Friday, August 29, 2008



With the rapid changing technology and the growing opportunities, the employees do not like to be closely monitored and meddled. They would like to have freedom and independence, which are essential for employee empowerment and career growth. The research paper/article handles the concept of micromanagement with merits and demerits and the various issues and intricacies involved in micromanagement. It has taken the case study of a principal who is an excellent example for micromanagers. At the end it has concluded that micromanagement is not a boon but a bane.


KEY WORDS: Introduction, What is Micromanagement? Advantages, Disadvantages, Reasons for Micromanagement, Behavior of Micromanagers, Lack of Growth for Micromanagers, Case Study of a Principal/Micromanagement is Mismanagement, Challenges, Tackling Micromanagement, & Conclusion.


“Fifty percent of the typical employee’s job satisfaction is determined by the quality of his/her relationship with the manager.” – Leigh Brahnah, VP and Director of Professional Services, Right Management Consultants

Now days, the majority of the employees don’t like to be supervised or managed or monitored closely. They would like to have greater degree of freedom and independence while working. Unfortunately a few managers closely and keenly monitor their employees thereby creating several problems for employees. According to the available statistical information 60 to 70 per cent of the employees leave their jobs due to the excessive bossism. At times the bossism may be because of the micromanagement. In this context, it is desirable to briefly explain about micromanagement.


According to Wikipedia , “In business management, micromanagement is a management style where a manager closely observes or controls the work of their subordinates or employees. Micromanagement is generally used as a derogatory or negative term.” Micromanagement is the situation where the managers excessively involve in controlling their employees thinking that their subordinates do not know anything. Employees would not like to be in such a situation especially when their competencies and capabilities are suspected. In this context, let us also look at the definition of micromanagement from another dimension.

Micromanagement is generally defined as exercising excessive control of a project or group of people. The fuzziness comes in to play when we try to determine what is considered excessive. Clearly this is in the eyes of the beholder. The employee will generally have a much lower threshold than the manager.

Micromanagement is the process whereby the subordinates are continuously, closely and keenly observed and monitored by the boss. It has both pros and cons and unfortunately the cons outnumber the pros.


The merits of micromanagement are that the employee is constantly corrected, guided, advised, counseled and mentored by the boss. Micromanagement is good if the employee is new to the organization. It is like an infant being cared and nurtured by his mother. But over a period of time, the employee feels confident and comfortable in handling and executing the tasks of his own and would be comfortable in being independent. And if the process of micromanagement persists the employee gets discomfort and feels irritated just as in the case of an adult who is mature but still treated by his mother as still infant.


1. Since micromanagers poke their nose frequently into the tasks of their subordinates, it does not encourage decision-making and leadership qualities among the employees.
2. There would be frequent and recurrent rift between the micromanagers and their subordinates. In a nutshell, it is micromanagers versus the rest. It would lead to leg pulling and organizational politics.
3. More focus on politics and less focus on progress in the organizations.
4. It is like centralization and is against the tenets of employee empowerment.
5. The workers cultivate the attitude of consulting their micromanagers and hence no room for self-confidence. The workers will not be able to see the big picture.
6. Subordinates would be frustrated and dejected.
7. Delay in completion of work as the performer waits for instructions and since the boss being busy in micromanaging, he may not have sufficient time to get the things going rapidly.


There are number of reasons for micromanaging employees such as lack of trust on their employees and lack of confidence on the competency on their employees. They have obsession for control and are insecure by nature. In modern parlance, they are known as control freaks. They want to eat the cake and have it too. In fact, they are not visionaries and are meant for short-term goals. Sometimes micromanagers trouble their subordinates as their superiors troubled them in the past. It is like ragging in any college, where juniors (freshers) are ragged by the seniors as seniors were ragged, once they were juniors. In some cases, bosses want to have total control over their subordinates because basically they have fear of losing their own jobs. All these things lead to high attrition levels in various organizations.


There was a senior faculty member who worked for three decades as a professor teaching a Management subject. He had passion to teach and even after becoming as the highest designation in the University he did not give up his routine activity of supervising his subordinates closely and taking the classes. He began providing suggestions to his subordinates without any request and any need from them. It caused discomfort for his subordinates. Once he reached the top designation he should have expanded his span of control by delegating his previous roles and responsibilities to his immediate subordinate. But he did not do so and that resulted into micromanaging and the subordinates began feeling the heat. The lesson that can be learnt from this is having passion in an area may lead to micromanaging unlike in few cases where bosses feel insecure.

If the managers do not know how to coach then they tend to work thus resulting into micromanaging. Lack of administrative skills but efficiency in his roles and responsibilities may compel managers to closely monitor their subordinates.

Lack of leadership qualities may compel managers to manage their routine tasks because they do not feel comfortable in assigning their tasks. Or perhaps the managers might have burnt their own fingers in the past by transferring their tasks to their subordinates. It is a kind of phobia to delegate their tasks.

Sometimes the micromanager might have been let down by his subordinates thus resulting into lack of trust in the competency of his subordinates and doing everything by himself or herself. Similarly there are number of causes and reasons that set the behavior for micromanaging.


The boss who believes in excessive micromanagement may not survive, sustain and succeed in the long run. It is basically because his or her mind is focused to a limited area. On the other hand if the boss stops micromanaging them s/he tends to develop the delegative skills thereby developing leadership skills amongst his/her subordinates. And also the boss can also grow with in the hierarchy rapidly. Besides it also creates mutual trust between bosses and subordinates. As it is well known the trust begets trust. Given a free hand, the subordinates would experiment various things by trail and error method and learn many lessons either from their successes or from failures thus becoming leaders and mentors for their subordinates.

Micromanagement restricts the ability of micromanaged people to develop and grow, and it also limits what the micromanager's team can achieve, because everything has to go through him or her.

When a boss is reluctant to delegate, focuses on details ahead of the big picture and discourages his staff from taking the initiative, there's every chance that he's sliding towards micromanagement.


It is rightly said that people do not leave organizations but they leave bad bosses.

There was a principal in an engineering college who can be taken as the best example in the context of micromanagement.

He was not qualified to become the principal. However he became the principal of the private rural engineering college by telling to the management that he was going to complete his PhD very shortly. The management of the college believed that he would complete his PhD and appointed him as the principle considering his industrial experience.

Since he has come from industrial background he did not know anything about the intricacies involved in the administration of the college. It was like throwing him into the untested and untried waters. He joined in the college as he thought it was possible for him to manage the affairs of the administration.

He called his HODs (Head of the Departments) of each branch and began functioning the way he was functioning in the industry. Subsequently he realized that it was not possible to apply industrial experience in an academic environment. Therefore, he began pointing out the silly mistakes of the HODs and Faculty members with an intention to cover up his inferiority complex and his lack of experience. In fact, his intention was to show that he knew everything about the academic administration.

He was very selfish. He took credit for the hard work put in by the faculty. He hardly recognized the good work done by the faculty. He did not give permission to the students for presenting papers in out station by saying that it was risky. However the students went for paper presentation and won. When students came out with prizes to college, he got photographed with the students by taking credit solely that he alone encouraged the students. Finally, the faculties and HODs got suffocated with his style of micromanaging. He began meddling into everything and giving instructions in which he was not competent and as a result he was subjected to ridicule. The faculty complained to the directors of the management of the college against the principal but the management thought that because of the change in principal there were bottlenecks and initial hiccups. Having come to know that management did not take the complaints of the faculty seriously he became more adamant and began targeting the faculty.

Since the management of the college did not redress the grievances of the faculties, they began looking for employment in other institutions and attrition became higher. For every mistake he found out excuses to the management and survived. Besides, he was mad of publicity. For any minor achievement of the students he would call the local television channel and highlight by saying that it was his own achievement. He took credit for the achievements of the faculties and students. Once a few students have been short listed in campus placement by a reputed IT company and a tentative list was sent to the college. The Training and Placement Officer (TPO) of the college immediately rushed to the principal by saying that the students were selected without knowing the difference between the tentative list and final list. The principal immediately rushed to the press and local television channels and made huge publicity for himself. When the final list came from the company very few students were selected into the company. The students were shocked with this who until then was under the impression that they were selected. They were depressed and the parents came to the college and the principal and TPO tried to cover up the issue. Finally the management came to know about the issue and the principal was sacked and the TPO was warned sternly. This was a case of micromanaging and it was indeed mismanaging.


