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"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.

Indian Nodding and TED India

THE FIRST EVER TECHNOLOGY, ENTERTAINMENT, DESIGN (TED) EVENT IN INDIA drew to a close this afternoon at the lavish and state-of-the-art technology campus of Infosys at the Indian city of Mysore - about 120km south of Bangalore. It was an adrenalin pumping experience, and it left so many feeling spent at the end of four days. Absorbing a torrent of ideas condensed in a time-capsule is a demanding event for the creativity centre - glucose consuming frontal cortex of the human brain. After all, TED may be the new religion. For generation Y + X.

Consulting and Creative (un)commons

Santa and Banta submitted the tender for digging the second underwater Euro Channel Tunnel connecting England with France and continental Europe. This was perhaps the first time that a bid for such an extreme engineering project was coming from India, and apparently so it raised a few eyebrows and steered interest. An outsourcing relationship with India was not a new thing, but bidding for second Euro tunnel - that had got to be special... Mr. Santa and Mr. Banta, the proprietors of Santa Banta & Co., were also among the main invitees to present their ideas describing their technology, tools, budget and time-lines to the consortium presiding over the project. As it turned out S B & Co had the lowest quotation, the shortest time-line for the project, the simplest possible plan and most straightforward execution using the most standard of tools: Santa would take one team (of a few hundred thousand labourers) digging from England towards France, and Banta would do the same from

Change, Catch Words of Consulting II

Continuing from the previous post , following are a few more Catch Words of Consulting: Q x A = E : Q uality of Solution x A cceptance = E ffectiveness of Change. Q is good most of the time. The Key differentiator is Acceptance and Adaptability for a successful Change management. Passive Resistance: is nodding the head, but not actually going to participate in change; civil disobedience of a personal kind; dragging the feet with a smile. Planning vs Plans: D. Eisenhower once said, "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." Planing is so important that PMBOK devotes the largest of its five process groups entirely on planning. See also: Related post: Change, and Catch Words of Consulting I

Shubh Deepavali

Shubh Deepavali A warm wishes to you and your family for A Happy and Prosperous Diwali The Festival of Lights of India - illuminations, oil lamps, firecrackers, colourful lanterns, rangoli mandalas, bright clothing, sweets, feasts, and festivities with families and friends.

Change, and Catch Words of Consulting I

"CHANGE IS THAT BIG FAT PINK ELEPHANT that drunkenly roams around this large organization, stamping on people, without anyone having any idea what to do about it." This is how the elderly consultant illustrated in his concluding report to the senior management of [an organization] that was undergoing post-Outsourcing blues. (Do notice elephant as a hidden reference to India as the low-cost location.) It indeed was a significant experience to participate in a professional forum in Australia with such Consulting veterans and alumni of the global consulting 'Big 5' sharing their vivid experiences.

Malthusian Matters(?)

GOLDMAN SACHS PROJECTS THAT India’s middle class will outstrip China’s by 2045. This is some 15 years after half of China’s population becomes either too old or too young to be part of the workforce. Perhaps instant-ness of contemporary life induces a certain myopia. Social media - twitter , FB, and other "self trumpets" - may make one feel that 2045 is too far away to be bothered about. And perhaps that's true for some as well, those who would want to die out soon, but 35 years is a fairly short turn around time by economic standards. Malthusian Matters (pun intended), and stands nonetheless to see another day, another argument. See also: Go here for more on Malthusian catastrophe . Go here for more on this interesting article at Reuters.

Mind the Gap and Business Technology

"MIND THE GAP AND THE ACCIDENTAL TECHNOLOGISTS" is the topic on which Andy Mulholland wrote an interesting note recently, and I so wish if this were a guest post on this blog, if only for the namesake. Highlighting 'the gap', as he puts it, Andy describes the misalignment of Technology focus with Business needs. The problem is rather recent, cropping up only from 90's, because before that, nobody actually bothered. The flexibility of IT introduced by leaps and bounce of advances of the recent decades is the reason for this widening gap because previously the rigidity of how computer systems worked almost ensured that business accepted what (MIS) system owners dictated.

