June 04, 2016

What is knowledge ?

Knowledge was, is and will be the most important asset of any society, person or organisation. But what exactly knowledge is? Knowledge is the saturated form of data, information and sometimes personal judgement and evaluation as well based on strong evidence. Data is the raw form of knowledge, it is collected from the target audience or platform to develop some meaningful interpretation. Data alone in its own form can be meaningful or useful. In order to make it useful, it needs to be categorised and analysed. After categorisation and analysis that data start communicating a message as it processed and data becomes the evidence of an information. Information without the evidence of data is not/less reliable. Once information is drafted from data then it is used for the intended purpose. That can be a solution to any problem or identify the reason of something. When the information is used to prove a point and information is uniformed so it can be used by others to solve their similar problems as that information becomes knowledge. Knowledge remains static until something new is identified. Knowledge has evolved over centuries and past knowledge has helped humans to develop in the future. Like in past different knowledge were created but due to lack of financial and infrastructural resources that knowledge couldn't be used. There are several examples where past knowledge along with the new knowledge is used to develop state of the art facilities. One of the examples is the wireless charging system, where the initial concept was developed by Nicolas Tesla in early 20th century. Knowledge is not developed overnight. Knowledge generation is the key to any organisation or society to move forward into future, but it's an expensive, time taking and effort oriented task. Knowledge is like the stem of a tree which bears a lot of branches(information) and leaves(data) to enhance it's importance, reliability and beauty.


May 07, 2016

Women Empowerment

Women are the important part of every society, they play a significant role in the development of a society. As they say, behind every successful man there is a woman behind it. It true! Becuase women are the first source of inspiration for every/many children, and quality of inspiration of infant population determine the future of any society. So it won't be wrong to say that women play a pivotal role in society. To do that it important to allow women to do that, by empowering her.

Women empowerment is interpreted differently in the west and east(South Asia). And not to forget their is lot of cultural difference in both worlds. Talking to a girl in University of Warwick that "does she think that women in South Asian countries are empowered?" replied "No, because they are forced to get married to a person whom they don't know and then are forced to wear hijab and remain inside their houses and give birth to many children". She believed women are used as a source of comfort, her judgement was true somehow. But does the dress code, following cultural or religious norms define the level of empowerment of women?

NO! Because this might be a practical way of judging empowered women in western society but not in the east. Our goal is to empower women while respecting and accommodating this transition of women empowerment in their own respectable social institutions. Empowerment doesn't mean to forget your own norms and adapt the ones in the developed societies. Following others norm in own society will not make you empowered but white sheep in a herd of brown sheep.I think empowerment is about providing an opportunity and environment to women to dream.

If a woman is given an opportunity to dream without compromising her traditions and she is given an opportunity to communicate that empowerment to the younger generation, I think that what defines women empowerment in the best way. As women are the basic structure of a society, stronger the women healthier will be the society. This doesn't mean at all to replace men with women in every/different social aspect, but a better mix of both genders can increase the pace of development of any society.


March 14, 2016

Let's Ride on Waves with Wave Rider

On the first day when we as a team were asked to make a decision about which place and marketing mode to choose for Sea Catch. I thought this would be an easy task. In my accountancy background in under graduate, I took lot of decisions based on financial terms and i thought this is the most effective way to develop better understanding of the circumstances. Main tools used in accountancy were payback period, Internal rate of return and then Net Present Value, if all are favourable then decision for most of the times used to be positive. I had never thought there can be something else apart from money which can help to develop better understanding to take quick and effective decision.

While working on our mini project we decided to agree on the understanding gained from the case. Because we thought that different people might have understood different things. Then after sharing our understanding, our team decided to explore all the decision making tools from literature and notes. Again we shared our understanding, in this process some points were overlooked by some team members but during session of exchanging understanding team reached a same understanding level of each tool. Then we decided to disintegrate decision making process between selection of location and marketing technique. Although they had a relationship but nature of decision was different. Then team highlighted some tools and after detailed discussion on their effectiveness to give better results for robust decision in this circumstances were evaluated. Like this our team finalised the tools to be used for both decisions.

We as a team decided to do cost benefit analysis, because i had done this many times. But what i was found in this exercise were we were going other way around. In accountancy we were given with basic values to calculate the total costs and revenues and then cost is deducted from revenuer, which gave us net benefit or loss. But here we have to judge or find the quantifiable values of benefits and cost on our own, which i realised was quite a challenging task. For the first time i realised how difficult it can be to do cost benefit analysis in real life. Due to its complexity and time constraint we had to drop this tool.

March 07, 2016

Let me Lead !

