Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monetary Policy

The responsibility for the control of money supply, bank credit, and interest rates lies with the central bank of the country, viz. the Reserve Bank of India.

The money in circulation with the public cossets of currency and coins issued by the central bank plus deposits with banks and some other depository institutions. Depending upon which deposits are being included we get different monetary aggregates which are termed M1, M2, M3 and so forth. M3 is the so called broad money and includes demand and fixed deposits along with currency and coin. Bank credit is also a measure of liquidity in the economy since banks’ ability to extend credit depends upon their ability to mobilize deposits and the cash reserves they have to maintain against these deposits. The stock of currency together with the reserves maintained in the banking system of the central bank constitutes the monetary base or high powered money. Changes in this are magnified and lead to changes in the total money stock or bank credit.

The central bank can use a variety of policy instruments to regulate the volume and cost of credit in the economy. It can lower or raise the cash reserve ratio (CRR) within specified limits to make it easier or more difficult for banks to extend credit. By engaging in open market purchases or sales of securities from its portfolio it can inject or suck out reserves enabling banks to expand or contract credit as also lowering or raising the cost of credit. It can use the discount rate – the rate it charges banks for refinancing facility and discretionary limits on refinancing facilities to influence the volume of bank credit. At times it can impose administrative controls to alter the volume and select oral composition of outstanding bank credit. Lately, the Reserve Bank of India has more or less dispensed with such administrative controls on credit and interest rates and has been relying more on open market operations and the market mechanism.

The RBI has adopted inflation control as the primary objective of monetary policy. From time to time it must also deploy the policy tools under its control to address other targets such as exchange rate and employment. Often, these objectives can conflict with each other. Thus massive capital inflows into the economy which is already awash with liquidity pose a dilemma for the central bank. If the central bank does nothing, the exchange rate would appreciate which may hurt exports; if it intervenes and buys foreign exchange to prevent this, it would have to inject additional liquidity into the system. At such times, it must trade off one target against another.

The degree of autonomy enjoyed by the central bank is an important determinant of its ability to conduct effective monetary policy and achieve credibility with financial markets. If it has to play second fiddle to the Finance ministry and accommodate government’s borrowing requirements irrespective of the resulting impact on money supply, interest rates and inflation, it loses its ability to conduct effective monetary policy. Similarly, excessive reliance on opaque administrative control mechanisms reduces its credibility with financial markets and makes it difficult to implement anti-inflationary policies or appropriate exchange rate policies. In recent years, there has been a gradual move towards granting more and more operational independence.

Some financial terms:

Macroeconomics focuses on aggregate variables such as Gross National Product, aggregate investment and saving, total employment wholesale and consumer price indices money supply and bank credit and key financial variables like interest rates and exchange rates.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP) are two widely used measures of the level of economic activity.

Per capita GDP is widely used as a measure of living standards. The World Bank classifies countries into: ‘Low Income, ‘Middle income’ and ‘High Income’. The low income countries are often referred to as the Third World.

Depreciation

Depreciation is an important item on the profit and loss account, its nature is often not properly understood by non-finance managers.

This article clarifies what deprecation is, explains the manner in which the depreciation schedule is prepared, presents information on the methods and rates of depreciation under the Companies Act and the Income Tax Act, and dispels some of the myths surrounding depreciation.

Nature of Depreciation

A fixed asset is used over a number accounting periods. So it is necessary to allocate its costs to various accounting periods that benefit from its use. Such an allocation is called depreciation. Accountants normally allocate the cost of an asset over its useful life using a well-defined procedure.

Depreciation Schedule:

Three steps are involved in calculating the depreciation schedule.

1. Determine the depreciable base.
2. Estimate the useful life of the asset
3. Choose the depreciation method

Depreciable Base: The depreciable base is the cost of the asset less its residual value.

The cost of the asset is equal to:

List price less discount
+
Taxes
+
Insurance, freight and handling
+
Installation charges
+
Interest during the construction period

The residual value (or salvage value) is the amount expected from the disposal of the asset after its useful life. Since it may not be much or difficult to estimate, it may be put at 5 per cent or so of the original cost or even completely ignored.

Useful Life: The useful life of an asset is the period over which it is expected to be used. Often it is less than the physical life of the asset because of factors such as technological obsolescence, fall in demand and legal restrictions. Estimating the useful life is largely a matter of managerial judgment.

Depreciation method: There are several methods of depreciation. The two most commonly used depreciation methods in India are the straight line method and the written down value method.

Under the straight line method the depreciable amount of the asset is allocated equally over the useful life of the asset. To illustrate, assume that a car costs Rs 500,000 and is expected to fetch a salvage of Rs 80,000 after a useful life of 7 years. The annual depreciation charge is:

Cost – Salvage value / Useful Life
= Rs 500,000 – Rs 80,000/6 = Rs 70,000
Under the written down value method, the depreciation charge for an accounting period is equal to a fixed percentage of the book value at the beginning of the period. To illustrate, assume that the cost of an asset is Rs 100,000 and the depreciation rate applicable to it under the written down method is 40 per cent. The depreciation schedule for the asset will be as follows.

Year Original Depreciation Accumulated Book value
Cost depreciation at year end

1 100,000 40,000 40,000 60,000
2 100,000 24,000 64,000 36,000
3 100,000 14,400 78,400 21,600
4 100,000 8,640 87,040 12,960
5 100,000 5,184 92,224 7,776

Depreciation for company Law and Income Tax Purposes

Unlike most other countries the methods and rates for depreciation are prescribed by law India.

Depreciation under the Companies Act; The Companies Act requires that a company that tends to pay dividend must provide depreciation in accordance with Schedule XIV of the Act. This schedule gives the rates under the straight line method and the written down value method for various classes of assets. For assets used in multiple shifts, extra depreciation has to be provided. The key rates presently are as follows:

Straight line method Writeen Down Value

Building (other than 1.63% 5.00%
factory Buildings)

Factory buildings 3.34% 10.00%

Temporary Structure 100.00% 100.00%

Furniture & Fittings 6.33% 18.10%

One shift Three shifts One shift Three shifts
Plant & Machinery 4.75% 10.34% 13.91% 27.82%
(Gen)

Note that the above rates are the legal minimum rates for determining divisible profit. The purpose of the Companies Act is to protect the creditors. It tries it ensure that companies do not overstate profits to pay large dividends to the detriment of creditors.

Depreciation for income Tax Purposes: For income tax purposes, tax payers have no choice but to follow the written down value method. The rates permitted for various assets presently are as follows:

Buildings: 5%
Plant and machinery: 25%
Vehicles on hire: 40%
Computers: 60%
Pollution control equipment: 100%

There is no concept of higher depreciation for multiple shifts under the Income Tax Act. Note that the rates prescribed under the Income Tax Act are the maximum rates that a company can claim whereas the rates prescribed under the Companies Act are the minimum rates that a company must charge.

Grow along with your manager and organization

Success always comes to people who really want to succeed in life, particularly for those who can think big. So, please don’t sit down doing nothing thinking that success will come your way. You need to take some efforts and get into action to achieve it.

A lot of people keep cribbing about why they are not able to succeed in their career. The most common reason they come up with is that their manager is not helping them to succeed. But then if that is the real issue, why don’t you raise the issue with the manager? In most cases people don’t thinking that it might spoil their relation with the manager.

But it is important for you to understand that if something is unsaid, it is highly probable that its not communicated. Only you know what you want, but for everyone else it has to be communicated. Also, sit down and decide on your career plan. Only you can decide on that and execute it, not your boss.

The best way to grow in a firm is to force your manager to grow upwards. Once he grows, there is a vacancy created and then it’s in your manager’s interest to pull you up rather than appointing someone from outside because, you are the person who he understands best. So, if someone has to grow it has to be your manager first and then you.

Learn to face challenges instead of running away from them or they will run after you. Some challenges may be tough and some may come disguised as simple tasks. It’s important for you to overcome both.

Never keep anything to yourself. Till you complain, no one will even think over the issue. The solution will follow only when the issue is raised. So, if you have any issues with people around you at work, be bold enough to raise it and be clear about it. If you don’t, you are going to end up feeling frustrated.

People grow only when the company grows. It is very hard for people to grow in an organization that’s in a great loss. So everybody needs to put in equal efforts and avoid any kind of actions that may affect company’s growth.

The bottom line is that negative publicity will harm you as much as your company and also damage your professional image in front of others in the industry, making you less employable.

Management The Personal Touch – A case

Anita Roddick, founder and managing director of The Body Shop international demonstrates how much a manager’s personality and values can actually define the manager’s role and help to shape an organization The Body Shop sells products that cleanse and polish the skin and while it may appear to be a boutiques cosmetics company. It is really quite different.

