Archive for the ‘Management Guru’ Category

What Leaders Do – Jack Welch (Winning)

April 6, 2007

*    Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self-confidence.

*    Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breathe it.

*    Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.

*    Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency, and credit.

*    Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.

 *    Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.

 *    Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example.

*    Leaders celebrate.

Ref: Winning by Jack and Suzy Welch

 —-||||||Effective Quotations by Great Thinker||||||—-

Gearge Bernard ShawMahatma Gandhi Swami Vivekananda

Peter F. DruckerWarren BennisJack Welch

Effective Artciles which align to leadership. Kindly link and share your expereince.

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Words of knowledge – Tom Peters: Leadership is all about love

March 30, 2007

Passion,

Enthusiasms,

Appetite for Life,

Engagement,

Great Causes & Determination to Make a Damn Difference,

Commitment to Excellence,

Shared Adventures,

Bizarre Failures,

Growth Beyond Measure,

Insatiable Appetite for Change.

Credit : TP’s “Top 41” Quotes from www.tompeters.com

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—-||||||Effective Quotations by Great Thinker||||||—-

Gearge Bernard ShawMahatma Gandhi Swami Vivekananda

Peter F. DruckerWarren BennisJack Welch

Effective Artciles which align to leadership. Kindly link and share your expereince.

 

MAHATMA GANDHI – a Complete Solution for INDIA and WORLD

March 7, 2007

MAHATMA GANDHI – a Complete Solution for
INDIA and WORLD

FOR  IMPLEMENTATION OF TIMELESS WISDOM OF COSMIC PRINCIPLES  AT PLATFORM OF ACTIONS….  

1].Redefine Nobel prize : Nobel prize for Gandhi or Gandhi for Nobel prize ! a simple question?  

2].Reinvent Innovation : very simple mantras “Satyagraha & Ahimsa” but very very powerful weapons than any types of weapons existing in the world ( at level of root cause )  

3].Reengineering Religion : Religion is about “Truth & Love”. 

4].Reinvent Ledership : Leadership at Indian context and at global context ! a true example of Level 5 Leadership – “Personal Humility + Professional Will” simultaneouly. 

5].Redefine Economics & social developemnt : Sarvodaya : universal uplift – progress of all. 

6].Redefine Education : The purpose of education is to bring out the best in you” : Relevent , practical & moral educationHolistic development of children. 

7].Redefine Management : Undersatnding yourself , your people , your enemies- competitors , your customers – people ,  your nation & world …..very clearly , very simple ,very relevent & contextual to enviroments & conditions. 

8].Reinvent Strategy : Confront the reality – “Descipline people , descipline thougts & Descipline actions” – self evoloving & organic in nature which is very suitable to indian complex enviroments & conditions. 

9].Reinvent Execution :Think at bottom the pyramid and A Proper alignment of strategy to operation &  people  …Actions …Actions….Actions! a final answer. 

~AJAY SINGH NIRANJAN 

Support the Mission : Great Human Capital  

Wipro chief’s 10-point recipe for success

February 17, 2007

Wipro chairman Azim H Premji, one of India’s most successful entrepreneurs, on Friday prescribed a 10-point recipe for success, based on the very lessons he had learnt during his last 35 years in the organisation.  

“You should dare to dream, define what you stand for, never lose your zest and curiosity, always strive for excellence, build self confidence, learn to work in teams, take care of yourself, preserve, have a broader social vision and finally never let success go to your head,” Premji said.

The Wipro chairman was delivering the convocation address at the 38 the convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Following is the entire text of the convocation address made by Premji:

I am privileged to be with you here today and to share this significant moment of your life.

The convocation marks the culmination of all the endless nights you worked through, all the anxieties you have gone through facing one examination after another and all the preparation you have put in, not only to enter this prestigious institution but also to graduate from it successfully. It is no mean achievement.

Only a handful of the most talented people in the world have shared this success with you. Let me just say that I am very proud of each and every one of you.

I am a little wary about giving you advice- because advice is one thing young people all over the world do not like receiving. I cannot fault you for that.

The world does look very different when it is seen with your eyes. You are filled with enthusiasm and are straining at the leash to get on with life.

And the world is very different from what it was when I was at your age. Never before has the role of technology been so pervasive and so central. The Internet has breached all physical borders and connected the world together like no other force has done before.

For the first time, opportunities for creating wealth in India are at par with the best in world. There is no need for you to sacrifice the joy of remaining in your own country any more.

All opportunities are accompanied by their own challenges. I thought I would share with you a few of the lessons I have learnt in my own life, while loading the transformation at Wipro, from a small company three and a half decades back into a global corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange. I hope you find them useful.

