Monday, December 22, 2008


"Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching." – Unknown.

Satyam Computer Services Ltd’s proposed plan to pick up 51% in Maytas Infra and 100% in Maytas Properties and subsequent backtracking has created many doubts especially on corporate governance and business ethics. It is a fall from grace. The move has weakened the IT sector further. It is like adding insult to the injury. It has come as a shock at a time when IT is struggling and recession is ruling the globe. Indian business leaders would be under scrutiny hereafter globally.

The scrip received drubbing at the bourses. The decision drove the shares down 55%.
The promoters’ holding in the company is 8.6 per cent. It is a way of the minority imposing their will on the majority of investors.

Analysts questioned the deal from strategic perspective while the critics questioned from corporate governance perspective. It is, precisely, compromising both business ethics and corporate governance. The damage cannot be undone that easily.

Now a days, the investors have become more cautious and mature and the management should not take them for granted. The management or board of directors should have taken more precautions and lot of home work before taking such decisions.

It is not clear what is there at the back of mind of Raju but the decision to buy led to doubts among the investors as both the companies belong to his family members.
When we look at from the long term perspective, real estate and infrastructure would have longevity as IT can not be taken from the same perspective. The bubble may burst at any time. The technology is also changing rapidly.

The Satyam solely depends on the US clients where recession is taking its toll. May be, to minimize the risk he tried to diversify into IT and Infrastructure which are growth areas. Considering from the experience of Raju, he is a visionary and a master strategist. It can not be denied altogether that keeping the interests of the employees and shareholders he might have taken the decision. But again involvement of family members created a doubt.

There is a huge potential for Real estate and Infrastructure sectors. Of course, there is a temporary glut in these sectors as well. But when observed from long term perspective these sectors are ever green.

Satyam bagged Golden Peacock Award for corporate governance in this year. How did it take such decision which questions the credibility and integrity is a debatable issue in the present scenario.

It is improper to do it because of the involvement of the family members- Raju’s sons. It involves corporate governance and interests of investors. Raju can no longer be called as an ethical leader. He owes an explanation for this, especially to the shareholders, employees and associates.

No company can survive without the support of customers, employees and investors. When any one of these three elements is weakened the organization would collapse. No amount of fire fighting can heal the wounds of the investors.

Raju is now trying to buy back the credibility by agreeing to buy back the shares. It would help the shareholders by way of returning their capital. It is a desperate attempt to pacify the angry investors.

One blessing in disguise in this episode is the victory of shareholders over the management. Shareholders have expressed their anger and have united for the first time thus leading to shareholders’ activism. Shareholders’ activism is to be appreciated. This is a clear cut message for other business leaders to take their valued investors into confidence. And also shareholders’ activism is a right move catching up in India to check corporate governance practices, if any.

Indian business leaders should keep their family interests away. Investors’ interests are more important than family interests. To conclude the management should take such major decisions only after taking the consent of all shareholders. Mere taking the consent of the board members will not suffice.

“The biggest corporation, like the humblest private citizen, must be held to strict compliance with the will of the people.” Theodore Roosevelt, 1900.

The End

Monday, December 15, 2008


Do we live to work or work to live is a debatable issue these days. With the growing technology there are so many changes and challenges in this world. From the initial attitude of working to live has gradually changed to living to work due to various factors and forces leading to workaholism. This led to higher stress levels and other health hazards like insomnia, cardiac arrest, depression etc., In this context, it is better to find what is all about workaholism.

According to Barbara Killinger, “Workaholism is a soul destroying addiction that changes people’s personalities and the values they live by. A workaholic is a work-obsessed individual who had gradually become emotionally crippled and addicted to power and control.”

With the snowballing global recession the employees across the organizations across the world are under pressure to work hard and are forced to become workaholics. There is already work pressure at the corporate world due to fierce competition everywhere. With the American economy showing the signals of recession the employees are made to work long hours. It is reported that the average work hours per person in America increased from 1942 hours in 1990 to 1978 hours by 2000, an increase of 36 hours a week of work. Due to the apprehensions of losing the jobs the employees are under pressure to work extra hours under the threat of recession. Failure to perform may cost their jobs.

Workholism can be defined as excessive obsession to work at the cost of personal and social life. In the words of Spence and Robbins, “Workaholic is a person who exhibits three properties: high work involvement, feeling driven to work because of inner pressures, low in enjoyment of work.” It is the habit of employees to work more hours than the prescribed working hours as they derive joy out of it. It is type of psychological state where the end result is either positive or negative and predominantly negative. For instance, it could be beneficial to the organizations and problematic to the employees. If workaholism is thrust upon then it has adverse effects on the employees and employers in the long run. It looks that the employee puts in extra efforts by working long hours but when we look at the effectiveness then it has no qualitative results. It is more prevalent in private sector than in public sector. There are six types of workaholism: work enthusiasts, work addicts, enthusiastic addicts unengaged workers, relaxed workers and disenchanted workers.

