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Monday, 5 October 2015

The essential Link between Generosity and Service Quality

Generosity. its effect on organisational process!

Generosity goes hand-in-hand with Positivity. That is why I insist managers to train themselves to inculcate generosity among themselves and their team members.  In these days of  "Cost-squeeze-to-Profitability" the general organisation drive is towards negative values.  On can experience the pain of negative thrust everytime you stand up to complain or claim your rightful service from a business.  I would like to narrate an incident that prompted this post.

A Service Failure & Potential Remedy

My whole morning today was spent on a battle with ACT Fibernet team. First they refused to believe that I was not receiving the 40Mb/s speed I had subscribed for. After I persisted with my aggressive complaining streak across, call centre, Twitter, Facebook and mobile phone call to the sales person who sold the connection, things started moving. The following happened-
1.  A very nice person, +ACT FIBERNET Field Engineer landed in my place
2. He convinced the people in the back end that I am indeed not receiving the promised 40Mb/s.
3. He took a picture of the speed test result and sent it by Whatsap to his boss
3. Thereafter, there was a software downloaded to co-browse and eliminate local issues
4. This was followed by cables being checked
5. Finally they recognised that the problem was universal and and not local to me
6. That lead to the technical team in their head-office addressing the issue and restoring the speed I am supposed to receive as per my subscription

Organisational Negativism

Now I come to the root of the problem, "ORGANISATIONAL NEGATIVISM".  By inference Managers have been trained to question the existence of a problem.  When a problem is raised, the onus for establishing the existence of a problem is on the lesser mortals in the food chain, thus the back end teams are on a high horse and they refuse to believe that the customer is telling the truth, then they refuse to believe that the field engineer is telling the truth.
If the aggrieved party is able to convince the powers that hold the key to the solution by proving that the customer and everyone else in the chain is indeed telling the TRUTH, the problem is fixed in a jiffy. 

ORGANISATIONAL NEGATIVISM is not a problem only with +ACT FIBERNET . This is a universal problem with most large "silo" centric organisations. The remedy is in the hands of the Senior Management team, who can establish an effective governance mechanism to weed out organisational lethargy and establish Speed-of-Service!

Organisational lethargy and hiding behind cost constraints or resource constraints are often the enemies of Service Excellence.  Oganisations desirous of chasing service excellence need to identify the common excuses and quickly put an end to it.  

Successful customer franchises have flourished and even commanded premium just by staying focused on Delivering the promise.  While being Customer focused in generative, running to the other side of the spectrum and getting Cost Focused in simply degenerative. 

I will urge my leadership team to stay generous and stay Customer Focused  ... profitability is simply an effect!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Greed & Value Erosion!

Corporations are there to make money and grow profitably. There is no doubt on that count. I grew up in a time, when large corporations prided about their value system. Stood up and assumed responsibility for social good. Somewhere in the 90's corporations started attacking two primary factors of business management "Costs" and "productivity"! CEO's and senior management across businesses urged, encouraged and even compensated employees to mercilessly eliminate processes and activities that cost them money. More often than not the victim of such merciless cost "reduction" or "elimination" was the customer. Customers definitely had no god father in the corporate systems, except the regulatory hurdles. Every now and then a conscious customer would make noise and the company will "handle" them. In countries like US & the UK where the consumer movement was a lot more prevalent and powerful, corporations were kept under check through an aware and vigilant consumer movement. When globalisation brought these corporations to countries like India, where the consumer was not very aware and the regulatory systems were not well governed, the large multinational corporations often took the easy road and diluted quality standards and took the easy road to higher profitability. They had well paid "handlers" "liaison agents" and "consultants" to manage the shortchanged quality standards. The Maggi debate raging in the television is one of those things. Nestlé will not dare to have such lose standards in America. Its simply greed and lack of respect for the rights of the customers and strong belief that they can buy the regulators and other government systems. They do believe that they will not be held accountable. The question is don't they have good value systems? Aren't they supposed to be responsible for the well being of their consumers and the society they operate in?
It's high time, we stand-up, ask them questions and force them to mend their ways and fall-in line!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Athichoodi .. Altruism in Tamil literature

ஆத்திசூடியை உலகறியச் செய்வோம்!/
Let's Spread Aathisudi to the World!