The Body Shop was founded in 1976 by Roddick and her husband Gordon. At that time, the couple formed the business so Anita would have a means of supporting herself and their two children while her husband Gordon fulfilled his dream of riding on horseback from Buenos Aires to New York City. When Gordon left, Anita was operating a single shop in England; when he returned ten months later there were two shops with another one soon to follow.

By the early 1990s, The Body Shop had blossomed into a financial success. In 1992 The Body Shop boasted earnings of $265 million worldwide and enjoyed a 23 percent growth rate for the first half of 1993. As of November 1993, nearly 1000 Body shop stores were located around the world in 43 countries.

Many of Roddick’s personal values have influenced the Body Shop’s corporate culture. Indeed, the company is driven by her intense commitment – what she calls electricity and passion – that can’t help but engender enthusiasm and boost employee, customer, and community morale. At the same time, Roddick also focuses on her specific managerial responsibilities, primarily (thought not exclusively) product development and marketing.

Roddick’s use of marketing tends to distinguish The Body Shop not only from direct competitors but also from most other conies. The Body Shop does not spend money on consumer advertising. The organization is premised upon the belief that consumers are under-whelmed by the commercial hype already clouding the marketplace. The Body Shop therefore allocates promotional money to social activism instead of consumer advertising the old days we couldn’t afford (to advertise) recalled Roddick. Now we would be deeply embarrassed to. In a way, the organization’s refusal to advertise has become an element of the corporate culture.

Roddick does not market the company in a traditional way. Instead she aggressively pursues avenues through which the company can enjoy media coverage for free. In this way, the marketing of The Body resembles a political campaign I’m always available to the press, noted Roddick. I fervently believe that passion persuades, and I emit a lot of enthusiasm. Clearly Roddick recognizes the value of media coverage of The Body Shop. If I put our poster for coloring [a line of market] in the shop window that creates sales and profits, asserted Roddick. A poster to stop the burning of the rain forest doesn’t. It creates a banner of values. It links us to the community but it will not increase sales. What increases sale is boring Glamour magazine saying Princess Diana uses Body Shop products. Then we will get 7,000 phone calls asking for our catalog. You can measure the effect.

Roddick has also found that she must market herself as well as the company, and that the image she conveys is one that falls in line with the values she articulates. The staff doesn’t want me in fur coats or in big cars or acting like I’ve got the million dollars that I have said Roddick. They want me to be as I am. Other people, the City London’s Wall Street want me to be respectable. So you are dealing with multitudes of different people. There are so many planks in the platform of running a business.

It is Roddick who controls the press coverage, though not the other way around. She demonstrated her ability to create favorable coverage early on when The Body Shop first opened. Roddick opened the first store next door to a funeral home. When he received a formal letter of complaint from the neighboring undertaken, she leaked it to the press that they were ganging up on her – a struggling, female shopkeeper.

Attention to communication has played a major role in Roddick’s management of The Body Shop’s success. In the early days, Roddick felt it necessary to hide her true financial woes. I used to have friends call me when a potential franchises was arriving so I could have an absolutely ridiculous conversation. Ring, Ring Oh yes this is where you’d like the franchisee, Barry Street Edmonds? No, I don’t think it’s the right town for that. Besides we’ve already had 14 other applications. That went on all the time. This image of success that she fabricated soon turned into reality.

The functions of HR Generalist Profiles

The HR (Human Resources) has become an integral & essential part of any organization who works with humans. It not only solves the problems related to employee but also try to build a bridge between the management and staff. HR is the “Policy & Strategy Interpreter”. As a Country is known by its people…an organization is known by its
employees and hence it is the responsibility of this team to "Develop the
Employees" of the organization. The HR department doesn't produce anything or sell anything but it can help the rest of the company make things or sell things by smoothing the path on some matters. . In that scenario the role of HR generalist is very important. The good HR generalist goes about it differently. The HR Generalist looks to providing frameworks, rather than details, Look to serve rather than to command. Basically the following are the main functions of a HR generalist:

• Recruitment Management
• Joining Formalities
• Induction management
• Training Management
• Handling Employee Database (Both in Soft Form and Files Management)
• Handling the payroll
• Handling employee confirmation, Performance Appraisals, Performance
Management System
• Managing advance Salary, Ad Hoc Bonuses, Loans
• Liaison with various government organizations for Employee Provident
Funds, ESI and other Retirement Benefits
• Handling the queries related to salary, leaves. Attendance and transfer etc.
• Explain the various policies, strategies and benefits to employees.
• Workforce Planning
• Time Sheet Management
• Health & Safety
• Exit-Interviews
• Full and Final Settlement
Apart from the above official duties a HR professional also contribute in organization development; The Human Resources Generalist will become a business partner to the business by developing strong relationships with business managers. He/she will achieve this by seeking to understand the business areas they support, key drivers in developing that business, potential barriers to the success of the business and through this understanding and delivering customer focused HR solutions to the business to support its strategy.
• The HR Generalist will support the day-to-day operation of the HR function in strategic partnership with the business.
• Establish and maintain strong working relationship with business partners.
• Seek to understand key business issues in the local market and their impact on the business and HR.
• Support Managers on the Performance Management process to drive a culture of continuous performance management within the organization.
• Drive communications structures within the business to ensure clear consistent messages regarding the company’s objectives and goals are being delivered.
• Work with Business Managers to develop and implement human resources policies, procedures and programme necessary to achieve business and management objectives.
• Continuously contribute to improvement of HR processes and systems to support high performance work teams and drive waste and inefficiencies out of process.
• Advise Management and employees in human resources policy and program matters, recommending appropriate decision or course of action.
• They play an important role in "Employee Engagement" …winning the trust of the employee and hence can help the organization in controlling the turnover rate.
• Provide ER support to business managers. Support/improve existing ER/Communication systems.
• Participate in and manage special projects which provide viable customer solutions.

HR infrastructure by re-engineering ( change management ) ,work processes and redirecting resources to strategic initiatives, with the intention of making the entire business more productive, competitive, and a company of first choice to customers. At the end, I like to say that HR professional is having a big responsibility to hire a best person from the available talent pool. It is the process of getting the right people, with the right competencies, in the right jobs at the right time. The position is responsible for implementation of all human resources activities to ensure the company’s ability to attract high-quality employees, train, develop and motivate them to contribute towards the company’s goals. This individual must understand how to utilise effective human resources programme to achieve competitive advantage.

Functions of Personnel Managers

The functions of a personnel manager can be broadly classified into two categories :-

1. Managerial functions
2. Operative functions

Managerial functions

The managerial functions of a personnel manager have an impact on the operative functions as well. They are enumerated below :-

Planning – this involves formulating the future course of action. Planning includes determining in advance the personnel programs and changes required that would contribute to the achievement of organizational goals.

Organising – it involves establishing an intentional structure of roles for people in an organization. Structural considerations such as the chain of command, division of labour, and assignment of responsibility are party of the organizing function. The organizing function establishes relationships among employees so that they can contribute collectively towards the attainment of an organisation's goals.

Staffing – This is the process of obtaining and maintaining capable and competent personnel in various positions at all levels. It broadly encompasses manpower planning, recruitment, placement, induction and orientation, transfer, career progression, promotion and separation.

Directing – it involves directing all the available resources towards the common organizational goals. Thus, direction is a vital management function, which ensures maximum employee contribution and also helps in establishing sound industrial and human relations. It also involves coordination between different departments.

Controlling – it invoves the measurement of performance against goals and plans, identifies deviations and by placing the process back on track, helps in the accomplishment of plans.

Operative functions

These can be classified into four broad areas, employment, development, compensation and employee relations.

Employment – it involves procuring and employing individuals with suitable knowledge, skills, experience and aptitude necessary to perform various jobs. It includes functions such as job analysis, human resource planning, recruitment, selection, placement and induction.

1. Job analysis involves preparing job description, job specification, job requirements and employee specification and providing the guides, plans and basis for job design and redesign.
2. Human resource planning involves forecasting the human resource requirements of an organization and the future supply of human resources. It also involves assessing the possibility of developing the human resources to match the requirements.
3. Recruitment is the process of seeking and attracting prospective candidates against a vacancy in an organization.
4. Selection is the process of identifying and establishing the credentials of a candidate for a job to ensure success.
5. Placement is decided based on the needs of the organization.
6. Introducing a new employee to the organization, its business, the organization culture, its values and beliefs, practices and procedures is termed as induction.

Training and development

This process aims to train and develop employees to improve and update their knowledge and skills, so as to help them perform their jobs better. The process also includes developing the attitudes, beliefs and values of the employees to match the organizational needs. This comprises of performance appraisal, training, management / executive development, career planning and development.

1. Performance appraisal is the process of evaluating the performance of an employee on the job and developing a plan for improvement.
2. Training is the systematic development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to perform a job.
3. Development is the concept of developing the employees in an organization to meet future changes and challenges.
4. Career planning and development refers to identifying one's career goals and formulating plans of reaching them. It attempt to harmonize an individuals career aspirations with organizational needs.