The rapid growing technology resulted into many challenges everywhere. It gave rise to opening up the information thereby minimizing the secrecy as it used to prevail much before the internet technology. Everything is opened up. And there is constant innovation to stay competitive at the corporate world. Failure to do so the same results into companies getting obsolete over a period of time. And the impact is felt on the employees who ultimately have to perform or perish. With an intention to survive the employees began putting in extra hours of work in their daily corporate life resulting into workaholism. The companies too treat workaholics as their assets. At times the employees like to set an example for others and also their personal superego result into workholism.

Workhalism when viewed from positive perspective helps in quick career growth for the employees as it offers recognition apart from providing better pay and perks. Usually the goals get the employees going towards becoming work addict. It leads to professional success of the employees but adversely affects their personal and social life. It is observed that the task oriented leaders fall in this category.

When viewed from the other side, workaholism leads to psychological problems and insomnia. Employees keep continuously thinking in terms of their work and as a result losing their sleep. It also gives rise to cardiac arrest, stress, depression, fatigue and adversely affects the immune system. Employees lack concentration thus resulting into accidents.

It is rightly said that all the work no play makes the Jack dull. The employees must see that they are able to strike right balance amongst their personal, professional and social life. There is a strong need to take time off their routine work like going for vacations or for tours to relieve their stress levels. At the workplace too, the employees should take regular breaks after lunch, do light physical exercises and talk to their colleagues. At home it is necessary to do yoga or mediation or physical exercises to ease their stress levels so that they can go for work with energy and enthusiasm. It must be noted that we should do what we love to do rather than loving what we do. Being assertive at the workplace and taking feedback helps in solving the problem. It is important to note that we should strive for excellence not for perfection. Besides setting priorities properly and managing time effectively also minimizes the work load so that the time so saved can be utilized for personal and social activities. Or it can be utilized for creative pursuits.

According to the research reports, almost one-third of working Canadians are workaholics. Globally workaholism has become a challenging issue. It has become more of bane than boon and more of pathology than pleasure. It needs to be addressed earnestly to make life worth living. It is high time organizations took serious note of this issue.



The growing global meltdown is creating reverberations across the world. Recession is the talk of the town across the globe. With collapse of investment banker, Leyman Bros the apprehensions of recession is firming up thereby causing jitters for employees. Whenever there is drop in revenues the unkindest cut would be on training and development of precious human resources. The focus should be shifted else where rather than minimizing expenses on training. Any spend on training should be treated as investment rather than as an expense.

The corporate training needs to be focused to tide over the organizational problems arising out of global recession. Usually during the highs, the employers do not focus on training and development as things are going smoothly. At the time of lows like recession the employers should lay more emphasis on training their precious human resources. It helps in upgrading employees’ skills, abilities and competencies that are essential for performing their jobs effectively and efficiently. It helps in shedding their flab and makes the companies lean and thin.

According to U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The number of 35- to 44-year-olds in the work force, the so-called ‘key leader age,’ will drop by 15% over the next decade.” There is growing shortage of leadership talent among the employees and that is hindering the growth of the organizations. It is necessary to stress on corporate training programs to develop leadership talent among the employees. When employees are equipped with the requisite skills, abilities and competencies then they would be able to face the challenges squarely and motivate their subordinates for achieving organizational goals and objectives.

Corporate training is slightly different from regular training. Training involves in equipping skills and abilities among the people. When we talk of training it can be for students, employees or professionals. But when we talk of corporate training it is a kind of training provided to the employees in various corporations and organizations. It is aimed at upgrading the skills and competencies among the employees so that they can deliver their goods with competence and confidence. During corporate training there is more stress on developing soft skills where interpersonal skills, team building skills, presentation skills and communication skills are focused for ensuring organizational success.

Diversity training is another area to be addressed by the corporate trainers. When the training is provided to employees of diversified cultures, languages, gender, nationalities under one roof so as to make all employees to work under common objectives and goals within the organizations is known as diversity training. This training focuses by encouraging the employees to look at the similarities rather than differences. The training imparts knowledge and awareness of others’ cultures and the need to respect in the larger interests of the organization. It connects the common link and thread running across all the employees for ensuring better productivity and performance.