Lesson # 1: Dare to dream

When I entered Wipro at the age of 21, it was a sudden and unexpected event. I had no warning of what lay ahead of me and I was caught completely unprepared. All I had with me was a dream.

A dream of building a great Organisation. It compensated for my inexperience and I guess, also prevented me from being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before me.

What I am happy is that we never stopped dreaming. Even when we achieved a position of leadership in every business we operated in India. We now have a dream of becoming one of the top 10 global it service companies.

Many people wonder whether having unrealistic dreams is foolish. My reply to that is dreams by themselves can never be realistic or safe. If they were, they would not be dreams. I do agree that one must have strategies to execute dreams. And, of course, one must slog to transform dreams into reality. But dreams come first.

What saddens me most is to see young, bright people getting completely disillusioned by a few initial setbacks and slowly turning cynical and some of them want to migrate to America in the hope this is the solution.

It requires courage to keep dreaming. And that is when dreams are most needed- not when everything is going right, but when just about everything is going wrong.

Lesson # 2: Define what you stand for

While success is important, it can become enduring only if it is built on a strong foundation of Values. Define what you stand for as early as possible and do not compromise with it for any reason. Nobody can enjoy the fruits of success if you have to argue with your own conscience.

In Wipro, we defined our Beliefs long before it became a fashion to do so. It not only helped us in becoming more resilient to stand up to crises we faced along the way, but it also helped us in attracting the right kind of people.

Eventually, we realised that our values made eminent business sense. Values help in clarifying what everyone should do or not do in any business situation. It saves enormous time and effort because each issue does not have to be individually debated at length.

But remember that values are meaningful only if you practice them. People may listen to what you say but they will believe what you do. Values are a matter of trust. They must be reflected in each one of your actions. Trust takes a long time to build but can be lost quickly by just one inconsistent act.

Lesson #3: Never lose your zest and curiosity

All the available knowledge in the world is accelerating at a phenomenal rate. The whole world’s codified knowledge base (all documented information in library books and electronic files) doubled every 30 years in the early 20th century.

By the 1970s, the world’s knowledge base doubled every seven years. Information researchers predict that by the year 2010, the world’s codified knowledge will double every 11 hours.

Remaining on top of what you need to know will become one of the greatest challenges for you.

The natural zest and curiosity for learning is one of the greatest drivers for keeping updated on knowledge. A child’s curiosity is insatiable because every new object is a thing of wonder and mystery. The same zest is needed to keep learning new things.

I personally spend at least ten hours every week on reading. If I do not do that, I find myself quickly outdated.

Lesson # 4: Always strive for excellence

There is a tremendous difference between being good and being excellent in whatever you do. In the world of tomorrow, just being good is not good enough.

One of the greatest advantages of globalisation is that it has brought in completely different standards. Being the best in the country is not enough; one has to be the best in the world. Excellence is a moving target. One has to constantly raise the bar.

In the knowledge-based industries, India has the unique advantage of being a quality leader. just like japan was able to win in the overseas market with its quality leadership in automobile manufacturing, india has been able to do the same in information technology.

At Wipro, we treat quality as the #1 priority. This enabled us not only to become the world’s first SEI CMM Level 5 software services company in the world but also a leader in Six Sigma approach to quality in India.

However, even today I am dissatisfied with several things which we are not doing right in the area of customer satisfaction.

Doing something excellently has its own intrinsic joy, which I think is the greatest benefit of Quality.

Lesson # 5: Build self-confidence

Self-confidence comes from a positive attitude even in adverse situations. Self-confident people assume responsibility for their mistakes and share credit with their team members.

They are able to distinguish between what is in their control and what is not. They do not waste their energies on events that are outside their control and hence they can take setbacks in their stride.

Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Lesson # 6: Learn to work in teams

The challenges ahead are so complex that no individual will be able to face them alone. While most of our education is focused in individual strength, teaming with others is equally important. You cannot fire a missile from a canoe. Unless you build a strong network of people with complimentary skills, you will be restricted by your own limitations.

Globalisation has brought in people of different origin, different upbringing and different cultures together. Ability to become an integral part of a cross-cultural team will be a must for your success.

Lesson # 7 Take care of yourself

The stress that a young person faces today while beginning his or her career is the same as the last generation faced at the time of retirement.

I have myself found that my job has become enormously more complex over the last two or three years. Along with mutual alertness, physical fitness will also assume a great importance in your life.

You must develop your own mechanism for dealing with stress. I have found that a daily jog for me, goes a long way in releasing the pressure and building up energy. You will need lots of energy to deal with the challenges.

Unless you take care of yourself there is no way you can take care of others.

