Welcome to Learn Book

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,368 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 5,606 hits
December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Archives

Org.Schema: Do not hire!

In the article “Org.Schema: Creating Redundancies“, I argue how for every position, you need to have a succession plan. You need to prepare the second employee, through job rotation, and I have conveyed that message through a case study.

Currently, I am in a job profile which also includes taking care of physical assets alongside helping my organization appreciate its human capital. The physical assets side of my profile has helped me appreciate some simple truths which may well be applied even in the case of human capital:

Do not invest in assets which you cannot possibly maintain. 

There is this tendency in large organisations to invest in large physical assets, larger even relative to their requirement. The asset does not receive the attention it deserves, and is left to decay with zero maintenance. Soon enough, it becomes a liability.

painting gif.gif

Gif Credit: media.giphy.com

Because it is their in the books, and although the organisation may not be using it, still the depreciation costs are helping it “save” some taxes, although it isn’t really saving. So you need someone to just keep a track of the same, maybe invest in some security for ensuring that the asset is not misused in any way – BIG COSTS.

In the case of human capital: Do not hire, if you cannot assure the welfare of the employees. If you cannot ensure that they are put into proper projects or work that fit in with their career aspirations.  If you cannot provide good learning and development opportunities. If you cannot provide safety and security to the families of your employees.

Do not hire. Because in the long run, not only would those improper hires suffer along with their families, but also the organisation which may well be the biggest loser.

Cut off the extra fat, if you cannot possibly burn it. 

Having worked in two Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), I have understood that one of the biggest strengths of the PSUs is the amount of land they have under their possession. But they do not always require that amount of land! And they spend enormous amounts of money on litigation, security and boundary walls to protect that. Wouldn’t it better to sell those extra land, and be asset-light when you cannot possibly put the extra land for the creation of organisation-value?

On the human capital side: Use your human capital for value-creation, and if you cannot, actively train & develop them or help them get more rewarding careers in another organisation. Your organisation would benefit much more than those employees. The employees would thank the organisation for not killing their careers.

But first, DO NOT hire if you cannot buy the right assets at the right time for the right amount at the right cost. 

You would not have to face the two problems listed before, if you just buy the right assets at the right time for the right amount at the right cost. Because of the right amount, the assets would be maintained. And no need for shedding off the extra assets, because you would again have the right assets for the right amount, right? (Too many rights, the lefts would mind!)

On the human capital side: Hire right. Hire trainable employees, who can add value not only in the present but also in the future. In this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous) business environment, you do not need the best for the present, but best for both the present and the future. Having the skills to learn both easy and fast (the motto of this blog), and having the right attitude to keep on learning always. 

130662.strip_.zoom_.gif

Comic Courtesy: dilbert.com

What other variables do you think affect power relations? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Amartya Dey, India

Other Articles by the Author:

Advertisements

Word: Obstreperous

Obstreperous [Adjective]

Sentence: The nineteen‐sixties, that obstreperous decade in the international art scene, saw the rise and fall of several movements, each new style following hard upon the heels of the other. It was a great opening‐up period, beginning with pop art, followed by op art, the various forms of minimal sculpture, kinetic art, the whole art‐and‐technology syndrome, multimedia extravaganzas, funk art and the beginnings of conceptual art, in which “ideas” about works of art triumphed over the physical forms themselves. (Source: www.nytimes.com)

Meaning: Noisy, clamorous and difficult to control

How To Remember?

Obstreperous” may be thought of as a combination of the words “Obstruction+ Onerous“. Think about an unruly kid who creates obstruction by being very loud and clamorous, making him very difficult to control. 

Remember thus!

For more words, click here! 

calvin_bad_mood_answer_1_xlarge

[Calvin appears to be in a obstreperous mood. Beware!]

Subscribe to the blog for whetting your vocabulary and communication skills! 

Comment | Like | Share

Questioning Outsourcing – Part I

A boss of mine once famously said in an audience of two, how “outsourcing is the new normal“. You have a special, once-in-a-decade project? Outsource it. Do not have in-house expertise? Outsource it. No idea about how to go on about it? Well, again, you may just outsource it.

Outsourcing.jpg

Outsourcing helps an organization keep its immediate costs in check, also while reducing potential future liabilities. You do not have to worry about a lot of other peripheral things too if you outsource the work – medical benefits, salary slips, performance appraisal, and a lot more!

