Friday, February 26, 2010

“Case Study on Decision-Making – What Is To Be Done?” – Prof.M.S.Rao

Dear Friends,

Please post your comments after reading this case study. There is no right or wrong answers.

Maxwell stood at the window of his shop looking outside and thinking deeply what had to be done. He was 36 years old. He had four children who were all below ten years of age. He was a shrewd businessman. He was trading clothes in wholesale market. Initially he started the enterprise with a capital of 100,000 dollars. His business was flourishing and was doing great. He had been in business for the last 9 years and assets rose up to one million dollars. However, for the last 2 years he had several setbacks in business and incurred heavy losses to the tune of one million dollars due to the bankruptcy of three major customers whom he gave stocks on credit. He also took loans unofficially from other financiers with a heavy interest burden to manage his working capital and ensure smooth functioning of trading business. The financial troubles started for Maxwell. He did business transactions through unofficial means (That means taking capital from financiers through unaccounted means for heavy interest and giving stocks on credit to his customers through unofficial means but based on trust and good will).

Being a wholesaler, he bought goods against cash and sold on credit to his customers in huge quantity. That was how Maxwell was doing business. He needed more capital to buy stocks against cash as he had no liquidity. Adding further woes, the supplier to whom Maxwell paid cash to buy stocks went bankrupt. Having sensed this, the financiers began pressurizing Maxwell for refund of amount. His business account was in debit balance (That means, his invested capital was gone and he owed around one million dollars to his financiers who funded him with heavy interest without official documents but based on trust and good will of Maxwell).

The financiers were threatening Maxwell and his family with dire consequences if funds were not refunded. The money he took from financiers was not in legal accounts. The interest burden was mounting.

One way his reputation as a businessman was at stake. He was equally worried about the safety of his family who had no connection with business. The financiers could probably trouble Maxwell and his family members. He was torn between professional ethics and personal prestige and also about the responsibility towards his family members.

What decision did Marshal have to make?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

“Secrets for Sachin Tendulkar’s Success” – Prof.M.S.Rao

It is a great moment for all Indians and cricket lovers as Sachin Tendulkar achieved double century in One Day International (ODI) at Gwalior 24 February 2010. He broke the records of Saeed Anwar and Charles Coventry (194). It is another feather in his cricket cap.

He achieved this feat despite having health problems. A few years ago, he suffered injuries and bounced back. Let us look at the secrets for his success:

• Passion
• Dedication
• Focusing on goals
• Task orientation
• Flexibility with team members
• Humility
• Ability to conserve his energy and release at an appropriate time.

For Sachin, the first and last love is cricket. He has humility to say, “I just don’t know how to react. I would like to dedicate this double-hundred to the people of this country for standing behind me for the last 20 years, come what may.”

Sachin is the king of the cricket. He is the legend. His two decades of dedication towards Indian cricket is memorable. He successfully united all cricket lovers cutting across the countries through his passion, dedication and performance. Sachin is ambassador of not only Indian cricket but also the entire cricket world.

Sachin is at the tipping point where it is a Herculean task for other cricketers to dream even (forget about reaching to this record).

Let us wholeheartedly congratulate and salute this cricket legend for this feat.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Impact and Implications of Infotainment" - Prof.M.S.Rao

“Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either” - Marshall McLuhan

Currently infotainment is catching across the world as the people are looking for information with entertainment. They want to eat the cake and have it too. They want the best of the both worlds such as information and entertainment.

The rapid changing technology has changed the world and made the globe like a small village. It has changed the rules of the game in the world of entertainment. Several reality shows have appeared that provide edutainment and infotainment. Edutainment is the blend of education and entertainment. However infotainment is the symbiosis between the information and entertainment. Benjamin Franklin was the brainchild of infotainment that championed the concept and spread across the message successfully.

Teachers and Trainers:

Teachers provide education where they blend education with bit of humor to connect with their students. However trainers entertain their participants with information and education thus enhancing their skills and abilities. Trainers also convert the existing knowledge of the participants into skills and abilities. Teachers focus much on sharing information, education with conceptual aspects and more of theory. However, trainers emphasize on information, entertainment and on practical application to strike the chord with their participants and also to ensure effective takeaways.

Teachers and trainers have to balance education, information and entertainment. One should not take precedence against another. If you focus too much on content and knowledge sharing without humor people might not connect with the speakers. At the same time if there is excessive humor devoid of content the participants might not appreciate the speakers. Therefore, it is essential to emphasize both on humor and content when you deliver both edutainment and infotainment.


