May 2012

Is GOD on Facebook…because everyone else seems to be: Growing impact of Social Networking

Facebook, IPO,  Twitter, Orkut, Pinterest, Instagram, Social Media, Social Networking, Management, Leadership

Facebook has more than 900 million users (that makes it the 3rd largest country in the world). Half of them log on everyday. Online population in this category is galloping at 50%

Social Media is growing at a breakneck speed: 64% of all internet users possess at least one social networking account

Social Media having an impact. In fact it is emerging as the fastest news channel. Here are some examples

  • first public news about the abbottabad assault appeared in social media
  • sunanda pushkar sweat equity controversy broke on twitter
  • ram sene controversy raged on facebook
  • news on earthquakes, blasts etc. anywhere break first on social media nowadays
  • jasmine revolution in egypt – part of the larger arab spring uprising, started and spread primarily through social media (wael ghonim, the man responsible, worked at google)

Social media makes a lot of dollars not just sense

  • google invested $100 million in zynga, creator of blockbuster online social games like farmville and mafia wars
  • nielsen report shows nearly 23% of americans spend their internet time on social networking and blog sites
    (mere 4% of their time is spent searching)
  • facebook, valued at over $100 billion, is now the 3rd largest american internet company with a blockbuster IPO behind it.

Harnessing the power for a connected future : consumer empowerment & the gradual shift in power from producers to consumers , Some examples show this:     

  • Dhaval walia’s facebook  post against vodafone’s pathetic 3g service in mumbai was covered in media
  • When greenpeace exposed that palm oil in kitkat came from indonesian rain forests, Nestle changed its buying policy
  • Procter & Gamble sent director farah khan a month’s supply  when she tweeted about  shortage of “pampers” baby diapers in Mumbai
  • It played the role of a catalyst – rallying point for mass movements that impact the society (anna hazare hunger strike, debate on jan lokpal)
  • great tool to build employee engagement and foster team spirit
  • accessing and making use of a bigger sphere of information from known connections.

Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Pinterest, Instagram, Social Media, Social Networking, Management, LeadershipSocial Media: so one can love it, or hate it, but ignore it at your own peril.

Only time will tell if businesses will be able to harness the power of connections to make sustainable business models and reap economic profits.

Till then it’s just another brick in the WALL……

Procter & Gamble – Foundations of Branding leading to decades of success!!!

Procter & Gamble, FMCG, Branding, Marketing, strategy, Innovation, Brand Management , Success, How the Foundations of Branding led to the dominance of P&G in future years using Innovation, Strategy, and Branding & Responsiveness.

Strategic Vision & Risk taking ability of P&G led to the companies’ dominance in the early decades.

The company was started amongst financial crisis with the founders focus on competing with the other manufactures of soap and candles.

Even during the impending civil war rumors in 1850’s, the founders went ahead and built a new plant. Needless to say in 1862, factories were running to full capacity during the civil war and P&G also earned the reputation of ‘Soldiers return home with P&G products’.

Innovation, technology and Strategic progressive thinking in marketing efforts and employees partnership programs led to the beginning of branding and positioning of the products and led the company in the decades leading to 20th century. Eg: Introduction of the Ivory soap as pure and a floating bar and subsequent nation wide large scale marketing efforts to promote the soap.

Employee partnership programs were initiated as a strategic response to the unrest.

By end of 19th century company had innovated 30 different type of soaps and launched full scale marketing efforts to fuel consumer demand.

Global Expansion, Growth of Product categories & Introduction of Brand Management System

The Global Management system was born out of a need for managing the multiple product categories and brands across many countries.

Under the brand management system, each brand manager was responsible for managing and competing with both external and internal brands.

This was breakthrough in branding and led to dominance and beginning of a system to be successfully followed in decades later.

Early Theories of Employee Motivation in Management

Employee Motivation, Theories, Management, Leadership, Productivity, Maslow's Theory, Theory X, Theory YSet me anything to do as a task, and it is inconceivable the desire I have to do something else ~ GB Shaw

What is Motivation? …

It is the process that accounts for an individual’s intensity, direction and persistence of efforts towards attaining a goal.

