Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Global Marketing Challenges!

At the current modern stage of development the problem of strengthening the compatibility of an enterprise and its production is getting more and more urgent. Today the competitive fight is a sound step towards to the civilized market, with such notions as costumers’ demands and the products themselves to be met. One of the key elements that guarantee market success is the development of the competitive product of high quality. The development of an innovation product, as I think, is one of the most risky processes, as unsound product decisions lead to huge losses. Product decisions affect greatly on the compliance of a producer interests with those of a consumer. In general, innovation goods development covers the following problems:
– the development and introduction of new product on to the market;
– product modification;
– diversification of goods and their discontinued line;
– products elimination.
Thus, for decision-making on development of the new goods carrying out of marketing researches which has specificity for the industrial enterprises is necessary. The aim of the article is mechanics of marketing researches of new product and developed algorithm of their conduction. Theoretical and methodological basis of this article is formed by the research of
Ukrainian and foreign scientists in the sphere of new goods, analysis of the effectiveness of new product testing under market conditions; as well as state laws and regulations that regulate business activities in Ukraine.
There are rational approaches to the determination and analysis of marketing research to new product. The theory of innovation development was formed in the middle of the 20th century. The conceptual approach to the innovation theory was carried out by J.Schumpeter. He considered the innovation to be the change of the production technology and to have the essential meaning and importance. The modern theory of new products development is based on the results of foreign researchers of business. They underlined the importance of thorough testing of new goods concept at the early stages of the development of a new product. They considered that it is essential to make the diagnosis of goods market portfolio and only then you have to analyze new goods development strategy. According to him the introduction of these rules are quite natural and they are dictated by our life, as any idea never comes out from nothing: the search for the idea must be based on the accurate assessment of market demands. Thus, offered the following list of stages of a product innovation process:
1. goods market portfolio diagnosis;
2. the strategy of new products development, generating ideas, selection and choice;
3. economic analysis;
4. development;
5. testing.
But other scientists (Karakai, Starostina) prefer another consequence:
1. to elaborate of ideas;
2. selection of ideas;
3. idea development and its testing;
4. business-analyse;
5. the analysis of possibilities of production and sale;
6. the development of a product;
7. testing under the market conditions.
All mentioned above shows that there is no unique approach as to the development of innovating products, with the marketing approach involved. I mean the focusing on the research at the stage of generating ideas and their selection and with piloting marketing as well. In the article methods of logical results generalizing, economic and statistics methods of analysis, structural and functional analysis, as well as graphic analysis were used.
            Carrying out of marketing researches has the specificity for development and deducing of the new products on the market. The concept of marketing of innovations is one of the main things of marketing activity of the enterprises policy. Paramount problem of services of marketing at the enterprises becomes carrying out of marketing researches with the purpose of revealing of a short-term level of demand and consumer motivations, presence of competing products and services and opportunities of an output of a novelty on the market. Thus there should be a communication between developers and experts in marketing for decision-making on innovative development of a product. In the given communication it is meant an innovation not only introduction of a new product on the market, but also other innovations, such as:
1.      the new or improved kinds of production (product innovations);
2.      the new or improved services (innovation of services);
3.      the new or improved productions and technologies (process and technological  innovations);
4.      the new or improved industrial systems.
Importance of marketing researches consists in the following: First, speed of occurrence of innovations has increased ability of experts in marketing to expect consumer behavior. The classical approach at which under each new idea marketing research was carried out Secondly, change in behavior of consumers. The aspiration to correspond to desires of consumers, led to occurrence of various novelties with the improved properties. Thirdly, the technology of carrying out of marketing researches leads the commercialization of production. Results of researches really give an opportunity to develop new and to modify the existing goods. Fourthly, today in market space firm’s in potential of networks dominate; with existing resources of a network allow providing automatically acquaintance with the new products among a wide audience of consumers.
New products development is at the cross-roads of marketing, scientific-technical and production decisions. And the main attention is focused on costumer’s needs, determination of market segments and niches in connection with technical possibilities of using achievements of science and technology to develop and promote more affective new products. The task of a new product planning consists of the search and development of alternative variants of product policy, analyzing their possible chances and risks. Within the view of improving the results of planning actions it is important to pay attention to basic problems of product innovation, which are the follows: generating ideas stage, ideas selection stage and ideas realization stage (piloting marketing).