Virtual teams integrate the dispersed talent and knowledge to achieve organizational competency. Virtual training is imparted to the employees in the virtual teams where they work on a common project from various cultural backgrounds, countries and time zones without any physical proximity. With the mushrooming IT, BPO and KPO and other knowledge sectors the employees can not be brought under one roof to work in teams due to various reasons like cost and other related organizational problems involved. It is reported that over 2, 50,000 people are working in BPO sector in India, and it is closing one million by 2008. This sector contributed $3.6 billion in 2007. The rapid growing technology has brought many changes and challenges at the organizational front for both employees and employers and of which working in virtual team is one of the major challenges. Therefore, the companies realized in providing virtual training so that the members involved get to know one another for effective and efficient functioning for achieving desired results.

Stress is one of the major reasons as a fall out of work pressures arising in various sectors. The stress is widely prevalent in knowledge sectors especially in IT, BPO, KPO sectors where customer interaction is high. The deadliness, work pressures and demand from the superiors and from clients due to stiff competition is leading to stress and that further leads to attrition. Burn out stress syndrome (BOSS) is a major problem among the employees in these sectors leading to fatigue, and sleep disorders due to the complete alteration of biological rhythm of the body.

For coping up with various challenges in knowledge sectors like stress, diversity and multicultural teams, corporate training is the only solution. It also helps in developing leadership talent among the employees and addresses several challenges in the corporate world. It is high time organizations took serious note of relevance and importance of corporate training to address all these issues. There is no point in cutting the training budgets. Budget cuts are required elsewhere not in training domain to beat recession.



Now days, knowledge management is the buzzword in the corporate world. Companies proudly talk of it. Is it related to management of knowledge or something else? Let us find out what is all about knowledge management.

According to Andersen Consulting, knowledge management (KM) is the systematic process of acquiring, creating, capturing, synthesizing, learning and using information, insights and experiences to enable performance. It converts ideas into realities. It helps in promoting the learning curve of their employees and retaining the same for the overall prosperity and progress of the organization.

KM is interwoven with information dissemination and information action. It is linked with talent management. Constant creativity and innovation are the pillars for knowledge management. Now days, the companies, in order to stay ahead of their counterparts competitively, they are focusing on managing and expanding their knowledge capital base. It adds value to their organizations. However, very few companies hoard their knowledge and don’t believe in sharing due to the fear of their employees poached by competitors. In such a scenario the company may not encourage their employees to grow intellectually thus resulting into stagnation.

KM promotes, furthers, nurtures knowledge in the organization and ensures that the knowledge is managed with in the company even in the event of the exit of the employees. KM highlights on collective knowledge of the enterprise through collaborative teamwork, knowledge sharing and mentoring.

The companies should provide conducive organizational culture and climate to ensure that knowledge is managed effectively and efficiently. Employees should equally and actively involve in the successful sharing of knowledge. At times because of competition a few employees especially star performers with in the organizations do not share their knowledge and retain with themselves thereby denying opportunities for other to share.

It is to be appreciated that knowledge sharing is widely honoured while the knowledge hoarding is highly dishonoured. The companies should wed knowledge management wholeheartedly not only for their survival and success but also for the all round development of their precious human resources-employees. It is rightly said that knowledge grows when shared.


Thursday, December 4, 2008


Anything about leadership inspires all. There are number of articles on leadership across the world. It is basically because people love to read about leadership. Leadership is not a title or a position but it is the action of getting the things done by motivation and inspiration. Anything related to machine can be handled at ease. But anything about human beings can not be handled easily as it involves emotions. Here comes the role of leaders to get the things going as per their visions and convictions. Leadership is the ability and capability to lead from the front despite stiff opposition or hurdles. Leadership is the action where people have to be brought under one platform towards a common cause or goal.

Leadership is accepting the responsibility. In case of success the leader says “we achieved success because of the team behind me” and in case of failure the leader says, “It is me who is responsible for the failure”. Then only we can say that he is a leader.

Let us look at the leadership of Abraham Lincoln the first Republican president of America who rose from the ranks to the highest office. Let us link Lincoln’s leadership lessons with Eleven E’s. The Eleven E’s are the Energy, Enthusiasm, Expertise, Emotional Intelligence, Endurance, Edge, Example, Excellence, Empathy, Effectiveness and the last Eleventh E is Ethics.

Every leader should have Energy which is the first E. Energy does not mean physical energy but includes mental and spiritual energy. Lincoln had higher energy levels as it was evidenced in his life right from the beginning to the end. With his external physical looks he did not reflect energy levels to many of his critics. That is the reason why Abraham Lincoln was initially underestimated by many people. But he displayed his enormous internal energy levels by bouncing back from several failures number of times throughout his life. He did demonstrate his energy levels. Initially he was a wrestler which indicated his physical energy levels. Time and again he displayed his spiritual energies by referring to God.