Micromanagement is a matter of concern as well as a challenge in the present competitive world. Due to the rising aspirations and expectations from the clients and customers the competition has become highly fierce and cutthroat and managers find less time in micromanaging their subordinates.

Micromanagement is essential if there is poor performance from the subordinates and if there is need for spoon-feeding. In such a scenario it is advisable to upgrade the skills and abilities of the employees and also it is necessary to equip them with requisite tools and techniques to stand on their feet and perform better.


The managers should know that the days of command and control are no more relevant in this contemporary working environment. The organizations should realize that micromanaging is not a healthy trend as it stifles the creativity and leadership skills. The managers should learn to guide their subordinates about the tasks to be executed rather than teaching them how to execute the same. In a nutshell, they should communicate what and why the task has to be executed but not as how it has to be executed. In this way, the subordinates would apply their mind to get the jobs done. And also they do not blame their boss as overbearing. It helps in unlocking their hidden potential and creativity. It gives a sense of satisfaction to the subordinates that they did well without any guidance and of their own.

The strong managers tend to recruit strong employees who in turn will create strong employees. Since the strong managers are highly competent and have self-confidence they do not feel insecure about their positions and they help in making their subordinates as leaders. In this way, it is generating new leaders, which is possible by only strong managers and leaders. Therefore, there is need for strong leadership, which eliminates the micromanagers to a greater extent.

Most of micromanagers belong to the loop of weak managers who are more worried about their survival rather than the performance of the team. These categories of people often belittle their subordinates and demotivate them. At times, they criticize their subordinates in public in order to show their superiority. Of course, it is not their superiority rather their inherent and hidden inferiority that forces them to act so.

Expecting perfection in the work may lead to micromanaging the given tasks. It is very difficult to expect perfection, as perfection is not feasible. Focusing on excellence rather than on the perfection in the work would be fruitful in the organizations. There is a greater degree of eye of detail if perfection is emphasized upon. It consumes time and energy as well apart from creating mistrust among the subordinates.

Give freedom and make the performers independent. In this context, let us recall the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."


“Four out of five workers say they’ve been a victim of micromanagement.” Harry E. Chambers, My Way or the Highway—the Micromanagement Survival Guide

Micromanagement is itself is a bad thing in the present contemporary business world. Nobody takes it positively. One of the major reasons for the low morale among the employees and low production and productivity, performance and attrition is micromanagement. Therefore, micromanagement is more of a bane than a boon. To sum up, what is required for the successful functioning of an organization is not micromanagement but macromanagement.


Monday, August 25, 2008


Any dealer can become an agent or distributor of a company with an undertaking with the company that the latter supplies the stocks solely to the former in a specific region or area. It has both merits and demerits as by taking as agency of any specific company the agent has the sole rights to distribute to the dealers regularly and timely. But he is not supposed to sell the stocks of the competitor of the products or services of that particular company. For this, the agent gets fixed margins because he has to solely concentrate on the distribution and marketing of the company’s stocks. His responsibility is also to strengthen the market for that particular products or services.

But the problem with the agency business is that the agents of other areas dump their stocks in this area by giving little discounts to the marketed prices which is popularly called as undercutting or underselling in the business parlance. Besides, the agent has to lift the specified stocks regularly and some times the agent may be compelled to buy more stocks during the schemes. All companies come out with schemes periodically so as to give more benefits to the agents. But unfortunately the agents do not digest the extra profits and on the other hand, they pass on the extra benefits as there is pressure to sell the stocks. Sometimes the agents of other areas may enter this area thereby offloading their stocks. In this process of underselling or undercutting ultimately the consumers get the stocks at lower prices because in every stage the benefits are passed on to the next stage because of competition.

Although the company clearly prescribes the specific margins for the agents to enjoy, the latter rarely enjoy the benefits of margins because of competition.


Saturday, August 23, 2008



Presently Indian youth have two problems – one is lack of soft skills and second is lack of entrepreneurial skills. The article focuses on the causes for the same and how to develop the skills. The concept of KASH, which is the acronym for Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits are highlighted in this context. At the end it called upon the youth to develop both leadership and entrepreneurial skills for the growth of our nation.


KEY WORDS: Introduction, What is Entrepreneurship? Causes for lack of Entrepreneurial Skills in Youth, Fear of Failure, Other causes, Enhancing Entrepreneurial Skills, Risk vs. Return, KASH is King, Developing Entrepreneurial Skills & Conclusion.

"We can have more than we've got because we can become more than we are." - Jim Rohn.


Presently Indian youth face two problems – one is lack of soft skills to get placed at the corporate world and the second is the lack of entrepreneurial skills to start own business enterprise. Indian youth are hardworking and talented as it has been proved beyond doubt from their academic achievements. They proved to be good at hard skill but lack in soft skills, which upsets their prospects of getting proper placements.

Students successfully complete their academic studies and apply for jobs and unfortunately they fail to live up to the expectations and aspirations of the employers who look more on soft skills rather than on hard skills. Even if few get recruited with a convincing attitude and approach that they can be molded to the requirements of the employers, subsequently they fail to live up to the required standards and are fired finally for lack of certain skill sets.

Now coming to the second problem of entrepreneurship, the students are ambitious to experiment new things but unfortunately are not encouraged by the parents because parents want their children to play safe. Entrepreneurship is quite challenging and most of the students in that age and stage would like to try but the socio economic conditions do not encourage for the same. What ails in the present system? Before we look at the present system let us know the definition of entrepreneurship.


"Entrepreneurship is an attitude," says Ramalinga Raju of Satyam. "It's for people who are willing to fail."

There are many definitions related to the concept of entrepreneurship. However, The earliest definition of entrepreneurship, dating from the eighteenth century, used it as an economic term describing the process of bearing the risk of buying at certain prices and selling at uncertain prices. And according to Wikipedia,” Entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new organizations or revitalizing mature organizations, particularly new business generally in response to identified opportunities.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines an entrepreneur to be "a person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for business ventures." To put it succintly, entrepreneurship is the ability to take risk with an intention to earn rewards in any commercial or non commercial venture.


There are no social security measures in India. In the case of developed and advanced countries the citizens are protected by way of social security measures such as old age pension, unemployment allowance, and old age homes and so on. Our country is not in a position to provide the same. As a result, the citizens take care of themselves right from the young age to the old age. In the old age the parents solely depend on their children, as the government is not in a position to support them. Therefore, parents want their children to go for stable employment so that there will not be any problem either for their children or for themselves in future. This prevents the youth from trying and experimenting the unexplored areas of entrepreneurship and their ambitions lie untried and untested.

The present educational system encourages cramming and memory not on creativity and practical application of knowledge. Students are deprived of practical aspects of career and are not taught of corporate culture and other fast changing corporate requirements. The case of engineering and management graduates is still much better than the non-professional graduates. In the case of non-professional graduates the problem is more acute where whatever is taught is to be unlearned and relearned in the corporate world.

The youth are more worried about the fear of failure and fear of criticism. They are
more concerned about their failure rather on their success and it inhibits their entrepreneurial zeal and enthusiasm. They are more concerned about the society rather than on themselves. In this context let us look at failure in detail.


“Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly” – Robert F Kennedy

Facing failure and criticism is the most challenging task for any human being. Everyone loves success and hates failure. This is inherent in the human nature. Is it possible to achieve success without failure? Of course, it is not possible. By the way shall we define failure?


It is always the gap between the expectations and the reality. When the outcome is against our predictions despite putting sincere efforts and energies then it is termed as failure. Outcome may be against us either due to internal factors like unknown mistakes or due to external forces, which are beyond human control.


Failure brings down excessive ego and makes an individual humble and simple. It also eliminates overconfidence among the individuals. Failure helps in making the individual highly focused on his goals and objectives. Some people feel too big for their shoes. Failure helps them to resize the same. It makes the people more tolerant and they start empathizing with others. Failure makes people flexible, receptive and more accommodative.


