Thursday, February 02, 2012

A modern management seminar!

You'll find here all there is to learn from modern management wisdom. Follow its simple steps to ascend the management ladder. Not since Parkinson has management wisdom been imparted in such succinct and easy to follow form. It is not the usual how to succeed’ stuff which requires you to be “a little more intelligent, a little more hardworking, a little more painstaking” to succeed. As Parkinson said, if you were all that you would not require a guide to succeed. So here’s to success and ascendance to the top!

As always, Subbu barged in crying ‘Guruji, I need your help! I have to make a presentation at our annual sales conference next week. The boss wants me to make a presentation about how I plan to double my sales in the coming year. Top management will be there and if I goof up, it will be outer darkness for me.’ ‘No problem’, I said. I have just returned from a management seminar myself and acquired all the wisdom there was in it………  

In the post lunch session, a Senior Vice President has been droning on for over half an hour. Half the participants were dozing from the exhaustion of overnight travel and the effects of a sumptuous lunch. He was saying, “we live in a 24/7 world.” Yeah, at least I do. In fact 24 hours in a day are not enough for me even to browse through the torrent of communications I receive. I receive mails from my boss, his boss and the head office. EDP (electronic data processing department for the uninitiated) sends me enough paper to drown in. Lest I forgot its existence, ‘HR’ sends me communications. In the olden days it was ‘Personnel’; now ‘Human resources’ has a nice ring to it. The only thing I could make out of ‘HR’ was it regularly denies me the type of increments, I feel I deserve. I receive circulars from ‘Logistics’ (in the days of yore it was called ‘Distribution’). I also receive communications from ‘Corporate Communications’. In the olden days the function of CC was mainly to produce the monthly in-house magazine and occasionally liaise with the press if there was a need. There were no pink papers and businesses did not make it often to the media. Now CC has a larger role. It is to see big-boss’ mug-shot appears in the newspapers at least once a month and he makes it to the television at least once in a quarter for his fifteen seconds of fame. The rest of the time CC throws its weight around and takes it out on minions like us.

…“We must leverage our core competences for greater customer focus.” A colleague who was sitting next to me whispered, ‘oh yeah, his core competence is in placating the boss and flattering his wife. Leverage, certainly he does. Last weekend he was out playing golf with him. His wife was quite unhappy; nowadays he spends his Sunday mornings at his boss’ residence you know.’ The last part jerked me out of my reverie. So my colleague was a regular visitor at our boss’ residence. How remiss of me? Haven’t I lost my customer focus?

…“in order to take on competition, we will have to look for synergy within, benchmark our efforts with the best practices in the industry and think out of the box. Let us ask ourselves if we are able to achieve a strategic fit; if not we should revisit our game plan. I call upon you ladies and gentlemen, let us become more proactive.” Yes, be at the boss’ side throughout the seminar and bring him coffee and cookies during breaks. Carry a pack of his brand of cigarettes. It comes in handy when he runs out of his pack, which to be sure he often does.

…“let us empower our team members” (for some inexplicable reason, in modern management parlance, the word ‘subordinate’ is taboo; so ‘team members’ it is.) “We need to change our mindsets and expeditiously look for a paradigm shift; let us think win-win.” Yeah, for sure! We do all the donkey’s work and you promote your favourite acolyte. He wins and you win because you get promoted!

…“As you all know the competition is breathing down on our necks. If we are serious about outpacing it, we will have to fast-track in enhancing our knowledge base. Let us come out of the loop and provide value-added service to our customers, for it is a result-driven world.”

...“don’t forget, the truth is at the end of the day, it is the bottom line that counts.” Yes Sir, we are looking forward to the end of the day. The bottom line is, that at the end of the day there would be dinner and drinks. Bosses would be around, so the party would begin on a cautious note but after a couple of rounds the lions within would come out.

… “Good Luck folks, God go with you, till we touch base again!”

The seminar made me wiser. I knew I have picked up the essence of management ‘Gita’. I gave Subbu a list of twenty five words. I suggested that he sprinkle these words throughout his presentation and presto, he would be a hit with his bosses. Here they are, in alphabetical order: at the end of the day - benchmark - best practice - bottom line - client focus - core competencies - empowerment - expeditious - fast track - game plan - knowledge base  leverage - mindset - out of the loop - paradigm - proactive - result-driven - revisit - the truth is - think outside the box - touch base - strategic fit - synergy - value-added - win-win.” I told him, ‘don’t forget the most important of them all is “24/7”.’