1. அறம் செய விரும்பு /
1. Learn to love virtue.

2. ஆறுவது சினம் /
2. Control anger.

3. இயல்வது கரவேல் /
3. Don't forget Charity.

4. ஈவது விலக்கேல் /
4. Don't prevent philanthropy.

5. உடையது விளம்பேல் /
5. Don't betray confidence.

6. ஊக்கமது கைவிடேல் /
6. Don't forsake motivation.

7. எண் எழுத்து இகழேல் /
7. Don't despise learning.

8. ஏற்பது இகழ்ச்சி /
8. Don't freeload.

9. ஐயம் இட்டு உண் /
9. Feed the hungry and then feast.

10. ஒப்புரவு ஒழுகு /
10. Emulate the great.

11. ஓதுவது ஒழியேல் /
11. Discern the good and learn.

12. ஒளவியம் பேசேல் /
12. Speak no envy.

13. அகம் சுருக்கேல் /
13. Don't shortchange.

14. கண்டொன்று சொல்லேல்/
14. Don't flip-flop.

15. ஙப் போல் வளை /
15. Bend to befriend.

16. சனி நீராடு /
16. Shower regularly.

17. ஞயம்பட உரை /
17. Sweeten your speech.

18. இடம்பட வீடு எடேல் /
18. Judiciously space your home.

19. இணக்கம் அறிந்து இணங்கு /
19. Befriend the best.

20. தந்தை தாய்ப் பேண் /
20. Protect your parents.

21. நன்றி மறவேல் /
21. Don't forget gratitude.

22. பருவத்தே பயிர் செய் /
22. Husbandry has its season.

23. மண் பறித்து உண்ணேல் /
23. Don't land-grab.

24. இயல்பு அலாதன செய்யேல் /
24. Desist demeaning deeds.

25. அரவம் ஆட்டேல் /
25. Don't play with snakes.

26. இலவம் பஞ்சில் துயில் /
26. Cotton bed better for comfort.

27. வஞ்சகம் பேசேல் /
27. Don't sugar-coat words.

28. அழகு அலாதன செய்யேல் /
28. Detest the disorderly.

29. இளமையில் கல் /
29. Learn when young.

30. அரனை மறவேல் /
30. Cherish charity.

31. அனந்தல் ஆடேல் /
31. Over sleeping is obnoxious.

32. கடிவது மற /
32. Constant anger is corrosive.

33. காப்பது விரதம் /
33. Saving lives superior to fasting.

34. கிழமைப்பட வாழ் /
34. Make wealth beneficial.

35. கீழ்மை அகற்று /
35. Distance from the wicked.

36. குணமது கைவிடேல் /
36. Keep all that are useful.

37. கூடிப் பிரியேல் /
37. Don't forsake friends.

38. கெடுப்பது ஒழி /
38. Abandon animosity.

39. கேள்வி முயல் /
39. Learn from the learned.

40. கைவினை கரவேல் /
40. Don't hide knowledge.

41. கொள்ளை விரும்பேல் /
41. Don't swindle.

42. கோதாட்டு ஒழி /
42. Ban all illegal games.

43. கெளவை அகற்று /
43. Don't vilify.

44. சக்கர நெறி நில் /
44. Honor your Lands Constitution.

45. சான்றோர் இனத்து இரு /
45. Associate with the noble.

46. சித்திரம் பேசேல் /
46. Stop being paradoxical.

47. சீர்மை மறவேல் /
47. Remember to be righteous.

48. சுளிக்கச் சொல்லேல் /
48. Don't hurt others feelings.

49. சூது விரும்பேல் /
49. Don't gamble.

50. செய்வன திருந்தச் செய் /
50. Action with perfection.

51. சேரிடம் அறிந்து சேர் /
51. Seek out good friends.

52. சையெனத் திரியேல் /
52. Avoid being insulted.

53. சொற் சோர்வு படேல் /
53. Don't show fatigue in conversation.

