Category Archives: Vision

Flipkart and Ola are proving that copycats lose….

Recently, at a panel discussion, the founders of Flipkart and Ola cried for help from Indian government asking it to “protect” them from their foreign competitors (Amazon and Uber respectively) playing the nationalist card.

In doing so, both the poster boys of Indian startup industry have proved that “Birds of a feather flock together”. I say, mediocrity finds itself.

Here are some points to show how hollow and greedy the demand is.

  1. Both have chosen to forget that they both are poor copies of some foreign firms. Just like any copycat, they have proved right from the beginning that they are second class, inferior, followers of a leader. There was nothing original about them, and it is coming out.
  2. Both the companies are funded by foreign investors. Both have said that they want foreign money, but don’t want foreign companies. How self-serving….!
  3. On its part, Flipkart has chosen to register itself in Singapore. Now what makes it an Indian company, which wants to take advantages from India but does not trust its system…?
  4. They claim that Flipkart and Ola generate employment in India. Ironically, they forget that right from CEOs to almost all employees of Amazon and drivers of Uber are Indians. Where is the difference in employment generation?
  5. The fact is, both have run out of tricks after initially copying the concept from their respective leading competitors. They can’t match the innovation abilities of those firms and hence now they are crying foul.
  6. The major difference between Flipkart-Ola and Amazon-Uber is not their country of origin, but their missions. Amazon-Uber, both lead by visionary founders, are the companies founded to change lives of the people. On the contrary, our copycat Indian founders have founded their companies solely for getting high valuations and selling out to some unsuspecting investors. Greed cannot match right intentions. Excel sheets may succeed in faking valuation, but can’t create real value.
  7. In business, companies which provide better service to the customers, win. Both Flipkart and Ola are finding it difficult to provide good service to their customers or partners and hence they are losing. I have been a customer and a seller on Flipkart and I have a first-hand experience of their poor quality of service. Same is with Ola. I have spoken to at least 50 Ola drivers in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities. Hardly any one of them is happy with Ola. On the other hand, most of the Uber drivers are very happy. Same is the observation with Amazon customers. Both Flipkart and Ola should focus on customers instead of wasting time on competition.
  8. Instead of grumbling to seek narrow minded protectionism, they must innovate and provide solutions what the country needs. Anjana Menon has rightly pointed out in Economic Times (here) that both these companies need to focus on providing solutions what the rural India needs, in order to earn the respect and value that they aspire to.

Flipkart and Ola are behaving like children playing in the compound going to their parents crying for help when they lose a game with the other kids. Both and their ilk need to grow up and put their own house in order first.

In failing to do so, as Anjana writes in the ET article above, “(they) risk writing their own obituary. They shouldn’t expect too many tears at the funeral.” There can’t be a more appropriate reply to the poor demand from the clueless copycats.

राजनाथ सिंघ जी से बिझनेस लीडरशीप का पाठ

नरेन्द्र मोदी ने अपने व्यक्तिगत charishma दिखाकर बीजेपी को कल ऐतिहासिक बहुमत दिलाया है |
मोदी जी को नापसंद करनेवाले ऐसा कह सकते हैं कि यह तो पूरी बीजेपी के प्रयत्नों का नतीजा है, या यह anti-congress  wave है जिसका फायदा बीजेपी को मिला है…

जो कुछ भी हो, लेकिन एक बात तय है कि अगर बीजेपी ने नरेन्द्र मोदी को प्रधानमंत्रीपद के लिए अपना उम्मीदवार घोषित नहीं किया होता, तो बीजेपी को इतनी भारी सफलता किसी हाल में हांसल नहीं होती | इस भारी मात्रा में बीजेपी की सफलता का पूरा श्रेय मात्र दो व्यक्तियों को जाता है | एक तो नरेन्द्र मोदी खुद और दूसरे बीजेपी के अघ्यक्ष राजनाथ सिंघ |

इस पूरी यशगाथा में राजनाथ सिंघ ने एक बुझु्र्ग, परिपक्व और दूरदर्शी नेता की भूमिका बखूब निभाई है |