“It is important to consistently remind oneself why one has ventured out in the first place. Most importantly, learn to assimilate failure. No failure or disappointment is a closed chapter. It is an invaluable opportunity to rectify errors and move forward,” quoted Capt Gopinath, Deccan Airlines.

· Keep cool and composed. Any extra activities at this juncture result into adding fuel to the fire. When faced with failure, human mind gets tense and does not think logically and analytically. Hence, do not become hasty.

· “Ninety nine per cent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses” said George Washington Carver. Don’t show your anger of your failure on others. When you are responsible for the failure then what is the meaning in transferring your anger on others?

· Don’t blame others for your mistakes. Own responsibility for your failures. And don’t get into depression and never lose your confidence.

· Go by bottom-up-approach by looking at the root of the problem and tackling it accordingly.

· If the root of the problem is big then slice it down into small pieces and analyze the individual slices independently and integrate the same.

· Immediately think how you went wrong and where you went wrong. Thorough analysis helps diagnose the reasons behind the failure and what transpired and prompted failure. This step will help go for introspection and provides remedial action so that the mistakes are not repeated in future.

· Look clearly whether the failure is the result of internal factors or external forces which are beyond human control. If the mistake occurred due to external forces then it is futile to think through it. If the mistake occurred due to internal factors then this is the time rectify and take remedial steps.

· Accept the fact that failure is universal. Let us know and accept the fact that small achievers have small failures and big achievers have big failure. It is a well-admitted fact that higher the fall higher the rise. Think your failure is small when compared with others’ as it brings solace to you.

· Take it up as a challenge. Don’t take every problem as a problem; rather treat it as an opportunity. It is only the test of fire that makes a fine steel. An optimist looks for opportunities from problems where as pessimist looks for problems in each opportunity.

· Discuss the failure with your trusted colleagues and friends who can provide right direction and guidance. Discussion generates wider dimensions and helps to get at the broader format for failure.

· “Never, ever, ever, ever give up”, said Winston Churchill. And failure is never final.


Arrogance brings you down and humbleness brings you up. When you get tumble you get humble. Bounce back from failure like a rubber ball. Neither success is eternal nor failure. 'Mistakes are to life what shadows are to light'. Let us learn the fact that failure is only a comma not a full stop.

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats”, B.C.Forbes.


Leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills have interconnectivity. Lack of leadership qualities among the youth is the cause for concern in our country. The present scenario does not encourage the students to cultivate leadership qualities, which are the essence for entrepreneurial skills.

The Indian government up to nineties did not encourage free entrepreneurship due to the policy of mixed economy adopted by late Pundit Nehru. Making money was treated not as a healthy trend but as a greedy with negative attitude. Government did not encourage whatever the little entrepreneurial zeal people had. Likewise, there were so many reasons for lack of entrepreneurship.


“The key that unlocks energy is desire. It's also the key to a long and interesting life. If we expect to create any drive, any real force within ourselves, we have to get excited. " - Earl Nightingale.

The educational institutions need to encourage entrepreneurial skills right from the curriculum itself. The government should also take initiative to encourage the youth by providing conducive climate for the same. The parents should also encourage their children with the changing industrial climate across the country, which is highly favorable for experimenting entrepreneurial skills. The teachers and faculties should motivate and inspire the students in this area.

The passion to perform must be the bedrock for the youth. They should realize that instead of struggling for employment they should put little more efforts and energies to provide placements for other unemployed youth by setting up their own enterprise.

“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”
Abraham Lincoln.

The IT revolution has boosted the morale of Indian entrepreneurs across the world where Sabeer Bhatia has created Hotmail and at home mushroomed entrepreneurs like N R Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji, Ramalinga Raju, Shiv Nadar etc., Besides, the New Economic Policy of early nineties has encouraged entrepreneurship in all sectors.

The youth can take a leaf out of such successful entrepreneurs and shed their inhibitions and hesitations, if any.


Risk is directly proportional to return. Higher the risk higher the return and lower the risk lower the return. In any business venture every entrepreneur should learn this fact and should plan his resources accordingly.

Again risk is inversely proportional to age. In the young age, there is a possibility of taking higher risk. As the age increases the risk taking capacity among the individuals decreases and gradually the energy and enthusiasm among the individuals fades away.


KASH is the acronym for Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits. In life, there are two forces or factors that disturb our plans and they are internal and external factors. In the case of external factors or forces, nothing is in our hands and therefore, it is meaningless to worry for the same. But there are internal factors, which are very much with us and cannot be taken away that are KASH. Everyone faces failure at some point of time in life but what ultimately stands by the individuals is the KASH not cash. The founder of Honda Company was literally in shambles during the Second World War. But he rose like phoenix because of KASH. KASH keeps fuelling the individuals in pursuit of goals. KASH supplements sufficient spark to ignite the passion.
In the business parlance, it is frequently said that cash is king because when goods are sold on cash the risk is eliminated. Great personalities like N R Narayana Murthy and Dirubhai Ambani reached from nowhere to number one position not because of any cash but because of KASH.


According to Sean McPheat , Managing Director, MTD Sales Training, there are five top tips to improve your entrepreneurial skills:

1. Have a personal vision and a mission - what do you want to achieve in your role?
2. What sets you apart from the other sales people who are trying to eat your lunch?
3. Innovate - entrepreneurs make up the rules. How can you become more innovative in all that you do?
4. Systems - set up systems to get the best out of your time and efforts
5. Positioning - position yourself as an expert rather than as a sales person - what can you do to become a trusted advisor?


"You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done."-Chuck Yeager.

Everyone should know that entrepreneurs are not born but made. Entrepreneurship is a skill not a talent. Anything and everything is possible in this world if there is passion and ambition. 50 percent of the Indian population will be below the age of 25 years. The future of our country solely depends on the Indian youth. They should shed their inherent inhibitions and hesitations. They should know that the age and stage will never come back once passed by. Youth should shed cynicism and negativism. They should dare to dream big, think big and achieve big. The first ever-individual gold medallist in Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra has changed the face of the Indian youth. He himself is an entrepreneur and continues to inspire Indian youth forever.

To sum up, there is a need to cultivate leadership qualities and inculcate entrepreneurial skills among the Indian youth so that it helps in the rapid progress of our country. When small countries can create great leaders, imagine India with a population of billion plus should have how many leaders and entrepreneurs at the global level?


Thursday, August 14, 2008


Today, on 15 August 2008, we are celebrating India’s independence. It is time to take honest account of our feedback. Although we have achieved in many areas we have equally failed in various fronts to prosper as expected despite crossing six decades after our independence.

We have survived as a nation and we are the largest democracy in the world. Of course, not qualitatively but quantitatively. Although we have become a nuclear super power, we are still a developing country.

Our educational system needs drastic changes making it more employment oriented. This is the area where we failed miserably in bringing out educational reforms despite having abundant technical and qualified manpower.

We have many internal conflicts and regional imbalances leading to regionalism and fundamentalism. India as nation can grow only when all the issues are addressed earnestly.

We have the ability to forgive and forget. It is a great quality of Indians. But the other side of the story is negativism. There is more reception to negative information rather than to positive information. In this context, the media need to play a mature and constructive role.

The message for the Indian youth is to become duty oriented rather than rights oriented. Don’t expect either from your parents or from the nation. Try to work hard and work smart to achieve big. Don’t invent excuses for your failures rather look for reasons and solutions for the same. Try to give as much as back to your parents and to the nation by focusing on your roles and responsibilities. Develop confidence and optimism. Learn to dream and dare to dream. Never look for differences rather look for commonalities in every area. Cultivate the mindset and develop the attitude that we are Indians first and Indians last ignoring various diversities. Education and character are two sides of the same coin and one without the other has no meaning. Be confidant and optimist. There are plenty of opportunities available due to the opening up of our economy. What is now needed for the youth is grab the same and grow. Abdul Kalam has a vision that India would be a developed by 2020. But if youth play a crucial role in the nation building our country would become a developed nation much before 2020. Our leaders sacrificed their lives to win freedom for us and now it is our duty to protect and preserve the hard won freedom for our future generations. JAI HIND


Wednesday, August 13, 2008



Competition is essential in any business. It encourages the business people to come out from their comfort zones thus entering into effective zones. If there is no competition then the business activity becomes lethargic. There will be monotony and monopoly. The business people take the customers for granted and will have huge profits and there will not be any improvement in their business lines. There will be lack of dynamism and energy. In few cases, business people develop arrogance. Therefore, it is essential to have healthy competition in any business. When there are too many players in the similar business the profits tend to decrease and the business people try to woo the customers with various schemes and freebies. As a result, customer gets more respect.


