Archive for July, 2006

Management Careers @ YellaReddy Guda!

July 31, 06 by Bharani

Market Analysis
The candidate should be capable of doing a thorough analysis of Vegetables/Food items in the market. He should be ready to travel to the shop by foot. He should be extremely smart enough to sort out rotten vegetables from fresh ones. The mindset to apply right techniques to sort right vegetables will be very handy [Like snapping the tail of the lady’s finger to see if there is a ‘tuck’ sound! But should not squeeze the tomato to see if it is good!]. The application of new techniques is encouraged and if necessary we will sponsor the patenting process.

Managing Supplier/Vendor Relationships
He should have good negotiation skills to procure the vegetables at rock-bottom price and should definitely ensure the freebies at large quantities(green leaves and chillies). Performance-based bonus is dependant on the amount of freebies obtained. He should be aware of the fact that MRP means Minimum-possible Retail Price in the case of vegetables. He should talk with Supplier to get inventory delivered at our destination/doorstep. Fluency in Telugu/Hindi is preferred to managed good relationships. Should effectively handle Cash Transactions with Vegetable owners and should buy food in credit from Foodworld/Departmental store. Accounts Payable is ok, but Accounts receivable is absolutely unacceptable. To avoid lock-in effect, relationship should be maintained with multiple suppliers and we should let them play off with each other. Supplier competition is healthy to consumer! That is our motto.

Managing Inventory
The purchased vegetables/food items should be carefully sorted out and stored in the Refrigerator at designated places. The existing inventory should be carefully studied to dispose off any outdated/rotten food items. Once the inventory level falls below the EOQ, the efforts should be initiated to fill the void. The inventory should be periodically monitored to avoid the growth of any fungus.

Decision-Making
He should be able to carefully assess the home conditions (like whether people are motivated to work, to eat, etc.,) and make appropriate decisions. The ability to make decisions (what dish to cook) under constrained choices of inventory is expected. He should be a strong leader to motivate others work. If nothing works out, he should lead the people to best possible locations to eat.

Shop-Floor Management
The shop-floor management will be addressed as “cutting-board management” in our place. He should be able to handle tools efficiently. The inventory should be processed in a very productive manner. The requirements should be carefully gathered about what vegetables to cut and what shapes to transform to.

Managing Transformations
This is by far the most important and crucial role. Whoever handles this should be able to manage the transformation of raw rice to boiled rice, vegetables and spices and masalas to Sambar/Rasam/curry. Experience in popping the mustards and dried red chillies is good. He should also handle the intense heat of closed-and-smoky environment, the nasty sound of whistles. The talent lies is avoiding the fingers from getting burnt. Should be able to improvise every time. The multi-tasking is extremely important.

Managing Crisis/Disaster Recovery
Managing crisis is out and away the most under-estimated job. The Clean-up of the mess is important for further operations/missions to continue. The candidate should be able to withstand the sight of vessel mountain. Should use the water very efficiently. Should carefully calculate the washing powder available and consume at an optimum level. The willingness to clean the sink off any vegetable-particles/rice is desirable. There is no better satisfaction than overseeing the entire mess being cleared up in front of your eyes. Guaranteed. The performance is judged based on the shine of the sink!

The jobs are generally rotated except for Decision-making and Transformation management. Once the person is well-equipped to handle the squeezes, he can take over the mantle.

PS: I managed the crisis today :)

????????

July 28, 06 by Bharani

I was wondering whether any “World Sudoku Championship” exists. After googling, realized that the first world championship in sudoku was organized at Lucca, Italy on March 10-11 2006. The winner was a 31 year old Czech Economist, a lady called Jana Tylova.

I explored the WSC website and downloaded the Official instruction booklet. The number of Sudoku variations in the tournament is quite amazing! In total they have 27 variations…Pips, 0-9, Classic, <>, Diagonal, Sum, Odd/Even, 147, Irregular, Toroidal, Multi, Extra-Regions, Outside, Consecutive, Frame, Star, Pandigital, Mini, Product, Digital, Irregular 6×6, Multi-mixed, Irregular 12×12, Mechanical, Combined, Cubic and Word Sudoku! Huh…understanding the rules itself will take time :)

BTW, The World Puzzle Championship will be held at Bulgaria this year from October 7-12. If you are interested, explore the website to know the details. I am going to try out the sample puzzles given at the website during the weekend for my own pleasure!

BTW, the title is Japanese version of the word “SUDOKU” (Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru) Source: Wikipedia

WikiMapia: Let us describe the whole earth

July 25, 06 by Bharani

Thanks to Girish, I was able to explore wikimapia and mark my location on the global footprint :)

My location…

Go mark your houses and nearest landmarks….

PS: The Wikimapia is powered by Google (Google maps). But the feature to define your location for everyone to see is cool!

Compressed Knowledge?

