Skip to main content


Showing posts with the label leadership

Bezos' Five "Amazing" Points

JEFF BEZOS SPENT AN EVENTFUL TIME with his larger engineering team in India recently. The "events", so to speak, involved no less than a typical decorated delivery truck on one hand (The event where, apparently, his CEO called out Jeff as his 'Baap' [try here ] ). And, on the other hand, there was him meeting with the Indian Prime Minister in Delhi and talking about things (in e-retail in the most promising e-global economy with the world's 3rd largest open internet userbase, of course). In between these two was a private dinner organised with a dozen or so CEO's in Bangalore. This paraphrased post is thanks to one of them [try here ] "minuting" the following five points that Jeff talked about among other things. #1: What was the hardest moment of your life? Jeff: My experience of raising the first million dollars to start Amazon. Nothing over the following two decades of founding Amazon compared to that. I reached out t

"Peter Drucker - Managing Oneself" on

IN THE INTRODUCTORY paragraph of this legendary paper for Harvard Business Review, Peter Drucker writes: We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: If you've got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out.  But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren't managing their employees' careers; knowledge workers must, effectively, be their own chief executive officers. It's up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change the course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years. To do those things well, you will need to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself - not only what your strengths and weaknesses are but also how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest contribution. Because only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence. Marking a small foot

Revisit: Lewis Pugh's TED talk

Here  is to revisit Lewis Pugh's amazing 10m "Radical, tactical shift" TED talk, declaring, "There is nothing more powerful than a made-up mind." See also: Go here for Lewis Pugh's personal pages. Go here for Pugh's TED profile, and here for the video on TED's YouTube channel.

SKR, Education, Three videos, and "3 idiots"

EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE THERE COMES AN IDEA THAT has at least three beautiful things together: holistic relevance, sincerity towards applicability, and honest and bold presentation. Such ideas carry an element for illumination and invokes belief in the audience. Let's listen to Sir Ken Robinson (SKR). The Professor of Education has thus far given two of the best and most popular TED talks (see below). His ideas on the challenges of modern Education systems across the world, and possible solutions through paradigm shift have been path-breaking (including, earning the professor his knighthood). When the idea is larger than life, it is often easy to miss the whole picture while focusing on the point if delivery of the idea, beautiful that it mostly is. For this reason, RSA Animation has done a great job in the video below in creating a sort of "skeleton key" based on SKR's RSA speech - Changing Education Paradigm. Within a couple of minutes into the animation, it is m

HBR: What Is The Work Of The CEO?

"The CEO is the link between the Inside that is 'the organization,' and the Outside of society, economy, technology, markets, and customers. Inside there are only costs. Results are only on the outside." -- Peter Drucker, "The American CEO" Alan ("A.G.") Lafley TOOK OVER AS CEO of Procter & Gamble in June 2000 when the FMCG behemoth was battling turbulent times. At 6pm on his first day at the office as the new (and first time) CEO he was facing a hostile press conference live on national television – like a "deer in the headlights" as he recalls. P&G stock price that had crashed from $86 to $60 in one day tanking Dow index by 374 points, went further down by 11% at the news of Lafely's appointment as the new chief. The headlines went from "P&G Investor Confidence Shot" to "We love their products, But we hate their stocks." to "Does P&G Still Matter?" Four years into working hard at try

HBR: Paths to Power by Jeff Pfeffer

"Power is the organization’s last dirty secret." ~ Rosabeth Moss Kanter POWER IS REQUIRED IF ONE WANTS TO GET ANYTHING DONE in any large organization. Unfortunately, Power doesn’t just fall into one’s lap: one will have to go after it and learn how to use it. Stanford University professor for Organizational Development, Prof. Jeffery Pfeffer, argues that being uncomfortable with Power Dynamics has cost career promotions (and sometimes, the job) to many talented people from premier organizations and institutes including Harvard and Sloan. Pfeffer offers a primer on why power matters, how to get it, and how to use it to advance your organization's agenda - and thus, in turn, how to furthering your career, not just incidentally. Powerful people prevail by using various techniques when push comes to shove. With examples from real-life and historical accounts from corporate and national political scenarios Pfeffer illustrates many of these techniques. (Interestingly, Pfeffer

The Purpose of Business

"EVERYONE LIVES BY SELLING SOMETHING." Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish traveller and writer, once concluded. In the knowledge industry of the modern era, the selling could be of — an idea, a change, an example (PoC), an influence, a model. The logical outcome of which is value creation. Which further translates into profit or benefits of various kinds at different levels of its hierarchy. Peter Drucker had a different view. Creating profit didn't seem to him to be the main goal of an enterprise. While advocating for Not-for-profit organizations, Drucker observed that there are obvious limitations to making continuous profit-making business models. According to him, to be responsible and relevant in the society, a business model could make profit that is equal to its cost of capital. However, if the goal of the business model is to create a customer , that could possibly provide a sustainable model for existence of a business. Taking this argument a notch furthe