Lesson # 8: Persevere

Finally, no matter what you decide to do in your life, you must persevere. Keep at it and you will succeed, no matter how hopeless it seems at times. In the last three and half decades, we have gone through many difficult times. But we have found that if we remain true to what we believe in, we can surmount every difficulty that comes in the way.

I remember reading this very touching story on perseverance.

An eight-year-old child heard her parents talking about her little brother. All she knew was that he was very sick and they had no money left. They were moving to a smaller house because they could not afford to stay in the present house after paying the doctor’s bills. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and there was no one to loan them the money.

When she heard daddy say to her tearful mother with whispered desperation, ‘Only a miracle can save him now’, the child went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jar from its hiding place in the closet.

She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully.

Clutching the precious jar tightly, she slipped out the back door and made her way six blocks to the local drug Store. She took a quarter from her jar and placed it on the glass counter.

“And what do you want?” asked the pharmacist. “It’s for my little brother,” the girl answered back. “He’s really, really sick and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my daddy says only a miracle can save him. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, child. I’m sorry,” the pharmacist said, smiling sadly at the little girl.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I can try and get some more. Just tell me how much it costs.”

In the shop was a well-dressed customer. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does you brother need?”

“I don’t know,” she replied with her eyes welling up. “He’s really sick and mommy says he needs an operation. But my daddy can’t pay for it, so I have brought my savings”.

“How much do you have?” asked the man. “One dollar and eleven cents, but I can try and get some more”, she answered barely audibly.

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents — the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.”

He took her money in one hand and held her hand with the other. He said, “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well-dressed man was Dr Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specialising in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long before Andrew was home again and doing well.

“That surgery,” her mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

The little girl smiled. She knew exactly how much the miracle cost … one dollar and eleven cents … plus the faith of a little child.

Perseverance can make miracles happen.

Lesson # 9: Have a broader social vision

For decades we have been waiting for some one who will help us in ‘priming the pump’ of the economy.

The government was the logical choice for doing it, but it was strapped for resources. Other countries were willing to give us loans and aids but there was a limit to this.

In the millennium of the mind, knowledge-based industries like Information Technology are in a unique position to earn wealth from outside. While earning is important, we must have mechanisms by which we use it for the larger good of our society.

Through the Azim Premji Foundation, we have targeted over the next 12 months to enrol over a million children, who are out of school due to economic or social reasons.

I personally believe that the greatest gift one can give to others is the gift of education. We who have been so fortunate to receive this gift know how valuable it is.

Lesson # 10: Never let success go to your head

No matter what we achieve, it is important to remember that we owe this success to many factors and people outside us. This will not only help us in keeping our sense of modesty and humility intact but also help us to retain our sense of proportion and balance.

The moment we allow success to build a feeling or arrogance, we become vulnerable to making bad judgements.

Let me illustrate this with another story:

A lady in faded dress and her husband, dressed in a threadbare suit, walked in without an appointment into the office of the president of the most prestigious educational institution in America.

The secretary frowned at them and said, “He will be busy all day.”

“We will wait,” said the couple quietly.

The secretary ignored them for hours hoping they will go away. But they did not. Finally, the secretary decided to disturb the president, hoping they will go way quickly once they meet him.

The president took one look at the faded dresses and glared sternly at them. The lady said, “Our son studied here and he was very happy. A year ago, he was killed in an accident. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial for him on the campus.”

The president was not touched. He was shocked. “Madam, we cannot put up a statue for every student of ours who died. This place would look like a cemetery.”

“Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly, “we don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would give a building to you.”

“A building?” exclaimed the president, looking at their worn out clothes. “Do you have any idea how much a building costs? Our buildings cost close to ten million dollars!”

The lady was silent. The president was pleased and thought this would get rid of them.

The lady looked at her husband. “If that is what it costs to start a university, why don’t we start our own?” Her husband nodded.

Mr and Mrs Leland Stanford walked away, travelling to Palo Alto, California, where they established the university as a memorial to their son, bearing their name – the Stanford University.

The story goes that this is how Stanford University began.

I wish you every success in your career and your future life.

Source : http://www.rediff.com/money/2001/jul/27wipro.htm

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Peter Drucker On Leadership

February 14, 2007

Peter Drucker On Leadership

by Rich Karlgaard.

·         What Needs to Be Done

·         Check Your Performance

·         Mission Driven

·         Creative Abandonment

·         The Rise of the Modern Multinational

·         21st Century Organizations

·         How To Lead a 21st Century Organization

·         Prisoner of Your Own Organization

·         How Organizations Fall Down

·         The Transition from Entrepreneur to Large Company CEO

·         How Capable Leaders Blow It

·         The Danger Of Charisma

·         How To Reinvigorate People

·         Character Development

and more ………..

