the increased focus at the policy level, on formalised career management, ‘the traditional, informal method of career management that had evolved within the company continued to prevail,’ observed Truss.


The overseas tour of duty

Books 2 Byte

Reward Management

Michael Armstrong and Helen Murlis

( )

Expat remuneration

How much should you pay the expats? That depends upon their job and status, personal commitments, the territory to which they are assigned and other variables, say Michael Armstrong and Helen Murlis in ‘Reward Management,’ fifth edition ( ).
“An expression commonly found in the policy documents of multinational companies runs approximately thus: ‘the aim of the expatriate remuneration policy is to ensure that individuals are ‘neither better nor worse off’ as a result of their overseas tour of duty,’” the authors mention.


Ambiguity and learning almost define a job

Books 2 Byte

Lessons in Leadership

Randall Tobias


Are you comfortable with ambiguity?

To Randall Tobias, one of the key indicators for separating those who most likely have the potential to become successful leaders from those who probably do not is their level of comfort with ambiguity, their ability to be comfortable in an uncertain environment. It all boils down to how eager they are to continue to learn, he writes in ‘Lessons in Leadership’ (EastWest).

Suggestions for financing

Books 2 Byte

Understanding Islamic Finance

Muhammad Ayub

( )

Implementing Islamic finance

Sources of current day’s socio-economic problems, according to Muhammad Ayub, are “the unbridled creation of fictitious assets, particularly reserve currencies, and the unhindered forces of demand and supply with exploitative tools of ‘sovereignty’ of individuals, ‘unfettered self-interest,’ and the ‘interest’-based corrupt financial system.”
We could have avoided massive losses of life and property had the creation of fictitious monetary assets not been so easy and rampant, he rues in ‘Understanding Islamic Finance’ ( ). A footnote explains how the recent wars, which have resulted in numerous deaths, were ‘financed in the main by deficit financing or the creation of (reserve) money.’


Target audience behaviours that benefit society

Book Mark

Social Marketing

Philip Kotler and Nancy R. Lee


Rewarding good behaviours

This is how a blood centre made the first experience a pleasant one for the donors: “Volunteers are the first and last persons a donor sees, and their sincerity is clear. After giving blood and sitting with a cup of juice and a cookie, donors a re asked by volunteers whether they want to set up the next appointment, usually two months later. A reminder call or e-mail is placed the week prior to the next appointment.”
Thus reads an example in Social Marketing,’ third edition, by Philip Kotler and Nancy R. Lee (


The ad industry going through the third revolution

Book Mark

Adland: A global history of advertising

Mark Tungate


Collapse of old certainties

This is the most exciting time to be working in advertising since the 1950s, declares Mark Tungate in Adland: A global history of advertising ( The ad industry, w hich has already gone through two revolutions, viz. ‘the invention of the printing press, and the creative revolution,’ is going through the third: ‘the one that is happening right now.’
What makes the current period so fascinating is that nobody really knows how advertising will evolve, observes Tungate. “Advertising’s future will not resemble its past. Experts are busy tracking increasingly slippery consumers and mapping their behaviour, but their findings always come with a question mark attached.”


Monday, February 18, 2008

The new ‘leadership development’ approach

Manage Mentor

Leaders at All Levels

Ram Charan


Not everyone can become a leader

Traditional leadership development practices aren’t working, bemoans Ram Charan in a recent book of his. “CEOs are failing sooner and falling harder, leaving their companies in turmoil. At all levels, companies are short on the quantity and quality of leaders they need.”
The solution, he says, is not in tinkering and fine-tuning. “It’s time for a completely new approach to finding and developing the kinds of leaders businesses need,” declares Charan in Leaders at All Levels (, a book that provides ‘a model for companies to reinvent their leadership development processes and for individual leaders to guide their own careers.’


The Hebrew alphabet

Books of Account

10 Minute Kabbalah

Shoshanna Cohen

( )

Value added letters

Accountants busy with numbers may be interested to know that each letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value, just like Roman numerals. “Hebrew numerical values are not like numerology, and they aren’t based on superstitions,” explains Shoshanna Cohen in 10 Minute Kabbalah ( ).


Success in life depends on the ability to effectively implement change

Books of Account

The Manager as Change Leader

Ann Gilley

( )

Frightened of change?