Compensation

It is governed by the principle of rewarding an employee extrinsically during and after the course of his job for his contributions to the organization adequately, equitably and in a fair manner. It encompasses salaries, incentives, bonus and fringe benefits. This function comprises of Job evaluation, wage and salary administration, incentives, bonus and fringe benefits.

1. Job evaluation is the systematic determination of the value of each job in relation to other jobs in the organization.
2. The process of formulating and operating a suitable wage and salary program is known as wage and salary administration.
3. Incentives are the rewards an employee earns in addition to regular salary based on his performance or of the collective performance.
4. Bonus is primarily a share in the surpluses and is often directly related to the organization performance.
5. Fringe benefits are monetary and non-monetary benefits including disablement benefits, housing facilities, canteen facilities, conveyance facilities, educational facilities, recreational facilities, medical and welfare facilities, post retirement benefits, etc.

Employee relations & services

This function deals with employees as a social group that contributes to the organization, it includes –

1. Maintaining employee records, analyzing them and developing information needed for managerial decision making.
2. Increasing employee productivity
3. Keeping the employees satisfied and motivated
4. Maintainig a healthy and effective human organization.
5. Counselling services and developing employees into complete individuals and responsible citizens.
6. Developing policies, rules, guidelines and procedures relating to employee behaviour and ensuring their implementation and observance.
7. Developing team building, team management and leadership skills in employees.
8. Developing a fast and suitable grievance management system to redress grievances.
9. Compliance with labour laws.
10. Personnel research.
11. Enhancing the quality of worklife and personal life of the employees.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Meaning of Entrepreneurship

This function that is specific to entrepreneurs is the ability to take the factors of production – land, labor, and capital and use them to produce new goods or services. The entrepreneur perceives opportunities that other business executive do not see or do not care about.

Some entrepreneurs use information that is generally available to produce something new. Henry Ford, for example, invented neither the automobile nor the division of labor, but he applied the division of labor to the production of auto mobiles in a new way – the assembly line. Other entrepreneurs see new business opportunities. Akio Morita, the president of Sony, the Japanese consumer electronics giant, saw that this company’s existing products could be adapted to create a new one – the Walkman personal stereo. Basically the entrepreneur sees a need and then brings together the manpower, materials and capital required to meet that need. Grinding coffee beans and selling brewed coffee are not new. What is new is the quality and ambience that Starbucks gives to these activities. Essentially an entrepreneur creates an organization as a way of offering something new to customers, employees, or other stakeholders.

The greeting card industry offers an example of how entrepreneurs can find a niche by offering something different. In the $5.3 million retail card market , the biggest three companies – Hallmark Cards, American Greetings, and Gibson Greetings have 85 percent of the sales. However, more than a thousand smaller publishers are trying to out do each other with creativity and innovation for the remaining 15 percent. Responding to complaints of sometimes boring nature of traditional cards, some start ups target particular niches to the market. One such company is Send Inc., one of the small numbers of African American owned US greeting card companies. The founder Mark Norris started his company in response to frustration with the quality and variety of greeting cards available to ethnic consumers. His cards are sold in card shops, museums, and up scale retailers to four continents, and he has plans to expand the company’s focus to include the general market. Cardthartic of Chicago is a company aimed at the gay and lesbian market. Its first line of cards addresses such occurrences as adaptations by same sex couples or the less of someone to AIDS. Its president, Jodee Stevens launched the Ventures venture with $90,000 in personal funds and posted first year revenues of less than $100,000. Stevens expects the company to break even in two or three years.

One of major trends driving many companies of any size is the increasingly high standards of the industrial customers (both domestic and international), who demand exceptional quality from vendors who supply them with materials and components. In this demanding competitive environment Pro Fasteners Inc., a 55 employee San Jose, California, distributor of industrial hardware and components to the electronics industry, has emerged as a market leader, a world class competitor, and a model for others. Since its beginning a decade ago it has thrived, snapping up market share in a very competitive market. From 1990 to 1992 Pro garnered more than 50 quality awards. It has won acceptance as a prime vendor to ‘A’ list customers such as Applied Materials Inc., a big semi conductor equipment manufacturer. Applied is a world class producer that operates on tight just in time schedules and demands world class quality levels. To meet the needs of such customers, Pro must produce no more than a few wrong or faulty or late parts out of every million shipped.

Managers at Pro appear to be making all the right moves, using a continuous improvement quality push to achieve records of near perfect performance. To accomplish this level of quality, Pro uses a state of the art computer system, promotes communication and training and utilizes cross functional teams. All of this has not been accomplished without growing pains, as the company reinvents itself as it goes along, and everyone adjusts to new ways of managing. As more and more organizations strive to enter the arena of world class quality, much can be learned from both the successes and the growing pains of companies like Pro Fasteners.

Globalization of Management is a fact of life

The globalization of management is a fact of life. The daily press is filled with reminders of how organizations have taken on a global focus. News reports frequently mention such matters as international trade balances and currency fluctuations. It is common to read about Japanese companies making inroads in United States markets or American companies making inroads into Japanese markets. There are stories about managers from the former “Iron Curtain” nations training in Western Europe or the United States, and American and British companies teaming up to provide new telecommunications and airline travel services. Today, no manager can afford to assume that his or her organization is isolated from all of this global activity. Customers for Sumitomo’s chips, such as Hewlett-Packard, can attest to that.

Today it is not unusual for a global organization headquartered in the United States to oversee manufacturing operations in, say, the United States, Germany, and Singapore; to sell its products in dozens of countries; and to face competition from companies based in the so called “Four Tigers”- Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

It is not just large corporations that have global focus. Increasingly, small businesses are going global. A poll of the 1993 INC. magazine 500 showed that 38percent were doing business globally, with an average of 15% of sales from other countries. The most popular trading venues are Canada and Mexico, though 25 were doing business in Latin America, 115 in Europe, 73 in Asia and 30 in Australia. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, most exporters are not very large. Very small companies employing 20 or fewer employees accounted for $30billion or 12% of U.S. exports in 1987.

What do we mean by the globalization of business? We see the phenomenon of globalization as consisting of three interrelated factors-proximity, location, and attitude. Taken together, these three facets of globalization emphasize the unprecedented lineup and complexity of relationships that confront a global manager.

Proximity:

First, managers now operate in much closer proximity than ever before to a greater numbers and range of customers, competitors, suppliers, and government regulators. This proximity, a function of the “shrinking globe”, is partly a matter of time, as today’s telecommunication technology allows people around the world to share voice, videos, and facsimile information in minutes. The increasing technological and managerial capabilities of people around the globe are another aspect of proximity. Managers find themselves competing or even collaborating with a new cast of global players. Honda, for example, moved nearly sixty American specialists to Japan for several years to work with their Japanese counterparts on design for the 1994 Honda Accord.

To emphasize this new spirit of closer ties and the insignificance of miles in today’s business world, Kenichi Ohmae, a longtime consultant to global business organizations, urges managers to treat all customers as “equidistant” from their organizations.

Location:
Second, the location and integration of an organization’s operations across several international boundaries is part of globalization. For example, American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) telephones and telephone switching computers are designed in the United States, manufactured in Singapore and the United States and sold world wide to customers who use the equipment to connect with AT&T long-distance services that reach all corners of the globe. In 1990, companies based in the United States employed 2.8million people in Western Europe, 1.8million in Asia, and 1.3 million in Latin America. Toyota, Nissan, and Honda operate auto assembly plants in the United States.

Toyota finds U.S. Workers that Share Its Values:
Japanese automobile firms that have established operations in the U.S. have brought with them their ideas, processes, and management of quality. Although not all methods that work in Japan have been transplantable to the U.S. culture, many are especially if employees are carefully selected. One firm that has used a careful screening process successfully is Toyota Motor Manufacturing Inc. of U.S.A., located in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Toyota builds its quality efforts around its employees, recruited almost exclusively from within Kentucky. In order to match the needs of the organization with the interests of the potential employees, Toyota conducts an exhaustive value-based hiring process that allows the company to identify potential workers with the types of skills it needs-problem-solving and interpersonal skills. These skills are compatible with the company’s basic values. The company wants people who can think for themselves and solve problems; it also wants people who can work on a team. Toyota managers see each employee selection as a long-term investment decision.

Ignore rumors at office unless you make sure

You must have heard the bad news, the US economy’s going through bad times and its impact on the Indian Industry is all too evident. The papers are reporting about mass layoffs and you are hearing rumors of your company not doing too well either. Frankly, it is making you jittery and you are wondering whether you should quit before the company goes down. Well, hold on you need to stay calm. Here is what to do when you hear such rumors:

There will always be someone in your office who will make dire predictions about the company. You will keep hearing about the finance head asking for a list of employees. But you can try and get the real picture. Read the papers or surf the websites for information on how your industry is performing in present times and how it will do in the near future. Your company’s position and share market in the industry will give you a fair idea of where your job stands. In short be well informed before you take any job switching decision.