Please read this nice article writen by Rich Karlgaard.

URL:http://www.forbes.com/management/2004/11/19/cz_rk_1119drucker.html

Source: Forbes website **********************************************************************  10 Artciles which align to above article. Kindly link and share your expereince.

Jack Welch Leadership Principles

February 12, 2007

Jack Welch – the former CEO of GE – lays down the following 10 principles for good business leadership in his book, Straight From the Gut:

1. There is only one way – the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation.
2. Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer; transfer learning across your organisation.
3. Get the right people in the right jobs – it is more important than developing a strategy.
4. An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage.
5. Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count.
6. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner – the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.
7. Business has to be fun – celebrations energise an organisation.
8. Never underestimate the other guy.
9. Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.
10. Know when to meddle and when to let go – this is pure instinct.

Source : http://www.businessopportunities.com/bob-daily/2006/6/22/jack-welch-leadership-principles.html 

John Kotter on Leading Change: Eight Steps to Transform Your Organization

February 12, 2007

Why the process of change is not sustainable in the organisation ?

What is the step of right change in the organisation ?

How we can lead change or how we can execute the process of change in the organisation?

Kindly link this insightful article written by Peter Coutt at telusplanet.net

John Kotter on Leading change

An excerpt:

John Kotter (who teaches Leadership at Harvard Business School) has made it his business to study both success and failure in change initiatives in business. “The most general lesson to be learned from the more successful cases is that the change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces satisfactory results” and “making critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains”. Kotter summarizes the eight phases as follows.

1] Establish a Sense of Urgency

2] Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition

3] Create a Vision

4] Communicate that Vision

5] Empower Others to Act on the Vision

6] Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins

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Azim Premji’s 8 steps to excellence

February 11, 2007

These are changing times. Yet in the middle of all the changes there is one thing that constantly determines success. Some call it leadership. But to my mind, it is the single-minded pursuit of excellence.

Excellence endures and sustains. It goes beyond motivation into the realms of inspiration. Excellence can be as strong a uniting force as solid vision.

Excellence does not happen in a vacuum. It needs a collective obsession as I have experienced the benefits of excellence in my own life. Excellence is a great starting point for any new organisation but also an unending journey. What is excellence? It is about going a little beyond what we expect from ourselves. Part of the need for excellence is imposed on us externally by our customers. Our competition keeps us on our toes, especially when it is global in nature.

But the other driver of excellence is internal. I have found that excellence is not so much a battle you fight with others, but a battle you fight with yourself, by constantly raising the bar and stretching yourself and your team. This is the best and the most satisfying and challenging part about excellence.

How does one create excellence in an organisation?

First, we create an obsession with excellence. We must dream of it not only because it delivers better results but because we truly believe in it and find it intrinsically satisfying to us.

We must think of excellence not only with our mind but also with our heart and soul. Let us look outside, at the global standards of excellence in quality, cost and delivery and let us not rest till we surpass them.

Second, we need to build a collective self-confidence. Organisations and people who pursue excellence are self-confident. This is because excellence requires tremendous faith in one’s ability to do more and in a better way. Unless, we believe we can do better, we cannot.

Third, we must understand the difference between perfection for its own sake and excellence. Time is of essence. Globalisation has made the customer only more impatient. This may seem like a paradox: should we aim for excellence or should we aim for speed?

Excellence is about doing the best we can and speed lies in doing it quickly. These two concepts are not opposed to each other; in fact, speed and timeliness are important elements of quality and excellence.

Fourth, we must realise that we cannot be the best in everything we do. We must define what we are or would like to be best at and what someone else can do better.

Excellence is no longer about being the best in India. It is about being the best in the world. We have to define what our own core competencies are and what we can outsource to other leaders. Headaches shared are headaches divided.

Fifth, we must create processes that enable excellence. Today, there are a number of global methods and processes available whether it is Six Sigma, CMM or ISO. Use them because they are based on distilled wisdom collected from the best companies in the world.

Also, we must build a strong foundation of information technology, because in this complex, dynamic world, it is imperative that we use the most modern tools to keep processes updated.

Sixth, we must create a culture of teaming. I have found that while great individuals are important, one cannot have pockets of excellence. Quality gives ample opportunities to build a culture of teaming. Cross-functional teams that are customer facing can cut through an amazing amount of bureaucracy, personal empire building and silos and deliver savings that one would not have imagined possible.

The other advantage of building teams focussed on quality is that the teaming culture eventually spreads to the rest of the organisation and teaming becomes a way of life.

Seventh, invest in excellence for the future. Future always seems to be at a distance. But it comes upon you so suddenly that it catches you by surprise, if not shock. What constitutes excellence in the future will be significantly different from what it is today.