The 1950’s saw development of path breaking  Early Theories of Motivation in order to explain Employee Motivation. Although heavily attacked and questioned in validity, these theories are probably still the best known explanations for employee motivation. These theories represent the foundation from which the contemporary theories have taken shape. The recent times have seen Contemporary Theories of Motivation – all of which have one thing in common – a reasonable degree of valid supporting documentation.

Early Theories of Motivation

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Employee Motivation, Theories, Management, Leadership, Productivity, Maslow's Theory, Theory X, Theory Y

In probably one of the most well known theories – Abraham Maslow hypothesized that within every human being there is a hierarchy of the five needs as shown in the image.

Lower order needs are primarily external. Higher order needs are primarily internal.

As each lower order needs becomes satisfied, the next higher order needs becomes dominant ultimately leading to self actualization.

This theory has received wide recognition, due to it’s intuitive logic and ease of understanding.

Theory X and Theory Y

Doughlas Mcgregor proposed two distinct views of human beings: one basically negative,

(more…)

Sir Winston Churchill on Strategy

Winston Churchill, Strategy, Quotes, Pictures, Management, Leadership, wise,enrich

Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965):
British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War (WWII). Widely regarded as one of the great wartime leaders.
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                  Words from luminaries and thought leaders – both past and present – never fail to inspire and ignite our    
                  thinking. Reminding us that our journey of personal betterment to attain enlightenment is far from over.
                                                   Because in the end, knowledge imparted, is wisdom gained.

February 2012

Common Non Verbal Mistakes made at a Job Interview

Interview, Mistakes, MBA, Engineering, Medical, Job, Tips, Confidence, Preparation

 

  • The first 90 seconds of an interview are critical and almost 33% of the interviewers decide whether they will hire someone
  • Prepare about the company. Having little to no knowledge of the company is the most common mistake made during interviews
  • Failure to make eye contact is a common nonverbal mistake
  • When meeting new people, majority of the impact comes from the way the person dresses, acts and walks through the door
  • Clothes also play a deciding factor between two almost-identical candidates
  • “Tell me about yourself” is the number one question which every participant should prepare as this question is the most oft asked.
  • The number one most common mistake at a job interview is: the confidence to actually ask for the job

 

Top Management and Leader Blogs for Managers!

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Always a good reference…. when looking out for inspiration on leadership and management. Here is the list of the top leadership and management blogs for managers…..

Leadership

  1. CEO Blog — Time Leadership: Jim Estill, CEO of SYNNEX Canada, talks about how you, too, can meet business success.
  2. Dispatches from the New World of Work: Tom Peters heads a consulting services company. His personal motto: “The starting point of all significant change is mindset.”
  3. Extreme Leadership: Have you heard of extreme sports? Well, now there are extreme leaders, too. Steve Farber heads up Extreme Leaders Inc., a business-development company, and he also shares his thoughts on his site.
  4. Leading Blog — Building a Community of Leaders: Michael McKinney thinks that everyone is a leader. Find out how to tap into your potential with his musings about learning, creativity and communication.
  5. Leadership Turn: “Leaders DO — and it’s your turn,” according to this site solely based on leadership and management.
  6. Management Craft: Management is an art, according to Lisa Haneberg, a professional management and leadership trainer, coach, and organization-development consultant.
  7. LeaderValues: LeaderValues aims to help leaders in all kinds of organizations and provide a meeting place for emerging trailblazers.
  8. Slow Leadership: The title of this blog is legitimate: Postings are aimed at truly developing a leader through mindset and behavior change.
  9. (more…)

January 2012

Getting Interested in Economics : Free Rider Problem & Law of Unintended Consequences

Economics, Free Rider, Management, Leadership, GDP, Wisdom, Investments

Free- rider is a person or group of persons who knowingly or unknowingly shares the benefits acquired from a collective effort, but contributes little or nothing to the effort. It is considered to be a problem when it leads to non-production or under-production.

An example of the free-rider problem : This can happen in a cricket matches series. We have often seen that when a team wins the series, then each player belonging to the winning side, irrespective of whether he has performed or not, enjoys the reward. This happened recently in WC T-20 when India won the series and few players enjoyed the benefits of winning the world cup by not playing a single match or having under performed. The rewards were substantial to the tune of millions of dollars.

Here the players who have not contributed or have contributed little are known as free-rider. The free-rider problem will arise when few players start taking their position for granted in the team, and assume that they will get rewarded without contributing. And this could lead the down fall of overall team.