There are lot of theories developed on leadership, and over the period of time people have adopted different them as they believed that this will suit their circumstances and position to exercise them. Some theories states leader are born and other states they can be made through developing and training their skills, attributes and personalities. I believe both can happen. Some people are really born with extra ordinary skills and thinking style, which are new and different from others. They see what others can't see. But those things can be seen by others by improving their skills through educating and training them, to see the matters which are important for decision making. Its in hand of person to change himself. People do change, but the process of change from normal person to becoming a leader requires lot of efforts. That process can be putting that person into simulated environment to develop artificial stress and create near to realistic environment to make them strong psychologically and enable them to feel confident and take right decision in the circumstances, where no one knows what to do and their is no one who can help you with guaranteed right decision.

There is no doubt being leader is not an easy task. I believe leader must know all style of leaderships he should know how and when to become autocratic, democratic and lazies fare. One style of leadership can't fit all the circumstances. Leader can go through different circumstances and sensitivity of circumstances can differ as well. Its important for leader to access and understand the circumstances and then adopt the right leadership style. In some circumstance high skills and experience can be needed to overcome situation and no one is close to calibre of skills and qualities of leader, then leader must use his skills and experience to come up with solution. But in situation where leader is far from the problem its very important for leader to empower the people who are closer to that problem in terms of interaction and understanding, then in such case leader should let those people decide to solve their problem in to best of their understanding. In situations where brainstorming is needed to come up with new thoughts or to develop thoughts by exchanging ideas and developing a bigger idea on the basis of exchanging ideas with each other in organisation then leader can choose democratic approach.

But all these decisions can again differ in terms of intellectual quality of the people leader is dealing with. If those people are not highly skilled and don't know the bigger picture which organisation is trying to deal with or to achieve in the long run then involving them in the decision making process wouldn't be a nice choice. Even though great idea can come up from any part of organisation regardless of skills level. Intelligence have nothing to do with experience, skills and education. Its important for leader to understand and provide easy opportunity for people all around the organisation to easily share their ideas with higher level management, and those ideas should be evaluated while remaining unbiased. Leadership is as earlier said a complex role, which need to be understood and performed in a complex way, instead of taking generalised approach to minimise personal pain in short run but this will result in poor organisational results in long run.


March 06, 2016

Do you really know something ?

Sometime we think we know something, but actually we don't. Sometimes we believe we had made a good decision but actually we haven't. Most of the times many people come up with quick answers, with the assumption that it was a right decision. According to research humans have two system which help them to make decisions. One is system one and another is system two. System one come up with faster answer, these answers are normally based on judgements, rumours or past experiences. This system most of the times overlook the tiny details of question and directly jumps to answer, which is often. Reason for wrong answer is that apparently question looks different but if details are understood that means something else and so is answer different. This system of thinking doesn't involve any process of thinking and concludes very quickly. System two uses a systematic way to reach answer, it starts to answer the question by applying some systematic model to question to fit in and develops answer with reason and justification. In this case chances of missing minor details are low and probability of making right decision is high. But people who are not habitual of using this process of decision making they normally don't use this system and rely mostly on system one.

Sometimes somethings seems simple, but they ain't. And sometimes too much time i spent on simple decision. Both systems can't be used all the time. Choosing which system to choose at which time depends on the circumstances. If circumstances require quick decision for example in case of disaster, unexpected emergency then using system two can waste time, because in such circumstances time is key to have impact. Greater the time it will take to respond, greater the impact will be. So for such circumstances system one is the most appropriate way of making decision. But in case where lot of factors are involved in decision making like making the decision to expand in particular market or not. In such circumstances there are lot factors which need to be analysed before reaching conclusion. In order to analyse different information's different business models can be used as a frame work to interpret the information and make a sensible meaning out of it. By using business models bigger picture is understood and after taking input from various business models a decision is made, with support of all the calculations. If in beginning, a right way of decision system have been selected for right circumstances then chances of making right decisions are also high.


February 21, 2016

Effective Leader, stay away from me!

Human have emotions and fears of being unsafe. Traditional leadership is practised by knowing them and then using it against them to make realise their positional power. Such leaders believe by creating fear, not caring for people emotions and pushing them to work will show their strength as a leader. Traditionally right, but actually wrong! Because every person wants safety in terms of respect, job and career progression. They might won't demand, doesn't means that they actually don't want. Great leaders treat their people like parents. They care for them, they create and provide great environment for them to learn and excel, if they make mistake they forgive them, they don't count their children in heads they count them in terms of hearts and emotions, they don't alternate numbers with people, they sacrifice for the comfort of their people as parent do it for their children. There is no doubt that parents are great leaders for most of children.