In these days of severe market pressures, there is big temptation to sacrifice the future to look good in the present. We must certainly trim our discretionary expenses, but we must ensure that our investments in strategic areas that lead to excellence in the future are protected.

Finally, excellence requires humility. This is especially needed when we feel we have reached the peak of excellence and there is nothing further we can do. We need an open mind to look at things in a different way and allow new inputs to come in.

Otherwise, there is a real danger of becoming complacent or even downright arrogant. I would like to end my talk with a story that illustrates this very well.

A brilliant young professor went to meet a famous Zen master to have a discussion with him on Zen. He found himself in front of a modest house. He rang the doorbell and waited. A while later, he heard shuffling footsteps and the door was opened by the Zen master.

He invited the professor to sit with him on the dining table. The professor was a little disappointed with the shabby appearance of the Zen master. He started quizzing him immediately on comparative philosophies and the Zen master gave some brief answers.

When the professor began to debate with him on those answers, the Zen master stopped speaking and kept smiling at him. Finally, the professor got angry. He said, “I have come from a long distance just to understand the relevance of Zenism. But apparently you have nothing to say. I have not learnt anything from you at all.”

At this point, the Zen master asked the professor to have some tea. When the professor held the cup, the Zen master started pouring tea into it. After some time, the tea started spilling and the professor shouted, “Stop! The cup can contain no more.”

The Zen Master stopped and then, once again smiling, he said, “A mind, full of itself can receive nothing. How can I speak to you of Zenism until you empty your mind to learn.” The professor understood and apologized to the Zen master. He parted from him, the Zen master — a wiser man.

The author is Chairman & Managing Director, Wipro Limited.Powered by The Smart Manager Published with the kind permission of The Smart Manager.Source:

http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/jan/17spec.htm

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Management Challenges for the 21st Centuryby Peter F. Drucker – A Review

February 9, 2007

© Walter J. Geldart

Kindly read this great article with a nice commentary by Walter J. Geldart at:

URL:http://tap3x.net/EMBTI/j6drucker.html#THREE

Some Insight from this article :

Management’s New Paradigm
The Seven Old Assumptions of Management

There is a critical difference between a natural science and a social discipline, according to Drucker. The physical universe displays natural laws that describe objective reality. Natural laws are constrained by what can be observed, and these laws tend to be stable or change only slowly and incrementally over time. “A natural science deals with the behavior of OBJECTS. But a social discipline such as management deals with the behavior of PEOPLE and HUMAN INSTITUTIONS. The social universe has no ‘natural laws’ of this kind. It is thus subject to continuous change; and this means that assumptions that were valid yesterday can become invalid and, indeed, totally misleading in no time at all.” 2 Drucker identifies the following old assumptions for the social discipline of management. 3

Three Old Assumptions for the Discipline of Management

1. Management is Business Management
2. There is – or there must be – ONE right organization structure.
3. There is – or there must be – ONE right way to manage people.

Four Old Assumptions for the Practice of Management

4. Technologies, markets and end-users are given.
5. Management’s scope is legally defined.
6. Management is internally focused.
7. The economy as defined by national boundaries is the “ecology” of enterprise and management.

According to Drucker, six out of seven assumptions (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) were close enough to reality to be useful until the early 1980s. However, all are now hopelessly outdated – “they are now so far removed from actual reality that they are becoming obstacles to the Theory and even more serious obstacles to the Practice of Management. Indeed, reality is fast becoming the very opposite of what these assumptions claim it to be.” 4

 The Eight New Management Assumptions

Drucker identifies the following new assumptions for the social discipline of management. 8

1. Management is NOT only for profit-making businesses. Management is the specific and distinguishing organ of any and all organizations.

2. There is NOT only one right organization. The right organization is the organization that fits the task.

3. There is NOT one right way to manage people. One does not “manage” people. The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of each individual.

4. Technologies and End-Users are NOT fixed and given. Increasingly, neither technology nor end-use is a foundation of management policy. They are limitations. The foundations have to be customer values and customer decisions on the distribution of their disposable income. It is with those that management policy and management strategy increasingly will have to start.

5. Management’s scope is NOT only legally defined. The new assumption on which management, both as a discipline and as a practice, will increasingly have to base itself is that the scope of management is not legal. It has to be operational. It has to embrace the entire process. It has to be focused on results and performance across the entire economic chain.

6. Management’s scope is NOT only politically defined. National boundaries are important primarily as restraints. The practice of management – and by no means for business only – will increasingly have to be defined operationally rather than politically.