The trouble with change is bad publicity that the horror stories reveal through dismal statistics. Sample these: “One-half to two-thirds of major corporate change initiatives are deemed failures. Less than 40 per cent of change efforts produced positive change. One-third of major change efforts actually make the situation worse. Less than 50 per cent of reengineering programmes are considered successes, some say less than 20 per cent. Many companies are finding that they must undertake moderate organisational changes at least once a year, and major changes every four or five years.”
Citing these ‘frightening’ data, from published sources, Ann Gilley writes in The Manager as Change Leader ( ) reminds bosses that success in organisational life will yet increasingly depend on the ability to effectively implement change.


The 'freedom to restrictions'

Books of Account

Capital Rules

Rawi Abdelal

( )

The new orthodoxy

The rise of global financial markets towards the end of the last century was based on one idea, writes Rawi Abdelal in Capital Rules ( ). The idea, or what he calls ‘the new orthodoxy’, was freedom for capital movements between countries with minimal restriction and regulation.

“It was not always thus,” reminisces the author. “Transactions routinely executed by bankers, managers, and investors during the 1990s — trading foreign stocks and bonds, borrowing in foreign currencies, for example — had been illegal in many countries only decades, and sometimes just a year or two, earlier.”


Road infrastructure can be managed with AI (artificial intelligence)

Books 2 Byte

Transport Communications: Understanding global networks enabling transport services

John Tiffin and Chris Kissling


Intelligent transport

When you can think of ‘clever clothes’ with wearable computers, or ‘smart buildings’ that are energy efficient the e-way, why not intelligent roads?
“Traffic on a modern road system is driven by many human intelligences that selfishly compete with each other to optimise the use of the road for the individual benefit of each vehicle. The result is an inefficient system prone to accidents,” rue John Tiffin and Chris Kissling in Transport Communications: Understanding global networks enabling transport services (


The ‘highest priority business outcomes'

Books 2 Byte

Corporate Catalysts

Dan Coughlin


Time management is not enough

Know your HPOs, urges Dan Coughlin in Corporate Catalysts ( The abbreviation is not about any ‘process outsourcing,’ but the ‘highest priority business outcomes,’ explains the author.

“These are not activities. These are specific outcomes for the organisation to achieve,” he elaborates. “Work with your boss, peers, direct reports, and staff members to clarify the three most important outcomes. You can’t provide effective management and leadership unless you know the most important desired business outcomes for your organisation.”


The ‘integrative thinking’!

Books 2 Byte

The Opposable Mind

Roger Martin


Conflicting ideas in constructive tension

Can you dance through complexity? Yes, you can, assures F.C. Kohli: “Any situation has a certain number of alternatives, but if you are doing system thinking, even for a complex problem, and you realise what is the system, what are the subsystems, what are the sub-subsystems, and you define their interrelationship as well as you can, you will start seeing some daylight, how to get out of it. The complexity — if you have some logical inputs and also have a syste m structure — I don’t think it looks that bad.”
Citing this thought, Roger Martin writes in The Opposable Mind ( that complexity doesn’t have to be overwhelming if we can master our initial panic reaction and look for patterns, connections, and causal relationships. “Our capacity to handle complexity, Kohli suggests, is greater than we give ourselves credit for.”

Emergency savings are a form of insurance

Book Value

The Citi Commonsense Money Guide for Real People

Dara Duguay

( )

Curveball strategy

Straight roads are great for high-speed driving, which is how one also wishes life to be. Alas, the reality is different, both on roads, and in our lives. There are bumps and curves, but should curveballs and potholes, breakdowns and punctures catapult you into financial crises? Not necessarily, if you are sufficiently prepared and equipped with an emergency fund, says Dara Duguay in ‘The Citi Commonsense Money Guide for Real People’ ( ).


Making quick buck upon listing

Book Value

Financial Markets in India

Rakesh Shahani

(Anamika Publishers, New Delhi)

Measuring IPO success

How to measure the success of an IPO (initial public offering)? “Usually we consider the quantum of oversubscription as the measure of success, however some feel that it is the issue price which should ideally be considered as the determinant of IPO success,” writes Rakesh Shahani in ‘Financial Markets in India’, second edition (Anamika Publishers, New Delhi).
“If the price is too high, the issue is likely to be undersubscribed while if the price is too low then there is bound to be heavy oversubscription,” the author reasons.