Creating fear by pushing and yelling at people doesn't makes people to work better or run in one direction, they will run but in different directions. Resulting in uncoordinated team work. People are like chain if you push it from one side you exactly wont know that where will it go. One part may go forward but other parts will go here and there but if chain is pulled from one side then rest of chain will follow you. Leader should lead the people so they can follow you without leader saying anything to people and people saying to leader. This can be done by giving power back to people, once you will people will start giving power back to you again and deflect that power back to people it again, this process will make leader more powerful and this power will be more long lasting then positional power.

Problem starts when leader starts keeping some power to satisfy his ego or whatever. This results in decreased power deflection to people, so people also deflect back the decreased power and then leader again keeps some power, this process makes leader weak in long run and people starts losing trust in their leader. Keeping power means leader starts relying or starts exercising his positional power. Leadership is the most scarce resource, even scarce then oil and gold. People often confuse leadership with manager. One major difference from my discussion is manager pushes the people to get his task done and leader pulls the people to complete task. If leader wants to build his personal power, he must always not try to push people, create fear in them, not care emotions of people. He must always provide safety to it's people. If leader will give his blood, sweat and love to his people, people will deflect it back to leader.


Once I was a Leader

Most of the people wants to lead at some point of their life. As they lead they came across lot of challenges which teach them lot of new lessons. During last week i became leader a leader in one of the group excercise. I got excited when i got selected as a leader. But soon my excitment turned into information burden. Which was a challenge to understand in first instance but somehow i understood. Next challenge was to tell team about the objective of excersice. Which i did, but soon i realized that different team members got different level of understanding. As the excersize started i again realized different team members had a different expectations from me as a leader as some were expecting me to instruct and some were instructing to delegate, most of them had different pace of work. Activity finished, got reflections! Some of the major challenge which i faced were how to complete the task in tigh time bound deadline with engaged team. Task wasn't completed in time and team was also not fully engaged! Failure instigated lot of thoughts that how could we have done better, lots of ideas came across my mind.

But today i was walking through Warwick Art Centre, and saw some people practicing symphony for some competition going on in Art Centre. Melodious music forced me to stop there and listen, it was really nice! But i was amazed to see that how all the people were coordinating to play such a melodious music? When they finished, i asked the lady who was sitting closer to me. That how do you know that at what time which tone of music you have to play and when to stop and when to start playing again? Her reply really gave me a thought about some leadership questions which i was asking myself about last week leadership excercise, in which i performed as leader. She said the person who directs symphony tells team which sort of final music is he looking for. Then every instrument player share their ideas with leader and share their tones with each other. Once tones are decided they once agian played infront of leader to take his suggestions. This practice is done by every instrument player. Then leader tells if he wants some stronger tone then he allocates more intrument players in order to play that tone. After detailed planning we come up with sigle melodious performance.

Such an amazing lecture i got! I realized that it is important for leader to not just delegate but also discuss plan with every single or most of the team members take their suggestions, ask others to suggest something, then give his opinion. Every one should be delegated. Once delegated ask them dummy questions just to clarify that a team member know his role and know how his role is contributing to achieve objective. It takes time to do all that, but once this is done then its very easy to coordinate and work fast. But without any coordination and improper delegation it can be easy to start the task but soon leader will realize that every thing is getting messed up. In order to be an effective leader its important to spend time with team in order to develop a mutual understanding of task and develop mutualy agreeable plan to achieve it. Theratically it seems easy to be a leader, but its not. It got so complicated in such a short time and controlled environment, i was wondering how complex would it be to lead in the real world. I think leaders can learn a lot from an ochetraw, that how to lead a coordinated and engaged team towards final performance or objective.


February 19, 2016

How would it be to Coach Hitler?

There are lot of definitions for coaching, but one which inspired me was "coaching is about helping or assisting people to solve their own problems". Its leader job to coach its team members not guide. Agree! If i had got an opportunity to coach Hitler, how would it look like. His objective was to kill people and invade world no matter how much destruction it causes. If i would have been coaching according to the definition which inspired me, then i would have suggested some good bombs, poisnous gases, powerful tanks, some war moves and many other ways to kill. It was not just the Hilter's fault for massive destruction, all of his brigade was as responsible as Hilter, because they were till some point assisting Hitler how to achieve his goal. If they could have taken off the cap of coaching at that time, they might have suggested something else or given a strong opposition to his idea.

