28 April, 2007

Scorching Heat and Road side watermelon

Aha it’s Saturday!! I woke up at 10 AM. I had some work in bank so had to go during day time. I decided to go walkie-talkie. Well, I took an umbrella and a scarf to protect myself from the Sun, but I think that was not enough. To and fro distance traveled is somewhere equal to 3 km. While returning back I was really thirsty and was sweating very badly. First, I thought to have some cold drink like my favorite maaza mango. But then I saw watermelon pieces nicely arranged in a plate at a road side shade. I decided to have one plate of it. I asked for the price.

I really felt like heaven. While I was relishing each bite, there were five other customers who were having it. At the end I asked the amount I had to pay. The lady replied 5 rupees. Well actually I felt like asking her about her day's income. I dont know tamil and hence due to language barrier I didn't asked her that. Then I started estimating her income myself based on the sample of customers I saw there. Heat starts killing you at around 11 AM and it lasts up to 6 PM. Lets estimate on an average 25 customers/hour ( considering the fact that the shop was on one of the very busy roads' side).Hence simple math answer is Rs. 875/day. Hence considering a 30 days month, monthly turnover is Rs. 26,250 (wow!!).

Now on an average 1 watermelon serves 3 plates. Hence approximately, 58 watermelons consumed per day. Cost price of 1 watermelon is 5 rupees. Hence monthly cost of watermelon is Rs. 8700...So Net income is Rs. 17550 (Look at the figure guys!!)...Any one wants to be a road side watermelon seller!! Well Frankly speaking I don’t want to be considering the scorching heat and the monotony of the work. But will surely ponder on to this as a business plan. What do you say?

Disclaimer: Financial gurus please take into consideration the ideal conditions. Accordingly please calculate +ve and -ve tolerance for the net income/month ;)

22 April, 2007

Glimpse of Book:- India Unbound

About Author:-
Gurucharn Das is a columnist for The Times of India and other newspapers. He graduated from Harvard college and attended Harvard Business School. A Former CEO of Proceter and Gamble, he is venture capitalist and a consultant to industry and government.

India Unbound is a book written in a lucid manner. Gurucharanji's typical writing style of bringing everything; History,Economics,Commerce , Business and Description of his life under one roof, makes this book an interesting read. He has described the British Raj, License Raj and Liberalization of Indian Economy very precisely. He says that India is a wise Elephant, unlike China. Although slower, India is more likely to preserve its way of life and its civilization of diversity, tolerance, and spirituality against the onslaught of the global culture.

-His inclination towards philosophy and confusion to pursue Sanskrit course at Harvard or leave it to go for something more, so called "substantial" in those days, is penned down.
-One should not miss the Vicks VapoRub incident of Surat lady ..while he was on his sales visit...
-He has described the leaders of Indian Industry:- G.D Birla, Narayan Murthy, Dhirubhai Ambani...
- How caste system can hinder the growth of a country , is very well explained.

In a Nut shell --its a book about the opening up of India to the outside world and to change for good...

13 April, 2007

Howzzat! HR masterstrokes for BCCI

HR Consultants Proffer Suggestions
Malini Goyal NEW DELHI

RELIGION is often beyond reason. And in a country where cricket is religion for many, reasoning and rationale has to take a back seat after a devastating World Cup loss. But let’s for a moment step back and think of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as a corporate body and cricket players as its employees. And look at the players, their compensation structure and restrictions on them through the eyes of HR experts. After all companies have done a great job of balancing conflicting stakeholders’ concerns, achieving difficult tasks while balancing individual vs team rewards in an extremely competitive and global business environment.

Here are some of the issues and suggestions that HR consultants and heads have for the BCCI. Not all of them may be implemented - but if the BCCI can pick up at least some of the ground rules that India inc has learnt over the years to win business and manage employees, cricketing at least would gain. If some of the outpourings below feel emotionladen, just discount for the passion these experts may have for the game.

BCCI as a corporate body If BCCI wants to become a world-class company with a world-class cricketing team it has to have a clear business plan with well-articulated time frame and key milestones like any business proposal. It also needs to identify what it needs to get there – money, infrastructure and of course best team, best coach etc.

