Failure at work and broadly in life may be divided into three stages. They are the failures of tactics, strategy and vision. The tactical failures may also be categorized as the ‘How’ fails. In order to rectify this stage, one needs to record the process to get valuable business intelligence on reasons for the same. The final results must be evaluated against desired outcomes. Once this is done, a review is a must so the tactics may be altered. The second is the failure at corporate strategy. To do it better, it needs to be launched quickly, so as not to linger on an idea. As there may be unforeseen hurdles, the pilot must be relatively inexpensive so as not to commit too much of resource. Since time is previous, so failed initiatives need be revised rapidly as executed by Nintendo, Starbucks and 37 Signals. The failure at vision can question every known ounce of conventional wisdom as done long back by Ralph Waldo Emerson. To fix this, a reassessment needs to be made on life and how things can be improvised. One needs to fix aspects which are non-negotiable so will remain solid values throughout life and career. Criticism must be taken openly, as a way of fixing failures rather than by getting defensive. A last failure not yet discussed is the one of opportunity. If not grasped at the right time, they may go begging.


Uploaded Date:23 November 2017

A lot of companies are struggling at the art of being consumerists. While most companies remain pretty adept at going out and conducting research on their customer base, few of them are deriving meaningful business intelligence out of such exercises to forge some sort of competitive edge. Neuroscience is a field that is proving to be helpful in this regard. It requires a certain hypothesis to be developed before any study. This hypothesis must however not be so hardwired that the company cannot shake off the assumptions, even when they prove to be false. Consumers often do not really know what they want, as famously quipped by Henry Ford on the people wanting a better horse than a car. So directly asking the people does not always solve the issue. Instead innovative companies need to take decisions on the available data.


Uploaded Date:16 November 2017

In the 1970s, Xerox pioneered a concept known as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) where all the out-groups or historically excluded ones would get additional funding towards their efforts at greater equality. This included groups such as women, religious minorities, immigrants or the LGBTQ community. While most of these were successful to quite an extent, the overlying benefits could not be reached as even today the in-groups of white straight men tend to dominate the large corporate groups. That is why business consulting group Deloitte has taken on the initiative of educating the in-groups towards increasing diversity. As the talent pool in the US has changed, it is time for a rethink and the ERGs were seen as an anachronism. Increasing number of leaders are organically coming up who are women or immigrants, so the traditional majority is becoming a minority in some cases. The in-groups still remain in power and the future of more members of the out-group reaching the top echelons continues to be dictated by the latter. So the need to provide diversity lessons to the in-group as identified by Deloitte.


Uploaded Date: 27 October 2017

Liberal Arts or Humanities students often get asked about what they wish to pursue in their respective careers. It is often wrongly assumed there are very few career choices after this. Yet a cursory glance at today’s requirements clearly confirms that not only is it a highly sought after a vocation, indeed people with knowledge of such fields actually have an edge in the digital age. In the past it was assumed that to get a job in the tech industry, one had to be from one of the STEM fields. Now a lot of previously difficult tasks can be done using online tools such as programming from Git Hub. While economists often underestimate cultural factors behind decision making, humanities grads have deep insights on human nature and a resultant empathy. Reading literature helps people in understand specifics as opposed to others treating people as mere abstractions. A management consulting expert has written the book Sense-making where he has illustrated the importance of understanding people to gain a foothold in the market. That explains why a lot of organizations such as Airbnb, Facebook, Alibaba, Slack and YouTube were founded by Liberal Arts majors. Ultimately Inter-disciplinary studies can only be beneficial for businesses and larger human problems.


Uploaded Date:21 October 2017

There are certain character traits associated with leadership success. Yet a lot of these traits could prove to be deadly if not handled in the right manner or if available in too high dozes. Two decades back, a study conducted by psychologists established eleven such traits which were- bold, cautious, colourful, diligent, dutiful, excitable, imaginative, leisurely, mischievous, reserved and sceptical. For example, colourful could give way to being dramatic or attention-seeking, bold could mean entitled or overly self-confident and so on and so forth. Now a related business research carried out by the Hogan Development Assessments has divided these eleven traits into three broad categories. It has been noted that most managers display at least three such dark traits and about two-fifths score high enough in one or two to put their careers in potential peril. As leaders rise in their professional careers, they tend to make a less objective assessment on their own selves. The three categories are Distancing, Seductive and Ingratiating. Distancing involves cautious, excitable, leisurely, reserved and sceptical. Seductive includes Bold, colourful, imaginative and mischievous. The last category consists of diligent and dutiful. All of these in excess quantities can prove to be dangerous and managers must take care to navigate past their dark sides.


Uploaded Date: 21 October 2017


It has been observed especially at client facing services that clients are often more favourable towards the personnel serving them rather than the company itself. This is because at such service- centric professions such as management consulting or law, the personal attention is immense. Thus a study was conducted to gauge the differential and it was noticed that with each six months extra being devoted, the chances of the client shifting loyalties to the employee increases by an additional two percent. This is particularly impactful when employees at the service provided either join any competitor or start their own enterprise. Companies are aware of this trend and thus seek employees who can bring with themselves their existing clients.


As per business research conducted by the Economic Modeling Specialists International, the number of people employed in freelance or part-time rose to more than thirty million in the USA by 2014 and set to rise further. It represents nearly a fifth of the overall workforce. Yet, no proper national level policies exist to facilitate the gig-economy workers. Traditional employment protections, vacations, insurance or retirement benefits do not exist for them but only the full-time employees. This is partly due to the fact that historically companies wanted the ownership of talent within the organization, but the internet took away those benefits so now companies are happy to collaborate with external experts. Even in the education sphere, MOOCs has facilitated the ease of doing Executive MBA without from the comfort of one’s computer system. Companies such as Uber, Etsy, Lyft, Airbnb or Zipcar have been at the forefront of this new trend yet continue to get away by providing minimum protection to its workers who are categorized as contractors and not employees. It is time that the peer economy gets formally recognized by companies and governments alike so that freelance workers get the protections due to them.

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