Business Ethics!

            Ethics, fairness, trust, and freedom from corruption are all part of the social capital of country, and social capital matters in financial markets because investors consider not only the available information when assessing the trade-off between risk and return but also how much they trust the accuracy of the information and the fairness of markets. The experience of WorldCom, Health-South Corporation, and Enron Corporation teaches investors that even information issued by U.S. companies cannot always be trusted, and their experience with the colluding behavior of NASDAQ's market makers and many reports of insider trading teaches them that they are not always assured of fair markets. Deficiencies in ethics and fairness mark all markets, but such deficiencies are more pronounced in some markets than in others.
Ethics and fairness in the financial markets of a company are reflected, in part, in people's assessments of the fairness of trading practices, such as insider trading. Why is insider trading considered more unfair in some countries than in others? And what can be done to improve levels of ethics and fairness around the globe? These are the questions I address in this article. I present assessments of fairness in financial trading by people in eight countries.
            Culture, religion, and politics explain some differences in levels of corruption among countries. Egalitarian or individualistic religions, such as Protestantism, encourage challenges to power, whereas hierarchical religions, such as Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Islam, discourages them. They found that Protestantism is associated with lower levels of corruption. The effect of political structure on corruption is nonlinear. Partial democratization may increase corruption, but established democracies inhibit corruption. Researchers have reported that 40 years of democracy are required for countries to become less corrupt.
Differences between ultimatum game offers in societies of vastly different standing in the global economy, such as those of the United States, the Polynesian Lamalera, and the Amazonian Machiguenga, are large. For example, although the mean offer in the ultimatum game played in Pittsburgh was 46 percent, in line with offers in other developed markets, the mean offer in the game played among the Lamalera was 56 percent; among the Machiguenga, it was only 25 percent. Some of the differences in offers to differences in market integration and differences in payoffs to cooperation. The Machiguenga, Peruvian hunter-gatherers, ranked low on ultimatum offers and also ranked low on payoffs to cooperation. The Machiguenga are almost entirely economically independent at the family level, so their well-being does not depend on cooperation with non-relatives. In contrast, the economy of the whale-hunting Lamalera depends on the cooperation of large groups of non-relatives.
In addition, there is little market integration among the Machiguenga, whose members engage in market exchange only infrequently and whose way of life would change little if markets were to disappear. In contrast, market integration among the Lamalera is substantial. Ensminger (2004) noted that the idea that people in developed market economies are more fair minded than people in societies where markets play a less prominent role seems counterintuitive because markets are often accused of undermining the moral foundations of society. But she found support for the idea in the work of earlier scholars, such as Montesquieu, who wrote in 1749 "wherever there is commerce, manners are gentle. . . .commerce polishes and softens barbaric ways" (vol. 2, no. 8). Current levels of trust reflect past economic structures; current culture affects future economic structures. He related the prevalence of family business in Italy's Tarza region, where levels of trust are low, to its economic history of sharecropping based on long-term contracts between landowners and heads of the families who contracted on behalf of the other family members.
Leaders are change agents. Leaders should be responsible for building ethical organizations where individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Organize your mind to organize your life!

There is a wide spread misconception that self-help books, articles, and audios are for the weak hearted. But in reality they help in changing your way of thinking which further translates into greater peace of mind, success, and happiness, provided you align and customize these ideas with your personal settings.