Check out your company’s history of hiring and firing. Has your company fired employees in bad times before? Or is it known to protect its human resources and try to accommodate extra employees wherever possible? No company likes to sack employees without reason, mainly because it is known to demoralize the ones left behind and encourage gossip-mongering. Speak to your colleagues who have worked with the company for a long time. Indian companies even in worst situations always try to accommodate or place employees within their group or other branches and unlike American companies simply do not “fire”.

We know it is natural to get into a huddle and discuss the Industry’s so called problems every few hours. But frankly, the more you listen to such rumors the more stressed you will get. The Chinese whispers always make the situation sound worse than it really is. Don’t react to anything unless you have seen or heard it yourself.

If in doubt, talk to someone responsible and someone sensible in your office who can give you a matter-of-fact picture instead of dire predictions. Also keep your eyes and ears open. Check your immediate boss and chief financial officer or human resource manager for non-verbal cues like stress or dejection.

If you have already achieved some success in the organization, with your success comes jealousy of others followed by nasty rumors. Spreading rumors is a way to express jealousy aggressively. But that doesn’t mean you lose your head and succumb to aggressive methods too. Instead, try and find out the source of the hateful rumors. Once you know who started them, confront the person directly, but calmly and in private.

Tell that person that you have heard that s/he started a rumor about you, which is very upsetting and untrue. Most people, when confronted in such a dignified manner, feel horribly guilty and apologize for what they claim is a misunderstanding. But remember, this person is a gossip monger so be sure about all that you say when you talk to him/her. It may probably be transmitted to the rest of the office. And be polite when you tell him/her not to repeat it.

Don’t start sending out your CV to consultants just because you have heard your company isn’t doing too well. Only rats quit a sinking ship first. Of course, if the rumors are really bad, you can be prepared by surveying your options in other industries or by talking informally with placement consultants about the situation. But there is no need to resign in a panic before you are asked to leave or just because you suspect your increment and variable pay is in jeopardy. As we all know, in turbulent economic whether, a job in hand is better than two offer letters.

Taking charge of corporate Culture

Managers of many companies have tried take charge and direct their corporate culture. Anita Roddick is living proof. Indeed, many of the cases examples in this book involve companies in the middle of culture changes. Kotter and Heskett claim that a critical element in successful culture change is leadership from the top. At GE, Jack Welch has been a relentless champion of making GE number 1 or number 2 in all of its businesses. Bob Allen has tirelessly led AT&T toward quality management and employee participation. At Con Agra, Mike Harper emphasized results for shareholders through satisfying customer needs. At Nissan Motors, Yutaka Kume changed a large, bureaucratic organization by giving power to those much further down in the organization. In each of these cases, cultural changes have led to periods of renewed financial performance.

Patagonia. a designer and distributor of technical outdoor clothing, embraces a classic culture that reflects the persona of its founder . Yvon Chouinard is a mountain climber and an environmental activist who spends up to eight months of the year away from the company new products. It is all about how you form relationships with people. And whether Chouinard is working on reforestation in Chile, skiing with dealers in Japan, or meeting with random climbers he encounters during his travels that is just what he is doing: building relationships. Initially, however, as his company grew, Chouinard (like, many other entrepreneurs) ran into some problems. He found that the professional managers he tried did not fit in with the culture. This is unique culture, extremely unique. Not everyone fits here, remarked Chouinard, I’ve found that rather than bring in businessmen and teach them to be dirt bags, it is easier to teach bags to do business. We realize we don’t need any managers. The company is now divided into small working groups. The solutions come from all the people working together. The vision of the founder has thus created a culture of connection and working together. It works only because the founder takes care to hire compatible employees and teach them the culture. This is taking charge of the culture.

The role of dedication and sharing:

When employees join an organization, the manager introduces them to the culture of the organization during training sessions, or more commonly, during the job interviews themselves. Though words and actions the manager conveys the written and unwritten rules that all employees must follow. When employees join Family Dollar, for example, they attend a one week school to train them in all procedures. Although this policy requires training more than 1,200 employees each year, the leaders believe the expenses are worthwhile, because it keeps the employees connected to one another and increases productivity.

Mere dedication is not enough – culture is constantly reinforced through the creation of stories, heroes, rites, and ceremonies. The greeter at a Wal-Mart store stands as a symbol of the company’s culture of frugality, hard work, and service to customers. Company slogans also serve to reinforce cultures. They carry simple messages, but adeptly convey the companies’ vision, strategy and values. For example, the Ford slogan Quality is Job One reflect a major effort at cultural change involving a focus on building better-quality cars and being much more responsive to customers.

Even the architecture of a company’s buildings and grounds can reflect its corporate culture. The Nike Campus, on 74 acres of pine groves in Beaverton, Oregon, breathes the energy, youth, and vitality associated with Nike’s products and links quality and fitness – the hallmark values of Nike. Similarly, the new downtown Manhattan headquarters of the National Audubon Society is a hundred year old building on lower Broadway, recently renovated using environmentally sound materials. Conveying a sense of an inspiring and healthy workplace, it parallels the Audubon image.

Empowering employees through new wave of communication

The way organizations communicate with their people is definitely going to change. Gone are the days of out-of-date newsletters and announcements pinned to company notice boards Email and intranets have changed all of that.

But now a new wave of change is needed. As inboxes have swollen, email has become less effective, especially if messages aren’t clear and concise. The pace of life these days is intense and people just don’t have the time to sort through broadcast mails to work out what, if any thing, is relevant to them. Intranet sites have burgeoned, making it hard for people to find the information they need. And to further complicate the business of keeping people informed about their employer’s goals, progress and requirements, the way organizations work is changing.

In many businesses, for example, it is increasingly unusual for teams to work together in one place. New technology has made it not just possible, but advantageous for people to work from home and for teams to be spread across offices that may well be in different countries. New companies are being created that don’t have physical premises at all.

The old business rules, those that held sway in the old economy argued that you should hire good people, rank and evaluate them and then tell them what to do. It was the old command and control model. What that meant in communication terms was that only a few chosen were authorized to deliver messages to the masses. Typically they would be senior managers or internal communications professionals working on their behalf. This way of operating just doesn’t work any more. Knowledge-based organizations aren’t fixed and hierarchic-they adapt quickly and organize their people on a project basis. The staff may work for several managers at the same time, and risk getting mixed messages as a result.

In this new environment, glossy magazines and PR-style communication campaigns are no longer sufficient. Employees seek greater transparency and involvement. Introducing the new ways of communication, many of which are already be familiar to employees especially to those from ‘Generation Y’ who are just starting to enter the workplace.

They have become accustomed to the new ways of communicating which the internet provides as consumers, and have been vociferous in demanding greater transparency and a more open relationship from the organizations they deal with. And now employees are demanding the same. They want to be participants who take the initiatives, co-operate and learn and simply not people who just obey orders.

Luckily, the structural changes have also been accompanied by the evolution of a swathe of new online technologies called Web 2.0. As with other such innovations, Web 2.0 has been somewhat over hyped. The reality, though, is that podcasts, wikipedia, blogs, RSS news feeds and other Web 2.0 applications have the power to turn your internal communications model on its head. Not only are they a good way to get management’s message out, they help employees across business build communities, collaborate and get things done.

Others may need more convincing. CIOs, for example, may not be keen to unleash the new Web 2.0 technologies on their networks and computers. They will argue that they are immature, will soak up bandwidth and increase the demands on their help desks. To an extent, they will be right.

Internal communication managers will also have concerns. They are used to controlling the message and will feel anxious about giving more people the ability to talk to the organization at large.

The temptation, then, might be to put barriers in place to prevent use of Web 2.0 services within your enterprise but, if you do that, you will be swimming against a strong tide. As social software becomes more embedded in the internet culture, the expectations of employees will increase. It will be their natural way of working-one which they feel offers clear advantages and if they are prevented from using it within the secure confines of the corporate network, they may well start operating on the internet. That could be far more damaging.

Effective use of the new tools also requires a different set of communication skills, one that some senior managers don’t have. Blogs, for example, need to be written in a very personal style.
The new tools put the power in the hands of the audience and make it is easy for them to comment and criticize. So is Enterprise 2.0 as some are calling it worth the effort? It’s still early days, but experience suggests the answer is yes. The old ‘command and control’ approach to internal communication is too cumbersome and slow for the 21st century. Success in the years ahead demands a much more open dialogue between managers and employees, as well as between employees.

Foundation of Group Behaviors

Performance: A number of group properties show a relationship to performance. Among the more prominent are role perception, norms, status differences, the size of the group, and cohesiveness.