When there is stiff competition in the business the business people tend to think out of the box and try to resort to innovative thinking to develop the existing products with lesser price thereby passing on the benefits to the customers. It is for this reason, companies spend considerable amount of their profits on Research and Development (R & D) towards innovation. It helps them to have competitive edge over their competitors. All sectors focus on R&D and especially Pharmaceutical sector spends heavily on the same as they can have Patents on the drugs. The meaning of patent is that the company alone has the right to manufacture and market the products as it has taken pains to innovate. For instance, many Pharmaceutical companies are trying to find out right vaccine for AIDS and if invented with the right vaccine then the company can have huge profits because of no competition. In a nutshell, competition is the soul of innovation.


Business people constantly innovate because innovation is the key to success. If they find that the competition is heating up then they gradually shift their focus to other areas by either related diversification or unrelated diversification. In related diversification the new products or services that are entered have relevance to the existing activities. While in the unrelated diversification the new products that have been ventured have no link to the existing products or services. During competition it is always advisable to go for the related diversification as the risk is limited. On the contrary, the risk is higher in unrelated diversification. Anyhow diversification is the key to innovation. In few cases, business people will have combination of both related and unrelated diversification.


During the initial process of innovation there is a possibility of charging exorbitant profits as there will not be much competition. Because the competitors take time to understand the techniques of innovation to imitate. And until then the business people would have handsome profits on their services and products. By the time the competitors come into the field to ape then the business people start decreasing the profits so as to deny any major profits to the competitors and also he starts innovating further in the similar where they can have huge profits. On the existing products or services they would intentionally decrease their profits because they had already enjoyed huge profits during the initial stages of innovation. It is the case of all manufactures whether they belong to automobile, cell phones, FMCG, pharmaceuticals sector etc., Of course, in the case of pharmaceutical sector there is much competition because of the provision for patents.


Michel was a small trader who set up a small retail cloth shop. He set up a shop in a commercial area where there is no shop of such kind. He worked hard and established business through thick and thin. The business looked up steadily and he began prospering. Sensing the same another trader started similar cloth shop near and began competing with Michel. Michel started feeling the heat of competition. Until then he was having handsome margins as there was no competition. With the entry of new retail cloth shop his business volume began coming down. Subsequently Michel began selling at lower margins to survive in the business. And the new trader also followed the strategy of selling at very thin margins.

Having seen that price reduction did not work out as it dented his profits adversely he changed his strategy. Michel concentrated on cash purchase instead of purchasing in credit where he was buying at higher price and selling. This has improved his profit margins as well as outsmarting with his competitor. Gradually he also began searching for more wholesalers who can offer his at competitive rates. This has further improved his competitive edge. This step resulted in selling the stocks at the rate where his competitor is buying. This is nothing but innovation in his purchasing style.


For any entrepreneur every problem is an opportunity. He always looks for opportunities from every problem rather looking for problems from each opportunity. It is this optimistic attitude that drives him towards success. Competition is also a boon in disguise for entrepreneurs.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008


There is a strong need for medical professionals to get sensitized with simple elements in their profession. Doctors should know how to handle patients with better listening skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills. They are excellent at their technical skills (ie medical profession skills). But at the same time they should learn how to handle patients. Hence, there is strong emphasis on soft skills.

Gradually all corporates are realizing the importance of soft skills in all professions. Initially it was believed that these skills were required only in IT, ITes and BPO sectors. Now the things have changed to such an extent that the importance for soft skills is spreading to all spheres.

It is necessary to bridge the gap between the doctors and the patients. And the solution lies in laying stress on soft skills. The doctors should empathize with the patients to understand the disease clearly. In this context, it is essential to develop interpersonal skills. Patients come from various strata and effective listening will help to understand the problem better. At the same time the doctors should be able to deal with the relatives of the patients with lot of patience. Here comes the role of attitude building towards profession and also instilling confidence among the patients as well as the relatives of the patients.

In the past success was attributed to the possession of domain knowledge alone. But true success, now a day, is the combination of both technical skills and soft skills. When we talk of nurses, their role should not be confined to just giving receipt or token to the incoming patients in the hospital alone, their role needs to be redefined much beyond the traditional one. Generally the nursing profession is considered not as a lucrative one because of the meager salaries they get. Therefore, those who qualify from nursing courses will go for jobs with an intention of working for a limited span. That is just to have a foothold in some job and gradually they change their jobs for better pastures. Usually they have to work for extended hours as emergency cases come quite often. It is because of these reasons the attrition level is quite high in the nursing profession.

Initially nurses report to their work late and these are the initial burnout symptoms and gradually it leads to absenteeism which is a total burnout syndrome. In a nutshell, nurses treat their profession as a thankless job.

On the other hand, the doctors complain that the nurses confine themselves to a very limited role just helping the doctors or most of the times gossiping with others or watching television channels after giving token to the incoming patients to the hospital. Or at times, they talk over the phone with others about their personal matters. Nurses can be trained in telephone etiquette, better house keeping and other areas of activity so that their role would become challenging and also it helps in widening their mental horizons. Proportionately their salaries can be enhanced so that attrition can be checked. It is equally essential to bring back service- orientation towards patients and their profession. This is possible only by way of soft skills where building right attitude comes into the picture.

Soft skills help the doctors, nurses and other professionals involved in medical domain makes them smarter, sharper and more effective. It helps in better interpersonal skills, communication, confidence and attitude building, team building and motivation. When the medical professionals are empowered and equipped with these skills there will be better service to the patients that results into disease-free society.



"Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation."
- Robert H. Schuller

Abhinav Bindra’s feat in the Beijing Olympics is a feather in the cap for more than billion Indians. We all Indians are proud of him. He went by the road less traveled with passion to make it big. And he has made it big with his grit and determination. It is indeed turning point for Indian sports at the international level. His achievement is unique in the sense that he is the first Indian to win in the individual event. It is after 28 years India got gold medal at the Olympics.

There are certain things to make a note of in this context. It is time Indian government focused on all sports equally. Presently we focus on very few sports and Cricket is on the top priority list for all including corporate sponsors. It is time sports was encouraged as a full-time career. It is necessary to separate politics from sports. There is a strong emphasis on infrastructure. Indian sportspersons should inculcate killer instinct.

Other sportspersons should emulate from the success of Abhinav. “Self-trust is the first secret of success”, said Ralph Waldo Emerson. We should trust in ourselves so as to succeed in sports. There is no point in inventing excuses for debacles. We need to explore where we are going awry. We need to dream big, think big and achieve big. Let stars be the goals and sky be the limit. Abhinav becomes an inspiring personality and keeps motivating Indian sportspersons forever. We can proudly say that he is the Neil Armstrong of Indian sports. Once again, kudos to The Master Shooter.


Saturday, August 9, 2008


“Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly” – Robert F Kennedy

Facing failure and criticism is the most challenging task for any human being. Everyone loves success and hates failure. This is inherent in the human nature. Is it possible to achieve success without failure? Of course, it is not possible. By the way shall we define failure?


It is always the gap between the expectations and the reality. When the outcome is against our predictions despite putting sincere efforts and energies then it is termed as failure. Outcome may be against us either due to internal factors like unknown mistakes or due to external forces which are beyond human span of control.


Failure brings down excessive ego and makes an individual humble and simple. It also eliminates overconfidence among the individuals. Failure helps in making the individual highly focused on his goals and objectives. Some people feel too big for their shoes. Failure helps them to resize the same. It makes the people more tolerant and they start empathizing with others. Failure makes people flexible, receptive and more accommodative.


• Keep cool and composed. Any extra activities at this juncture results into adding fuel to the fire. When faced with failure, human mind gets tense and does not think logically and analytically. Hence, do not become hasty.

• “Ninety nine per cent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses” said George Washington Carver. Don’t show your anger of your failure on others. When you are responsible for the failure then what is the meaning in transferring your anger on others?