 

Unintended Consequences , Economics, Basics, Concepts, Fundamentals, GDP, ManagementUnintended consequences  are outcomes that are not the ones intended by a purposeful action. During the cold war between US and USSR – the Americans had the

following strategy. They supported the Afghan rebels against fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. This went on for almost a decade leading to increase in arms and trained mercenaries amongst the Afghan rebels.

The cold war lasted until 1990’s when the USSR collapsed. After this event and the cold war the Americans withdrew supporting the rebels and left them on their own state.

The unintended consequences of this series of events happened when the Afghan rebels turned against America culminating in a terrorist attack on 9/11 in 2001 on the WTC.

Porter’s National Diamond – Competitive Advantage of Nations!!!

Porter has an amazing ability to explain complex phenomena in a crystal clear way. The National Diamond framework frames the attributes which explain the competitive advantage of Nations :

Porter National Diamond, MBA, Management Frameworks, Competitive Advantage

1. Factor Conditions. The nation’s position in fac- tors of production, such as skilled labor or infra- structure, necessary to compete in a given industry.

2. Demand Conditions. The nature of home-mar- ket demand for the industry’s product or service.

3. Related and Supporting Industries. The pres- ence or absence in the nation of supplier indus- tries and other related industries that are internationally competitive.

4. Firm Strategy, Structure, and Rivalry. The conditions in the nation governing how companies are created, organized, and managed, as well as the nature of domestic rivalry.

December 2011

BCG Matrix – Growth Share Matrix

BCG Growth Share Matrix –  The BCG growth share matrix was developed by Henderson of the BCG group in 1970′s. The matrix classifies businesses / SBU’s by

1) Relative Market Share –  The market share of the business / SBU / Product in the market as compared to its competitors and overall product / category.

2) Market growth rate –  The growth rate of the industry as a whole is taken into consideration from which the growth rate of the product is extrapolated. This growth rate is then pitched on the graph.

Growth Share MAtrix, BCG Matrix, Management Framework, MBA

The quadrants of the matrix are divided into

1) Cash Cows –  High market share but low growth rate (most profitable).

2) Stars –  High market share and High growth rate (high competition)

3) Question marks –  Low market share and high growth rate (uncertainty)

4) Dogs –  Low market share and low growth rate (less profitable or may even be negative profitability)

On the basis of this classification, strategies are decided for each SBU / Product/ Service Lines.

The CAGE Framework – Distance Matters in Globalization!!!

CAGE Framework, MBA discussions, Pankaj Ghemawat, Management Framework.

The cultural, administrative, geographic, and economic (CAGE) distance framework helps managers identify and assess the impact of distance on various industries.

The more two countries differ across these dimensions, the riskier the target foreign market. By contrast, similarities along these dimensions suggest great potential. Com- mon currency, for example, boosts trade more than 300%. Also, types of distance af- fect industries differently. Religious differ- ences, for instance, shape people’s food pref- erences but not their choices of cement or other industrial materials.

By analyzing the possible impact of dis- tance—in all its dimensions—you sweeten the odds of investing in profitable foreign markets.

The complete article reference is here:

Application of the CAGE framework requires managers to identify attractive locations based on raw material costs, access to markets or consumers, or other key decision criteria. For instance, a firm maybe most interested in markets with high consumer buying power, so it uses per capita income as the first sorting cue. This would result in some type of rank­ing. Any international expansion strategy would still need to be backed up by the specific re­sources and capabilities possessed by the firm, regardless of how rosy the CAGE analysis paints the picture. Think of international expansion as a movement along a continuum from known markets to less-known markets; a firm can move to more CAGE-proximate neighbors before venturing into markets that are portrayed as very different from a CAGE-framework perspective. Each dimension of CAGE is described below.

Cultural Distance. Culture happens to be the first facet of CAGE, in terms of the acronym, but it also can be the most practically perplexing facet for managers. Culture is sometimes referred to as the software of the mind, in that it has a sometimes invisible but indelible in­fluence on people`s values and behaviors.Cultural distance, then, has to do with the possi­ble differences existing in relation to the way individuals from different countries observe certain values and behaviors.