There is a positive relationship between role perception and an employee’s performance evaluation. The degree of congruence that exists between an employee and the boss in the perception of the employee’s job influences the degree to which that employee will be judged as an effective performer by the boss. To the extent that the employee’s role perception fulfills the boss’s role expectations, the employees will receive a higher performance evaluation.

Norms control group member behavior by establishing standards of right and wrong. The norms of a given group can help to explain the behaviors of its members for managers. When norms support high output, managers can expect individual performance to be markedly higher than when group norms aim to restrict output. Similarly, norms that support antisocial behavior increase the likelihood that individuals will engage in deviant workplace activities.

Status inequities create frustrations and can adversely influence productivity and the willingness to remain with an organization. Among individuals who are equity-sensitive, incongruence is likely to lead to reduced motivation and an increased search for ways to bring about fairness (that is, taking another job). In addition, because lower status differences among members are likely to inhibit input from the lower status members and to under perform their potential.

The impact of size on a group’s performance depends on the type of task in which the group is engaged. Larger groups are more effective to fact finding activities. Smaller groups are more effective at action taking tasks. Our knowledge of social loafing suggests that if management uses larger groups, efforts should be made to provide measures of individual performances within the group.

We found that cohesiveness can play an important function in influencing a group’s level of productivity. Whether or not it does depends on the group’s performance related norms.

Satisfaction: As with the role perception-performance relationship, high congruence between a boss and employee as to the perception of the employee’s job shows a significant association with high employee satisfaction. Similarly, role conflict is associated with job induced tension and job dissatisfaction.

Most people prefer to communicate with others at their own status level or a higher one rather than with those below tem. As a result we should expect satisfaction to be greater among employees whose job minimizes interaction with individuals who are lower in status than themselves.

The group size satisfaction relationship is what one would intuitively expect; larger groups are associated with lower satisfaction. As size increases, opportunities for participation and social interaction decrease, as does the ability of members to identify with the group’s accomplishments. At the same time having more members also prompts dissension, conflict, and the formation of subgroups, which all act to make the group a less pleasant entity of which to be a part.

Groups generally pass through standardized sequence in their evolution. We call this sequence five-stage model of group development. Recent studies, however, indicate that temporary groups with task-specific deadlines follow a very different pattern. In this article, we describe the five-stage general model and an alternative model for temporary groups with deadlines.

The five-stage group development model characterizes groups as proceeding through five distinct stages:

Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjouring.

The first stage, forming is characterized by a great deal of uncertainly about the group’s purpose, structure, and leadership. Members are “testing the waters” to determine what type of behavior acceptable. This stage is complete when members have begun to think of themselves as part of a group.

The storming stage is one of intra-group conflict. Members accept the existence of the group, but there is resistance to the constraints that the group imposes on individuality. Further more, there is conflict over who will control the group. When this stage is complete there will be a relative clear hierarchy of leadership within the group.

The third stage is one in which close relationship develop and the group demonstrate cohesiveness. There is now a strong sense of group identification and camaraderie. This norming stage is complete when the group structure solidifies and the group had assimilated a common set of expectations of what defines correct member behavior.

The fourth stage is performing. The structure at this point is fully functional and accepted Groups energy has moved from getting to know and understand each other to performing the task at hand. For permanent work, performing is the last stage in their development.

BPO now enters Rural India for competitiveness

The spectacular growth of the Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) after the nineties has proved to be a boon for the Indian economy. In metros and urban areas, the IT sector created exciting employment opportunities for fresh young graduates in well-paid jobs.

What triggered this development was the rapid process of globalization, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War in 1990. Businesses in developed countries like the United States discovered that they can survive only by outsourcing part of their business manufacturing and services to developing countries like India. By doing so they could profit from the cost effective skilled professionals in these countries. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) was given a fillip, thanks to the break through in telecommunication which reduced the world to a global village.

While the youth in metros and urban areas benefited from the BPO boom, those in small towns and rural areas were left out. There was an increasing political clamor about the growing disparities in income and development between urban and rural India. This urban rural divide came in handy during the elections when some chief ministers focused on promoting IT in their states. But unfortunately, they faced defeat. Chief ministers like Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh and S M Krishna in Karnataka in India who led the IT thrust became martyrs for IT in the 2004 elections. The populist leaders who replaced them, while not openly opposing IT, talked about the common man and rural development.

By a curious twist, it seems there is a second wave in BPO and ITES emerging, which must be music to the ears of such populist leaders. As a part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives, companies like Satyam Computers have adopted some villages. They are using IT to provide better services in the areas of education, health, access to information like market prices of agricultural commodities as well as employment to the rural youth. They have also discovered that some of the BPO contracts can be sub-contracted purely as a business proposition to the rural areas. An urban based Indian company may pay an employee Rs40,000 per month. But without sacrificing on quality or time, the same work could be done in rural areas and Tier Two cities at Rs15,000. More over this is getting possible because of extensive network connectivity.

The graduates of engineering colleges in rural areas who were not getting jobs, can be trained to competently perform simpler BPO jobs. In many places in South India where the jobs were due to exports to U.S the rural youth are now jobless because of drastic cuts in exports. Here the BPO sector is to their rescue and the rural youngsters are already performing competently in the BPO sector.

Managements of IT industries find that outsourcing their work to the rural areas and Two Tier cities not only yields better profits without sacrificing quality, but also reduces their headache in human resource management. This second wave of BPO where urban India is like the United States and rural India is like the developing countries of the nineties offers excellent opportunities for employment generation and promoting equitable inclusive growth. The tragedy is that the main IT industries and entrepreneurs do not seem to have realized this new potential extensively. The benefits are numerous. Employment will be created for the rural youth with minimum monthly income of Rs5,000. This will in turn trigger growth and employment in the secondary and tertiary sectors.

What is needed is a conscious organized thrust for outsourcing BPO by the Central and state governments, the IT industry as well as by entrepreneurs.

The strategic alliance between the Central government and the industry in the nineties was able to exploit the first wave of IT and ITES. The second wave can now be imaginatively exploited by the BPO, IT and ITeS companies.

Office Politics You Always Knew And Endured

You’ve been in a job for some time, and you don’t know why things aren’t yet in your favor. You have a boss who’s good and all, but things aren’t they way you dreamt. Something is amiss, and you’re not “growing”. And you know the organization is the ultimate loser. Worse, that sinking feeling is creeping in: You’re only a spectator to your own losing.

It’s no surprise: Ideal organizations just don’t exist. No organization or department is free from internal politics—it is only in keeping with human nature. Social influence fuels the need for one-upmanship as we grow—and humankind is beleaguered with basic feelings of insecurity, fear and envy anyway. And for some losers, the only way up is by employing the cheapest politics possible. Consequently, many a “team player” you know could have scaled much greater heights had he known he was cut out for politics. Talk about career anchors. Notwithstanding that, office politics and politicians must be understood to be beaten.
Of POOs and COPs

I’ve matured from what they call “grassroots” to a managerial position in human resources—and, by golly, have had the good fortune of being with a surfeit of “Politicians of Office” (POOs). And some were outright HR pros too. If anything, they teach you how not to be. The inspiration is to be a “Counter Office Politician” (COP)—meaning, you don’t do politics but learn defenses when done politics to. Believe me, it worked for me, and it will surely work for you too. So when you’re thumbed down, the COP within must be summoned for help.
Why do POOs exist (And what top management should do at once…)?

POOs exist because of two reasons; One, there is no “control on control”. An employee may have been with the organization for a long time, and gained blind trust from the boss. Someone said, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Nothing is closer to the truth. By “control on control”, what I mean is that top management should periodically check sources of information, suggestions and, most importantly, opinions as they come to them. Are all the right resumes reaching Big Boss? Is there an undesirable filter? Is an opinion about a team member, whom Big Boss doesn’t meet at all, to be taken at face value? Should an assignment or project be given / taken away from someone because X feels that way?

The other reason is unhealthy competition. Is everyone given a fair chance to prove his worth? Is there cheap favoritism working? What if Big Boss has a team leader who wants only “his men” around, either from this company or from where he’s worked earlier?

The question top management must ask is WHY. Why is this being informed? Why is X responsible for this and Y for that? Does top management have an ideal (impartial, transparent) team working for it?

Yet another reason is a new Big Boss in the organization. POOs normally take advantage of this scenario. Skilled manipulators can manage a new boss, and can turn things in their favor before new Big Boss realizes he’s been hoodwinked. It will be some time, of course, before Big Boss settles down and gets to scratch the surface and change things but it is during this honeymoon period that POOs take maximum advantage.
Dealing with POOs (…or what you should do meanwhile)

One thing I know for sure: POOs come in great variety, and are at all levels in the organization. Most of them are at in-between levels; meaning, they are the unnecessary middlemen between you and Big Boss. But a POO can also be a peer, a subordinate, a boss, somebody else’s boss’s peer—just about anyone.