• Go by bottom-up-approach by looking at the root of the problem and tackling it accordingly.

• If the root of the problem is big then slice it down into small pieces and analyze the individual slices independently and integrate the same.

• Immediately think how you went wrong and where you went wrong. Thorough analysis helps diagnose the reasons behind the failure and what transpired and prompted failure. This step will help go for introspection and provides remedial action so that the mistakes are not repeated in future.

• Look clearly whether the failure is the result of internal factors or external forces which are beyond human control. If the mistake occurred due to external forces then it is futile to think through it. If the mistake occurred due to internal factors then this is the time rectify and take remedial steps.

• Accept the fact that failure is universal. Let us know and accept the fact that small achievers have small failures and big achievers have big failure. It is a well admitted fact that higher the fall higher the rise. Think your failure is small when compared with others’ as it brings solace to you.

• Take it up as a challenge. Don’t take every problem as a problem; rather treat it as an opportunity. It is only the test of fire that makes a fine steel. An optimist looks for opportunities from problems where as pessimist looks for problems in each opportunity.

• Discuss the failure with your trusted colleagues and friends who can provide right direction and guidance. Discussion generates wider dimensions and helps to get at the broader format for failure.


Arrogance brings you down and humbleness brings you up. When you get tumble you get humble. Bounce back from failure like a rubber ball.

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats”, B.C.Forbes.



“Never fear to negotiate and never negotiate out of fear”, John F. Kennedy,

Robert was working as a Faculty in an engineering college in a rural area. He decided to shift to metropolitan city for providing better education of his children. As a result, he needed to have more money to support his family and also to meet the higher standard level of living in the metropolitan city apart from meeting the extra educational expenses. He had necessary qualifications and rich experience also. He had been short listed by many employers and called for interview. As he was experienced he was able to respond the questions related to his domain at ease and pleased up to the satisfaction of the employers. But whenever he was posed with a question like, “How much salary do you expect?” he used to reveal his salary figure. When he quoted his salary figure the employers replied by saying “We will get back to you”. The Robert waited with patience anticipating the employers would be getting back to him. But to his misfortune, they never bothered to get back to him. It happened in three interviews at a row.

Robert took stock of the situation and analyzed where he went wrong. He convinced himself that his replies were correct and he noticed positive affirmation from the body language of the employers during his replies. When he probed himself further he strongly felt that it was salary issue that was the thorny issue, where he was not able to negotiate properly. He further diagnosed that there was sudden shift in the body language whenever he quoted his salary figure. What Robert expected was that the employer would tell salary figure. However, the employers were dumbstruck without quoting any probable figure. That resulted into lot of gap between expectations and realities.

When Robert went to the next interview he handled the entire process successfully and again the topic of salary negotiation came and he replied by counter posing them “May I know how much can you offer?” The employer has not come out with any figure and insisted on Robert saying the salary figure. Since it was an interview he thought it was not proper to antagonize or argue with them and said that presently he was drawing some amount and negotiated with them to hike 30 per cent of the present salary. The employer has ultimately has come out to hike only by 10 per cent from the existing salary and Robert bargained for 20 per cent hike and finally the salary was fixed by 15 per cent hike from the existing salary and Robert was also happy as he did not have to hear any more responses like “I will get back to you”. It was a case of win – win situation. Had the Robert been aware of negotiation skills initially he would have got better employment much earlier.

In this context, it is relevant to explain what is the meaning of negotiation skills and it significance.

We all negotiate in our daily life either directly or indirectly. Negotiation skill is the ability to persuade the other party or person to agree to your point of view while resolving a deadlock or like asking to come to your terms and conditions. It looks like persuasive skills but negotiation skill comes into the picture where two or more parties are involved in any conflict due to discord. We negotiate when we go to shopping, we negotiate when we go for interview and also we negotiate in our day to day work life.
Knowing the art of negotiation helps to survive and succeed in every aspect of our life. At home, we negotiate when there is disagreement among family members. Similarly at the social life also we negotiate in various occasions. At the office level, we negotiate with peers, subordinates, superiors, and with suppliers and customers. Countries also negotiate at the global level to resolve various long pending disputes.

Basically there are three types of negotiation skills ----- Win-lose situation, lose-win situation and win-win situation. In win-lose situation, one party win over the other party during the negotiation process. In lose-win situation, one party loses to the other party. In both these situation there will be ill-will and hurt feelings after the negotiation process for the loser. Where as in the win – win situation, both the party stand to win and come out of the conflict/dispute successfully without having any regrets over their decisions. It is the best of all the three types and creates everlasting impact on the involved parties so that they can meet later happily.


Friday, August 8, 2008


For every businessperson, fixing profits is a challenging task. However experienced an individual might be there is always possibility for failure in judgment. Let us look at the same in detail.


There is no standard yardstick by which we can fix profit margins on products. However it all depends on the experience and expertise in the trade. It also depends on the business acumen and gut feeling.

When products are bought every trader expects of selling the entire stock based on intuition and gut feeling. But unfortunately things do not work out the way one expects. Therefore, it is essential to discount some sales against the estimated and pre-judged purchases. If the gap between the judgment and reality in sales is vast then the stocks would pile thereby becoming dead stock. Profits or margins on the goods have to be set in such a way that the fast moving products or goods are sold with nominal profits as the goods are sold immediately and also the rotation of stocks is faster thereby having the desired profits against the slow moving products. In the case of slow moving products it is necessary to have higher margins as trading volumes are thin and also stocks may result into dead stocks.

In the case of seasonal products it is necessary to keep higher margins as failure to sell the stocks seasonally result into getting dead stocks. On the contrary, in the non-seasonal stocks i.e. the ones that sell round the year can be charged with lower profits as there is immediate liquidity and quick rotation.

If the products or goods are not available in the market massively but a very few traders hold such stocks it is necessary to fix little higher margins as there is less competition. Similarly if the products or goods or newly introduced, there would be least sales initially and, therefore, it is advisable to keep decent profits.

Fixing of profits by manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers varies from product to product and from time to time and also depends on the availability of similar products with their competitor. Fixing of profits also depends on the frequency of business rotations. Besides it also depends on the rate of turnover (volume). Usually higher the volume lower the margins fixed on the products.

Let us now look at fixing of the profit margin for the products where there is sudden spurt in demand.


Few products would have fast pick up in sales as the demand suddenly spurts. Such products would have sudden drop in sales as well. It is very difficult to anticipate the sales for such products. It is in this context there would be piling up of stocks leading to dead stocks. As a result, it also minimizes the rotation of capital. Therefore, there is strong need to liquidate the stocks. Overall, the trader has to be cautious in his approach while placing purchase orders as well as in fixing the profits on such items. If there is monopoly in a specific product then the trader can enjoy higher profits. But in the present business scenario there is no room for monopoly of products as the market is wide open and also every trader has access to information due to the rapid growing technology and communication services. Hence, it is advisable to strike the balance during purchase with a view to limit the losses. One should not be too greedy to make money as it may boomerang.


Always satisfied costumer is an asset to any business. Therefore, the traders have to fix their profits on the products at a reasonable level so as to have steady sales with steady revenues keeping both the costumers and competitors in mind.




All around there is frequent focus on retail revolution with the MNCs and Indian business houses foraying into this sector. There is huge potential in this sector and this article deals with various pros and cons involved in retail revolution. There is widespread apprehension of the vanishing role of wholesalers and total annihilation of bulk suppliers. The article addresses the same from various perspectives. The tricks in retail operations along with the tricks in managing the fluctuation business, and the tips for successful retail business are dwelt at length. At the end, the article sums up with a token of advice to the traditional retailers to evolve and reinvent as per the changing retail business environment so as to survive and succeed.


KEY WORDS: Introduction, Role of Bulk Suppliers, Vanishing Wholesalers, Employment Opportunities in Retail, Co-petition in Trading, Tricks in Fluctuation Business, Tips for Successful Retail Business & Conclusion.


“This is a historical moment. This is a challenging moment. The market dynamics of the retail business is bound to change.” — Kishore Biyani, CEO Future Group and Managing Director, Pantaloon Retail India Ltd.