A guide for accumulating and keeping the wealth

Book Value

The Quiet Millionaire

Brett Wilder

FMG Publishing Inc

First, discover the real you

If you are not one of those noisy rich whose conspicuous wealth routinely screams shrilly ad nauseam, you will find Brett Wilder ideal company. His new book, ‘The Quiet Millionaire’ from FMG Publishing Inc, is a guide for accumulating and keeping your wealth, and more importantly, for ensuring that you do not outlive your financial resources.

The first step Wilder would handhold you to is the discovery of the real person within. “Mistakenly, people often are too busy with the daily activities in their lives to devote the necessary time and energy to working on their lives,” he rues. Step back and take time to contemplate and figure out what the ‘gut meaning’ of life is for you, advises Wilder.


Be successful and ethical!

Book Mark
The New Sales Manager
Walter Vieira

There are at least four levels of ethical behaviour in all companies, says Walter Vieira in The New Sales Manager ( The first level is of obeying the law. Nex t, meeting the recognised public expectations. Thirdly, anticipating new social demands; and finally, leading the way.

Sales managers in the twenty-first century will need to ensure that their companies reach at least level 2, insists the author. He recommends that managers should review all promotional material and sales correspondence to check for defamatory material or false claims.

LG's rural initiative

Book Mark
Passion: The Untold Story of LG Electronics India
Dr Yasho V. Verma
The colour television (CTV) segment has always been the most profitable one for LGEIL, writes Dr Yasho V. Verma in Passion: The Untold Story of LG Electronics India ( He narrates how the segment became a crowd puller.
"Within a few years of operation, we came to discover that airconditioners and refrigerators sold mainly from March till July/August. The sale of washing machines likewise peaked during the monsoon season. For other product categories, Diwali was the peak season. But CTVs continued to be sold all through the year, helping us maintain a good cash flow system."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Creation is only a stimulus

The Prayer
Abhigyan and Mrinal
Undercover Utopia (

It is the eve of the Republic Day. The morning is pleasantly sunny, with the fog gradually lifting off. I tell Al Raines, “How about a walk on the beach?” But Juhu doesn’t seem to be inviting enough to Mumbaikars as much as to a visiting Chennai-ite like me. So we settle down at a poolside table with some Earl Grey tea at hand.

Al Raines, you may know as the name behind November Rain, a book published in 1993 that went on to become a primetime TV serial on Zee, under the title Tum Bin Jaaon Kahan.

'Health is wealth'

Fitness should be as integral a part of the daily routine — something like saying your prayers, brushing teeth or having a shower — like getting an education.

We focus so much on educating our children, which is excellent. Education needs the importance it is getting. But, so does wellness. We also need to inculcate the fitness habit. We need a lot more awareness right at the grassroots level — as Rajiv Gandhi was fond of saying.

The most crucial leadership skills

Micro Messaging
Stephen Young

You could have the most impressive title, an enviably cushy corner office, ultimate power to direct others, and even the perfect wardrobe. But those only dub you with authority, says Stephen Young in Micro Messaging ( “In reality, labels of authority have nothing to do with whether others consider you a leader or whether they’d be motivated to follow you.”

'Life and love are like a game of connect-the-dots'

Almost Single
Advaita Kala

Life. Love. Two tough words, to many, often too tough to decipher, but Advaita Kala has a simple interpretation, in Almost Single (

“For most people, life and love are like a game of connect-the-dots: the numbers always form a straight line to the goal. The result is a perfect picture. For the lesser half — especially for those who inhabit my world — the vision is a blur of blots and splotches and there’s no straight line to speak of.”

New ways of using words that already exist

Books 2 Byte
Brave New Words
Kerry Maxwell

To survive in the twenty-first century, you need to dip into some of the new words that the dynamic English language keeps adding to its stock. Let’s start with A. Do you know that ‘al desko’ means ‘while sitting at your desk’ — the way most people tend to spend their lunchtime too?