As long as human civilization exists people need infotainment because humans crave for both knowledge and entertainment. Therefore, infotainment is here to stay in the years to come. However, infotainment has to reinvent itself with the changing times and technologies.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Is Sonia Gandhi A Servant Leader?" - Prof.M.S.Rao

“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” - Benjamin Disraeli

The Indian soil is rich and great enough to accommodate several leaders such as Annie Besant and Mother Teresa who are of foreign origin but made India as their home. Another humble woman whom India and Indians warmly accommodated is Sonia Gandhi who has all ingredient of a servant leader. She showed her mettle and courage in number of ways such as forming the Congress government twice at the Center and balancing all coalitions with great tact ness and diplomacy.

She is a very cool and mature woman with humble origins. She lost her husband Rajiv Gandhi and is the driving force in Indian politics. She underwent several trials and tribulations. She was insulted and humiliated by her political opponents. She remained cool and composed and delivered goods more than expected.

Sonia is not after power. Although she was offered Prime Ministership after the assassination of her husband Rajiv Gandhi, she refused the position. It is a clear indication of her intentions of not hankering after power. After P.V.Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minster, the Congress I could not retain the power and was forced to sit in opposition.

Sonia’s Achievements:

"True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leader." - John C. Maxwell

A manager is required when the sailing is smooth. However the leader is required when the ship is sailing through storm. Similarly Sonia took up leadership of the Congress ship at a turbulent time as the opposition leader and started building the party and finally brought the party to power successfully through coalition. Sonia should have become the Prime Minister but she refused once again occupying the position as she was never after power. She installed an intellectual and economist Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister who is from a minority Sikh community. She demonstrated to world that anyone can become Prime Minister of this great country - India. She proved to the world that the top position can be occupied not only by Hindus but also by the people of minority communities.

Maintaining coalitions is not an easy task. However she maintained the coalition government with conflicting ideologies with her political dexterity and acumen. She once again led Congress party to power at the Centre in 2009 and reinstalled the same capable Sikh as the Prime Minister. This time also she could have become Prime Minister or she could have installed her son, Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. However, she sent clear signals to all that they are not after power.

Sonia’s Humility:

If Sonia wanted to become Prime Minster she would have easily become in 2004 elections. People questioned her foreign origins. Sushma Swaraj threatened to shave her head and sleep on the ground if Sonia Gandhi became the Prime Minister. If Sonia had the attitude of ‘tit for tat’ she was in a position to become the Prime Minister and saw to it that Sushma Swaraj shaved her head and slept on the ground and then Sonia would have resigned from the post of Prime Minister. However Sonia is a magnanimous woman who has servant kind of attitude not revenge kind of attitude. Therefore, she installed Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minster and earned global reputation as one of the top powerful women in the world. It indicates her humility and concern for the people

What is Servant Leadership?

"Being a leader who serves is very different from being a servant leader." - Isabel O. Lopez

Robert Greenleaf coined the concept of servant leadership. It was later advocated by leadership gurus like Stephen covey, Peter Senge, Ken Blanchard, Larry Spears and others.

The concept is not new to Indians as much long ago Chanakya wrote in his book Arthashastra as “the king [leader] shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects [followers]” “the king [leader] is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people.” (Reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership)

Sonia – A Servant Leader:

Sonia is a great woman with great heart. Sonia is filled with competence and compassion with a servant kind of attitude to serve people. She is a selfless lady with simplicity and humility. She is a democratic leader and servant leader. She consults and takes decisions. She is the real force in Indian politics. She is a deserving woman who can be emulated by other women irrespective of geographic boundaries.

With the qualities of servant leader, Sonia joins in the category of servant leaders like Jesus, Andre and Connie, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Jefferson, Hillary Clinton, Ken Melrose and others.


“Every country is our country because it is the country of our God” - Tariq Ibn Ziad

We take pride about Annie Besant and Mother Theresa as Indians. However these people had foreign origins. Why do some people object to the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi who has become an Indian by loving and marrying an Indian, Rajiv Gandhi? Does it not sound contradictory? Both birth and death is not anybody’s choice. It is destiny. If Sonia was born in Italy it was destiny. She was destined to born in Italy and rule India.

What is wrong when Macedonian born woman Mother Teresa became an Indian and acquired Nobel Prize and Bharat Ratna? All Indians welcomed her with open hands. What is the hitch for few people in accepting Sonia as an Indian? According to Indian tradition, the daughter-in-law comes to her husband’s house and stays. That is what she did. It is our privilege that she is leading the nation successfully and serving Indians like a servant leader.