If coaching means persuading and motivating someone to solve their own problem, then why do we need a coach. Coach should coach and sometimes direct as well even if it is against the will of other person. All humans are born with different instincts and traits. They might think, whatever they are doing is the right thing to do, but if its fundamentaly wrong, then it need to be stopped imediately. Because expence of such learning can be very high. There might be possibility that at sometime Hitler would have realised his mistake and had learnt something, but that was too late.

Leader should use a mix of coahing and direction to assist his team to solve their problems. Because there is no alternative to experience. If leader knows from his expereince that some of his team member is doing something fundamentally wrong and he knows the consequences, in this case he should direct his team member. But if leader feels his team member is heading towards right direction but is stucked somewhere, then he should coach him about, how does his team member thinks it should be resolved and then should build on suggestions of his team member to coach properly.

Leader is an agent of shareholders and his primary goal is to maximize the wealth of shareholders. If his coaching process is costing lot of money to shareholders then shareholders will either withdraw their money or change him, both of them are not good for a company. By using mix of direction and coaching, he can maximize shareholders wealth along with promoting the culture to learn and solve their problem on their own. This will be beneficial in lon run, as team members will be able to solve their own problems as it will give leaders some extra time to think about other issues. Resulting in improved performance of overall team.

no nazi

Is CSR an Expense?

From my past accounting academic background, we were taught how to control the cost and keep an eye on increasing cost. Most importantly find the reason for increasing cost and try to relate its impact on the revenue generated. Increasing cost were termed as "Adverse impact". It was very important to relate every cost, that if it is contributing to increasing revenue or not. Like if training expence, marketing, raw material costs were increasing they use to have an poitive impact on reveneus as well. But it was very difficult to make direct link between CSR and revenue in short run, as accounting records are updated on very short term basis. So CSR expence use to be our first target to cut down, when we wished to control or reduce costs. I think its just difference of perception for the treatment of CSR in accounting terms as expence where as it is an investment in future, if CSR activity is in line with your vision and helping to promote the brand. Because at sometimes alot of successfull products are launched under the umbrella of brand with positive image.

There is difference in accounting investment and investment in customer brains for soft image of brand. Accounting investment normally consists of capital(long term but in something tangible or non tangible) or revenue(short term used in a year). CSR is normally treated as revenue expenditure which i realize is quite different despite which it should have been. CSR is sort of capital investment which you are doing in future to strengthen your brand. It is very important to note that CSR doesn't and shouln't mean throwing away money without adding value to business. CSR should be some positve socially respoinsbile acitivity which helps to generate value and recognition for business in long run as well.

As organizations are an important player in socities, so are socities an important stakeholder to businesses. In many cases, socities provide important input to businesses interms of employees motivation, their skills and engagement to make business more successfull, suppliers and customers. CSR is investment in the future inputs to increase the quality of inputs. If operations of some business is making the lives of socities around misereable, someday in future that misery will enter the organization as input and ruin all its performance. Because we have one plannet for all living beings, its very important to take care of it. It's more like "GIVE AND TAKE". Think about them, they'll think about you. It might take some time, but they will. Becaue humans are attached to emotions, which sometimes connects them to some organization or products.


February 17, 2016

Being a Leader

Being a effective leader is not an easy task to do. It is a perception the person who have good communication skills, robust in decision making, physically strong persson, have skills and expereince to lead can become a good leader. I think its not as simple as that. Because this depends how leader uses all his skills and expereince. Does he use them to assist his team members or does he use them to develop his importance in organization ? This is what decides or makes you an effective leader. If a person hold and builds his positional power then it would be easy for him to get the things done. But those things will be done by heart and soul, there is no guarantee to that. In this people will obey their leader as they dont want to lose their job, but they will not do something extra apart from the task which they are asked to do. This is an easy and quick way to get the things done. But another is personal power, which takes comparatively longer time to develop but is more effective. In this, leader leads by example, charisma and vision which he sells to his team members instead of forcing them to do something. This can be done by communicating with people, buidling a positive rapport, delegating and trusting team members, transforming them by giving them whatever learning you have got, not using rank to impose something. Effective leader must have a good and friendly relationship with employees, where they feel comfortable to share their problems and suggestions with leader. Through such leadership manager can get feedback form his employees, which he can further use for self development and improve performaance of team. It's not neccessary that only leaders can have great ideas, they can come from any part of organization. Its leader's responsibility to create such environement where new ideas can encouraged and brought forward easily for implementation if they have any potential, and people should be motivated enough to go extra mile while completing their task. That's what a personal power can do, but it takes time and efforts to develop that much area of influence. Leader who excersive positional power can get their tasks completed in short time but in long run their wont be effective due to lack of dedication and interest of his poeple to work towards the goals which such leader wants to achieve. If leader wont care about peopel, vice versa.



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