I have written in the past about habits that can make or break a person. Good things about habits are that they can be modified, reversed or sustained based on your needs.  Today, I want to share an interesting study conducted by a leading Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Paul Hammerness and leading wellness coach Margaret Moore (aka Coach Meg) on organizing your mind. In their famous book, “organize your mind to organize your life” shares the key insight; an organized mind enables full engagement in a health-giving style of life. According to these authors:
1. The connection between disorganized minds and unhealthy habits is compelling
2. Before you can focus your attention, you must tame negative emotions
3. Exercise, deep breathing or meditation, and a good night's sleep all help mentally
While you may not think anything extra-ordinary about these findings, learning about your own strengths and weaknesses and developing positive habits based on these findings may bring in extra-ordinary results.  When we think about organizing what immediately come to our mind are arranging our work place or home or removing physical clutters and using to-do lists and organizers to better control the work flow or activities. However, Dr. Hammerness and Coach Meg are moving further ahead and are sharing the views on mind's ability to attain a higher order of order -- a calm, wise, positive, strategic perspective -- and the skills it takes to get there in small or large domains of life, including health and well-being. These are based on clinical and wellness coaching experiences after working with several thousand people.

Neuroscientists are opening a window into the disorganized minds of those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD,) providing insights into how to train our brains to become more organized. We need to understand this is not only an issue with ADHD patients; people in all walks of life would face these challenges while trying to multi-task on variety of activities in their lives.

The connection between disorganized minds and unhealthy habits is compelling. The National Institute of Aging concluded from a recent study, as reported by CNN, that symptoms of a disorganized mind, namely impulsivity, chronic negativity, high stress and multitasking, all correlate with higher weight. For example, adults in the top 10% rating for impulsivity (most impulsive) weighed an average of 24 pounds more than those in the bottom 10% rating for impulsivity.

Organized mind depends on your ability to “drive” your attention and keep them focused.  Good thing is that our brain has these powers and our job is to leverage them.  Dr. Hammerness and Coach Meg recommend the following six steps in organizing your mind.

Rule No. 1: Tame your frenzy

Before you can focus your attention, you need to take charge of your negative emotional frenzy (worry, anger, sadness, irritation). This frenzy impairs and overwhelms your prefrontal cortex, the brain's CEO or executive function region, so that you can't "think straight." Too much negative stress damages your ability to focus and harms your health. The great news is that the same things that improve your health can improve your mind's ability to manage negative frenzy. Sleep well, exercise, do a mindfulness practice or choose the slow lane from time to time, even for a few minutes. Find your unique formula to tame your frenzy so that you drive your attention to its best possible focus.

Rule No. 2: Sustain your focus

Now that your mind is calm, identify one task and one task only. The brain was not designed to focus on more than one thing at a time. Tell your brain what the intention or goal is for your focused session. Turn off your phone and e-mail, shut the door and set the timer for 20 to 30 minutes as a first step.

Rule No. 3: Apply the brakes

Your focused brain also needs to be able to stop, just as surely as a good pair of brakes brings your car to a halt at a red light. Your brain's radar regions are always scanning your internal and external environment, even when you are focused. Distractions are inevitable if you are human. Rather than mindlessly succumb to a distraction while in the midst of an important task (including health-giving activities such as exercising, cooking a healthy meal or relaxing), stop, breathe and consider whether the distraction is urgent enough to trump the current priority. If not, bring your attention back to the important task until it is time to take a brain break to recharge your brain's batteries, or move to a new task.

Rule No. 4: Access your working memory

Your brain is designed to store a basket of bits of information in short term memory (aka "working memory"). Accessing your short-term memory, turning over various elements in your mind, helps you problem-solve, generate new ideas and insights, and see the new patterns that lead you to a strategic perspective. More great news: The same strategies that allow you to tame frenzy enable you to better access your working memory -- exercise, deep breathing or meditation, and a good night's sleep.

Rule No. 5: Shift sets

Now it's time to move your focus to a new task. Move all of your attention fully to the next task and give it your undivided attention. This brain skill, called "set-shifting," allows you to leave behind one task and leap to a new one with a fresh and productive focus. Set-shifting is also described as cognitive agility or flexibility. Often our most creative ideas come, seemingly out of the blue, when we're taking a brain break or focusing completely on something else. How interesting it is that having a fit and flexible mind is just as valuable to a life you love as a fit and flexible body.