A recommended al desko activity can be the reading of Kerry Maxwell’s Brave New Words (, where you’d find in B, ‘blog’ — the online journal, with no word limits in cyberspace. But why blog? Because, as observed, “In the back of each blogger’s mind lurks that desire for someone to look into a blog of theirs and find an intellectual, witty, interesting person…”

'The most important change India has seen in decades'

Political and Incorrect: The real India, warts and all
Tavleen Singh

To Tavleen Singh, the Planning Commission is a ‘crumbling edifice of Indian socialism’ and ‘the symbol of all that is wrong with the way India is governed.’ However, ‘in a discreetly elegant room in Yojana Bhavan’s otherwise decaying atmosphere,’ is Arun Shourie ‘quietly working at bringing about what could be the most important change India has seen in decades,’ as Singh recounts in ‘Political and I ncorrect: The real India, warts and all’ ( ).

'Be effective and decisive'

Leading by Example
Harvard Business School Press

If you are going to lead, trust your judgment, counsels Howard Lester in one of the essays included in ‘Leading by Example’ from Harvard Business School Press ( ).

As leaders, you have a responsibility to really think through what you are doing, he insists. “You ask a lot of opinions; it’s not as if you hide from everybody because you’ve made up your mind.”

'Pay attention to your environment'

The Manager as Politician
Jerry W. Gilley

To develop a macro understanding of an organisation, its people, and the dynamics around, a key strategy is observation. “Pay attention to your environment, especially to the interactions between people and the patterns of these interactions,” says Jerry W. Gilley in ‘The Manager as Politician’ ( ).

“Effective political navigators spend far more time observing than communicating,” he notes. “Observation allows you to examine the political terrain prior to engaging in a political interaction and engagement.

'The PACER process'

The 5 Catalysts of 7 Figure Growth
Andy Birol

Forget the Fed. What you should be worried about is FUD, or fear, uncertainty and doubt. The cost of FUD on our businesses and economy is profound, cautions Andy Birol in ‘The 5 Catalysts of 7 Figure Growth’ ( ). “It suffocates the business owner’s ability to grow.”

If in doubt, peel the company onion down to its essence, urges Birol. “Real customers with real problems must spend real money to purchase real products or services the company really makes which solve real pain or create real opportunity real soon. Everything else is distraction. There is nothing virtual about this reality!” he declares.

The internal traffic signals

Fearless Negotiating
Michael C. Donaldson

Michael C. Donaldson’s Fearless Negotiating ( is about 3Ws to make agreements that work: The wish-want-walk method. It works “from the bedroom to the boardroom and all around the world,” the author assures.

And, to those who are afraid of negotiations, the author explains FEAR as “false evidence appearing real.” We all build up ideas in our head that just don’t match with objective reality, he laments.

Customers are at the top

Achieving Business Excellence
Pravin Rajpal

Business excellence is all about exceeding any competitor on six fronts, says Pravin Rajpal in Achieving Business Excellence ( These are innovation, product quality, cost competitiveness, delivery, customer satisfaction and service. He begins the chapter on customers with a great quote of Robert Half, thus: “When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” Then, there is Sam Walton’s wisdom, that there is only one boss, the customer. How so? “He can fire anybody in the company from the chairman to managers, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

Monday, February 04, 2008

'The age of violence'

Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism
Eric Hobsbawm

In this ‘age of violence’ is public order harder to maintain? “Plainly governments and businesses think so,” writes Eric Hobsbawm in Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism ( ). For instance, “The size of police forces in Britain has gone up by 35 per cent since 1971; and for every ten thousand citizens at the end of the century there were 34 police officers as against 24.4 thirty years earlier (that’s more than 40 per cent up).” In addition, there are an estimated ‘half a million employed in the security industry as guards and the like — a sector of the economy that has multiplied over the past 30 years since Securicor felt big enough in 1971 to get a stock exchange quotation.

'Even the absolute is not absolute'

Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Non-fiction: Work from 1970 to the present
Lex Williford and Michael Martone

Can pain be measured on a zero-to-ten scale? This is the question that occupies the mind of Eula Biss. Sitting in a hospital, and trying to measure pain, she does a mini research of zero.

“Zero, on the Celsius scale, is the point at which water freezes. And one hundred is the point at which water boils. But Anders Celsius, who introduced the scale in 1741, originally fixed zero as the point at which water boiled, and one hundred as the point at which water froze. These fixed points were reversed only after his death,” reads a snatch from her essay, included in Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Non-fiction: Work from 1970 to the present edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone ( ).