जिस तरह उन्होंने नरेन्द्र मोदी की काबिलियत को पहचानकर, उन पर पूरा भरोसा रखकर, बहुत सारे दिग्गजों के खिलाफ जाकर भी नरेन्द्र मोदी को जिम्मेदारी सौंपकर भारत को एक नरेन्द्र मोदी नाम की नइ आशा दिलाइ है, उस पूरे उदाहरण से हम अपने बिझनेस के लिए एक अच्छा पाठ सिख सकते है |

किसी भी विकासशील बिझनेस में दो प्रकार के employees होते है | एक ऐसे जो बहुत पुराने होते हैं, जो बिझनेसमेन के साथ शुरुआत से जुडे होते हैं | उनकी योग्यता वफादारी तथा बिझनेस जैसे है वैसे चलाये रखने की क्षमता तक सीमीत होती है | यह लोग बिझनेस को एक लेवल से आगे ले जाने के लिए असमर्थ होते हैं, फिर भी उन्हें ऐसा लगता है कि वो ही बिझनेस के सूत्रघार हैं और वह खुद नहीं होंगे तो बिझनेस बिखर जाएगा | वास्तव में यह लोग ही बिझनेस की विकासयात्रा में एक बाधा होते हैं | वह खुद तो कुछ ज्यादा कर नहीं सकते और किसी नये व्यक्ति को आ कर कुछ परिवर्तन लाने की अनुमती भी नहीं दे सकते |

दूसरे कुछ ऐसे काबिल नये employees होते हैं जिन में बिझनेस को आगे ले जाने की भरपूर काबिलियत रहती है | उन में बिझनेस की नइ चुनौतियों का सामना करके उसे विकास की नइ ऊंचाईयों तक पहुंचाने की क्षमता होती है |

बीजेपी में भी ऐसे पुराने लोग हैं जिन की क्षमता पार्टी को एक लेवल से ज्यादा ले जाने की बिलकुल नहीं है | अगर ऐसे ऐतिहासिक दिग्गजों को बागडोर सौंपते तो बीजेपी को इतनी सफलता कभी नहीं मिल पाती |

राजनाथ सिंघ को सही व्यक्ति की, उस की काबिलियत की पहचान है, और ऐसी व्यक्ति को जिम्मेदारी सौंपकर, पुराने दिग्गजों को समझा-पटाकर, उन्हें अपने स्थान पर रखकर नये सेनापति को पूरी स्वतंत्रता देकर, उस के पीछे चट्टान की तरह खडा रहकर, उस का हौंसला बढ़ाकर उन्होंने भारत के इतिहास को एक नया मोड दिया है |

बिझनेसमेन को भी अपनी कंपनी में स्थापित स्पीड-ब्रेकर्स को अपनी जगह पर रखकर, नये काबिल ड्राइवर को चुनकर उसे कंपनी की यात्रा आगे बढ़ाने की स्वतंत्रता देनी चाहिए | स्पीड-ब्रेकर नडेंगे, रुठेंगे, नखरे करेंगे | लेकिन चिंता मत करो, क्यों कि यह स्पीड-ब्रेकर कहीं जा नहीं सकते | आज के समय में कोइ दूसरी कंपनी इस पुराने स्पीड-ब्रेकर को नहीं रखेगी | सही ड्राइवर ही आप को आगे जाने में मदद कर सकता है | उसे पेट्रोल दो, उस पर ब्रेक मत मारो |

सही ड्राइवर अपनी काबिलियत से किसी भी पार्टी, देश या कंपनी को नइ राह, नइ आश दिखा सकता है | राजनाथ सिंघ के “नरेन्द्रभाइ” ने यह साबित कर दिया है | हमें अपने बिझनेस के लिए उन से लीडरशीप का यही पाठ सिखने जैसा है |

Personal Branding Lessons from Priyanka Chopra

I am a Priyanka Chopra fan. She is one of the best things that has happened to India’s entertainment industry. Here are some reasons why Brand PeeCee clicks so well.