For each of them - coach, selectors, players, even board members – their roles, the key deliverables and targets have to be clearly defined with accountability and responsibility fixed. “One has to see where are the failures on the deliverables before talking about sacking the coach or the player or the selector,” says R Sankar, head, Mercer India. Role clarity is very critical at all levels and the measures to vet performance have to be put in place. Performance review has to be regular and in a more structured rather than a reactive manner - the way its been happening.

And last but not the least, the board members have to be accountable for their jobs. “Right now its (the board) being used as a facility for gaining social respect,” says K Ramkumar, HR head of ICICI Bank. Maybe board members should be charged – Rs 1 crore – to get a board seat, and in times when the team isn’t doing well they could be penalized with Rs 2 crore fee,” he says.

GROOMING leaders & team This is a place where guys with far lesser experience can be asked to lead the team of people with far more experience. It happens frequently in the corporate world and they do it all the time. But the cricketing world is far more challenging - There are many prima-donnas here with high public stature. Add to it the fish-bowl experience of being always under media glare and public scrutiny. Amid all this when some of them are pitch-forked in leadership roles at a relatively young age without any formal grooming, it creates enormous leadership challenges. From a holistic HR perspective there should be a formal intense process of grooming prospective leader and this could not just be left to chance, says Hema Ravichandar, a strategic HR consultant and ex-HR head of Infosys Technologies. But once chosen a leader, the captain has to walk the talk and be a leader standing up for his team. “Dravid has acted as a stooge either for the coach or the board. How will he derive any respect from the team,” says Ramkumar.

SALARY bouncer How best to remunerate players? What could help align individual performance with the team? Should there be a graded system? What’s the crticilaity of the variable pay? In most of the above issues, opinions vary, but here’s snapshot of what they have to say.

VARIABLE vs fixed pay Variable pay, which is performance-linked, has to be a critical component. That’s the only way wins can be rewarded and losses can be penalized. Most HR experts recommend in the range of 40-50% of the total compensation to be variable. Variable pay can have two components they suggest – team performance and individual performance. While team performance can be rewarded at the end of every match win, ICICI’s Ramkumar warns that individual performance should be assessed on an annual basis. “Right now they have a warped variable pay which rewards players deal by deal. That’s a very narrow and short-term approach,” he says. Assessing annually will help avoid short-term approach to performance and it will also allow for bounce-back for players who may have short spells of bad form. Also they suggest that, there could be differentiated slabs for rewarding individual variable pay - for example those making 100 runs, those making more than 200 runs annually can fall in two slabs.

SKIPPER vs rest The thumb rule in the corporate world is that the leader gets at least double the remuneration than the person next in line. And ideally, HR experts would want the captain and vice-captain to get far more than his team members simply because he has two roles to play in the game. But the experts differ in how the two should be paid higher. While Ramkumar suggests that the captain’s compensation should be structured such that the variable component is higher than the others. For example, if for the players, 50% of the compensation is variable, for captain it should go a notch higher to 60%, he suggests. But Piyush Mehta, HR head of Genpact, differs. While the percentage rise in variable salary is a given in the corporate sector as you move up the hierarchy, it should not be the case in cricket, he says. This is because the ability of say a CEO to change the flow in an organization is quite high as compared to a cricket match where a skipper’s efforts can play only a marginal role.

Source:- The Economic TImes

06 April, 2007

HP's perfect enough ....CARLY ...The Change leader

Born in 1954, (Carleton S. Fiorina) Fiorina was brought up in Austin, Texas (USA). Her father was a lawyer who also taught law at Stanford and other universities while her mother was a painter. Fiorina attended school in different parts of the world including Ghana, England, North Carolina and California.

She graduated in arts (BA in medieval history and philosophy) from Stanford University in 1976. Fiorina displayed her analytical capabilities at Stanford, where she was able to summarize hundreds of pages of religious writings into crisp, two-page abstracts in quick time.
After graduation, she attended the law school at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles). However, she opted out of the course after completing one semester. In an interview to Investor's Business Daily, she said that 'lack of interest' had prompted her to drop out since law 'was all about discovering precedent someone else has set.' She then completed a master's degree in science (MS) from MIT's Sloan School.