54. சோம்பித் திரியேல் /
54. Don't be a lazybones.

55. தக்கோன் எனத் திரி /
55. Be trustworthy.

56. தானமது விரும்பு /
56. Be kind to the unfortunate.

57. திருமாலுக்கு அடிமை செய் /
57. Serve the protector.

58. தீவினை அகற்று /
58. Don't sin.

59. துன்பத்திற்கு இடம் கொடேல் /
59. Don't attract suffering.

60. தூக்கி வினை செய் /
60. Deliberate every action.

61. தெய்வம் இகழேல் /
61. Don't defame the divine.

62. தேசத்தோடு ஒட்டி வாழ் /
62. Live in unison with your countrymen.

63. தையல் சொல் கேளேல் /
63. Don't listen to the designing.

64. தொன்மை மறவேல் /
64. Don't forget your past glory.

65. தோற்பன தொடரேல் /
65. Don't compete if sure of defeat.

66. நன்மை கடைப்பிடி /
66. Adhere to the beneficial.

67. நாடு ஒப்பன செய் /
67. Do nationally agreeables.

68. நிலையில் பிரியேல் /
68. Don't depart from good standing.

69. நீர் விளையாடேல் /
69. Don't jump into a watery grave.

70. நுண்மை நுகரேல் /
70. Don't over snack.

71. நூல் பல கல் /
71. Read variety of materials.

72. நெற்பயிர் விளைவு செய் /
72. Grow your own staple.

73. நேர்பட ஒழுகு /
73. Exhibit good manners always.

74. நைவினை நணுகேல் /
74. Don't involve in destruction.

75. நொய்ய உரையேல் /
75. Don't dabble in sleaze.

76. நோய்க்கு இடம் கொடேல் /
76. Avoid unhealthy lifestyle.

77. பழிப்பன பகரேல் /
77. Speak no vulgarity.

78. பாம்பொடு பழகேல் /
78. Keep away from the vicious.

79. பிழைபடச் சொல்லேல் /
79. Watch out for self incrimination.

80. பீடு பெற நில் /
80. Follow path of honor.

81. புகழ்ந்தாரைப் போற்றி வாழ் /
81. Protectyour benefactor.

82. பூமி திருத்தி உண் /
82. Cultivate the land and feed.

83. பெரியாரைத் துணைக் கொள் /
83. Seek help from the old and wise.

84. பேதைமை அகற்று /
84. Eradicate ignorance.

85. பையலோடு இணங்கேல் /
85. Don't comply with idiots.

86. பொருள்தனைப் போற்றி வாழ் /
86. Protect and enhance your wealth.

87. போர்த் தொழில் புரியேல் /
87. Don't encourage war.

88. மனம் தடுமாறேல் /
88. Don't vacillate.

89. மாற்றானுக்கு இடம் கொடேல் /
89. Don't accommodate your enemy.

90. மிகைபடச் சொல்லேல் /
90. Don't over dramatize.

91. மீதூண் விரும்பேல் /
91. Don't be a glutton.

92. முனைமுகத்து நில்லேல் /
92. Don't join an unjust fight.

93. மூர்க்கரோடு இணங்கேல் /
93. Don't agree with the stubborn.

94. மெல்லி நல்லாள் தோள்சேர் /
94. Stick with your exemplary wife.

95. மேன்மக்கள் சொல் கேள் /
95. Listen to men of quality.

96. மை விழியார் மனை அகல் /
96. Dissociate from the jealous.

97. மொழிவது அற மொழி /
97. Speak with clarity.

98. மோகத்தை முனி /
98. Hate any desire for lust.

99. வல்லமை பேசேல் /
99. Don't self praise.

100. வாது முற்கூறேல் /
100. Don't gossip or spread rumor.

101. வித்தை விரும்பு /
101. Long to learn.

102. வீடு பெற நில் /
102. Work for a peaceful life.

103. உத்தமனாய் இரு /
103. Lead exemplary life.

104. ஊருடன் கூடி வாழ் /
104. Live amicably.

105. வெட்டெனப் பேசேல் /
105. Don't be harsh with words and deeds.