But while you do not worry about these peripheral things and rising employee costs, that also means letting go of certain amount of control that an organization might have to retain so that it has the requisite talent/skill pool for gaining and retaining competitive advantage in a fierce market.

These aspects raise certain pertinent questions:

  1. What do you outsource?
  2. How much do you outsource? Fully or partially?
  3. To whom do you outsource?

There are no correct answers. The answers would change vis-a-vis the context of the business challenge at hand. In this series, we would try to answer the questions and more.

Would love to know your opinion on the above questions. What do you think about them?

Amartya Dey, India

Other Articles by the Author:

Stocks & Shares: Looking at Essel Propack

Essel Propack claims to be “the largest global specialty packaging company in the world”. Tell me, which product does not need packaging! Every product does.

ess

Essel Propack provides packaging solutions not only to Beauty & Cosmetics companies, and  pharmaceutical companies, but also to the food packaging industries.

Now what got me interested in EP? Two news points: 

  • A huge drop in crude oil price has benefited many companies from the industry, as plastic is derived from by petroleum refining products. Lower the cost of oil, lower is the cost of plastic raw materials used across product manufacturing units to produce finished goods. 

  • Essel Propack, the world’s largest laminated tubes manufacturer, is understood to design and manufacture tube packaging requirement of Patanjali, which is growing in triple digits and is expected to touch Rs 10,000 crore turnover in the current fiscal.

Additionally, if you look at the fundamentals, it does seem like pretty good, if not great, investment opportunity given the abundance of over-valued stocks around us. A P/E ratio below 21 in this investment climate seems pretty decent.

What do you think? 

P.S.: At the time of writing this blog (end of day 4th July, 2017), the share of Essel Propack had been trading at Rs. 242.00 in the NSE.

Word: Petrichor

Petrichor [Noun]

Sentence: Publishing in the journal Nature in 1964, Bear and Thomas proposed a name for the scent brought on by rain. They called it “petrichor,” a blend of the Greek words petra, rock, and ikhor, the blood of the gods in Greek mythology. But the scientists acknowledged that they were not the first to identify the stormy smell. They were not even the first to extract it. In fact, what they had dubbed petrichor was already a signature fragrance produced in Kannauj. Extracted from parched clay and distilled with ancient techniques, it is known as mitti attar—Earth’s perfume. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

Meaning: The pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather

How To Remember?

Any word having “petra-” in it, has something to do with rocks. For example, petroleum refers to “rock oil”. Thus, petrichor too has something to do with rocks. And “ichor” refers to the fluid that flows through the veins of gods in Greek mythology.

Picture fresh rain droplets on rocks, and imagine that wonderful smell which emanates then – a serious cure for bad mood.

Remember thus!

For more words, click here! 

Petrichor1.gif

Gif Credit: www.tumblr.com

Subscribe to the blog for whetting your vocabulary and communication skills! 

Comment | Like | Share

PMP: Project versus Operations

While both projects and operations are led and executed by “people“, and both add “value” to an organization, projects and operations are two different exercises.

Finish-Start-06-12-11-400x400.jpg

Comic Credit: nickandzuzu.com

  • Projects have a definite beginning and a definite end. A project does not keep on going. There is a start and a finish. Not so with operations. Operations are activities which are ongoing in nature. You complete one cycle to start another. It goes on!

Buss-diss-1.jpg

Picture Credit: www.wgsn.com

  • Ralph Lauren famously said: “You have to create something from nothing.” While projects do not normally entail any demand so dramatic, every project manager has a measurable and unique something to deliver at the end of the project delivery time. For example, a team might be entrusted with the job of coming out with the design of an electric car. There would be a definite time-frame within which the team would be expected to deliver the design – a measurable and unique something. Now this would be a project.
  • Again, once the design and other parameters have been fixed, suppose the company starts manufacturing the electric car after sufficient market research (another project) which show that the endeavour would be profitable. The manufacturing would be an “ongoing” process right. One after the other, the electric cars would be manufactured and sold off. This entire process would come under the ambit of “operations“.

A simple summary:

Project versus Operations.png

More articles on Project Management:

PMP: 3 Must-Haves to be a Great Project Manager

Great project managers are rare, but hey, they are there. And they are valued because they possess the right knowledge, perform efficiently, and marshal their troops  effectively showcasing superior personal skills.

