“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women” – a powerful statement indeed from the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
While there is a lot of focus on gender and diversity in corporates, some organizations have actually walked the talk.
A recent visit to a premium clothing manufacturing corporate in Bangalore demonstrated how companies can actually create a highly productive and efficient work environment by designing a comprehensive employee strategy that included a sound hiring plan, employee engagement with focus on development and retention, and alignment of people with business objectives.
Imagine the scene in the startup sector in a couple of years from now. With the launch of ‘Start up India Stand up India’ program by the Government of India, startups have become the buzzword in the country once again. India has been generating entrepreneurs in this area for at least a decade now. But what was essentially a technology wave has evolved over the last few years with many young entrepreneurs testing out non-tech ideas such as health management, food and grocery aggregator platforms, home maintenance services, property services, and riding the new age e-commerce boom. And with high profile investors such as Ratan Tata and Narayana Murthy stoking up the excitement through their financial backing, startups are now firmly entrenched as the most happening sector in India.
When you wish to know your customers better, what initiatives does your organization undertake? Do you go meet customers, organize customer events, design feedback forms to be filled up by customers, or even commission an external consultant to conduct a Customer Satisfaction Survey? You may be doing some or perhaps even all of these. Which is commendable as these exercises certainly help in understanding your customers better and cementing the relationship further.
But how many of you actually know where your core customers (the 20% who contribute to 80% of your turnover) have positioned you in their growth plans? Do they view you as a vital partner or just as a current supplier or service provider? Do they see you as a key contributor to their long term goals? Do you figure in their future plans? Based on their perceptions, how do they expect your organization and your people to respond to them? How do they position you vis-a-vis best of class firms of a similar nature?
Customers are everywhere – we just need to be tuned in to find them. Any committed executive having a little business orientation can spot them if only he or she applied themselves intelligently. For all the training and field trips that sales, business development and marketing teams are put through, sometimes simple common sense is what you need to land a good customer.
I was recently at a seminar organized by an industry body for a specific member group. The theme was to connect technology and industry for mutual benefit. Speaker after speaker, reading out from generic corporate presentations, extolled the virtues of their organization claiming their place as the best technology providers to industry.
A recent visit to an iconic book and music store reinforced that universal but at times uncomfortable truth– the world is changing and rapidly too. My family has spent hours in its outlets in Bangalore and Chennai browsing through the thousands of titles stocked. My daughter bought her first ever music album here and a majority of our book and music collection was also sourced from this store. It had been a while since I last shopped here – family had scattered while online shopping became more convenient. The store now had a massive sale ongoing that encouraged me to make that long overdue visit.
The formulation and renewal of an organization’s vision and goals are arguably amongst the most critical responsibilities its top management holds. Of equal importance is the clear articulation of these to employees and ascertaining that the message has indeed been properly understood. To demonstrate this, consider two scenarios: one where the company’s goals and direction are well articulated and perfectly understood by its employees, and the second where the opposite is true.
Ever wondered how mid-level and senior professionals keep tabs on emerging technology trends? In today’s world where technology you use in the morning becomes obsolete by evening, how do they cope with such rapid change? How do they learn? Who teaches them? And do they really understand the crux of the matter? I am positive that a good chunk of the population in this group in focus has limitations here!