July 23, 06 by Bharani

Business Summaries, Compressed Knowledge, Book Abstracts, Executive Book summaries…These are all names given to the ‘concept’ of providing a brief summary of the book. This business mainly preys on the need to “Save time yet manage to get the fundamentals behind the book”. There are two ways in which these summaries can be useful. First, you can read through the concepts and if you are only really interested you can buy the book to read in detail. Second, you can use the summaries as a form of ‘key notes from the book’ to revise the concepts of the book. Either way you save time. If the summary does not excite you, you don’t have to buy the book. Well, there are prefaces/book reviews/excerpts available in the market. But they are either ‘opinions of others’ or simply ‘a slice of the book’. The Business summary on the other hand is a condensed version of the book lacking the ‘judgement of the reviewers’ and ‘a peek into the best portion of the book’.

The market for Business summary is quite niche [Executives and Business people]. But it is slowly gathering popularity among student community too.

I perceive this Business summary as a way of uploading the knowledge of a “600 page book” into your brain by reading just 5-6 pages! Somewhat similar to how Neo learns to ride helicopters, fight jujitsu, kung-fu etc in the movie Matrix :) Just kidding.

Websites:
http://www.getabstract.com/ [Get Abstract]
http://www.bizsum.com/ [Business Summaries]
http://www.summary.com
http://www.elementk.com
http://www.execubooks.com

Get Abstract is offering Freakonomics here.

If you come across any more good Business summary websites or free downloads of Business summaries, please let me know.

‘Web-logs’ or ‘Web-slog’?

July 19, 06 by Bharani

Blogging has finally received the much needed attention in Television Media. Now more and more common people will be interested in knowing about blogs. The issue about blogs being blocked by ISPs will be resolved in days, weeks or at the most months time. But in the end, the real beneficiaries will be blogs and bloggers. Just imagine an entire 30 minutes being dedicated by a leading News channel to debate about this issue. All the time, some of the prominent blogs in India were constantly shown in the background. “India Uncut” being the prominent!

Since Blogsome was immune from these bans and blocks, I could not feel the discomfort faced by other fellow bloggers. But I could empathize their position. For me, blogging has become a part of my life. I cannot imagine life without it.

There are days during which I did not publish any post. But it can be attribued mainly to lack of ideas/content than to laziness. I think I have been a fairly regular blogger. In my opinion, consistent and frequently updated ‘web-logs’ are the result of ‘web-slog’ (Yet another new term and is an anagram by the way!)

During the Leadership Development program @ ISB, there was an exercise to deliver presentations about any topic. I chose the topic, “Blogging and ISB” when there were so many other topics to chose from. There was a blogging competition held by IIM Indore, where one needs to write about “Blogging and Viral marketing”. My article fetched first prize! Then, there was the “Torch-bearer award” which was given mainly for my blogging efforts than for other form of contributions. There were few more occasions when ‘blogging’ influenced my thought process. I started blogging as a hobby, then it became a habit, then it became an addiction…and I just hope it does not become an obsession.

Given this frame of mind, no wonder I was enraged about the blogs being blocked by ISPs. Thank god, my blog was not blocked. Otherwise, I think I would have participated even in the street-demonstrations…!

Federated PPT!

July 18, 06 by Bharani

Today afternoon around 1 p.m., my superior approached me and asked, “Bharani, can you give a talk about our initiative to the India Leadership Team @ 4 p.m?”. I had to agree. I was excited about the fact of meeting 13 wise gentlemen who form the India Leadership Team (Managing Director and Directors of Business units, HR, admin etc.,) for the first time. I was also excited at the prospect of talking about the progress that we have made so far. It is an opportunity to gain visibility for my BU and self. I conjured up a PPT out of 4 different sources that existed at that point of time. I should call the final product a “Federated PPT” (new fancy term :) )

The big board room environment reminded me of the Apprentice Show! I did not know the names of some people in ILT. So I introduced myself and then asked each one of them to introduced themselves. I was expecting someone to introduce each person officially. But that did not happen. So took the initiative myself. (That was pretty bold when I reflect in the hindsight). I think the talk and the demo went on well. I made a note of few areas which needs cover up and few items which needs a touch of polish. The talk was more of a chance to get more buy-ins for the initiative. One thing is becoming more clear. That we have a very long way to go…

When there is an opportunity to enhance your visibility/position, give your best.

Re-purpose?

July 14, 06 by Bharani

It was around 8:15 p.m. I don’t know what struck me, A bulb flashed in my right brain and I suddenly thought “Is there some smart soul who has already thought about a business of ‘Jargon Consulting’?..” You know, the business which will essentially create new jargons for these consultants (so that they can use them to impress their clients) or for analysts (who can use in their powerpoint presentations)…Never mind… So I open up the google search engine and carefully enter “Jargon consulting”. I click the first link that is displayed and an unpleasant looking page opens up with a topic “A tongue-in-cheek guide to business jargon and management buzzwords”. I shrinked my face initially. But, I totally enjoyed reading those descriptions for the next few minutes ..Awesome in my opinion :)

Totally tongue-in-cheek!

Watch out for the descriptions about buzzwords “High level”,”30,000 feet”, “wet-signature”, “wetware”…and the new catch word that I learnt was “re-purpose”!