A number of researchers have identified significant cultural differences among coun­tries. Distinct cultural differences are observed around the following dimensions: power distance (the extent to which indi­viduals accept the existence of inequalities between subordinates and superiors within a hierarchical structure); uncertainty avoidance (individuals` willingness to coexist with uncertainty about the future); individualism (how the individuals in a society value indi­vidualistic behaviors as opposed to collective ones); predominant values (regarding quan­tity or quality of life, that is, whether more importance is given to material aspects or a stronger emphasis is laid on interpersonal relationships); and long-term or short-term orientation (the focus on future rewards or the concern about the maintenance of the sta­bility related to the past and the present).

Administrative Distance. Administrative distance reflects the historical and present polit­ical and legal associations between trading partners; for example, colonial ties between trad­ing partners, or participation in common trading blocs. This facet of CAGE asks you to ex­amine whether there are historical or current political factors that might favor or impede a business relationship between a company and a new country market. NAFTA, for instance, decreased the administrative distance between U.S. firms and Mexico and Canada. Similarly, historical political hostilities between the United States and Cuba make it virtu­ally impossible (and illegal) for most U.S. firms to do business there. Trade practices between countries can be significantly affected by laws and regulations enacted at the national or international level. Because they affect fundamental business practices, they often affect the competitive position of firms as well.

Geographic Distance. How far apart are trading partners in physical terms: the size of the country, differences in climates, and nature of transportation and information networks? You can think of geographic distance as absolute, in terms of the miles or kilometers that sep­arate a firm from another market or supplier. Technology and the Internet, however, has shrunk distance in terms of transportation time, and now with digital products and services, almost entirely eliminated geographic distance as a constraint of trade between some markets.

Economic Distance. Finally, economic distance captures fundamental differences relating to income, the distribution of wealth, and the relative purchasing power of segments of a geographic market. This has been one of the biggest barriers, for instance, in the way of U.S. firms` success selling products in emerging markets. In global terms, this is the four billion people who live on less than $2 per day. The phrase “bottom of the pyramid” is used in par­ticular by people developing new models of doing business that deliberately target that mar­ket, typically using new technology. An example of a product that is designed with the needs of the very poor in mind is that of a shampoo that works best with cold water. Such a prod­uct is marketed by Hindustan Lever (part of the Unilever family of firms).

Reference : How to choose foreign countries

November 2011

Strategy & Human Resource in an Organization!!!!

Strategy & Human Resource , Problem Child, Star Performer, Deadwood, Workaholic.
The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you have made a hiring mistake. The best people don’t need to be managed. Guided, taught, led – ~ Jim Collins
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Typically there are four kinds of people in an organization :
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1. Problem Child – High Potential, Low Performance
2. Star Performers – High Potential, High Performance
3. Deadwood – Low Potential, Low Performance
4. Workaholic  – Low Potential, High Performance
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So, Who gets the maximum attention? This is a question worth pondering. Typically in an organization it is seen that the problem child gets the maximum attention.
This is similar to the first child problem theory in a family. Typically the first child gets and is used to all the attention until the second child arrives. And that is when the problem arises.
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As a manager the objectives are pretty clear : They have to develop plans, programs and intentions to develop the human capability of an organization to meet the future competitive challenges in order to generate superior economic value. They have to and should focus on identifying their star performers.
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This is where the role of managers is becoming increasingly important. HR than is not only the role of the Human Resouce Department, but also of every manager in the organization and the transition is as follows :
Operational to strategic
Qualitative to quantitative
Policing to partnering
Short-term to long-term
Administrative to consultative
Functionally oriented to business oriented
Internally focused to externally and customer-focused
Reactive to proactive
Activity focused to solutions-focused
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October 2011

Analyzing Financial Statements — What is your perspective?? — Part2

Analyzing Financial Statements ,What is your perspective, Auditor, analyst, Risk Analyst.

Analyzing and trying to get insights from Financial Statement is one of the most interesting aspect. A Financial Statement can be dissected in many ways. We had looked at three angles or lenses thru which these statements can be looked at: Here are three more ways to look at these statements :

4. AUDITOR

An auditor’s primary objective is an expression of an opinion on the fairness of financial statements according to generally accepted accounting principles.  As auditor, you desire assurance on the absence of errors and irregularities in financial statements.  Financial statement analysis can help identify any errors and irregularities affecting the statements.  Also, this analysis compels our auditor to understand the company’s operations and its performance in light of prevailing economic and industry conditions.  Application of financial statement analysis is especially useful as a preliminary audit tool, directing the auditor to areas of greatest change and unexplained performance.