Yes, if you can garner the right amount of the three must-haves listed above, no one can stop you from being a great project manager (PM).

The must-haves are summarised below:

Must haves to be a Great PM.png

 

Word: Verbiage

Verbiage [Noun]

Sentence: Information overload is everywhere, from non-stop news to rat-a-tat email inboxes. At the receiving end of this deluge of verbiage is the human brainyour brain— metaphorically endowed with a vacuum cleaner that sucks up information; a container for short-term memory; a blender for integrating information; a memory bank for storing long-term information; a garbage disposal for getting rid of information; and a recycling machine extraordinaire. (Source: hbr.org)

Meaning: Containing a lot of unnecessary words; Excessively lengthy or technical

How To Remember?

Too many “verbs“, too many words! And we don’t like too many unnecessary words, do we now?

Remember thus!

Synonyms?

Verbosity; Prolixity; Superfluity; Redundancy.

Antonyms?

Brevity; Pithiness; Succinctness.

For more words, click here! 

Verbiage

Picture Credit: www.askingsmarterquestions.com

Subscribe to the blog for whetting your vocabulary and communication skills! 

Comment | Like | Share

Word: Abiturient

Abiturient [Noun]

Sentence: Each syllable counted. Each word had a power of which, until then, I had been oblivious. The air in the classroom was loaded with awareness. Till today mere boys, we discovered a might within ourselves that had remained hidden hitherto by our poor self-perception. All at once, every Abiturient was a well of knowledge, a source of ideas, a person of talent. (Source: The Oxymoron Factor: Franek: Stranger in My Land by Frank Stiffel)

Meaning: A student (especially in the German education system) who has just joined a university or is going to a university after having taken the secondary school final examination

Check the meaning of the word “Novaturient” by clicking here.

How To Remember?

Connect this word with “Novaturient“: The word “Nova” originates from the Latin “Novus” meaning “New“. “Novaturient” thus should remind you of someone who wants a new life!

Similarly, when we leave school to join a university, it indicates a new “turn” in our life. Thus, “Abiturient“!

Remember thus!

For more words, click here! 

ABI-GES-HP-01-0205_rkk.indd

Picture Credit: www.cp-monitor.de

Subscribe to the blog for whetting your vocabulary and communication skills! 

Comment | Like | Share

Business: BCG Growth Share Matrix Part I

In a world with unlimited resources, you would not have to worry about allocation of resources. Well, you would not have to worry about a lot of things – poverty, hunger, strife. War? We cannot say that for sure.

But as we are dealing with limited resources, we can only allot so much to the different priorities in our lives or businesses. And you would want to put money behind the ones that have earned the highest priorities by promising you the highest returns.

BCG Growth Share Matrix helps you make that decision – the decision about behind what endeavor you should allocate what percentage of your total resources. It uses two fairly intelligible dimensions to do that – Relative Market Share of the product which acts as a proxy for the amount of cash it generates for your overall business, and Market Growth Rate of the product which would tell you about the amount of cash the product requires (higher the growth rate, more is the cash required to sustain that growth). Fairly simple, right?

Also, understand this: if the relative market share of one of your products is high, you have earned a competitive advantage for yourself in that product line. Hence, relative market share acts as a proxy for competitive advantage too.

Likewise,  if the market growth rate for another of your product is very high, that means that the product line is attractive as an option to invest. Who doesn’t like growth! Thus, market growth rate acts as a proxy for industry attractiveness. 

Now Bruce Henderson of the Boston Consulting Group considered it wise to bring competitive advantage (proxy:  relative market share) and industry attractiveness (proxy: market growth rate) on the same sheet and provide us with valuable insights.

Lets look at the matrix now:

picture_bcg_matrix

Picture Credit: www.valuebasedmanagement.net

In the follow-up article, we would look in the various aspects of the matrix above – the cash flow, the earnings and the strategy you should take when dealing with cows, dogs, question marks and stars. Till then, we would be better off thinking about what other proxies can we use for both competitive advantage and industry attractiveness?

Post your suggestions in the comments section below!

Amartya Dey, India

Other Articles by the Author:

Other resources:

Follow Welcome to Learn Book on WordPress.com