Monthly Archives: November 2003


Saachi had a bad tummy last two days…probably one ‘daal’ we had made…or due to the chinese meal we had on Monday evening…she had an infection and was throwing up constantly 😦

Yesterday was scary…she refused to eat anything and we thought we would have to hospitalise her…fortunately we persisted in giving her syrups and she was ok last night…

Hope today goes off well too…

Mind constantly on her today…must think about work…!



Verticalisation, Matrix and other organizational changes

On ISTT: I said

“I have been following the debate on the verticalisation of IT firms and thought I’d just point you all out to a model that has been around a
long time and whether we can look at this approach in a new light.

I am talking about Larry Greiner’s model ‘Evolution and Revolutions in Organizational Growth’ that was published in the early 1970s in the HBR

Griener’s model is suited for organizations that grow from small entreprenuerial firms and in time grow in size and markets.

Griener says that an organization experiences a crisis point in various stages of its life and takes certain decisions to negotiate that crisis, which in turn leads to another crisis in the future.

The firms typically try structural changes to crises, and verticalisation, centralisation and decentralisation are examples of these efforts which are suited for that point of time.

Here are the various stages of Griener’s model

1. Creativity – which runs into a crisis of leadership when the founder is no more around.

2. Direction – which runs into a crisis of autonomy

3. Delegation – which runs into a crisis of Control

4. Co-ordination – which runs into a crisis of red tape

5. Collaboration – and we still don’t know what crisis this will run
into 🙂

Check out the model here


On ISTT I wrote about ITES in India

The ITES industry leaders can make a difference if they are thinking about further growth, ready to tackle the emerging challenges in the field from players like Phillipines, China and a whole lot of others. For reasons of Business Continuity and Risk Management Indian ITES segment would also need to slowly become global and maintain data centres across the world

Coming to the HR issue in ITES the situation is quite similar to the pre-Y2K days of the IT services firms. The team sizes are large, the work is monotonous and the average project cycle is long (similarilites with maintenence work)

As soon as organizations can reorient business models to take into account niche outsourcing work and work becomes more project oriented
(shorter projects, more value added , like compiling reserach reports for global research firms, and giving recommendations) more people with high end skills (PhDs, MBAs etc) will move into the operations functions of the ITES sectors.

For example at a payroll outsourcing centre data miners and business analysts would slice and dice and analyse data to come up with recommendations for a new compensation systems based on trend analytics.

The quality of this work will invariably pass on skills to the fresh graduates who do the ‘maintenence’ version of the job and as companies seek to ramp up their skills with facilities like part time or satellite studies as a buffer for the scarce high end skills they will result in better and higher wages.

While now the work is coming for a cost arbitrage model as soon as these skills become more numerical maybe the very low end data entry and answering calls kind of jobs might migrate to cheaper countries (which has still not happened in the IT services industry, there does happen some amount of gravity 🙂 their ability to duplicate these kind of skills will be very low (qualitatively or quantitatively)

There will happen some kind of shakeout after this boom, when people who have entered this industry just to make hay while the sun shines, who do not concentrate on quality and customer understanding will go down the way of the hundreds of small time IT firms which vanished mid 2000 …but they would have created a talent pool from which the bigger players will select and become still bigger.

My Monday morning hopes about the creation of a sustainable industry 🙂


My favourite Movies

I love animated flicks…in fact the first movie I took my wife to (when I was wooing her) was “A Bug’s Life” 😉

Loved Shrek too…haven’t yet caught Finding Nemo !

I like epic movies …Gladiator, Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, Matrix trilogy, also love very intense gritty movies…Chocolat was great.

Some craftily made suspense thrillers are great too…Hitchcock of course, and Manoj Shyamalan’s movies :-))

As far as the new urban Indian movies are I loved Dil Chahta Hai, Jhankaar Beats, etc

For earlier movies I loved the Amol Palekar-Hrishikesh Mukherjee 1970s flicks…give me a “chupke chupke” any day…or Golmal!

Other two comedies I adore are “Jaane Bhi do Yaaron” (social comment with black humor- nobody has been able to do that again!) and “Andaaz Apna Apna” (only case when Salman Khan outshone Aamir!)


On Leadership at ISTT

quoting by a report on Leadership by Towers Perrin
about “Leadership in Asia“:

“Leaders in Asia need a sound grasp of the three C’s: context,
content, and creativity. Thus far the first C has been emphasized, to
the almost complete exclusion of the other two. A couple of decades
ago, when markets were unsophisticated and relatively closed, the
availability of products from foreign multinational companies
was a novelty, and foreign executives with even a perfunctory
contextual understanding of the market and the business and cultural
moorings of the country in which they operated could make the grade.

That is no longer the case. As markets have opened and consumers have
grown more sophisticated, they have come to demand more in terms of
the value delivered to them. Understanding context is no longer
enough; now, leaders and their organizations need to excel at content
and creativity to be successful.

By content we mean a sound understanding of the foreign country’s
infrastructure and value chain, from product conception to delivery
to the client. For example, most multinational companies with a
presence in India envision the profit potential presented by a middle-
class consumer population of 250 million. But many of these companies
fail to take into account that only one-fifth of that number can be
reached through existing distribution channels. Companies that have
succeeded in India have built deep marketing and support networks in
rural areas. The best-laid plans of many consumer goods companies
have gone awry because of a lack of understanding of the
infrastructure and support mechanisms that allow products to be moved
from the manufacturer to customers.

To make an impact in markets around the world, leaders of global
companies also need to come up with creative, innovative ways to
reach out to customers. Companies with operations in foreign
countries often face stiff local competition. Fast-food chains, for
example, find themselves going up against local cuisines that are
entrenched through age-old tradition. The best approach is not to
resist or go against the grain of tradition but to find creative ways
to package products so they suit local tastes.

McDonald’s, for example, has introduced a vegetarian burger in India,
with considerable success.

In essence, leaders of organizations that have global operations need
to concentrate not just on external factors such as branding and
securing customers but also on internal factors such as building
organizational capacities and capabilities. The big challenge in Asia
is for leaders to fill the needs of various targeted populations
through mass customization without escalating costs unduly. Only
through a thorough understanding of not only context but also content
and creativity can they make that happen.”

In my personal view the most important job of a leader is to
articulate a vision…therefore a leader has to be a great story-
teller! This story and the promise of success is what a leader has to
constantly keep going back to his people and partners with. And only
if the story is powerful and moving enough with his people finally
make it happen.

So apart from the deep understanding of markets, industries,
operations and people the job of establishing a two way communication
is critical to a leader’s job. That is why (in my opinion!) a lot of
very good COOs never become half as successful CEOs 😦

But that does not mean all CEOs need to be charismatic personalities
like Richard Branson 🙂 A leaders job is often a paradoxical mix of
the hard and soft, the distasteful and the elevating and therefore a
leader needs to be paradoxical himself…think of great business (and
social leaders) and therefore this very paradoxical nature of theirs
ignites so much debate !