Rule No. 6: Connect the dots

You've learned how to tame your frenzy and focus your attention on one thing at a time. You can handle distractions. Your working memory is ready for action when you need it. You are nimble, able to shift deftly from one task to the next. You take breaks, move your body and shift your focus to invite new ideas, insights and connections.

Together, these "rules of order" will help you change not only your habits of attention, but the way you look at your life. Instead of being stressed, you'll be calmly in control. You'll be more productive and therefore have more time to do things that are healthy for your body and mind. You'll feel good about yourself, and positive emotions are health promoting. And you'll be able to use your organized mind to set health and fitness goals and focus well on achieving them.

I wish you good luck and see you next week!


Saju Skaria

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Strategic Leaders!

What successful activities or behaviors do strategic leaders engage in? To facilitate this discussion some key factors associated with strategic leadership are shared below. These are, first, those abilities to undertake organizational activity and, second, individual abilities:

Organizational ability to:

1.    be strategically orientated;

2.    translate strategy into action;

3.    align people and organizations;

4.    determine effective strategic intervention points;

5.    develop strategic competencies

Personal characteristics of:

6.     a dissatisfaction or restlessness with the present;

7.     absorptive capacity;

8.     adoptive capacity
9.     Leadership wisdom

Organizational abilities

1.      Strategic leaders have the ability to be strategically oriented. This quality involves the

ability to consider both the long-term future seeing the bigger picture, as well understanding the current contextual setting of the organization.

2.      Strategic leaders have the ability to translate strategy into action. In addition to strategic leaders leading the creation of an appropriate strategy for the organization is the need to translate strategy into action by converting it into operational terms. 

3.     Strategic leaders have the ability to align people and organizations. This ability involves

aligning individuals, or the school as a whole, to a future organizational state or position.

4.      Strategic leaders have the ability to determine effective intervention points. Strategic leaders are able to define the key moment for strategic change in organizations. Strategic leadership does indeed matter … it seems the real question is not whether it matters but rather under what conditions, when, how and on what criteria.

5.      Strategic leaders have the ability to develop strategic capabilities. Leadership thinkers Prahalad and Hamel use the term ‘core competencies’ while researcher Stalk use the term ‘strategic capabilities’. Either way, the key message is to ability of leaders to develop core capabilities that differentiates them.

Personal characteristics

6.      Strategic leaders have a dissatisfaction or restlessness with the present. This restlessness involves what researcher Senge describes as ‘creative tension’ which emerges from seeing clearly where one wishes to be, one’s vision, and facing the truth about one’s current reality.

7.      Strategic leaders have absorptive capacity. They have the ability to absorb new information and assimilate it and learn from it and importantly to apply it to new ends.

8.      Strategic leaders have adaptive capacity. They have the ability to change which is termed as ‘adaptive capacity'.

9.      Strategic leaders have leadership wisdom. Wisdom may simply be defined as the capacity to take the right action at the right time.

Finally, if moral leadership is to be exercised and pedagogy re-engineered with any degree of success, then future strategic leaders will need a firm set of personal values. No doubt many will have their own lists, but integrity, social justice, humanity, respect, loyalty and a sharp distinction between right and wrong, will all need to be included. Strategic relationships will soon flounder unless such a value system is held with conviction and exercised on a regular consistent basis.

I wish you good luck and see you next week!


Saju Skaria

Friday, June 29, 2012

Creating high performance organizational culture

             Organizations are the most important aspect of modern day’s human society but they have not received the desired attention that deserved. Organizational Behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations. It does this by taking a system approach. That is, it interprets people-organization relationships in terms of the whole person, whole group, whole organization, and whole social system. Its purpose is to build better relationships by achieving human objectives, organizational objectives, and social objectives. The behavior of organizations constantly undergoes changes with business trends and evolving global strategies. To succeed in increasingly competitive domestic and global markets, organizations must create and motivate a workforce that is able to realize competitive advantage.