106. வேண்டி வினை செயேல்/
106. Don't premeditate harm.

107. வைகறைத் துயில் எழு /
107. Be an early-riser.

108. ஒன்னாரைத் தேறேல் /
108. Never join your enemy.

109. ஓரம் சொல்லேல் /
109. Be impartial in judgement.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Statesman and the VIP!

My grandfather was the first VIP known to me.  All family celebrations and everything good and bad was blessed by him.  His children were the bread winners, but they brought in their economic contribution and he was the headman who ran the house.  Gifts to his grandchildren on their birthdays, even though, paid for by the parent, is passed on to the family headman to bless the child with.  Everyone waited for him to be present before a meal is served and consumed.  He was simply the leader to look up to with respect and reverence.   Every wedding invitation, including the ones of his younger brothers' children,  went out in his name.  There was no ill feeling that he was prioritized over others in the large joint family.  

The experienced elderly statesmen (the term is not gender specific), were competent leaders who managed relationships.  They were equanimous and acted as the fuse.  It will be fool hardy to believe that the "statesmen of the yore" were all exemplary and without any blemish!  Umpteen instances of blemishes can be cited, if we were to put it to debate.  But the larger good of the family and the society were at their heart.  The vast new opportunities and economic prosperity was always tempered with the traditional virtues and the common good of the extended family.  Of course, there were occasional tensions caused by the need for change and rebellion of a younger member of the family.  These were the tests that the statesmen passed by sheer grit or by superior sense of compromise.

The lesser fortunate members of the extended family were treated with compassion, owing to either goodness of other family members or the dictat of the elder statesman who upheld the traditions and ensured common good is not sacrificed in loud celebration of personal success.  There was a system of taking care of the sick among the family members.  Crisis of all nature was referred and resolved.   The younger lot stayed involved with their pursuit of professional activities, unhindered by the day-to-day incidents of hospitalization or extra attention to an errant child!  In short a well defined commune existed under the leadership of the statesmen.  

Cut to the present day, where joint families are anything but a fading memory, economic considerations have simply overtaken and colored our psyche.  Today's VIP's are those who are in a position of power generated by either economic might or political power.  So much so that the value system has been relegated to be subservient to economic priorities and political equations. The question is not one of right or wrong, it's one of social transformation post the demise of the statesman across all spheres of the society.   

As a society we have strongly clutched the philosophy of VIPism without upholding the qualities and values of prioritisation.  This is immensely manifest in the system of lowly gangsters, rapists, thieves and robbers claiming to be the new VIP's and the resultant chaos.  Our trials and tribulations as a society are clearly on account of our scepticism and it's time we took a stand and attain enlightenment.  Such enlightenment alone can preserve our freedom and peace.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Chairman!

I just read a news item on the dilema of State Bank of India on a sticky issue of how to address their first ever woman leader.  Should it be "Chairman" as the rule book says, Or as "Chairperson" as the new traditions of the society?  

I realise that professional titles cannot be gender specific.  A manager is a manger whatever be the gender of the title holder.  Aren't we collectively, consisting of men and women, addressed as "Mankind"?   In a manufacturing organization they don't have "Foreperson" or "Forewoman", the position is "Foreman" irrespective of the gender of the person performing the function.

There are naming confusions which were never resolved, like the President's wife is a "First Lady" which is a ceremonial title as a First Lady has some protocols to observe!  How do we address the President's husband?  Will it be "First Gentleman" or simply "First Man"? 

However, there are justifiable gender equivalent titles where gender differentiation is of consequence, like for example "host" to "hostess",  or, "Master" to "Mistress"!   That leads me to an anomaly which must have been the result of ill informed activism when, someone indeed decided to rename the position of "Head Master" to that of "Head Mistress" as there is a provision made to differentiate a "Master" from a "Mistress" however absurd it may sound at times.