1) Connect with the best

PeeCee has worked with the best of the actors in Bollywood. She has worked with all the Superstars of her time. Also, for her music albums, she has joined hands with the best in the world like, Will.i.am and Pitbull.

In an industry where availability, relationships and friendships create collaborations, PeeCee has gone much ahead by connecting only with the best.

2) Dream big and act BIG

Instead of being limited to Bollywood or India, this lady has made the world as her playground. It requires a lot of self-confidence, talent and commitment to have a vision to make a mark globally. There is hardly any other such personality in Indian entertainment scene who has dreamed and realized this big.

3) Be persistent

Success in Beauty pageant, Movies, Singing and Lyrics writing. This multi-talented beauty is persistent in her excellence.

PeeCee puts a lot of hard work in all her movies, songs or other assignments like events, shows etc. Today she is the only actress in Bollywood who can do some multi-talented roles or gigs which the pretty young (or old) things of Bollywood just can’t imagine. She can be called the only real superstar in the current breed of actresses.

4) Make this world a better place (Not in Beauty Queen style!)

All beauty queens have lots of theories of making this world a better place, which they themselves naturally forget after the pageant, because they have mouthed those great-sounding concepts without really understanding what they mean. PeeCee has really made this world a better place through her work.

5) Be unique

Most of the Indian actresses are beautiful dumbs, who can’t be more than a good-looking, necessary accessory to a male lead. PeeCee is refreshingly different. She is a beauty with a functional brain.

Just as in Bollywood, where she created her own unique space without any godfather or uncle or father to hold her hand, she has created her own unique identity on the world entertainment and music scene.

Today, one can confidently say that nobody can fill in the shoes of Priyanka Chopra. She is really unique.

6) Be professional

PeeCee has not allowed controversies or personal tragedies stop her.

She was embroiled into some media created flings with her co-stars. She has withstood all her relationships related gossip or controversies by maintaining a very dignified silence and let her work answer all the gossip mongers.

She exhibited her strong commitment when she resumed work within few days of losing her biggest strength, her father.

7) Be playful

PeeCee comes across as that beautiful, young, naughty woman who captivates your attention not only with her charm but also with her brain. She is intelligent, playful, desirable, seductive and smart.

8) Communicate wholesomely

PeeCee is articulate. She communicates very well. Along with commendable linguistic skills, she also uses a lot of body language to express herself. It is always a delight to see or listen to her speak.

Many beautiful actresses will come and go, but Priyanka Chopra has created a unique space which will be very difficult even to match. PeeCee is one of the best things that has happened to Indian entertainment industry.

Unique, playful, persistent, expressive, smart and desirable – Brand Priyanka Chopra has all the attributes of a successful personal brand.

Narendra Modi, please MODIfy public transport in Ahmedabad

Narendra Modi has undoubtedly done a lot to MODIfy Gujarat.

His no-nonsense approach towards getting things done is what India needs. In the absence of any other equally resolute, determined, articulate and confident leader who also has huge public acceptance, he remains the only hope for a MODIfied India. He has clearly shown by his work in Gujarat that he has all the credentials to surely make a positive difference to India.

But, among all the good and great things that he has done for Gujarat. There is one small thing which needs his attention. And that is, public transport in Ahmedabad. My recent and earlier visits to the city showed that the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) is anything but efficient. The frequency is bad, buses are in bad shape, the drivers are careless and always-in-hurry and the service is pathetic.

The auto rickshaw service in the city is worse. The metering system is almost 30-years old. The auto drivers are always aiming at fleecing the passengers for some easy money by taking new people in the city for a ride literally. The general attitude of the autowallas in the city is rude and greedy. I have hardly come across any co-operative auto man in Ahmedabad. Their lot in the railway station area is the worst. They don’t follow metering system and even the Traffic Police don’t do anything even after told to intervene.  There is also a shared auto system (called ‘shuttle’) in the city which carries at times EIGHT passengers along with the driver. I have sat in such a ‘shared’ auto with 7 others… It is downright risky. But in the absence of any other viable transport system, people have to take such risks.