We Indians are magnanimous in accommodating several people of foreign origins. Now also Indians have demonstrated same thing by accepting and accommodating Sonia Gandhi as Indian wholeheartedly.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) N.Chandrasekaran’s New Vision Statement" - Prof.M.S.Rao

“One must forever strive for excellence or even perfection, in any task however small, and never be satisfied with the second best….” - JRD Tata

Currently Ramadorai donned the hat of a brand builder and leadership mentor after having served for 13 years as CEO and MD of TCS. He successfully passed on the leadership baton to his mentee N.Chandrasekaran. He turned TCS from the employee strength of 6000 to 140,000 and revenues shot from 100 million to $6 billion under his helm which is a remarkable achievement in his career. We shall look at the strengths and achievements of TCS under his leadership.

Strengths and Achievements of TCS:

First of all, TCS has successfully weathered financial storms arising out global downturn. It is the top IT Company in Asia and the eighth largest IT services provider globally. The company has strong customer base with prestigious global clients like Citibank, American Express, Dell, GE, HP and others. It currently provides qualitative consultancy and information technology services to several global companies.

Challenges for Chandrasekaran:

Now N Chandrasekaran is at the helm as the CEO and MD of TCS at a challenging time where the global economy is reeling under downturn. It was like Jeff Immelt taking the reins from Jack Welch who successfully transformed GE from being a manufacturing conglomerate to services organization. It is indeed a tough task for Chandrasekaran too whose predecessor was highly dynamic and created several records for TCS and making it as the number one IT Company in India and making its presence felt globally. Probably Chandrasekaran may face the heat like Jeff Immelt who initially faced when he took over the reins from the legendary Jeff Immelt. Especially it is very difficult to take up the challenges when your predecessor was a legend.

To start his business aggressively, he wants to come out with an inspiring and challenging vision statement that stands out TCS from the pack of other IT companies. Besides, it must be prepared keeping the current challenges in view.

What is Vision and Mission?

Vision is all about seeing the invisible through imagination. However mission is all about executing the activities. Vision indicates where one wants to go and mission directs how one can go. Visionaries always look for what is possible by discovering the potential and missionaries adopt though right planning and execution. The visionaries are directors and the missionaries are actors.

Importance of Vision:

"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare." - Japanese proverb

Vision enhances organizational excellence and effectiveness. It enhances the commitment of employees towards organization. It helps employees move in a specific direction in which the organization is intending to move.

Vision statement is the highest order of goals that takes the organization to the tipping point. It is for long term that can transform the organization and keeps it different from others. In contrast, mission statement is different from vision as it may change from time to time as the strategies to reach organizational goals and objectives change from time to time.

A vision statement serves as a catalyst. It plays a pivotal for the success of any organization. It should be clear, crisp, simple and straight and above all jargon free. It must energize employees to contribute their best. They must be able to take pride and be proud of the organization. In fact, there are no fixed rules and regulations and no fixed formula for crafting a better vision statement. For instance, GE’s vision statement is “To become #1 or #2 in every market we serve and revolutionize this company to have the speed and agility of a small enterprise.”

Jack Welch wanted GE to be either number 1 or number 2. That was the vision he set out for his employees. And employees worked accordingly and delivered their best and led the GE to greater heights.

In fact, the idea of vision statement is to ensure that all employees have one visual image about the organization connecting everyone emotionally, ethically and energetically. Besides, it must undergo transformation with changing times and technologies. However the core content must remain the same and it should not be diluted because the company has been founded on fundamental ideas and ideals.

How to Craft Your Vision Statement?

Vision statement must preferably be below 100 words and in present tense to have effectiveness. It requires imaginative mind to craft one. We shall look at few tools to craft a better vision statement.

• Vision must spell out a clear and compelling picture so that there is a strong reason to pursue and persevere. It must be audacious and SMART which is the acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.
• It should be simple and straight and challenging and inspiring.
• It must convey company’s value system, culture, ethics and etiquette. It should never be a mere rhetoric but must be a realistic one.
• It must be challenging enough so that people can put in their energies and efforts aggressively.
• It must neither be too short nor too big. It must convey the ideals and ideas of the organization for which it stands and aspires to achieve.
• Avoid jargon and buzz words as it ensures better clarity.

