Lessons Learned from Satyam

Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2009 by Suresh Lulla
Categories: 01 Leadership, Benchmarking, Business, Management

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The media is overflowing with news on the Satyam fraud. How B Ramalinga Raju planned, controlled and innovated his managerial processes will go down as a classic case study on How to Fail in Business. Brand India has suffered. What is ironic is that Satyam was started by entrepreneurs who served as role models.

The key lesson: Corporate governance must always be on top of an organization’s agenda. Failing which, one must be prepared to risk sudden death.

Fundamentally, corporate governance implies management assuming the role of “trusteeship” with all the attendant checks and balances that can create a high performing organization. This was advocated by Mahatma Gandhi early in the twentieth century. These trustees must aim to deliver balanced results in the following dimensions:

  1. Customer satisfaction and loyalty
  2. Employee satisfaction and commitment
  3. Superior shareholder value
  4. Societal responsibility

In India, while the movement towards more effective corporate governance has gathered momentum, much remains to be done. In several cases this concept is being Read the rest of this post »


Volatile Times : Call for Agile Measures

Posted Friday, January 16, 2009 by Suresh Lulla
Categories: 01 Leadership, 10 Improvement and Innovation, Business, Management

If oil went from $ 65 to $ 145 and back to $ 40 in one year, similar changes happened in the prices of palm oil, iron ore, steel, etc.

The threat of volatility is here to stay. 

Volatility can be managed only with agility.

Agility is primarily driven by a moving target, namely, changing customer needs. It is also driven by the desire to simplify operations, improve productivity, and lower costs.

Traditional analysis and improvement of work processes enables organizations to Read the rest of this post »

Beyond Pink Slips and Yellow Cards – Intelligent Cost Reduction

Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2008 by Suresh Lulla
Categories: 01 Leadership, 05 Cost of Poor Quality, 06 Human Resource Focus, Benchmarking, Business, Management

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I read in the morning newspaper that the pink slip is now a yellow card – the yellow card manifesting itself primarily as across-the-board salary cuts and accelerated consumption of leave.

These measures will only delay the inevitable, if not supported by recession-proof actions.

2009 is going to be a challenge for the Read the rest of this post »

Treat Your Workers With Dignity – The RATAN TATA Way

Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 by Suresh Lulla
Categories: 01 Leadership, 06 Human Resource Focus, Benchmarking, Business, Management

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One of the first lessons I learnt from Dr JM Juran, in 1987, was “Treat your workers with dignity.” This management practice facilitates quality business results.

In all the recent Singur turmoil, what struck me most was Mr Ratan Tata’s consistent and persistent concern for the safety of his Tata Motor workforce. Ultimately, when matters heated up, he walked his talk by exiting Singur. He paid a staggering price, but Read the rest of this post »

Beyond Megawatts – NTPC harnesses People Power

Posted Monday, August 25, 2008 by Suresh Lulla
Categories: 06 Human Resource Focus, Benchmarking, Business, Management

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Glancing through the previous posts in this blog, I couldn’t help noticing that all organizations featured so far have one thing in common – they have broken norms, exceeded set standards and in short, made the impossible possible. Not surprising, really, in a blog dedicated to the best practices of world-class organizations. So, our protagonist this time is an organization that can be considered a corporate oxymoron – an Indian public sector company that has repeatedly been voted as one of the best places to work for! National Thermal Power Corporation, India’s largest power company, has not only topped workplace surveys every year, but also won several awards for corporate citizenship, governance and environment-friendly measures.

NTPC seems to be truly committed to its tagline, “Generating smiles beyond megawatts”, applying it not only to external stakeholders but also to its 23,500 employees. The company’s HR strategy, which is closely aligned to NTPC’s overall strategy, has Read the rest of this post »

Automotive Paint Company’s Green Path to Customer Delight

Posted Sunday, August 10, 2008 by Nelum Gidwani
Categories: 02 Strategic Planning, 03 Customer and Market Focus, Benchmarking, Business, Management

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You can safely claim to have arrived as an organization when your customers proclaim that their relationship with you is the perfect partnership. BASF Coatings (India), a leading provider of automotive and industrial coatings, recently won the Ford Q1 award, Ford Motor Company’s prestigious recognition for suppliers who consistently deliver outstanding results in quality, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

BASF is the first paint manufacturing company in India to receive the award, which is based on rigorous assessment of a firm’s quality systems as well as several other criteria including communication, teamwork and strategic alignment. A noteworthy example of the harmony between Ford and BASF is the Read the rest of this post »

Dr SS Badrinath – Legacy of a Visionary Leader

Posted Saturday, July 26, 2008 by Homi Bhabha
Categories: 01 Leadership, Business, Management

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One would easily agree with the view that a leader broadly plays the role of an organisational architect – driving and synergizing its visionary blueprint with its systems, processes and operating fundamentals.  I would, however, go that extra bit and advocate the view that a leader largely shapes and perhaps even constitutes the organisation’s soul.

In other words, a leader essentially can create a lasting legacy for the organisation through the spirit, energy and thought that s/he helps foster within the organisation.  As we delve on this point, I am tempted to think – how do these leaders build and shape their people, and Read the rest of this post »