We have heard of various kinds of revolutions such as milk revolution, green revolution, white revolution etc., Of late, we have been hearing of retail revolution with the overseas multinationals entering into Indian market. Of course, at the domestic front also we have many retail giants Reliance Fresh, Big Bazaar, Futures Group, Subhiksha, Birla’s foray through More (Earlier Trinethra Super Retail) chain of retails establishments. Other business houses are also in the process of entering into the fray. What are the reasons behind all these developments?

“India, with a population of 1.1 billion and a middle class that is larger than the entire population of US, is one of the world’s largest untapped markets” – Satveer Chaudhary, Senator, Minnesota.

India’s middle class population is growing with handsome disposable incomes. As the economy has been opened up there are lot of opportunities for employment and also raising standard of living. Coupled with this, the media is also playing crucial role by bringing awareness among the Indian population. As the population grows there would be huge demand for products and services. There is a need to produce more and market the same through organized merchandize. Here, the role of retailer comes into the picture where every consumer wants the products and services that are properly branded and marketed with quality checks at competitive prices. With the growing internet and television the consumer awareness is rising and along with this, their expectations and aspirations to have everything at convenience and comfort under one roof and at competitive prices. It is indeed a Herculean task for the retailers. Besides mushrooming players into this sector there would be cut-throat competition.

In the context of retail revolution let us look at the role of intermediaries in the channels of distribution.


Bulk suppliers purchase goods in bulk quantity from the manufacturers and then sell to wholesalers on quantity basis at marginal profits. In brief, they do volume business with thin margins. In this, the bulk suppliers often book orders in advance from their immediate buyers and then goods are transported directly from the manufacturer to the immediate buyer. In this process, the time is saved, the transportation cost is saved, storage costs are removed and the interest burden is also minimized. The bulk suppliers’ role is hidden and is usually not felt by the retailers and customers. They are the hidden tigers doing volume business with thin margins. The manufacturers who do not have proper distribution network depend on bulk suppliers. In few cases, the manufacturers produce the stocks based on the commitment and requirement from the bulk suppliers. With the retail revolution is in the full swing it seems that the role of bulk suppliers will be eliminated gradually.


With the retail revolution in an aggression mode it looks like the role of wholesalers in the distribution will be limited. The retailers are directly sourcing the products from the manufacturers and directly selling at their counters with limited profits. It is highly beneficial to the customers as the benefits are directly passed on to them. In the traditional distribution we find the stocks coming from manufacturer to wholesaler, from wholesaler to retailer and from retailer to consumer. Every layer of distribution enjoys some profit and stocks are sold. When a particular layer like wholesaler is removed, the profits enjoyed until now by them are being passed on to the retailer directly. If we go little further even the role of retailers are limited fully when stocks are directly sold to consumers as the manufacturers are directly involved in door to door selling like Eureka Forbes. The wholesalers have to evolve themselves in the changing dynamics in distribution channel. But one thing is sure and certain that the retailers will survive the onslaught of organized retailing. In fact, the traditional kirana merchants are the bricks for the retail sector. In this context, Carlos Slim Helu quoted, “I think one of the big errors people are making right now is thinking that old-style businesses will be obsolete, when actually they will be an important part of this new civilization. Some retail groups are introducing e-commerce and think that the "bricks" are no longer useful. But they will continue to be important”


Apart from the rapid rise in the retail sector, there is another advantage of generating employment opportunities as well. Until recently youth treated as joining in the retail business is like working in another kirana shop. But the youth take pride in joining retail job bandwagon with the changing mindset. According to a white paper jointly by the CII and KSA Technopak, organized retailing has the potential to bring 100,000 new employees in the tax bracket in five years. Apart from providing employment it also enhances tax revenues for the government. It is yet another positive sign from the retail sector. Only thing constant in life is change. Everyone has to change with the changing times. Similarly the traditional retailers and decreasing wholesalers should learn to change and adjust with the realities. They should evolve and reinvent themselves with the revolutionary changes in the retail revolution.


Although business people compete with each other they also cooperate during business transactions. They have their own network and the network helps them for effecting smooth and successful functioning of business. For instance, if you go to travel agent for booking tickets there will be competition in selling the tickets at discounted prices. And usually we find all travel agents near the railway station or bus stand. You buy a ticket from a particular agent at a discounted price than their competitor. And when you have to board the bus you will be surprised to know that the passengers will be arranged and accommodated in the bus of his competitor in case if he is not in a position to mobilize sufficient strength to run his bus. It is the case of every travel agent.

Similarly in trading business, if a specific trader does not have a specific item requested by the customer then he arranges the specific product from his competitor to the customer. The intention of the trader is not only to provide all items under one roof but also to avoid his customer going to his competitor. For instance, if the trader bluntly says that the specific product is not there then the customer goes to his competitor and the competitor intentionally quotes lesser price to woo him. The customer will develop a strong feeling that his existing supplier is selling him stocks at higher price. If the customer is intelligent then he realizes that the business person is intentionally quoting lesser price to woo him. Like wise, traders deploy and employ various tricks in their trade to confuse their customers and also to woo new customers.

In few instances, the traders borrow the deficient stocks from their competitor in case if the trader is confident of returning the stocks with in the committed dates. By this way, he avoids paying cash and enjoys total benefit of sales. Similarly he reciprocates with a positive gesture when his competitor is in need of hand loan of stocks. Therefore, competition and cooperation go hand in hand in any business.


There is an element of risk in any fluctuation business. Of course, business itself is a risk but business is based on scientific calculation and evaluation of risk. There are certain products and services that are prone to fluctuation business. In such case, retailers adopt different tricks and tools to play safe and make profits. Usually the purchase is based on the intuition and gut feeling and sometimes based on the previous sales record. When they know that the price will shoot up then they buy and hold the stock for some time and start liquidating slowly by gradually jacking the prices. In case if the price falls, then they liquidate even for minor losses as it incurs storage costs and in some cases there is interest burden on the capital employed and deployed in business. They exit smartly and sharply in case if they predict that the price will fall steeply. Especially in perishable goods, the retailers do not mind selling in high losses as they earn higher profits as well. So is the case of seasonal businesses also.


“Basically we get confused a bit about what retail is. It is really just buying things, putting them on a floor and selling them.” Gerry Harvey

The retailing success mantra of Wal-Mart
The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want. In fact, what the customer wants is more important than what you have. And really, if you think about it from your point of view as a customer, you want everything:

• a wide assortment of good-quality merchandise;
• the lowest possible prices;
• guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy;
• friendly, knowledgeable service;
• convenient hours; free parking;
• A pleasant shopping experience.
— Sam Walton, Founder Chairman, Wal-Mart (1918-1992)

‘More display, more sales’ is the slogan of the day in retail business. What the consumers demand now is the free and easy accessibility to the products and they expect the stocks to be displayed so as to recollect the items they want and they also want the products to be offered at cheaper, qualitative and quantitative manner. In a nutshell, they want more for less.

The retail giants must know the pulse of the people and should shed away from meeting the needs of affluent classes alone. There is lot of potential still left untapped i.e. middle class and lower middle class. This segment demands spacious malls, wider range of products i.e. from pin to plane (Of course, planes are not possible in malls), at cheaper prices, below the MRP prices by way of discounts, loyalty oriented purchases, right ambience, door delivery etc.

In order to succeed Indian retailers have to take a leaf out of the books of global retail giant Wal-Mart. They must concentrate on mass production or on mass procurements. The profits so saved can be passed on to the consumers directly. They must focus more on customer care and needs. They need to evolve creative methods of selling and pulling the customers and making them satisfied and happy. Because it is ultimately the satisfied customers who come again and give business back to the retailers.


“With 30% of the population under 30 years, malls have emerged as the temples of today.” said Kishore Biyani

There are certain hard facts that have to be kept in mind. The traditional kirana traders have to evolve and reinvent as per the changing retail industry. The retail revolution is yet to reach to rural areas as it is presently confined to urban areas only. It is high time government accorded industry status to retail sector.



Candidates struggle to provide suitable responses for a few commonly asked questions during interview. Adequate research and proper preparation will help overcome the initial hiccups and making it a success during any interview process. Let us take a look at the few below mentioned commonly asked questions so as to come out with flying colors from interview.