HBR: Short Overseas Assignments

HOW SHOULD ONE REPLY TO THAT seemingly casual email detailing titillating offer of servicing the client from onsite or onshore location for a few weeks or months to take the project to the next big level? The short answer is, reply by sleeping over it a couple of days, especially while one is been-there-done-that category. The recent HBR research article however goes on to urge you to deny it flatly. It is apparently less costly for the company to push for short-termed, employee-only transfer compared to a two-year global assignment having a settled designation for the similar tasks. The research running for a couple of years shows that these propositions are riddled with marriage troubles, depression, child behaviour issues, and other difficulties.

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

Books: Beautiful Data and The Passionate Programmer

Beautiful Data: The Stories Behind Elegant Data Solutions by Toby Segaran and Jeff Hammerbacher (try here ) Looking forward to his book which is due in July 2009. The 39 contributors of the book explain how they developed simple and elegant solutions on projects ranging from the Mars lander to a Radiohead video. Some of the topics include: opportunities and challenges of datasets on the Web visualize trends in urban crime using maps and data mashups challenges of data processing system of space travel crowdsourcing and transparency helps drug research automatic alerts when new data overlaps pre-existing data massive investment to create, capture, and process DNA data The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development by Chad Fowler (try here ) Chad Fowler argues here that your career in Software has to be a personal enterprise. And this publication from Pragmatic Bookshelf is one of my picks for the new engineers joining the Software indust

Cheers! to Life '09

~ Cheers! to Life '09 ~ In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across a hundred years... --Rabindranath Tagore, The Gardner (1915), pp85. Today, May 7 , is also Tagore's Birth Day.

Some from the Bookshelf

UMERTO ECO'S LIBRARY is supposed to be about books on the pending list waiting to be read - a rather twisted argument by Taleb at knowledge assimilation when he philosophises that the unknown is more important than acquired knowledge itself. Perhaps makes sense, if you are a nihilist as well. Frank Zappa almost gave it up saying, "Too many books, too little time". And this post claims to be no improvisation either. In fact, following are a few from the pending list from my night-stand that give a rather sarcastic stare almost every time. Reviews and comments welcomed. The Future of Technology (Economist) by Tom Standage (try here The Future of Technology (Economist) ) This book gathers together some of the best writings that has recently appeared in The Economist on the way technology and its use is developing, and is likely to develop and change in the future. Taking a look at the index was a compulsion of sorts to pick this engaging read. And the opening para a

Depicting Consumption Behaviour in the Recession Era

INTERESTING ILLUSTRATION OF CONSUMPTION BEHAVIOUR in the recession era by Armano on his personal blog Logic + Emotion based on a recent article on the topic in The Economist . Here is Armano's post, and here is the original write-up at The Economist.

TED, Memes, Metaphors, but no Economics?

TED: IDEAS WORTH SPREADING is the welcome line at - an intellectual platform blending Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and almost attaining a cult status. Who's who of the world have marked their presence at its annual conferences starting 1984. This is the stage where Prof. Stephen Hawking urged mankind to colonise neighbouring planets; where the UN peace ambassador Jane Goodall spoke about her 45 years old chimpanzee studies; where Bono won the price of expressing three wishes in a bid to change the world; and where Bill Gates opened a jar of mosquitoes to the audience to spread (with them) awareness about malaria (later, when the panic subsided it was declared that the mosquitoes were harmless for they were cured of the germs. I am not entirely sure though which anti-virus was used by Mr. Gates.) A meme is an information packet with an attitude. For the current young generation world over, and those leaning towards entrepreneurship, TED is the "in thing&

The Dunbar Number and Limits of Our Social Networks

THE SOCIAL MEDIA AND WEB 2.0 (though both are considered synonymous by some) provided the netizens with amazing new possibilities, like a new universe opening up with everyone mingling with everyone else. While the web (no pun intended) of these collaboration network, social in nature, kept increasing in complexity and continued expanding, there was no measure for if it were to follow the same yo-yo model of the actual Universe (try here ) . In other words, it was very difficult to ascertain if the motion was inward or outward, for there were no clear boundaries defined or known. The size of the neocortex of the brain allows humans to have stable networks of about 150. This is known as "the Dunbar number". With the help of Dr. Robin Dunbar’s research, perhaps we now have the first indications toward the limitations of Web 2.0 vis-a-vis human psychology and behaviour. Dr. Dunbar is an anthropologist currently with the Oxford University and has studied primates and humans and t