Ahmedabad is growing in all directions, but this growth will not sustain if corresponding public transport facilities are not added. Currently, public transport infrastructure in the city is grossly inadequate, and traffic police is virtually invisible to control the menace of auto rickshaws.

NaMo should intervene and influence the town developers in Ahmedabad, with the example of Mumbai. A lot of progress of Mumbai has happened thanks to its robust public transport system of local trains, buses and auto/taxis.

Till then, a visitor to Ahmedabad will have to bear the brunt of the rude, greedy auto-men and inefficient bus services. This makes the city visit memorable for all the wrong reasons. Along with developing all other parts of the state, NaMo must immediately look into this issue and MODIfy it also.

How business consultants can affect your business?

Good, expert consultants are a need of any growing business. But not all consultants are good. And not everybody who shows up is an expert. There are many black sheep who spoil the reputation of the entire lot. Here is a case study about a businessman who fell prey to one such firebrand – business consultant and nearly destroyed his business. So, what went wrong? What to watch out for? Read on :

Pramod had a good, growing business, inherited from his father. After his father’s death, since around ten years, he was running the business. During these ten years, his friends had moved much faster in business and created their ‘corporates’. Pramod felt left behind. Not happy with the pace of growth and etching to move faster and into newer markets and industries, Pramod tried many things. To claim citizenship of the ‘Corporate World’, Pramod was advised to

  • Hire professionals
  • Learn new things, attend seminars, courses etc.
  • Appoint expert business consultants

He did everything of the above. But still, his business went down instead of moving up. In last three years, he reached a very difficult stage where survival of the business became uncertain. Pramod’s uncle noticed this and asked him what was wrong?

On his part, Pramod, too, was eager to find a solution to his problems. He wanted to share his frustration with somebody. He explained the situation to the uncle in detail. He made it clear to the uncle that :

  • I have learnt the new-age management practices.
  • I think BIG.
  • I think ‘out of the box’.
  • I think ‘different’.
  • I think ‘smart’.
  • I work smart, not hard.
  • I do ‘different things’.
  • I delegate. I don’t take tension, I give tension.
  • I have learnt to ‘be passionate’ about my business.
  • I innovate.
  • I focus on ‘creating value’.
  • I manage ‘work-life balance’.

But still, my business is going from bad to worse, instead of growing.

Uncle was pleasantly surprised by his nephew’s updated knowledge and the big words we was speaking. He found that Pramod had acquired this Corporate lingo through attending various courses, seminars, workshops etc.

Uncle could also relate that Pramod was always curious about getting an MBA or doing some ‘Management’ course. He was very impressed with MBAs. He thought that the solution to all his business problems was known to MBAs because they knew the dynamics of the ‘corporate’ world. He himself could not get an MBA degree. So, to make up for his management ignorance, he joined many courses. During one such course, he was so impressed by the passionate speech of the trainer, that he thought this trainer must have all the solutions of his business problems.  Next day he called the trainer and appointed him as his business consultant immediately for three years.

Examining the sequence of events carefully, uncle found out the reason for Pramod’s business debacle was closely related to the business consultant’s arrival on the business scene.

Later, the uncle also found that the other clients of the same consultant were also facing the similar situation. There was a striking similarity in the pattern of events. Every business consulted by that consultant was facing some very common, undesirable outcomes. Here are some of the effects wrong consultants had on its client businesses :

1) The old, trusted employees, who had helped establish the business found it difficult to work with the arrogant pseudo-boss, who visited every week and shot orders indiscriminately, sitting along the boss’s chair. The boss just nodded, as if approving the knowledgeable business consultant’s unquestionable authority. This made old people’s lives miserable. They either left or continued unproductively.

2) The professionals hired were insulted by the consultant, because they knew their job more than him. Feeling threatened by these professionals, the consultant repeatedly ridiculed them in front of the boss and others. Most of good, qualified people left or were contemplating moving.