Tell me about yourself

This is the first and foremost question asked during the interview and it is posed to break the ice. The intention is to keep the candidate cool and also extract maximum from this open ended question. The common mistakes the candidate usually commit at this time is by narrating the family information or by boosting or boasting about himself or herself. In fact what is expected by the employer is the traits and attributes which are essential for the employment. The candidate should be in a position to reply for this question from three dimensions such as skills, academic and personal. Every employer expects skills set, mindset and tools set and when the applicant displays and demonstrates the same the probability of getting employment is brighter.

What are your greatest strengths?

Do not generalize by saying that I am dedicated and disciplined. In stead of which be specific and objective and give valid explanations so that the employer gets satisfied with your responses. And it avoids you getting probed further since you have already explained in detail. For instance, say where you have worked in teams without any conflict and succeeded in completing the project work or given task. It indicates your team spirit with valid justification.

What are your weaknesses?

Here is the trap where applicant makes mistakes. Try to project and present the weakness in such a way that it indirectly helps the employer to select you. Say, for instance, that you are a perfectionist and at times it causes problem for your colleagues. Or you may also say that you are impatient to achieve your targets, which is an indication that you are highly task oriented and highly aggressive. This kind of answer is suitable especially when you go for any marketing job. And also try to avoid interpersonal weaknesses with co-workers and supervisors as it puts you in a weak position. Everybody knows that we all have weaknesses. A few people wrongly put it by saying that ‘I do not have any weaknesses’ and to be candid that itself is a weakness. Remember, not to have any weakness is also a weakness.

Tell us about how you have resolved a conflict

Everyone faces conflict at one way or the other way. But the ability to tackle the same requires maturity, thoughtfulness and spontaneity. At the corporate world there would be conflicts regularly and there has to be proper fire fighting and trouble shooting. At the time of interview honestly reply how you encountered conflict and how you handled it with tact. Any conflict can be handled by SHARE approach. SHARE is the acronym for Situation, Hindrance, Actions, Result and Evaluation. Whenever confronted with conflict, observe the situation by empathizing, find out the obstacles involved and what action is needed to resolve the same. Consequently, look at the result of your actions and evaluate the same for proper feedback.

Why do you want to work for us?

Having done the research about the company you decide to join then explain the same with justification for willing to join the organization. Create a very good impression by highlighting the reasons. Every employer looks to hear greatness about the company as the way every individual loves to listen his greatness from others’ mouth. Match your career goals with the organization’s culture and philosophy. Talk about the skills that can be used in the job position. Demonstrate your passion while giving this reply.

What do you know about our company?

Having done research about the company start explaining since when the company was established, number of employees working, the area of business, the major products or services, major competitors, the recent growth and changes and if it is in the news in the recent past for good reasons highlight the same. Your answer shows your research towards the company and the eagerness to join.

What are your salary expectations?

If this question is posed at the beginning of the interview itself, politely tell the employer by saying that we would discuss the same later and proceed for the routine interview. If the employer likes your abilities then he does not mind paying you more.

Do extensive research about the salary and what the other companies of the same sector paying. Get the figures from online salary surveys and also from the people in the field. Don’t quote and be tactful to get the salary figure comes first from the employer. If the employer does not reveal then open your cards. Don’t quote more or less but quote just reasonable as you have already done survey in this regard.


There is no fixed and appropriate answer for all the questions. But what is required is to display and demonstrate the qualities the employer is looking for. You need to customize your answers as per the context and as per the vision and mission of the employer. Ultimately what the employer wants is more important than what you have. Nobody would like to have a round peg in neither a square hole nor a square peg in a round hole. Every employer just wants round peg in a round hole and a square peg in a square hole. Therefore, next time when you go for any interview go fully prepared with the above basic questions and come out successfully with employment offer.


Monday, August 4, 2008


“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”, Benjamin Franklin

People often get confused between teaching and training. Even when few people know that there is subtle difference between the both they will not be in a position to differentiate. In is in this context the present article helps in differentiating between the both.

When we look at the definitions of both teaching and training given in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, it is mentioned as below:

Definitions for teach are: ‘To cause to know something’, ‘to guide the studies of’, ‘to impart the knowledge of’, ‘to instruct by precept, example, or experience’. On the contrary the definitions for train are: ‘To form by instruction, discipline, or drill’, ‘to make prepared for a test of skill’.

Having read what is mentioned in the dictionary let us look at the below where we can get fair idea about the differences both teaching and training:

· Teaching is mostly theoretically oriented where as training is practical oriented.
· Teaching provides new knowledge to the people while training helps the already knowledgeable people to learn the tools and techniques to apply the same.
· Training is subset of teaching.
· Teaching fills mind while training shapes habits.
· Training lays stress on skills and abilities with a shorter time span where as teaching on education, knowledge and wisdom with a longer time span.
· Training gives intensive information about a limited domain where as teaching gives extensive domains with limited knowledge in general. In other words, training provides depth of knowledge in a specific sphere while teaching provides breadth of knowledge in all spheres. In a nutshell, Training makes a Master of a trade while the teaching makes Jack-of-all-trades.
· Training is for a specific area where as teaching is, in general, a broader area.
· Teacher commands lot of respect where as the trainer is mostly treated from the commercial perspective.
· Teacher provides information, knowledge, experience where as trainer facilitates learning.
· Teacher usually creates the ‘need to know’ the knowledge for students while in training, the student himself approaches for the knowledge as he realizes the need to know. In this context, H. Clay Trumbull , rightly quoted, “It has been said that the essence of teaching is causing another to know. It may similarly be said that the essence of training is causing another to do.”
· Teaching may relate to the subject area. On the contrary, training may relate to functional area.
· Generally teacher provides feedback to students. On the other hand, the trainer gets feedback from trainees.
· Teaching usually refers to classroom learning. On the contrary, training refers workshops, seminars involving various games, role-plays, simulation methods etc.,

Indian education presently focuses on teaching not on training. Focusing on training, as well, makes the students more confident and competent and helps them to get employment opportunities. A right blend of both teaching and training is the need of the hour.

To conclude, training is different from teaching. Training equips mindset, tools set and skills set. Training is always an active area where there will be interaction, questioning, learning by doing, role-plays, team games and practical activities. Although training is subset of teaching it does have lot of impact in equipping the participants with novel tools and techniques to become competent at the job front. Training helps in uncorking the hidden talents among the people, which until then not realized apart from making the people highly creative and competent.



It is always a debatable issue whether ethics comes first or money comes first. Present day politicians always believe in money first as it was seen in the latest no-confidence motion in the Parliament. Money played a crucial role to shift loyalties and a few politicians sold out themselves for the sake of money proving beyond doubt that it is the money not the ethics first for a few politicians. We heard that in politics, we find strange bedfellows. But in the recent incident in the Parliament they found strange bed fellows not out of policies or principles but for the sake of money. Of course, we cannot conclude that all politicians are not like that. But there is drastic change in the political system that politicians can go to any extent for their survival. Mass media clearly showed how money flowed into the parliament thereby making mockery of our democratic system.

Common people also started thinking in those lines by bending the rules of the book for their convenience. Of course, people get the government they deserve. Many people talk of ethics but, unfortunately, it is there only in the lips not at the heart.

It is said that ethics are followed by the people who have settled well in their lives. It can not be altogether concluded in that way because there are people who stick to ethics through thick and thin thereby making history like Satya Harischandra. For such people means are more important than ends.

Business people also think in these terms for their survival and growth. They always look at the loopholes rather at the law. With their sole intention of making money they are also ready to go any extent in compromising ethics so as to make money. However, we cannot generalize all business establishments in this way. For instance, Infosys was founded and funded by meager capital under the leadership of N.R.Narayana Murthy which totally believes in ethical values. Its tagline itself is – Powered by intellect and driven by values. It is purely the ethics that has made Infosys as the second biggest IT Company in India.

We cannot altogether neglect the importance of money as we all know that we cannot survive without money. Money is essential part of life and nothing moves without money. But earning money at what cost? Is it at the cost of ethics? Of course, certainly not.