7. The Inside is NOT the only Management domain. The results of any institution exist ONLY on the outside. Management exits for the sake of the institution’s results. It has to start with the intended results and organize the resources of the institution to attain these results. It is the organ that renders the institution, whether business, church, university, hospital or a battered woman’s shelter, capable of producing results outside of itself.

8. Management’s concern and management’s responsibility are everything that affects the performance of the institution and its results – whether inside or outside, whether under the institution’s control or totally beyond it.

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Learning from INDIA vs. Learning from West-Narayan Murthy

February 7, 2007

Learning from INDIA:

Dear Friends,

Sharing timeless wisdom of India for learning from my side……

1. Vasudhaiva kutumbakam: Five thousand years ago, when nationalism did not even exist as a concept, Indian Thought talked of Universalism that transcended all boundaries:

Ayam nijah paroveti ganana laghuchetasam
Udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam”

“This is my countryman; that is a foreigner—such a view is entertained only by small-minded people; but to the broad, noble-minded, the whole world is one family”. 

2. Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina: 

“Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina ,Sarve Santu NiramayaSarve Bhadrani Pashyantu , Maa Kaschit Dukha Bhagh Bhavet” 

May all be happy; May all be without disease;May all have well-being; May none have misery of any sort.  

 3. Kindly download this audio speech of Swami Vivekananda at Chicago 1893 from following link.    Sisters and Brothers of America, It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. l thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world ……    Download Audio Speech: Swami Vivekananda’s Welcome Address
 

 ….Sharing this nice Speech by Narayana Murthy for focusing our attention [why India has less Innovation] at targeted space of changes [our mental models].

Learning From the WestN R Narayana Murthy

We are living in the past. No other society gloats so much about the past as we do, with as little current accomplishment.

Download pdf file: web.iitd.ac.in/~mamidala/HTMLobj-142/LearningFromTheWest.pdf

N.R. Narayana Murthy

Ladies and gentlemen:

It is a pleasure to be here at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management. Lal Bahadur Shastri was a man of strong values and he epitomized simple living. He was a freedom fighter and innovative administrator who contributed to nation building in full measure. It is indeed a matter of pride for me to be chosen for the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for Public Administration and Management Sciences. I thank the jury for this honor.

When I got the invitation to speak here, I decided to speak on an important topic on which I have pondered for years – the role of Western values in contemporary Indian society. Coming from a company that is built on strong values, the topic is close to my heart. Moreover, an organization is representative of society, and some of the lessons that I have learnt are applicable in the national context. In fact, values drive progress and define quality of life in society.

The word community joins two Latin words com (“together” or “with”) and unus (“one”). A community, then, is both one and many. It is a unified multitude and not a mere group of people. As it is said in the Vedas: Man can live individually, but can survive only collectively. Hence, the challenge is to form a progressive community by balancing the interests of the individual and that of the society. To meet this, we need to develop a value system where people accept modest sacrifices for the common good.

What is a value system? It is the protocol for behavior that enhances the trust, confidence and commitment of members of the community. It goes beyond the domain of legality – it is about decent and desirable behavior. Further, it includes putting the community interests ahead of your own. Thus, our collective survival and progress is predicated on sound values.

There are two pillars of the cultural value system – loyalty to family and loyalty to community. One should not be in isolation to the other, because, successful societies are those which combine both harmoniously. It is in this context that I will discuss the role of Western values in contemporary Indian society.

Some of you here might say that most of what I am going to discuss are actually Indian values in old ages, and not Western values. I live in the present, not in the bygone era. Therefore, I have seen these values practiced primarily in the West and not in India. Hence, the title of the topic.

 I am happy as long as we practice these values – whether we call it Western or old Indian values. As an Indian, I am proud to be part of a culture, which has deep-rooted family values. We have tremendous loyalty to the family. For instance, parents make enormous sacrifices for their children. They support them until they can stand on their own feet. On the other side, children consider it their duty to take care of aged parents.

 We believe: Mathru devo bhava – mother is God, and pithru devo bhava – father is God. Further, brothers and sisters sacrifice for each other. In fact, the eldest brother or sister is respected by all the other siblings. As for marriage, it is held to be a sacred union – husband and wife are bonded, most often, for life. In joint families, the entire family works towards the welfare of the family. There is so much love and affection in our family life.

This is the essence of Indian values and one of our key strengths. Our families act as a critical support mechanism for us. In fact, the credit to the success of Infosys goes, as much to the founders as to their families, for supporting them through the tough times. Unfortunately, our attitude towards family life is not reflected in our attitude towards community behavior. From littering the streets to corruption to breaking of contractual obligations, we are apathetic to the common good. In the West – the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand – individuals understand that they have to be responsible towards their community.