HBR: Managing Oneself - by Peter Drucker

HISTORY'S GREAT ACHIEVERS - A NAPOLEON, A DA VINCI, A MOZART - have always managed themselves. That, in large measures, is what makes them great achievers. Addressing the knowledge workers in the new economy, Peter Drucker goes on to emphasize the needs for personal development, stating that they must, effectively, be their own chief executive officers in taking the responsibilities of developing their own careers; beginning by saying: We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: If you've got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you start. As the first of the series , the presentation that follows - within a max of 10 slides - captures the essence of Peter Drucker's legendary paper "Managing Oneself", which he published while stepping into the new century at the turn of the millennium. Peter F Drucker - Managing Oneself See also: Go here for the full article at HBR website, and go here to try it

"What would Peter do?" – A Tribute at Drucker Century

PETER F. DRUCKER WAS BORN IN AUSTRIA IN 1910, and would have completed a century this past Nov '09. It was celebrated all over by "Duckerites", among which one IIM professor said - if you have some time that you want to spend in a gainly manner then simply flip open any of Peter Drucker’s books and start reading. “ Classic Drucker ” was at an arm's length at that time and was worth giving a try. Apparently, the prof was right. What follows now is a brief intro before the main business. Originally, an investment banker from London, Drucker was first published in German in 1930. He then went on to write 39 books on management and wrote editorial for WSJ for 20 years. At the height of the financial chaos , one WSJ issue carried his picture on the front page titled "What would Peter do?" – as if the question was being put to, if you may, a body of knowledge collectively known as Peter F. Drucker . Drucker was also titled "the father of modern manageme

Best Performing CEO's and Why MBA's Are Paid Higher

A HARVARD TEAM OF ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT consultants did a sampling of nearly 14 years covering 2000 Chief Executives of global companies listed by S&P. The sampling and tests were fairly exhaustive and unique , and presented a vivid picture of the Executive boardrooms that saw many major global economic events including the Y2K IT burst, Oil-price surge and dive, and 2007 economic down-turn, among others. Though the headline making "attribute" of the published list came out highlighting that the first three of top 5 best performing executives in the world do not have a formal degree in management. Three of the top five are connected to IT industry, and the other two are from petroleum and energy sector. Broadly, four out of 10 successful leaders in IT and six out 10 in energy sector do not possess such formal b-school education. Overall, there are less than 30% of the top 50 listed chief executives having any formal management degree. The top 5 have total industry

Leadership Speech of 'Guru' Greg Chappell

Greg Chappell at Mysore, Nov'09 [Source: self] BRIEF, ARTICULATE, NO-NONSENSE, ALL-BUSINESS 'Guru' Greg Chappell has a pleasantly lighter side to his otherwise tough-guy personality and the young Indian crowd of Software professionals at ILI, Mysore got the rare pleasure of interacting up close and personal with the Australian cricket legend during his leadership speech last week. Greg Chappell is a master tactician from southern Australia – apart from being the captain of Australia Test squad like his grandfather and elder brother, his illustrious career also includes joining breakaway leagues, fighting off nude opponents on the pitch, and the historically forgettable  under-arm delivery that Greg as the then captain of Australia instructed his younger brother Trevor Chappell to deliver as the final ball in '81 against NZ at MCG.

Peter Principle and Promotions

Peter Principle: "Every new member in a hierarchical organization climbs the hierarchy until he/she reaches his/her level of maximum incompetence." [try here for more] IT IS PARADOXICAL, SOUNDS UNREASONABLE, AND DEFIES COMMON-SENSE. But that is how it works, realistically and evidently, for any hierarchical organization where the way of promotion rewards the best members and where the competence at their new level in the hierarchical structure does not depend on the competence they had at the previous level, usually because the tasks of the levels are very different between each other. Since about 50 years ago when a Canadian psychologist named Laurence J. Peter published his studies to this effect in 1969, there has been many changes in the way organizations and it workforce operate in relation with each other. There has been multiple experimental models across various industries, including Role-based organization, Competency-based designations, (A fusion of sorts of the

Mushroom Theory Leadership

Mushroom Management Theory: Keep employees in the dark and fearful, feed them manure and dung, watch them grow and when they grow enough, get them canned. (try here for more at urban dictionary) IN QUITE A CONTRAST TO THE PREVIOUS post on model leadership , this is not only a different type of leadership, it is found being practices widely as well. Referencing their publication for this month (June 2009), John Landry of Harvard Business Review writes that Lehman would not have happened if they would have allowed a freer flow of information, or made it easier for employees to raise their concerns. Industry observers have drawn parallels of Lehman explosion with implosions of Enron and WorldCom citing the same "keeping in dark" issues where information is not shared. But before that, a brief 'story':

NRN: Percepts of Being a Respectable Leader

Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood; the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life. -- Theodore Roosevelt NR NARAYANA MURTHY OF INFOSYS delivered the opening lecture at Columbia Business School's Khemka Distinguished Speaker Forum at Manhattan on May 26, 2009, where the above quote from Roosevelt were the closing lines. Mr. Murthy began by describing Capitalism as an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange of wealth is made possible and is maintained chiefly by the private individuals or corporations. It is a system that incentivises individuals to use their enterprise, drive, hard-work and innovation to create wealth for themselves and the society. Mr. Murthy argued that capitalism is also a