The following classification attempts to type (years of experience!) some of the frequently encountered POOs you are bequeathed with but don’t know how to deal with. One must learn to identify the type of POO that’s been putting your career in jeopardy. I made conscious efforts to understand and type them. Study them, analyze them, and strategize to beat the hell out of them.
POO Types

The Molder. The Molder, usually an old timer, gets to mould Big Boss, his team, projects, assignments, etc. and will take advantage of his being the earliest bird around. This type is dangerous because Molder can change the very future of a department. This he does by ensuring that things get formed as per his own convenience. Molder can be a new boss, or a subordinate who can mould a new boss who unknowingly moulds Big Boss.

Now here’s how you will deal with this type. If you are not an old timer, you won’t belong to the club, therefore, get acceptance first. Later, as you get older—and smarter—ensure that you keep changing things they way it should be, and before long you will be an opinion leader. Remember, the older the Molder, the more difficult the task.

The Moonlight Powerful. I coined this term specifically for those POOs who have no opinion of their own, but have the power to act on someone else’s influence. They can further carry influence. Much like the moon, which shines only with borrowed light, Moonlight Powerful operates with moonlight power. That is to say, he is powerful to the extent he’s attached to someone. He uses all this power with granted generosity, and is a pain in the neck for all who don’t have access to the power center. In fact, Moonlight Power wants all the moonlight for himself and will make every attempt at dissuading access to the big boss.

Now here’s how you will deal with this type. At the remotest possibility, start interacting directly with big boss. Moonlight Power must gradually know he doesn’t have all the boss for himself.
The Malevolent Munificent. This type is all goody-goody. Never an unkind word to anyone but to the influential. He’s the kind who takes a fancy to you from the first day. You are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, creative. Did I say creative? He knows you are too. He wants to use you as much as possible because you’re good at what you’re doing. Because he’s not. Because he’s an ass. The last proposal you painfully mulled over on Word was for Big Boss only ‘keyed in’ by you (“I got it typed”), the thought process and ideas were all his own. To you, he is all praises. You have good knowledge on this, man. You been reading a lot? But when he trots up with the stuff to Big Boss, the version changes. He sat late doing this stuff. I really hurried him up. But he’s good at Word and I only had to tell him the ideas. He also understood what I said. Of course, he needs some improvement in the subject, but he’ll pick up…

Now here’s how you will deal with this type. Let him carry all your ideas to the top. You’re not a nut anymore. Do two things. One, unless the presentation is confidential, show it all your colleagues and tell them how well “it has come out”. That way, the next time he boasts, your colleagues will grin. Two, and better, while the proposal is being discussed, walk in nonchalantly, and say in a loud clear voice, “Sir, I think there’s been an error. I had originally thought that the idea for group induction should be every fifteen days, but forgot to change it”. Or, walk in with a copy of the tenth page and say, “I think I missed this one—it’s important for you to completely tell what I thought of. I hope you at least read these ideas”. Give a bright smile to Big Boss. Be a shameless opportunist. If there’s discussion going on, plunge in and pepper your talk with, “I thought of it because…” and pull and chair and actually sit down. If Big Boss is smart, he’ll realize what’s going on. Remember to be absolutely shameless with the cheap charlatan.

The Self-styled Complete Communicator. You won’t miss this type. They are indeed the communications network. You’ll find this kind always on their cells misrepresenting things like, “I have told him this way…”. Most of the time is spent on active communication (verifying, clarifying, and rationalizing) with the only intention to keep everyone posted on the same statements so that Self-styled Complete Communicator’s white ones don’t get exposed. I know of a DGM level POO who argued about something with me and by the time I walked down to the VP, he was already on cell explaining away what he had told me. He got exposed even as the VP was screaming at him and I walked in. The VP, not to be undone and to save the POO’s face, tried to rationalize but I grinned. It worked. We had a good laugh.

Now here’s how you will deal with this type. Always forget something and walk back to his office. He’d already be on his cell. Tell him you’ve decided to prepare minutes of whatever you discussed. Don’t tell him you’re marking a copy to Big Boss. Start direct interaction at every opportunity with Big Boss. It’ll minimize misrepresentations.

The Detestable Suppressor. This type is an ache. Unlike the Malevolent Munificent, who at least steals your ideas and implements them, Detestable Suppressor just doesn’t want your ideas to be seen or heard. In fact, he wouldn’t want you around, if you have any ideas at all. This is the type who stands up to the qualification of the dog in the manger. You want to do good things, all right, but where’s the hurry? Never will a good idea be encouraged. He’ll want you snubbed and let things as they are. All because he doesn’t want the equilibrium he’s in disturbed.

Now here’s how you will deal with this type. You want to kick him in the teeth but it won’t help. Find another mentor, preferably someone in high places who is your friend but who Detestable Suppressor is shit scared of. Tell him all your ideas. This one must be a power center or at least attached to one. Then, tell Detestable Suppressor you’ve been sharing this with the mentor informally over lunch and he liked it and wants us to share it with the management. He’ll want to use his own E-mail id to send out the idea but at least we know who did it.

The Brawl Broker. Usually influential, this one has just one aspiration. Create an atmosphere of avoidable hostility. Brawl Brokers are usually important for their bosses, and because brawl-brokering is an obsessive hobby, and the influence helps. I never could figure out why Brawl Brokers exist or what they get out of creating bad blood, but exist they do. Perhaps after a while, the bosses take a liking to the information they are being fed, and this is what Brawl Brokers capitalize on. Who knows. The sad thing is that for a long time, most people, including the boss, believe Brawl Broker; the world is full of gullible people. They are the kinds who write graffiti, rumor about love affairs, draw imaginary battle lines, and generally create an atmosphere of enmity.

Now here’s how you will deal with this type. You need to be cautious in dealing with Brawl Broker. Wait for the right opportunity. Get him to talk ill about you to a friend disguised as a foe. The matter must be official, with enough damaging potential. Then both of you write a nice long complaint and mark cc:’s to everyone who matter including Brawl Broker (we’re transparent). Remember to use your E-mail as a diplomatic weapon –you’re only clearing misunderstandings. Because our kinds generally know that Brawl Broker is Brawl Broker, there is little credence to his part of any story he weaves thereafter. And one day he’ll get the boot. If Big Boss is Brawl Broker, get out of the job.

The Dividing Wall. This one is very much like Brawl Broker but doesn’t get pleasure from other things than putting one good friend against another. He’s no power center; usually at peer level. An undisputed loser, he’ll make sure you don’t get along with your best friend. Dividing Wall has one little problem. He can’t stand camaraderie. He goes around subtly telling X how Y rates him and vice versa. Generally not much of a problem if both X and Y recognize him. Humor him, and that’ll be that.

The Overall Sadist. Usually a powerful, autocratic, miserable you-know-what. There’re only two problem associated with Overall Sadist: (a) everything he says and (b) everything he does. This one hates everything and everyone from the bottom of his sock. Because the bottom of his heart isn’t so deep. Overall Sadist will ensure that everyone under him is hurt all the time. He can’t stand a happy subordinate or colleague or even family. He’s God’s mistake. Overall Sadist has an inhuman drive for perfection, but that’s only a means of ensuring discomfort to everyone. Extremely emotional and sensitive, Overall Sadist will look for problems—to make mountains out of molehills. If he sees a smile on your face, you’re enemy for the day.

Now here’s how you will deal with this type. If Overall Sadist is your boss, find another job. If he’s just a sucker who is hell bent on interfering, try to avoid him altogether. Get into the good books of everyone else so he can’t harm. Alas, you can’t do more than that.
Is That All?

The foregoing isn’t an exhaustive list, but you’ll find one or more of the types in most organizations. Sometimes you’ll find an overlap. (Brawl Broker may also be Overall Sadist: If this variety exists, form a militant union.).
That’s Not About All, But Finally…

No matter how many POOs you’re surrounded with, ultimately, your good work will speak for itself. The only difference between some guys who clamber up fast and grow on others and guys with “real substance” and grow with others is that they’re not clever enough to detect POOs on time. Use your COP within, keep your eyes and ears open—and that’s about the only remedy. Another reason for a slow climb is poor visibility—again, possible by one’s own efforts. As much as possible, it is worthwhile telling how good you are: both to yourself and to others. And finally, remember this: You got a trumpet, hell, blow it. Hard.

Think before you decide to quit

This is a time when employees are being handed pink slips. So don’t rush to type up that resignation-give your job one more chance. Here are some tips on changing your job from “boring” to “interesting”. Everybody gets the blues sometimes, and that’s as true at one’s job as it is outside the office. When the ennui sets in, it gets harder to retain the spring in your step as you head out to work each morning. The stress begins to show. You start coming up with reasons why your job is not right for you. It has become harder to assume that the “right job” is waiting for you just around the corner.