The primary difference between the West and us is that, there, people have a much better societal orientation. They care more for the society than we do. Further, they generally sacrifice more for the society than us. Quality of life is enhanced because of this. This is where we need to learn from the West.

I will talk about some of the lessons that we, Indians, can learn from the West.

In the West, there is respect for the public good. For instance, parks free of litter, clean streets, public toilets free of graffiti – all these are instances of care for the public good. On the contrary, in India, we keep our houses clean and water our gardens everyday – but, when we go to a park, we do not think twice before littering the place.

Corruption, as we see in India, is another example of putting the interest of oneself, and at best that of one’s family, above that of the society. Society is relatively corruption free in the West. For instance, it is very difficult to bribe a police officer into avoiding a speeding ticket.

This is because of the individual’s responsible behavior towards the community as a whole On the contrary, in India, corruption, tax evasion, cheating and bribery have eaten into our vitals. For instance, contractors bribe officials, and construct low-quality roads and bridges. The result is that society loses in the form of substandard defence equipment and infrastructure, and low-quality recruitment, just to name a few impediments. Unfortunately, this behavior is condoned by almost everyone.

Apathy in solving community matters has held us back from making progress, which is otherwise within our reach. We see serious problems around us but do not try to solve them. We behave as if the problems do not exist or is somebody else’s. On the other hand, in the West, people solve societal problems proactively. There are several examples of our apathetic attitude. For instance, all of us are aware of the problem of drought in India.

More than 40 years ago, Dr. K. L. Rao – an irrigation expert, suggested creation of a water grid connecting all the rivers in North and South India, to solve this problem. Unfortunately, nothing has been done about this. The story of power shortage in Bangalore is another instance. In 1983, it was decided to build a thermal power plant to meet Bangalore‘s power requirements. Unfortunately, we have still not started it. Further, the Milan subway in Bombay is in a deplorable state for the last 40 years, and no action has been taken.

To quote another example, considering the constant travel required in the software industry; five years ago, I had suggested a 240-page passport. This would eliminate frequent visits to the passport office. In fact, we are ready to pay for it. However, I am yet to hear from the Ministry of External Affairs on this.

We, Indians, would do well to remember Thomas Hunter’s words: Idleness travels very slowly, and poverty soon overtakes it. What could be the reason for all this? We were ruled by foreigners for over thousand years. Thus, we have always believed that public issues belonged to some foreign ruler and that we have no role in solving them.

Moreover, we have lost the will to proactively solve our own problems. Thus, we have got used to just executing someone else’s orders. Borrowing Aristotle’s words: We are what we repeatedly do. Thus, having done this over the years, the decision-makers in our society are not trained for solving problems. Our decision-makers look to somebody else to take decisions. Unfortunately, there is nobody to look up to, and this is the tragedy.

Our intellectual arrogance has also not helped our society. I have traveled extensively, and in my experience, have not come across another society where people are as contemptuous of better societies as we are, with as little progress as we have achieved. Remember that arrogance breeds hypocrisy. No other society gloats so much about the past as we do, with as little current accomplishment.

Friends, this is not a new phenomenon, but at least a thousand years old. For instance, Al Barouni, the famous Arabic logician and traveler of the 10th century, who spent about 30 years in India from 997 AD to around 1027 AD, referred to this trait of Indians. According to him, during his visit, most Indian pundits considered it below their dignity even to hold arguments with him. In fact, on a few occasions when a pundit was willing to listen to hm, and found his arguments to be very sound, he invariably asked Barouni: which Indian pundit taught these smart things!

The most important attribute of a progressive society is respect for others who have accomplished more than they themselves have, and learn from them. Contrary to this, our leaders make us believe that other societies do not know anything! At the same time, everyday, in the newspapers, you will find numerous claims from our leaders that ours is the greatest nation. These people would do well to remember Thomas Carlyle’s words: The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.

If we have to progress, we have to change this attitude, listen to people who have performed better than us, learn from them and perform better than them. Infosys is a good example of such an attitude. We continue to rationalize our failures. No other society has mastered this part as well as we have. Obviously, this is an excuse to justify our incompetence, corruption, and apathy. This attitude has to change. As Sir Josiah Stamp has said: It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.

Another interesting attribute, which we Indians can learn from the West, is their accountability. Irrespective of your position, in the West, you are held accountable for what you do. However, in India, the more ‘important’ you are, the less answerable you are. For instance, a senior politician once declared that he ‘forgot’ to file his tax returns for 10 consecutive years – and he got away with it. To quote another instance, there are over 100 loss making public sector units (central) in India. Nevertheless, I have not seen action taken for bad performance against top managers in these organizations.

Dignity of labor is an integral part of the Western value system. In the West, each person is proud about his or her labor that raises honest sweat. On the other hand, in India, we tend to overlook the significance of those who are not in professional jobs. We have a mind set that reveres only supposedly intellectual work.