Enthusiasm is the second E for any leader to possess. Enthusiasm is nothing but interest towards what one does. Lincoln showed enthusiasm in whatever the area he took up. Whether he was a success or a failure is the secondary thing. It was his enthusiasm towards education that led him to read number of books. His enthusiasm towards law and speaking made him as a good lawyer and an excellent motivational speaker. Whatever the endeavor he took up he did it with enthusiasm.

Expertise is the third E for any leader to possess. Expertise is having total command and confidence on ones own domain. Unless there is expertise the leader can not command any respect. When leaders are experts in their domains then only the followers would look up to them for their valuable suggestions and guidance. That leads to leadership. No follower would pose confidence in a leader who is not expert and competent. Lincoln mastered in whatever he took up. He did justify whatever he undertook whether it was in law profession or in politics.

The fourth E is Emotional Intelligence. Daniel Goleman highlighted about the importance of Emotional Intelligence and he authored a book. It is the ability and the intelligence to manage the behavior of divergent people in a group. It is indeed a difficult and challenging task because people are basically different in nature with different emotions. And aligning them towards a cherished goal is indeed a Herculean task. It is one of the hallmarks of any leader. Lincoln had the flexibility and the intelligence to manage people effectively by way of his communication skills which are heavily laid stress on story telling techniques. He possessed Emotional intelligence and was able lead the teams successfully towards the goals of united America. He prevented America from getting disintegrated by managing the people as he knew the pulse of the people.

Endurance is the fifth E essential for effective leadership. Endurance is the ability to survive shocks and setbacks. Being unfazed and undeterred when problems crop up due to external forces and factors. In his personal, professional and social life Lincoln survived many failures and setbacks and demonstrated his endurance and resilience. Very few leaders possess this extraordinary quality of endurance. People give up when confronted with recurrent problems arising out in the external environment. But Lincoln was an exception who did not give up but endured all the times and all the ways through out his life.

The courage to take unfavorable and unpleasant decisions despite being stiff opposition from all quarters in order to pursue the cherished goals and objectives is known as edge. Even if the leader personally does not like to take such drastic decisions, but he has to take keeping in the larger interests of the cause because the situation calls for it. Edge is the sixth E essential for leaders. Abraham Lincoln took many a decision during the Civil War so as to keep America united. With regard to slavery too, he demonstrated edge which is revealed from his quote “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”

Lincoln always set an excellent Example which is the seventh E essential for any leader. There should not be any gap between what is preached and practiced as it would lead to credibility gap thereby losing the trust of the followers. Lincoln became a role model for his followers with his personal example. Whether it was about slavery or about unity of the country he strongly believed in what he preached that earned reputation as one of the most respected presidents of America. It was the issue of Southern land where he stood like a rock and that irritated and ultimately led to his assassination by a racist and Southern Sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth.

Leaders never believe in perfection but they believe in excellence because perfection is neither possible nor feasible except in theory and scientific experiments. Excellence is the eighth essential E for any effective leader. Leaders like to be at their best and strive for best results. Lincoln also strived for excellence in his chosen area of activity. Whether as a wrestler or as a lawyer or as a politician he gave his best and excelled and he proved as a leader par excellence. He aptly quoted, “I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.”

Leaders are good listeners and most of the time during conversation they listen more and speak less because they empathize with their followers. Empathy is the ninth essential ingredient for effective leadership. Leadership has no meaning without empathy. If followers display sympathy the leaders demonstrate empathy. That makes the fine difference between the followers and leaders. Lincoln was always empathic with his followers. Out of 100 percent conversation Lincoln listened 67 per cent and only 33 per cent he spoke. It was key to success during his debates as well as in winning the support of his followers.

Another E is Effectiveness which means the quality of work one puts in rather than quantity. Leaders stress on effectiveness while the managers on efficiency. While managers do the things right the leaders do the right things. Effectiveness is one of the traits that differentiate between managers and leaders. Lincoln rightly said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” His intention was to prepare thoroughly before execution of any task by way of smart work rather than hard work. The effectiveness in Lincoln helped him in his lawyer profession, and also helped him in winning number of debates.

And last but not the last E is Ethics, which is the Eleventh E the Lincoln possessed throughout his life. Abraham Lincoln adhered to ethics during his business career in his early twenties. He did not give up ethics even when he failed in business. In fact, it is during the test of time an individual’s integrity and morality is tested. He honestly paid back the dues to his lenders. And he maintained ethics and values in his lawyer profession and in politics also. We can learn the same from his quotation the importance he attached to ethics, “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

Abraham Lincoln lived in one of the most turbulent times in the history of America. It was time there were divisions between North and South and it was at this time there was a thorny issue of slavery. Although he was average in intelligence he managed the problems and crises with his strong character and leadership qualities. Lincoln will be remembered as a legend in the history of human civilization. To conclude in his own words, “And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”