5 RISK ANALYST

Accounting risk results from the need for judgments, estimates, and impression inherent in the accounting system.  Accounting risk increases our uncertainty in decision making.  Accounting risk also involves accounting conservatism.  Assumptions play an important role in accounting measurements, and these assumptions can be too conservative or optimistic.

6. YOU ARE THE ANALYST/FORECASTER

More persistent earnings reflect recurring, stable, predictable, and operating elements.  Your estimate of earnings persistence should consider these elements.  More persistent earnings comprise recurring operating elements. Finding 40% of earnings from unusual gains implies less persistence because its source is no operating.  You can also question classification of litigation gains as “unusual” – they are sometimes better viewed as extraordinary.  The extraordinary loss component also implies less persistent.  In this case you need to assess whether environmental costs are truly extraordinary for this company’s business.  Together, these components suggest less persistence than suggested by the stable and steady growth trend in aggregate earnings.  This lower persistence should be reflected in both the level and uncertainty of your earnings forecast.

Gaining Insights into an organization’s financial statements is also a matter of perspective. Thus analyzing a company from one of the lenses makes a huge difference!!!!!

September 2011

Porter’s three Generic Business strategies !!!!

If you are in a Business school, invariably you will get references to Porter and theories on Business Strategies. It is Interesting that many theories have come after Porter set out his strategies. However, the simplicity and the power his theories have captured the imagination of Businesses the world over.
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So, presenting here the three business strategies of Porter and typical Organizational Characteristics :

Strategy 1 —>>> Overall Cost Leadership

•Sustained capital investment and access to capital
•Intense supervision of labor
•Tight cost control requiring frequent, detailed control reports
•Low-cost distribution system
•Structured organization and responsibilities
& Products designed for ease in manufacture
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Strategy 2 —>>> Differentiation
•Strong marketing abilities
•Product engineering
•Strong capability in basic research
•Corporate reputation for quality or technological leadership
•Amenities to attract highly skilled labor, scientists, or creative people.
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Strategy 3 —->>>> Focus
•Combination of cost-leadership & differentiation strategy directed at a particular strategic target.
Well that’s that!!!!!! His Five forces… I will put up some other time.

Analyzing Financial Statements — What is your perspective?? — Part1

Analyzing Financial Statements ,What is your perspective,Banker, Investor,Director

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Analyzing and trying to get insights from Financial Statement is one of the most interesting aspect. A Financial Statement can be dissected in many ways. Here are 6 different lenses from which the financial statements can be looked into…..

1. BANKER

A banker is concerned about the company’s ability to satisfy its loan obligations.  Concern about the composition of company’s financing sources is twofold.  First, the greater is owner financing, the lower is a banker’s credit risk.

Second, creditors are also concerned with Adaptec’s other current and future creditor financing.  Creditors often write debt covenants to restrict a company’s future lending, or require collateral in case of default, or limit the amount of dividends payable to shareholders.

2. INVESTOR

As an investor, your review of financial statements focuses on company’s ability to create and maintain future net income.  All the statements are important in your review.  The income statement is especially important as it reveals management’s current and past success in creating and sustaining income.  The cash flow statement is important in assessing management’s ability to meet cash payments and the company’s cash availability. The balance sheet shows Adaptec’s asset base from which future income generated, and reports on liabilities and their due dates to creditors.

3. DIRECTOR

As a member of a company’s board of directors, you are responsible for oversight of management and the safeguarding of shareholders’ interests.  Accordingly, a director’s interest in the company is broad and risky. To reduce risk, a director uses financial statement analysis to monitor management and assess company profitability, growth, and financial condition. Because of a director’s unique position, there is near unlimited access to internal financial and other records.  Analysis of financial statements assists our director in (1) recognizing causal relations among business activities and events, (2) “seeing the forest through the trees,” that is, helping directors focus on the company, and not on a maze of financial details, and (3) encouraging proactive and not reactive measures in confronting changing

—- Continued in Part II