Ultimately the culture that we adopt shapes the language we speak!   Social bias and belief based on such bias determining gender specific competencies to perform certain jobs and roles, leads to a job being titled reflecting a gender specific naming convention, eg. "Midwife"!  I remember a global customer service leadership conference of a multinational company that I was part of, where I was the lone male member!  We are living in a time when there is absolute equality in terms of what the genders  can professionally accomplish.  We cannot ever determine a specific, job, task or function as feminine or masculine, with the exception of, may be, conceiving and delivering a child in a natural manner, and there we can absolutely have gender specific naming convention.

Finally, the news article did mention that the State Bank of India board did name and decide to call their first woman Leader as "Chairman" as their policy did not offer another option to address their leader.  That's settled, then!

Monday, 13 June 2011

The perils of a "devalued" society!

Switch on the radio, watch television or read a newspaper, you see a chorus on a civil society movement or a guru egging his followers to condemn corruption and black money through satyagraha and there is a whole din and melee caused by political dialogue around the subject of graft.

For those among us who call ourselves thinkers, it is crystal clear, we have lost almost all the values that we cherished as a nation or society.  Slowly and steadily we have built a society or rather attempting to build a society which is looking to build material wealth and slackened the rules around the path of material progress.  Lenders are happy to lend without much scrutiny, borrowers are not keen to assess their ability to repay or assess the risk of income loss on account of job-loss and other unknown phenomenon.  In a growing economy everything is hunky dory until the economy is heated to ultimately melt down. We have seen this happen is other economies in the first world and the repercussions of mindless consumerism. While those nations have already built a social welfare structure including a well developed medical insurance programme, we have none to write home about.  Can our fragile social fabric take the pain of economic meltdown along with deterioration of the value system?  All the din about graft in the media are signs of rapid deterioration!

Our strength has been our way-of-life and support system built around a strong extended or joint family system, which allowed resource pooling and resource regeneration.  In the new way of things, families have become nuclear and our social welfare systems, if they exist, are dysfunctional.  In such a scenario what are we communicating to the individuals?  Every member of our society is made to believe that he is on his own and he needs to save up and the message everyone has clearly internalised this message "save up as much as you can".  There is a thin line distinguishing saving from hoarding!

There is a deep rooted insecurity.  This insecurity is driving individuals to mop up as much resources as one can, and the means don't matter.  Slowly but steadily "mop-up-as-much-as-up-can" has become a motto of people from all walks of life.  The traditional value systems around honesty, truthfulness, courteousness and generosity are steadily eroded.  Elasticity to accept dishonesty in day-to-day dealings steadily erode the foundation of true value system. Value system is created through word of mouth and significant demonstration through practice.   A father who is dishonest at work everyday, cannot preach honesty to his children.   The result is evident, there is ready justification for violation of our own values, all this leading up to large scale corruption.  The beauty is we are happy to jump queue using influence, however it hurts us when someone else does it, leaving us in the queue (sometimes for ever)!

As responsible individuals, all of us need to revisit our own values.  Start practicing them and also preach them day-in-and-out to our circle of influence to establish a sensitive and generous society. Loka samasta sukhino bawantu!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Generosity as a value...

I used to wonder, as a child, why we had a large cemented platform built outside the door leading to our small village house. I asked my grand mother why she keeps refilling the pot with water kept ouside the door. My grand mother used to say that the passers-by can have a sip, if they ever felt thirsty. On a hot summer day when an odd passer-by sat on our cement platform, she would ask us to offer water or a glass of butter milk. She would urge us to share the mango and other delicacies with a host of children from the neighbourhood. She was very nice to even strangers. She believed all our neighbours were our well-wishers and never suspected anyone to be mischievous. If she found anyone saying anything that was hurtful or mischievous, she would correct the person, if younger, or chose to ignore if elder stating the person may have had a rough time. In short she was generous and very positive.

Having spent the last three decades chasing a career and building businesses, I look back and realise that I have missed the environment of generosity and positive outlook. I wonder if things would have been different if I practised my grandmother's brand of management. She saw herself as someone who was in a position to help and she did what she can to help anyone. She never judged and hence she was not afraid of anyone.

I am convinced that the world needs positive and generous people. For every mean and ambitious human being, we need a minimum of two trusting and genrous persons. It's time we taught our children the joy of giving, respecting strangers and doing what we can to help others (including strangers).