On the lighter note, non-mba grads can actually try these jargons with their managers and see for themselves the weird reactions (Like “Oh man, I am buried…now there is no differentiation between us” )! Fun apart, this post is more of self-deprecating humour and I am in no way affecting the feelings of good and solid MBAs….So please hold your fingers back from typing counter-comments…and use that energy to play piano :)

The crux of this post is over. What follows is a post-script :) Stop reading at this point of time, if you have something important to accomplish…

It is infact true that I am also part of this ‘Jargon club’ and some of these jargons are coming naturally to me. I am sure it comes naturally for most management graduates. But some people overuse it and cross the boundary of acceptance thereby landing in the zone of annoyance. My quadie in ISB who was famous for jargons can share lot of gyaan on this ;)

One of his creative phrases was “Unsustainable Uncompetitive disadvantage” [The opposite of Sustainable Competitive Advantage]. Try deciphering the meaning….”Jargon club” can actually be a nice-little enjoyable hobby…

Dilemma or Choice?

July 13, 06 by Bharani

1. Work-life balance.
2. Start up environment vs Corporate environment.

I want to maintain a work-life balance. This thought has become so ingrained in me that I am feeling a sense of guilt if I work hard (well, work long hours). I am busy and slowly extending my work hours without even realizing the passing of time. I am glad that way. But I am missing out on my hobbies and other activities. The books are slowly collecting dust. (As of now there is exactly 2.234 millimetres of dust…). I am not keen on watching movies on HBO/Star movies/laptop. Fitness centre has become a weekend affair. Room is not so clean anymore, as washing the clothes has become a weekend affair too. I am logging my daily activities to see where I can fit some activities/hobbies. As long as I have this sense of guilt, there is scope for work-life balance. The key for work-life balance is to maintain a high level of productivity during the 8 hours of work. Working towards that…

I was working in a start-up environment before ISB. There was very little bureaucracy. Things get done faster. But in Corporate environment, if you make a request, you have to expect that the other party will come back with a way to turn down the request. Then you have to employ your convincing skills to get past the first-level road-block. You can call yourself lucky if there are no further road-blocks. Things like getting PCs, purchasing softwares, hiring resources are also made inefficiently formal! For each decision you make, you need to pursuade so many other parties. Justify your actions. Sometimes, these things kill the initiatives. I am just adapting to the change. The problem is complicated because of the stagnation layer prevalent in big companies. The people in the stagnation layer might have been stars once, but they have stopped learning long back and are not stars anymore. They are getting paid for their past laurels, at the expense of new and raw workforce. Some of the organizational inefficienceis originates from the insecurity felt in this stagnation layer. When your team/BU is different from this ‘corporate’ environment, you have to face the threat of being labelled as “incompatible” or “rebels”. This threat is amplified when your “incompatible” approach looks promising to yield impressive results! Interesting…

I am also slowly building rapport. Investing time and energy on colleagues too.

And the Fifa 2006 champions are…Azurris!

July 09, 06 by Bharani

30 days ago, I spelt out the teams that I thought would make into Semi-Finals. The teams were Brazil, Argentina, Italy and England. Today am glad the only country which made into the Semi-Finals from the list also lifted the world cup…:)

But man, what happened to Zidane? The man of his calibre, such class, on the finals of the world cup, with only 10 minutes away from the finish time can’t react in that manner. I am curious what Materazzi said. But whatever he said, Zidane, such a cool person he seems to be, should not have reacted like that. He just destroyed the hopes of millions of French fans…More than the person who missed out in the penalty shoot-out, I think France will remember Zidane as the person responsible for losing the world-cup. Sad end to such a glittering career…

Anyways, am happy for Azurris, for ITALY…and I just shared the celebration with a glass of Beer :)

1000 reasons…

July 07, 06 by Bharani

Some filmy dialogues…

I don’t remember which movie this was…But the boy talks with the friend of the girl. Then there is a scene in which the girl talks with the same common friend.

Common Friend: Can you tell the reason why you love her?
Boy: You can say 1000 reasons for not liking a person, but for liking a person you can’t reason!

The girl apparently is not interested with the boy.
Common Friend: Can you tell the reason why you don’t like him?
Girl: You can say 1000 reasons for liking a person, but you cannot say a reason for not liking a person!!

Wow…that’s Filmy!

I was watching a Telugu movie, when I was travelling in the very cosy volvo bus from hyderabad to chennai. The movie was entertaining to be honest. But couple of dialogues were very interesting:

Father advices to his daughter about the need for marriage:
“See, till the age of 10, a person is lost in his childhool games. Till the age of 20, a person is lost in his studies. Till the age of 30, a person is lost in his work/career. After that if the person is alone, he will lose himself!!!” The girl immediately agrees to marry…!

Girl: Why do you like me?
Boy: I cannot say why I like you…But I can say how much I like you!!! The girl literally floats after hearing the comment!

What the….? The script writers of Indian movies..especially Tam and Telugu movies are non-sensically creative :) Read Ram’s post on Captain…related to this and hilarious one.