In the early days of her career, Fiorina taught English in Bologna, Italy and she taught English to many clients, who were eager to know about American businesses using articles of American businesses. She also worked as a receptionist in Marcus & Millichap, then a small real-estate firm in New York. It was in this firm, when writing deals for brokers that she became attracted towards business management. In her autobiography “Tough Choices” Carly has mentioned that her work helped her develop people skills and she discovered that she loves to be part of a team. While continuing to work, Fiorina did a course in marketing management from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. After she acquired her MBA degree, she joined the sales department of AT&T Long Lines as an account executive, in 1980.
Fiorina spent nearly 20 years at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, where she held a number of senior leadership positions and directed Lucent's initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T.

Fiorina joined Hewlett-Packard Company on July 19, 1999 as CEO, succeeding Lewis Platt. She reworked the value statement of the company. She built a new management team. She was responsible for the faster and innovative and learning culture of HP. She undertook a major restructure of the organization and set new performance measures. However, many of Fiorina's initiatives at HP had been controversial. A major one was the HP-Compaq merger, which finally made the board of HP to fire her. In her autobiography Carly mentions “HP had consumed me. My entire life was programmed around it- every moment on the calendar, in advance.”
Some powerful ideas that have driven her life are the foundations laid down by her parents. She strongly believes,” Character is everything and character is defined as candor, integrity and authenticity. Authenticity is about knowing what you believed, being who you were, and standing up for both.”
As a leader she is well known in the corporate world as “The Change leader”. She is an inspirational leader, charismatic personality, has strong value system, ready to break established structure; innovative, influential and energetic and a marvelous orator. In 2002, (Fiorina), the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HP was the only woman CEO to head a Fortune 50 company. Fortune magazine also ranked her as the most powerful woman in business for the sixth consecutive year.
She has a personal touch that inspires intense loyalty. She's known for giving balloons and flowers to employees who land big contracts. When Lucent was spun off from AT&T in early 1996, Fiorina stayed up all night with Comptroller Jim Lusk and other employees to make sure the prospectus for the stock offering was perfect. And it's not just business: When the wife of a senior Lucent executive fell ill recently, Fiorina helped make sure he got medical advice, doctors, and emotional support.

Fiorina holds positions on the board of trustees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum. She is an Honorary Fellow of the London Business School. In early September 2005, Fiorina was named a director at Revolution Health Group, a venture formed by Steve Case. In October 2005, Fiorina joined the board of computer security company Cybertrust. In April 2006, Fiorina joined the board of directors for TSMC (Taiwan). Fiorina is an independent TSMC board member and serves on the audit and compensation committees.

In Carly Fiorina's Keynote Speech at MIT, 2002 she mentions “Trust comes as a basic DNA question” that is if you don’t have trust coded into your own organization then it is difficult to convey it to the larger market. Trust is doing right thing when no one is watching.”
Carly Fiorina remains and stands apart as a powerful and innovative leader.

04 April, 2007

Home Sweet Home....my oxygen

Here I am...after 5 months, at my home, for a week. There is no single moment when I am idle. It started by meeting my masi's,mama's and chacha's family....get togather with my cousins....really enjoyed the time with them...we are a big fat Gujarati family. At home there are happier times with lots of sleep and all my favorite dishes made by dearest mother. Then phone rings and aha !! its a call from an old friend...fix up time and place of meeting and hang out with him/her....Just do hi...hello with neighbouring aunty..and she hand overs you 3 fat album of his sons marriage. ...Open some unread e-mails (which you thought you will open when you are relaxed)...you find album of marriage/cute baby of either one of your friend or cousin. You are wonder struck by the sudden additions of new people to your memory...One who were miss are now mrs. and some are even "Mom". (You think that 5 months is a small time for these many things to happen...but they have actually happenend)

This year can be named as "under construction" for my home town. Not a single street was without the sign board "Work in progress".Hope the corporation finishes the work well before monsoon sets in ... Besides...when I enter the lane of my house...I reconfirm whether I am entering the correct lane by looking around. This is beacause two humongous building are standing facing my house...( what a speed man) ....and I also see the palm trees of our garden grown quite taller (1 and 1/2 storey...last when I saw...they were just of my height)...

This is all ...4 more days to go and I'll get more surprises...hope fully all are pleasant.