For instance, I have seen many engineers, fresh from college, who only want to do cutting-edge work and not work that is of relevance to business and the country. However, be it an organization or society, there are different people performing different roles. For success, all these people are required to discharge their duties. This includes everyone from the CEO to the person who serves tea – every role is important. Hence, we need a mind set that reveres everyone who puts in honest work.

Indians become intimate even without being friendly. They ask favors of strangers without any hesitation. For instance, the other day, while I was traveling from Bangalore to Mantralaya, I met a fellow traveler on the train. Hardly 5 minutes into the conversation, he requested me to speak to his MD about removing him from the bottom 10% list in his company, earmarked for disciplinary action. I was reminded of what Rudyard Kipling once said: A westerner can be friendly without being intimate while an easterner tends to be intimate without being friendly.

Yet another lesson to be learnt from the West, is about their professionalism in dealings. The common good being more important than personal equations, people do not let personal relations interfere with their professional dealings. For instance, they don’t hesitate to chastise a colleague, even if he is a personal friend, for incompetent work.

In India, I have seen that we tend to view even work interactions from a personal perspective. Further, we are the most ‘thin-skinned’ society in the world – we see insults where none is meant. This may be because we were not free for most of the last thousand years. Further, we seem to extend this lack of professionalism to our sense of punctuality. We do not seem to respect the other person’s time.

The Indian Standard Time somehow seems to be always running late. Moreover, deadlines are typically not met. How many public projects are completed on time? The disheartening aspect is that we have accepted this as the norm rather than the exception. In the West, they show professionalism by embracing meritocracy. Meritocracy by definition means that we cannot let personal prejudices affect our evaluation of an individual’s performance. As we increasingly start to benchmark ourselves with global standards, we have to embrace meritocracy.

In the West, right from a very young age, parents teach their children to be independent in thinking. Thus, they grow up to be strong, confident individuals. In India, we still suffer from feudal thinking. I have seen people, who are otherwise bright, refusing to show independence and preferring to be told what to do by their boss. We need to overcome this attitude if we have to succeed globally.

The Western value system teaches respect to contractual obligation. In the West, contractual obligations are seldom dishonored. This is important – enforceability of legal rights and contracts is the most important factor in the enhancement of credibility of our people and nation.

In India, we consider our marriage vows as sacred. We are willing to sacrifice in order to respect our marriage vows. However, we do not extend this to the public domain. For instance, India had an unfavorable contract with Enron. Instead of punishing the people responsible for negotiating this, we reneged on the contract – this was much before we came to know about the illegal activities at Enron.

To quote another instance, I had given recommendations to several students for the national scholarship for higher studies in US universities. Most of them did not return to India even though contractually they were obliged to spend five years after their degree in India.

In fact, according to a professor at a reputed US university, the maximum default rate for student loans is among Indians – all of these students pass out in flying colors and land lucrative jobs, yet they refuse to pay back their loans. Thus, their action has made it difficult for the students after them, from India, to obtain loans. We have to change this attitude.

Further, we Indians do not display intellectual honesty. For example, our political leaders use mobile phones to tell journalists on the other side that they do not believe in technology! If we want our youngsters to progress, such hypocrisy must be stopped. We are all aware of our rights as citizens. Nevertheless, we often fail to acknowledge the duty that accompanies every right. To borrow Dwight Eisenhower’s words: People that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. Our duty is towards the community as a whole, as much as it is towards our families.

We have to remember that fundamental social problems grow out of a lack of commitment to the common good. To quote Henry Beecher: Culture is that which helps us to work for the betterment of all. Hence, friends, I do believe that we can make our society even better by assimilating these Western values into our own culture – we will be stronger for it.

Most of our behavior comes from greed, lack of self-confidence, lack of confidence in the nation, and lack of respect for the society. To borrow Gandhi’s words: There is enough in this world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. Let us work towards a society where we would do unto others what we would have others do unto us. Let us all be responsible citizens who make our country a great place to live. In the words of Churchill: Responsibility is the price of greatness. We have to extend our family values beyond the boundaries of our home.

Finally, let us work towards maximum welfare of the maximum people – Samasta janaanaam sukhino bhavantu. Thus, let us – people of this generation, conduct ourselves as great citizens rather than just good people so that we can serve as good examples for our younger generation. –  Speaker : N R Narayana Murthy

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“That is perfect;This is perfect;Perfect comes from perfect;Take perfect from perfect, the remainder is perfect.Peace. Peace. Peace”– Upanishasd

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Dear Friends,Link for understanding:

– Ajay Singh Niranjan