This really is the first step to any change. List the problems you are having, and the possible solutions to them. Think about them, and you will find there are many small and big changes that could improve your situation. List those changes and start working to implement them. But the effort will has to come from you.

It’s all in the mind, change your perspective say psychologists. Recall the reasons why, during your first few months on the job, you thought it was a great one. Unless your work situation has changed drastically, some of those reasons probably still hold true. For instance, an operator in a call centre back office, hated the extended working hours at her workplace, yet spent a good five years at it simply because her colleagues were like an extended family.

Go back to that list of the positive changes you can make. Now is the time to bring them about. Bring about real changes. Often, the reason an employee wants to quit her job is that she feels she hasn’t got what she deserves from her seniors. If you think you have been denied the promotion you deserve for instance, consider talking it out with your seniors. But before marching into your boss’s office waving your list of demands, review your own work critically-from the boss’s point of view. Of course, keep in mind that talking it out is best done only when you are on a strong footing.

A good way to bring freshness to the same old job is to find new ways to do it better than before. It is this innovative outlook that has resulted in newer and improved versions of products and services in the market. Besides, at a personal level, being creatively involved will keep away the negative thoughts.

A good number of people have quit their well-paying jobs simply because they feel their hard work is not appreciated. Often, this gives some people reason to blame their boss. But there is always the possibility that the oversight was not deliberate. Too often, employees keep rather low profiles, and thus remain unnoticed. If you are feeling overlooked, consider that it may be time to get out of the shadows. There is no call to brag about yourself; you can handle the situation in a subtle manner. When the opportunity say a regular feedback session-presents itself, take it to ensure that your boss is well aware of the efforts you have been putting in.

Often, the real reason people lose interest in their job is not the work itself, but the people at work. If there isn’t a single person in your office with whom you can get along professionally, it is possible that the problem is yours, and not theirs. In today’s corporate scenario, the inability to work in a team is considered a weakness. Therefore learn to tackle difficult colleagues to get along and get the work done.

But assuming the problem is not with you, and a problem colleague really is proving detrimental to your work, consider asking your supervisor to move you to another department, where you can meet new people, although you would also have to be ready to possibly do somewhat different work. Looking for a change within your existing corporate environment may be easier, if minor irritations are the issue.

Giving in to the impulse to quit may seem the easy way out, but life may actually be easier if the problem can be reduced or fixed without giving up the job.

Some useful material from OB

Goofing-Off in the Twenty first Century: Cyber-loafing

Although the Internet has created a valuable mechanism for speeding communication within and between organizations and for helping employees quickly access information, it has also created a potential source for reducing employee productivity through cyber loafing. Cyber loafing is the act of employees using their organization’s Internet access for personal purposes during work hours. When employees surf the Web or entertainment do online Stock trading, shop online, or engage in other non-job related internet activities while at work. They are cyber loafing.

Survey data indicate that 64 percent of US workers surf he Internet for personal interest during working hours. Moreover, estimates indicate that nearly one third of employees’ Internet use at work is recreational and that cyber loafing is costing US employers approximately $3 million a year for every 1,000 employees with internet access. In spite of recent efforts by management to monitor employee Internet access, cyber loafing remains a threat to employee productivity. Some forms of Internet abuse can be filed under harassment. NN, for example, quit her job after male coworkers repeatedly bombarded her e-mail inbox with pornographic images downloaded from the internet (she sued, and won)

Characteristics of the workplace can increase cyber loafing. For example, if the work itself isn’t interesting, if it creates stress, or if employees believe they aren’t being treated fairly, they will be more motivated to use cyber loafing as a means of distraction or to compensate for perceived mistreatment by the organization.

Group Cohesiveness Across:

A recent study attempted to determine whether motivating work groups by giving them more complex tasks and greater autonomy resulted in increased group cohesiveness. Researchers studied bank teams in the United States, an individualist culture, and in Hong Kong, a collectivist culture. Both teams were composed of individuals from respective countries. The results showed; regardless of what culture the teams were from, giving teams difficult tasks and more freedom to accomplish those tasks created a more tight-knit group. Consequently, team performance was enhanced.

However, the teams did differ in the extent to which increases in task complexity and autonomy resulted in greater group cohesiveness. Teams in individualist cultures responded more strongly than did teams in collectivist cultures became more united and committed and as a result received higher performance rating from their supervisor than teams from collectivist cultures. Why do these cultural differences exist? One explanation is that collectivist teams already have a strong predisposition to work together as a group so there’s less need for increased teamwork. What’s the lesson? Managers in individualist cultures may need to work harder to increase team cohesiveness. One way to do this is to give teams more challenging assignments and provide them with more freedom.

Are Two heads Better than One?

Two heads are not necessarily always better than one. In fact, the evidence generally confirms the superiority of individuals over groups when brainstorming. The best individual in a group also tend to do better than the average group member.

Research also indicates that groups are superior only when they meet certain criteria. These criteria included (1) Diversity among members. The benefits of ‘two heads’ require that they differ in relevant skills and abilities. (2) The group members must be able to communicate their ideas freely and openly. This requires an absence of hostility and intimidation; (3) The task being undertaken must be complex. Relative to individuals, groups do better on complex rather than simple tasks.

Corporate Culture and Performance

Artifacts espoused values, and basic assumptions form the basics of understanding organizational culture. An organizational culture is the customary or traditional ways of thinking and doing things, which are shared to a greater or lesser extent by all members of the organization (and) which new members must learn and at least partially accept in order to be accepted into the services of the firm.

In other words, organizational culture is a framework that guides day-to-day behavior and decisions making for employees and directs their actions toward completion of organizational goals. Indeed, culture is what gives birth to and defines the organizational goals. Culture must be aligned with the other parts of organizational actions, such as planning, organizing, leading and controlling; indeed if culture is not aligned with these tasks, then the organization is in for difficult times.

In a study of more than 200 companies, Harvard Business School researchers tried to determine which factors make some organizational cultures more successful than others. If success factors could be isolated, they reasoned, companies could embark on programs to change their cultures in order to be more successful.

Two levels of culture are identified, one visible and one invisible. First, on the visible level, are the behavior patterns and styles of the employees. Second, on the invisible level, are the shared values and assumptions that are held over a long period of time. This second level is the more difficult to change. Changes in the first level in behavior patterns and styles over time can lead to change in the more deeply held beliefs. In this way, cultural change is something like ‘momentum’ in athletics; it emerges out of behavior. In sports trying to get the momentum is a coaching recipe for failure trying to execute the little details is effective and the momentum sometimes follows.

The results of the Harvard study indicate that culture has a strong and increasing impact on the performance of organizations. The study had four main conclusions:

1. Corporate culture can have a significant impact on a firm’s long term economic performance
2. Corporate culture will probably be an even more important factor in determining the success or failure of firms in the next decade
3. Corporate cultures that inhibit strong long term financial performance are not; rare; they develop easily, even in firms that are full of reasonable and intelligent people.
4. Although tough to change, corporate cultures can be made more performance enhancing

Some corporate cultures are good at adapting to changes and preserving the performance of the organization, while others are not. They distinguished between “adaptive” and “unadaptive” corporate cultures, and they defined the core values and common behaviors in each kind off culture.

Family Dollar exemplifies the financial success that a strong culture can help build. A bell rings whenever a customers enters creating a homely atmosphere says president and chief operating officer (COO). There is usually at least one person up front to greet customers not only with a Hello but also with eye contact. This customers oriented personable culture contributed to the company’s $1.2 billion in sales for 1992.

Similarly, The limited Inc., offers an example of the close connection between culture and financial performance. The culture at The Limited is deeply imbued with the underlying values of the chairman who asserts, a company that is only profit driven is on the wrong path. He considers good people the key to success in a business. At The Limited, before people can even be considered for employment, they must first show that they share the ethics and values of the company: integrity, honesty, tolerance, openness and loyalty. The Limited encourages the development of an employee community that can identify with customers, treat them courteously, and be friendly to the point of making them feel at home. Having people pay allegiance to monolithic $19 billion or $20 billion enterprises is not just enough. It’s much more effective when it’s broken down into units that people can identify with and that can capture their imagination as individuals. Managers at The Limited call employees associates because they really are associated with the success of the business The culture at The Limited thus emphasizes the relationships between the company, employees, and customers that ground its financial success.

The Entrepreneur – Psychological and Sociological factors

Entrepreneurs have the potential to contribute so much to society, researchers have tried to analyze their personalities, skills, and attitudes as well as the conditions that foster their development. Research has shown that certain psychological and sociological factors are characteristic of entrepreneurs.