3) The expenses rose suddenly. All that the consultant did, smelt, tasted, breathed, inhaled, exhaled was billed to the company, in addition to the agreed upon contractual fees.

4) All the new important appointment candidates were interviewed, evaluated and approved by the consultant, so good people were systematically kept away. The consultant watchfully safeguarded his territory. Only mediocrity was allowed in. Quality was kept out. With old good people going, and new mediocrity joining ranks, the consultant had an open ground to play his tricks freely.

5) The consultant controlled the boss’s life. He chose what the boss did. Whom to meet, which customers and suppliers to meet, which seminars to attend, which courses to join everything was decided by the consultant. In fact, the consultant recommended all the events to the boss, where he himself wanted to go. In this process, the boss did not get any new input or fresh opinion. It was all filtered by the consultant. The freedom of the boss was curtailed without his knowledge. The emperor’s mind was replaced by a consultant’s mind, without the emperor realizing it…!

6) The word of the consultant carried more authority than the boss himself. People contacted consultant, to get things done from the boss. This is a strange example of reverse management…! A lot of manipulations and misappropriations happened.

Uncle gave his analysis to Pramod and suggested to immediately terminate the services of the consultant. Pramod was feeling the same, but was confused so far. Now, he was clear. He realized that hiring such a business consultant who did not have any accountability was a big mistake. The consultant took credit for every good thing, and blamed Pramod’s team for each failure. The state of the affairs was due to the unwarranted importance Pramod gave to the consultant’s every whim, every silly idea and bookish themes which had no relevance to the situation on hand.

Pramod learnt his lessons the hard way. We should learn from Pramod’s mistakes. It is easy to brush aside MBA by saying “Mane Badhu Aavde Chhe” (I know everything) and then go ahead and hire some self-proclaimed Business Guru (or some even more verbally glorifying title). In that immature ignorance, we open doors to crooks who rampage our empire and then put our name on their “Client’s list.”

Life is short. We can’t make all the mistakes on our own. Learn from others’ mistakes. Wake up.

How to select a business consultant?

In Gujarati, there is one beautiful line written by Shri Gunvant Shah, which says something to the effect : “A boy fell in love with a girl’s beautiful eyes and then made a mistake to marry her whole body…!”.

In selecting business consultants, many businessmen make such mistakes just like that enamoured boy who could not see anything beyond the beautiful eyes. They go to a seminar, listen some passionate, well-rehearsed speech and they get so impressed by that speaker, that they bring him/her in as a consultant in the company, without really checking the credential or capability of that person as a consultant.

Good consultants are needed for any company. A good consultant can be a great source of guidance, expertise and advice. He/She can bring in an independent perspective, which the insiders cannot see perhaps because of the bias which comes along with being within the business. A consultant can provide a ‘third-eye’, an independent view of the business’ realities. But the selection of a business consultant requires careful examination.

Here are some guidelines to help entrepreneurs check in prospective consultants. I begin with some pitfalls to avoid :

No business experience:

Many consultants have no real business experience. They have been teachers, speakers or trainers during their whole career. They have learnt and taught many theories, but not really ‘run’ any business. They have not made any mistakes. They have not failed or succeeded in any business. They have only delivered passionate speeches and trained people in how to do business…!  They have got experience only in Doosre ke kandhe pe bandook rakh ke fodna…

What dependable advice can anybody give where he himself has not succeeded or failed doing anything? The distance between management colleges and corporate offices has to be walked on the path of real work experience, which does not come by simply reading Harvard Business Review or Tom Peters.

Name-Throwing :

A certain class of solo consultant have a habit of throwing big names. I have come across a big number of ‘name-throwing’ consultants who have

  • ‘Worked’ with Tata, Birla, Reliance etc. group companies.
  • ‘Guided’ so and so MNCs.
  • ‘Managed’ 80,000 crores of business of their consulting clients. (Whatever ‘managing’ means here…)
  • ‘Transformed’ the organizations.
  • ‘Built’ the brand ‘xyz’ of so-and-so company.
  • ‘Turned around’ the sick company.