'The secret knowledge'

Corporate Voodoo
Rene Carayol and David Firth

Laying out detailed plans is fine, but sitting back thinking that things will neatly unfold as per your calculations is not advisable. “Never fool yourself that things will always tie themselves up into easily memorable prescriptions, or that promises will come true,” caution Rene Carayol and David Firth in Corporate Voodoo ( ). “Life’s a mess. Adapt. Make it up.”

Leaders with ‘intelligences’

Becoming a Resonant Leader
Annie McKee, Richard Boyatzis and Frances Johnston

Being a leader isn’t enough. You need to be resonant, leading with hope and optimism, say Annie McKee, Richard Boyatzis and Frances Johnston in Becoming a Resonant Leader (, a book to be launched in the first week of March.

“Resonant leaders embrace today’s challenges and tomorrow’s promise. They are unflagging in their commitment to personal values, without being locked into narrow-minded or narcissistic ways of viewing the world.”

Eleven rules for successful franchising

From Ice Cream to the Internet
Scott A. Shane

You can use franchising to increase your profits, assures Scott A. Shane in From Ice Cream to the Internet ( The book lays down eleven rules for successful franchising.

First rule, ensure that franchising is right for your industry. The author identifies nine characteristics that make franchising appropriate for an industry. These include labour intensity of operation, brand name reputation, importance of local knowledge, and high standardisation.

Humans - huge colonies of replicators

The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin
Keith E. Stanovich

It should be unnerving to know that we humans, according to biological insights, are but “hosts for two replicators (genes and memes) that have no interest in humans other than the role they play as a conduit for replication,” as Keith E. Stanovich writes in The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin (

“Humans, for example, can be viewed as huge colonies of replicators swarming inside big lumbering vehicles (essentially humans as sophisticated robots in service of the gene colonies),” he describes.

The HP ‘family’

Valley Boy
Tom Perkins

Deep tensions around the table in Hewlett-Packard boardroom, tough-fought merger battles, unclear directions in 2005, newspaper articles attributed to leaks, abrupt resignations, illegal phone tracing, Congressional inquiry…

On this tumultuous note Tom Perkins begins Valley Boy (, a book that gives you a ‘ground floor’ view of Silicon Valley.

'Stay alert!'

Everyday Excellence
Clive Shearer

Do not wait for the fire to start before building the fire station, advises Clive Shearer in ‘Everyday Excellence: Creating a better workplace through attitude, action, and appreciation’ ( ).

“Consider what could go wrong and what you might do about it,” he says in a chapter on managing risk effectively.

The credit system

Credit Card Nation
Robert D. Manning

Financing consumption is more lucrative than traditional goods-producing industries, notes ‘Credit Card Nation’ by Robert D. Manning ( ). “In fact, General Electric’s GE Capital (consumer credit) division generates higher profits than its core manufacturing divisions.”

In the easy credit system, the author sees ‘a more serious threat to the myth of economic virtue than earlier industrial regimes.’

The Investment truths

Cocktail Economics
Victor A. Canto

Economics. Does the word put you to sleep, or create revulsion? Victor A. Canto has the right panacea in ‘Cocktail Economics’ ( ).

Economics can be an excellent conversation piece on everyday events, over cocktails, he argues, on the strength of his experience as a teacher in the University of Southern California.
“With cocktail economics set in motion, my classes initially became livelier — even entertaining… It has been more than 25 years since I began using this method.”

The power to change anything

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler

The common thread running through most of the triumphs and tragedies of our lives is our ability to exert influence, says a new book titled Influencer ( “Fo r instance, every time we tried to exert influence over others with a few well-chosen words and nothing happened, we’d stop talking and try something new,” bemoan the authors, Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. “Instead of owing up to our responsibility of becoming effective agents of change and then going about the task of improving our influence repertoire (much like an athlete running laps or a chess player learning moves), we grumble, threaten, ridicule, and, more often than not, find ways to cope.”

Marketing techniques

Marketing to Win
Satish Mehta

Success does not come merely with hard work; you’d need to determine the supporting and final goals, says Satish Mehta in Marketing to Win (

“For a marketing man, the final goal would be to increase the total demand by, say, 20 per cent and the supporting goals would be to enlarge the distribution network by 50 per cent, penetration level by 15 per cent, retail inventories by 5 per cent and impact of rev up advertising and promotions by 25 per cent,” he explains. To him, these goals, both final and subsidiary, are like guiding beacons.