When the vision statement is made to compete with another firm, the company must revise its vision once it is successful. Besides, if the company reached the target of magical numbers then it has to revise its vision statement.


"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." - Theodore Hesburgh

Vision helps us to get prepared today for tomorrow. It is like goal setting. As individuals set their goals, the organizations also set their goals. It is like where they want to go. And mission serves as a roadmap to reach their vision. Succinctly mission spells out how they accomplish their vision.

Vision is closely connected with leadership. Legendary business leader, Jack Welch successfully articulated his vision and took GE to the tipping point through his visionary leadership. To put in the words of Peter F. Drucker, "Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations."

To conclude there should not be any gap between preaching and practicing so as to make vision meaningful and realistic. Companies must mobilize their people around a common cause by crafting better vision statements. The success of any company depends on its right presentation of vision statement and execution of mission statement.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Journey of General Electric (GE) from Jack Welch to Jeff Immelt" - Prof.M.S.Rao

When Bill Rothschild, the CEO of Rothschild Strategies Unlimited LLC and author of “The Secret to GE’s Success” visited my blog http://profmsr.blogpost.com captioned “Where Knowledge is Wealth” and posted his comments, I decided to pen few words about GE’s journey from Jack Welch to Jeffrey Immelt. I also decided to compare and contrast between the business leaders Jack Welch, the ex-CEO and Jeffery Immelt the current CEO of GE.

It was indeed a tough task for Jeff Immelt to take over the reins of leadership from the legendary business leader who turned around and put GE on the top of global business map. Jack transformed GE from a mere manufacturing conglomerate to services sector. Under his two decades of leadership the company operated and excelled in every sphere. He delivered more than what the stakeholders expected through his tough decisions and innovative strategies.

When someone becomes a legend it is very difficult for others to live up as the expectations and aspirations of the people will be higher. It is a well admitted fact that leadership changes from time to time. What worked for Jack may not work for Jeff and even to Jack as well since the time and technologies are changing rapidly. After Jeff took over, terrorist attacks of September 2001 hit American businesses badly. Adding fuel to the fire is the global downturn. Jeff has to take care of recessionary aspect and ensure that the company reaches greater heights under his leadership.

Jack vs. Jeff:

When we compare and contrast Jack with Jeff, Jack believed in magical numbers while Jeff emphasized on innovation. Jack was a very good strategist and Jeff invested more in R& D. Jack has uncanny ability to spot opportunities and manage threats. He always strived for excellence and aimed at being either in #1 or #2. Above all, Jack was a ruthless task master. Jeff works with long term perspective rather with a short term one. For Jeff GE is a marathon, not a sprint.

Challenges for Jeff:

Investors’ expectations have gone up during the rein of Jack Welch. Currently Jeff is feeling the heat. One way he has to overcome the expectations of the investors and stakeholders and other way to beat the economic downturn. It is a difficult task for Jeff to live up to the expectations of the stakeholders where his predecessor evolved as a global legend with his uncanny ability to turnaround the company and to take to greater heights. Besides, time is not in favor of Jeff.

Jeff is doing a great job during recession. It is unfair to compare Jeff with Jack and blame Jeff for all the economic ills. It is not only the GE which has been affected, but the entire world is adversely affected with economic downturn. However when compared with other global giants, GE still stands taller in economic downturn under the leadership of Jeff.

Jeff’s Achievements:

Jeff successfully erased the impression that American CEOs are short-term speculators. He is an ideal and ethical leader as he refused to accept his $12 million bonus. In addition, he purchased millions of dollars of GE stock when it was sliding to boost the confidence of stakeholders.

Jeff Immelt is bullish and says, “We have restructured, adjusting to market realities, and increased our investments. We’ll launch more new products during this downturn and sell these products worldwide to create an even better company.”

Task Ahead for Jeff:

GE has business beyond boarders. It calls for boundary less leader who thinks beyond boarders and beyond the core competencies. Jeff must think beyond the existing business portfolio. He needs to reinvent by keeping the current complexity and uncertainty in view.


“I am proud to work at GE, a great American company. Since I joined GE in 1982, GE has earned $230 billion and paid $130 billion in dividends to investors – more than any company worldwide.” – Jeff Immelt.

Jeff has to be different from Jack. He requires more creativity and innovation to size up and line up the things efficiently and effectively. GE’s journey from Jack to Jeff is remarkable indeed. It is a tough task to conclude who is the better business leader. What worked for Jack Welch will not work for Jeffery Immelt and probably it may not work for Jack Welch also.