Remember, One can also enlist ABC Tata Company as a ‘client’ by giving one hour lecture to their watchmen or drivers on how to open/close doors to visitors. This can be useful only if you need the consultant to train your watchmen/drivers.

Arrogance:

The business consultant as a breed is losing its respect due to some irresponsible elements who hide their ignorance and intellectual handicap behind a facade of rudeness and arrogance.These people operate from the safe cocoon of the boss client’s cabin. Once out of that shell, they stand vulnerable and exposed. They pretend that their arrogance is the manifestation of their supreme confidence. No businessperson should allow his employees being treated badly by any outsider while at work. If a consultant does that, he should be shown the door as his value system lacks individual respectability.

Management jargon :

A crop of wannabe consultants read latest management magazines and books and come to the clients’ office spitting out this valuable ‘gyaan’ to gullible, impressionable, unsuspecting entrepreneurs, who, in their enthusiasm to build big business, catch every word oozing out from the consultant’s mouth as sacred and give orders to their subordinates to implement the same immediately. Next time, when the consultant visits again, he has read some other article, so he gives some different gyaan, completely forgetting that previously his victims have been enlightened by his respectable self by some different management fad  (which was never tested for suitability to the client’s situation, nevertheless…).

Level of Honesty :

All that the consultant is going to charge must be clarified in black and white. If the consultant shows tendency to make some fast buck on unclarified or undecided matters, that shows his level of honesty.

Accountability:

The tenure and the expected outcome of the consultant’s assignment must be clearly spelled out in the beginning. The performance must be reviewed regularly.  The major part of the consultant’s remuneration must be linked with the outcome he is brought in for. He should be confident about his contribution and if it does not work, he must be ready to share the risk, by linking his remuneration to the results.

In a nutshell :

1) Hire a business consultant only if he can add value. Today it is fashionable to say “We have a consultant.” Don’t fall prey to fads.

2) Check out for the performance of the businesses the consultant has worked with. If possible, ask for the reference and check it sincerely. It is tempting to get carried away by ‘our reputed client lists’. How is the business doing now? Most importantly, what was his/her contribution in that business?

3) Don’t get carried away by big talk. The intellectual capacity to decipher business situations and gift of gab don’t always go hand in hand.

4) Remember, a consultant needs his client as much as the client needs him. The consultant is just another business associate. There is no need to treat consultants like God. Let that distinction remain for real Gods. No wannabes please.

5) The consultant must not be given any authority to directly give instructions to or seek report from any employee. It has to be routed through somebody inside the company. Do not compromise on the respect of your employees. Consultants may come and go, employees will remain longer.

6) The choice of consultants that you make, speaks volumes about your own value system. I have observed a striking resemblance among the values and results of the clients of certain consultants. They all have a lot of similarities. If you get associated with loud mouth Bol Bachchans, you will end up listening to a lot of hot air. And people will know what you stand for. Choose your consultants wisely. The loser doesn’t have much to lose, but you will end up wasting your time, money, reputation and maybe more…!

7) During your growth period, you will come across many people.  At this stage, whom do you listen to and believe in will make all the difference. Those who influence an entrepreneur’s mind can make or break any situation. Choose your advisors wisely.

8) Academic, theoretical knowledge has to be tested for its application. If every great Professor can become a great consultant, you won’t find so many PhDs filling university rosters at such meager paychecks. All theory is good, but business runs on practical applications.

Bottom line : In selecting consultants, you must learn to distinguish between noise and voice. 

Are you focusing on the bigger picture of your business?

Rakesh had inherited a small 200 sq feet provision shop from his father. Then he bought two adjoining shops and grew it to 1000 sq ft size. His store was very famous in the neighborhood and people used to flock it to buy things from there. He gave a lot of personal attention to the store decor, cleanliness, inventory control etc. He checked these things himself. He spent his whole day at the store. He was very happy with his own progress.