Like most people, entrepreneurs are complex, and no one theory can explain all of their behavior. Perhaps the first and certainly the most important theory of entrepreneurship’s psychological roots was put forward in the early 1960s by David McClelland, who found that people who pursued entrepreneur like careers (such as sales) were high in need-achievement, the psychological need to achieve. People with high need achievement like to take risks, but only reasonable ones, and such risks stimulate term to greater effort. Moreover, certain societies tended to produce a larger percentage of people with high need-achievement. Other researchers have studied the entrepreneur’s motives and goals which seem to include wealth, power prestige, security, self-esteem and service to society.

In the mid-1980s two psychologists studied the psychological literature on entrepreneurship in an effort to distinguish between entrepreneurs and people who manage existing small businesses. They ultimately identified five dimensions:

1. Need achievement: Entrepreneurs are high in McClelland’s concept of need achievement
2. Locus of control: This is the idea that individuals –not luck or fate – control their own lives. Entrepreneurs and managers both like to think they are pulling their own strings.
3. Tolerance for risk: Entrepreneurs who are willing to take moderate risks seem to earn higher return on assets than entrepreneurs who either take no risks or take extravagant risks.
4. Tolerance for ambiguity: To some extent, every manager needs this, because many decisions must be made with in complete or unclear information. But entrepreneurs face more ambiguity, since they may be doing certain things for the first time ever and because they are risking their livelihood.
5. Type ‘A’ Behavior: This refers to the drive to get more done in less time and if necessary despite the objections of others. Both founders and managers of small businesses tend to have much higher rates of type A behavior than do other business executives.

Clearly, the entrepreneur needs self-confidence drive, optimism and courage to launch and operate a business, without the safety of a steady paycheck. Sometimes, entrepreneurs decide to launch a new venture because they cannot ignore their dream, their vision, and they are willing to risk security for financial gain. In other cases, they are pushed by circumstances beyond their control such as a corporate cutback (an increasingly common phenomenon today), or frustrated by limited opportunities for advancement, or driven by the need to coordinate personal and professional goals. Faced with these circumstances, many individuals find the courage and confidence to take control of their professional fate.

Often members of minority groups feel employers discriminate against them either directly or indirectly. And in fact, if we look at the progress of the various groups which make up for our heterogeneous nation and the spate of lawsuits brought against corporations, their feelings are often based in reality. To succeed in the corporate culture, some minorities feel they must sell their souls by giving up their racial, ethnic, or sexual identity. Others bump their heads against the glass ceiling. New studies indicate that less than 5 percent of the top executive jobs in the United States are held by minorities. These frustrations have left many minorities thirsting for an environment that suits their needs and allows them the latitude to create and thrive. This desire coupled with the perennial enticements of entrepreneurship, have made minority entrepreneurs common in today’s business world.

For African Americans this can mean an opportunity to move out of what has been a white, male-dominated corporate structure Increasingly African Americans are seeing the new service sector businesses ranging from advertising to architecture services as a place of opportunity and growth. One advantage of the small business service area is that it is less capital intensive. Another benefit is that more and more corporations are contracting out services traditionally provided in-house.

Ethics in practice at workplace

While working in a corporate set up, we all tend to bend the rules a bit like rushing in late to work and giving lame excuses, quickly packing off home when the boss goes out for a meeting or even taking printout for personal use secretly. When asked about this, many employees feel that these are acceptable norms. We work at least 9 to 12 hours in a day at the workplace. So we are entitled to use office resources.

TS who works with an advertising agency usually takes home pencils from work because her little son is so excited when she gets him something from office she beams. Meanwhile MS the accountant used to use the office printer for her personal use, till she got caught. The company didn’t take drastic steps about it but she definitely was mocked at, for the deed. It was very embarrassing. After that incident she never felt like using the printer again even for official purposes, as people used to look at her and sneer.

While at work, we all have access to a lot of resources stationary utilities, items for gifting purposes and more. But how much can we take them for granted and what principles should we follow? Well, most organizations today have set pointers for their employees to follow work ethics, and also offer training to help them fall in place with it.

Workplace ethics affirms an organization’s commitment to the highest standards of integrity in working relationships with one another customers, suppliers, and shareholders. Work Ethics include the ability to work well with others, sociability, integrity, honesty, self-management and responsibility. While it is difficult to put a definition to workplace ethics, we can understand them better through a certain expected behavior and performance of people within their work environment it should be based on a person’s unswerving belief in moral benefit and its ability to strengthen his character.

Ethics are definitely yours to control, which means that you decide what your principles are and stick to them. For an individual, workplace ethics includes some generally accepted indicators. Reporting to work on time, giving advance notice while taking leave from work, respecting supervisors and other employees, looking to improve the company and one’s role in the company, not stealing from the company, going beyond what is minimally required for one’s job, following rules and policies laid down by the company, and having a positive attitude. There are also some key traits of positive ethics.

Apart from the given points of reporting on time, dependability and reliability on a broader scale integrity and honesty are the traits in question. Its important to be aligned towards the value systems laid down by the organization.

Everything from faking credentials in a resume or submitting fake reimbursement claims and proofs, to making false commitments at work, constitutes a breach of workplace ethics. The spread of technology into the workplace has given rise to several new ethical issues, which involve everything from the use of company email and equipment for personal reasons and compromising the business interests of the customer, the employer, to blaming individual errors on technological glitches.

Business pressures of the modern world stain the fabric a bit. However, strong individuals still follow their ethical codes. Hence, you will find sufficient examples of unethical as well as ethical conduct.

Many companies have work ethic codes but these are more of a framework which the employee decides what is in the best interest of individual and organizational development. Workplace ethics go beyond merely enunciating a code of ethics or policing people’s behavior. It’s about listening to one’s conscience and making conscious choices in the interest of fairness and transparency.

Youngsters entering the corporate world may not have the professional maturity to understand and abide by a laid down code of conduct. And in today’s cosmopolitan workplace people come from diverse backgrounds and their social ethics vary.

It is important to follow ethics in your workplace. It ensures that a healthy environment is maintained amongst co-workers and a basic level of discipline is instated.

On a broad scale, ethics define the culture of an organization and determine how employees interact with each other or view situations.

Individually, it helps build a certain quality of unsupervised behavior.

Workplace ethics are the cornerstone of integrity, and determine the level of trust. This trust when established sustained and nurtured, becomes the basis on which you can work together effectively, By the same token, when trust is squandered or lost, effective working relationships are destroyed.

Mind concentrators

Sometimes individuals at work get bored and just don’t feel like doing anything. There can be solutions to pep up moods depending up on the individual. Here is what you can do to people up your mood at work:

Get into a informal talk with your colleagues: If you are not in a mood to work, don’t forcibly sit back and keep saying ‘I’m bored’ ‘I’m bored’ and also up set colleagues around you. Instead ask your colleagues if s/he is free and can come out with you for a cup of coffee or tea in the canteen or compound. Having someone to chat with at the water cooler can also make you feet good. You don’t have to be best friends or go shopping together on Saturdays. Just a little social support at work can actually lift your spirits.

Listen to uplifting music: Noise is disruptive and stressful. If you can not hush up your surroundings, get ear phones and listen to your favorite music. Music is the ultimate mood enhancer.

Get yourself a cup of coffee and just sit down with a book or a magazine in your hand. You can catch up on current affairs or the least gossip or just read for the pleasure of reading. This can be during an official break time or after office hours and not during working hours.

If you are at home, nothing can be better than calling a friend. If you’re feeling low, talk to your best friend and see how better you feel.

If you are feel tired and not in a mood to work, perhaps a nap is in order. It’s surprising how a 15-20 minute doze can refresh your mind. Also remember, sleep reduces your depression levels as well as energies your mind.

If you like humor just Log onto Youtube.com and sit with your earphone. Go through funny videos, it can be a lot of fun. They have oodles of funny little clips to see that will surely make you laugh. You can also watch your favorite music videos on youtube. What more does one want to feel better?

Simply sitting and thinking can raise your mood consistently. All you have to do is sit still without doing anything. You are either chatting with your colleagues or playing games on your cell. Your mind is constantly engaged. Instead sit still and let your mind think for half an hour. You will be surprised to know that it actually works.

Your boredom situation altogether may not occur if you interact with people even formally or informally by,

Proper eye contact: Though you may need to jot down matters time and again, looking to the other person’s eyes while taking down instructions will help you focus better on what’s being told.

Form questions in your mind as you take orders from your boss. This will help you focus better on what is being said to you. Keep your emotions in check while listening or else you may end up listening what you want to hear. Be objective and open-minded while listening.

Avoid distractions and do not let your mind wander to what your colleague is saying or to problems at home. Stay focused while taking instructions or orders from your boss.

Focus on content, not delivery. The number of times your boss or colleague scratches his/her head while saying something then you probably weren’t interested in his/her orders. It’s very important to concentrate on what is being said rather on how it is being said.