There has to be set of principles and policies for the survival and success of any individual or that of any institution. If ethics are followed then the money follows of its own. It is only a matter of time. It may take little longer time if you go by ethics. But ultimately it is the ethics that is the deciding factor for success. Ethics will bring peace and prosperity. Ethics is the foundation for anything and everything. Although both ethics and money are essential but ultimately it is the ethics that takes precedence for the success of individuals and institutions.



We discuss too many things in daily life at home or in office or in colleges on various topics. We find a few agree to us and a few disagree with us. At home if there are more family members and when they want to take a decision they talk to one another either at dinning table or at leisure time. After duration of heated or cool discussions they build a consensus and finalize a decision.

The main objective of any GD is to provide wide range of solutions to a particular problem and then streamlining and creating a viable consensus solution by means of discussion. Discussions always provide more knowledge base. GD generates ideas by way of sharing and exchanging and, at times, it unlocks many things unconsciously as everyone has hidden potential.

After the completion of group discussion the moderator provides feedback to the participant in the scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the excellent, 4 being the very good, 3 being good, 2 being average and 1 being the below average. It is rated on various parameters such as attitude, confidence, communication, interpersonal skills, and flow of thoughts.

When assessing the attitude it is done by looking at three dimensions such as attitude, liveliness and mute spectator. While looking at the attitude it is weighed in various sub categories such as whether the participant is considerate or inconsiderate or accommodative or sympathetic or ruthless or dominative. Then the ball is gradually shifted to check liveliness and it is weighed in various sub categories like vivacious or spontaneous or lively or cheerful or dull or gloomy. Subsequently if the participant is a silent spectator then judgment is made in the sub categories like tense or cheerful or keen or interested of disinterested. Ultimately the overall grading is made against attitude after averaging each sub category and the most predominant category is recorded.

While judging confidence, usually it is done in three dimensions such at entry, participation and interest. Whether the participant is a starter or early or middle or late is analyzed. With regard to participation the subcategories like active or frequent or in between or when asked are critically observed. Subsequently the interest towards discussion is casual or keen or indifferent are observed by the moderator and comments are made accordingly.

Communication is the key to any group discussion and the same is rated in three categories such as expression, politeness and tact. Under the expression the traits noticed are eloquent, fluent, expressive, strained, coherent, dumb, halting, polite, and impolite. Again under politeness it is observed whether polite or impolite. And with regard to tact the areas to be observed are skillful, clever, understanding, aggressive, too passive, tactless and bully. At the end the predominant and average of the same is recorded for final comments.

Interpersonal skills are another key component either that makes or mars the prospects of the participant in Group Discussion. It is further divided into three segments such as encouraging, interactions and impact on group. In the segment of encouraging whether the participant is natural or artificial or genuine are noticed. Then the focus is on interactions such as whether the participant is adaptable, sociable, conservative, rigid, timid or tactless are critically observed. In the segment of impact on group whether the participant is marginal, conspicuous, hurts others or whether he is punchy or pushy in his approach are recorded.

In the area of ‘flow of thoughts’ the moderator looks at the reasoning ability, content, relevance, logic, originality, quality of ideas, assimilation ability, general awareness and offers his comments.

All the five elements like attitude, confidence, communication, interpersonal skills and flow of thoughts are basically essential for becoming a successful professional. Most of the companies insist on conducting GD to check the suitability of the candidate. Even GD is essential to get into premier Business schools in India. It is required to have adequate practice by having mock interview with like minded people and friends so as to have total confidence in the real GD.




Everyone should have goals in life as goals will motivate to move in the desired direction. Goals help stay focused. Goals help us to do something on a day to day basis as we have certain objectives to achieve in our life. Goals keep you going. But how do we set goals?

“A goal properly set is half way reached”, said Abraham Lincoln. Goals must be specific. For instance, we need to specify clearly so that we can follow that particular direction. Goals must be objective. In the sense, we need to be concrete at the base level so as to know why we move in that direction. Goals must be measurable. For instance, the set goals need to be fixed with duration to reach. Goals must be achievable. It means, these should not be based on daydreams but solely based on dreams. It is rightly said, ‘Vision without action is a daydream and action without vision is a nightmare’. Goals must be reachable. For instance, we can set the goal to become the President of India but not the President of USA. Goals must be timed so that we can hope of reaching. All these goals are succinctly called as SMART goals.

Goals should not be set based on herd instinct. There should not be any parental pressure or influence of friends or relatives. On the contrary, it should be purely based on aptitude.

Goals remove all negatives thoughts as man becomes optimistic in attitude. Viktor Frankel was a Jew who was put in concentration camp and subjected to lot of hardships. He wrote the book titled ‘Man Search for Meaning’. He said that people can survive for longer time if they have goals. People survive as they have unfinished agenda – goals.

Here is an exercise that can help in setting the goals more meaningfully. Close your eyes for five minutes in a serene place and think yourself how and where you would like to be after 5 or 10 years in your life. You must cover your personal life, professional life and social life. Then, just think of the fuel required to get you going towards goals and that fuel is nothing but KASH which is the acronym for Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits. What kind of knowledge is essential to reach your goals? Then the attitude to develop the goals and the requisite skills and abilities is to be listed. At last what are the best practices and habits necessary to reach the goals has to be written. After having written about the KASH then you can work on towards your goals.

Once the goals are set, it is necessary to write the same as written goals are more meaningful. Read the same twice in a day before going to bed and sooner you wake up from bed. In the night, whatever is read is firmly fixed in the mind and the same is firmly confirmed as the goals are read the moment you get up from bed .When it is made as a regular habit then the goals can be nailed firmly in the mind. The subconscious mind is so powerful that it keeps you reminding you regularly and ensures that you do not go out of the track.

In life, there are two forces or factors that disturb our plans and they are internal and external factors. In the case of external factors or forces, nothing is in our hands and therefore, it is meaningless to worry for the same. But there are internal factors which are very much with us and can not be taken away that are KASH. Everyone faces failure at some point of time in life but what ultimately stands by the individuals is the KASH not cash. The founder of Honda Company was literally in shambles during the Second World War. But he rose like phoenix because of KASH. KASH keeps fuelling the individuals in pursuit of goals. KASH supplements sufficient spark to ignite the passion.

In the business parlance it is frequently said that cash is king because when goods are sold on cash the risk is eliminated. People like Narayana Murthy and Dirubhai Ambani reached from nowhere to number one position not because of any cash but because of KASH. To sum it up, neither ‘Sing is kingg’ nor ‘Cash is king’ but it is KASH that is KING forever.



We observe various kinds of behaviors when we interact with people. An individual’s behavior basically depends on his heredity background, socialization, perceptions and attitude. Briefly behavior can be classified into four styles. They are Expressive style, Amiable style, Analytical style and Driver style.

Individuals belong to Amiable style are usually quiet and others can work with them at ease and comfort as they are cooperative. They are flexible and adaptable. They tend to avoid risk and like to play safe in their endeavors. They are loyal to the individuals and institutions and work with dedication and discipline. They are good listeners, empathize with others and can work in teams without any ego clashes and conflicts.

However, the individuals belong to Analytical style are practical oriented and have eye for detail and follow procedures strictly. Risk avoidance is the quality of this style. Before taking any decision, they consult experts and weigh all options and then resort to decision making. They are thorough professionals and businesslike and looks for permutations and combinations before taking a final call. They are highly disciplined and like to be independent. They strongly believe in relationships but at the same time they display little emotion when dealing with others.

The individuals in the Expressive style are emotional, outgoing and like to take initiative in their endeavors. They know how to inspire others and are aggressive in their behavior. They are highly energetic and ambitious. They are extrovert in nature and like to share their dreams and ideas. They crave for recognition and rewards. They are excellent in communication and networking skills.

In the case of individuals who belong to Driver style, they are very pushy, iron willed and strong headed. They are intuitive, believe in gut feeling and do not hesitate to go for conflicts. They do not let the things happen rather they make things happen. They speak to the point precisely and like to take the charge. Often entrepreneurs belong to this style. They are high risk takers and even if they fail and fall, they rise like phoenix.

To sum it up, we cannot say that a particular style is better than the other. Every style has niceties and pitfalls and every style is unique. Knowing various behavior styles help in promoting harmonious relations.