His cousin, Nimesh also had inherited a similar shop, but today, Nimesh owned a chain of around 50 stores across the country and was aiming at 300 stores in next 5 years. Nimesh’s stores were also very famous for their quality, variety, cleanliness and service. Rakesh wondered at the 50 times higher growth of his cousin. He was curious to know what he should do to grow that big. Once, he asked Nimesh about this.

Nimesh told him his simple secret. “You and I both have 24 hours in a day, just like anybody else. What activities do we focus on during these 24 hours makes all the difference. We may focus all our time on doing the daily routine things or we can also focus on building our teams to take care of the routine things. I spend time on developing people and processes. First, I standardized my routine activities. Then, I multiplied my hands by finding good people and training them to help me doing routine things. I went on handing over responsibilities to them, which they were capable and willing to do. Today, in 24 hours, I can manage 50 shops, without sitting at any one of them.”

What Nimesh looked at was the bigger picture. We may get busy in developing our small business so much that we forget to prepare to scale it up. For scaling up, we need people and good processes. If we spend all our time in micro managing the things, the business will continue growing at linear rate, but it cannot multiply. For multiplication, we need to focus on bigger picture. For that, we need to get some free time. We need to develop and train our people. We need to develop our own self. We need to learn new things about our business. We need to meet new people.

All this is not possible if we are too busy micro managing. By doing so, we may be able to plug some petty expense, but we may be missing on some huge opportunity. The opportunities exist outside the four walls of our business and for identifying them, we need to keep in touch with that outer world.

Remember Nimesh’s words. We all have 24 hours. We may choose to spend it counting small change in our cash counter or focus on thinking ideas for multiplying our business and stores. The cash counter can be managed by some technology, but thinking cannot be outsourced to technology. The deadly disease of micro managing must be cured before it eats our growth potential. The Titanic sank because the captain focused too much on internal things and could not see the iceberg approaching in the foggy sea of uncertainties. The captain must focus on the bigger picture. Internal tasks can be delegated. Strategy is the captain’s job. That is the bigger picture.

How to get our employees 100% involved?

Many business owners have this complaint that their employees waste a lot of time and they are not able to get 100% out of their people. They say “Somehow, they don’t have the vision as big as my vision. They are completely clueless about their work and I have to guide them about each and every thing. How to get them fully involved?”

A small story from daily life, but very much relevant, illustrates the solution of this business problem clearly….

Kalindi was a manager with a company. She was visited by one of her old friends, Shama at her home. Both friends were chatting up and the topic was Kalindi’s work team. She was leading a team of five executives and was somehow finding it difficult to get things done through them. “They just don’t understand the bigger picture. They waste a lot of time. They disappoint me everyday. Because of their inefficiency, I miss many of my deadlines and I can’t achieve my departmental goals. It is so frustrating…! How can I get them involved 100%?” This was her concern.

Kalindi had a visiting cook and a full-time maid servant at home. During the above talk, Kalindi inquired with her cook to ask her about the stock of vegetables at home. The cook checked the fridge and told her what was there. Kalindi sent her back and called for the maid. She instructed the maid  “Please to go to the market and bring Shimla Mirch, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Pizza bases.”. The maid bought the things and gave it to the cook. The cook understood that she had to prepare Pizza, but found that there was no cheese at home. She went to Kalindi to inform this. Kalindi got angry, “Why you did not tell me earlier?”. The cook also got upset, as she never knew about Pizza plan. Then Kalindi sent the maid again to the market buy cheese. The maid also grumbled because she had to go all over again to the market.

Shama understood the entire problem, both at Kalindi’s office and also at home. She told Kalindi “Did your cook know you wanted to make Pizza? Then how can you expect her to give you specific requirements? Similarly, do your team members know what your goals are? If they do not, and you keep assigning them daily tasks and when they don’t find you to guide them, they just wait and waste time. No wonder, you miss deadlines and all are frustrated in the end.” Kalindi got the solution to her problem.

Ask yourself. Do your employees know what are your goals? What is your vision? If not, you may have to make pizza without cheese, which won’t be very appetizing…!

Tell your people what you all are trying to do. Simple, but very practical. Implement it.