What type of performance is necessary to attain such an advantage is heavily dependent on the market a firm is in and the strategic choices a firm makes. Firms that operate in markets where, for example, price is the dominant performance indicator likely will opt for producing large quantities of a limited set of products or services. Standardization and repetition of work processes will contribute to high levels of efficiency, and, thus add to competitive value.  Manufacturing organizations fall into this category. Facilitating outstanding routine performance requires an appropriate management of human resources by creating structures, rules and procedures so that work across individual employees and groups can be coordinated and controlled in effective and efficient ways according to Human Resource Management.

            If innovation and being innovative are prime performance indicators an organization may prefer a strategy to offer customer made products that fulfill the unique needs of individual clients. This will lead to work processes that are primarily non-routine in nature and demand creative workers. Such a firm needs a HRM (Human Resource Management) policy that stimulates employees to engage in creative and innovative courses of actions that may substantially deviate from fixed patterns of work behavior.  The HRM policies should focus on interpersonal relations, interdependencies and processes such as trust, learning, communication, and information exchange between employees. IT Services and Consulting organizations fall into the innovative category.

            The organization's base rests on management's philosophy, values, vision and goals. This in turn drives the organizational culture which is composed of the formal organization, informal organization, and the social environment. The culture determines the type of leadership, communication, and group dynamics within the organization. The workers perceive this as the quality of work life which directs their degree of motivation. The final outcome is performance, individual satisfaction, and personal growth and development. All these elements combine to build the model or framework that the organization operates from.

            Four major models or frameworks that typical organizations operate are:

Autocratic - The basis of this model is power with a managerial orientation of authority. The employees in turn are oriented towards obedience and dependence on the boss. The employee need that is met is subsistence. The performance result is minimal.

Custodial - The basis of this model is economic resources with a managerial orientation of money. The employees in turn are oriented towards security and benefits and dependence on the organization. The employee need that is met is security. The performance result is passive cooperation.

Supportive - The basis of this model is leadership with a managerial orientation of support. The employees in turn are oriented towards job performance and participation. The employee need that is met is status and recognition. The performance result is awakened drives.

Collegial - The basis of this model is partnership with a managerial orientation of teamwork. The employees in turn are oriented towards responsible behavior and self-discipline. The employee need that is met is self-actualization. The performance result is moderate enthusiasm.

            Although there are four separate models, almost no organization operates exclusively in one. There will usually be a predominate one, with one or more areas over-lapping in the other models. The first model, autocratic, had its roots in the industrial revolution. The managers of this type of organization operate out of McGregor's Theory X. The next three models begin to build on McGregor's Theory Y. They have each evolved over a period of time and there is no one "best" model. The collegial model should not be thought as the last or best model, but the beginning of a new model or paradigm.

            Finally, creating a high performing and innovative organization also requires cooperation among employees who differ in their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Cooperation implies knowledge sharing, finding solutions together, learning from one another and realizing synergy in creative and innovative processes.

I wish you good luck and see you next week! 

Saju Skaria

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Critical Thinking Approach to Ethical Leadership Decision Making

Success in the modern business firm requires the development of critical thinking skills: the ability to understand what someone is saying and then to apply evaluative criteria to assess the quality of the reasoning offered to support the conclusion. There are many forms of critical thinking, but they all share one characteristic: They focus on the quality of someone’s reasoning. Critical thinking is active; it challenges each of us to form judgments about the quality of the link between someone’s reasons and conclusions. This article review ethical theories and applies these theories with critical thinking approach for ethical leadership decision making.
Business Ethics and Leadership
How does one link between Critical thinking, business ethics, and leadership? American Heritage Dictionary defines ethics as the moral quality of a course of action; any set of moral principles or values; the study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by the individual in his [or her] relationship with others. Business ethics is a subset of the study of ethics and is defined as the study of what makes up good and bad business conduct. This conduct occurs when the firm acts as an organization, as well as when individual managers make decisions inside the organization.
            Examining what comprises the organizational culture should reveal some key attributes that encourage ethical behavior. Scholars who studied organizational reputation maintained that a positive reputation, such as one for ethical behavior, had a beneficial effect in the marketplace. The sum total of individual employees’ ethical values influences corporate conduct, especially in a corporation’s early years. The activities during these years, in turn, form the basis of what constitutes a corporate culture, or an environment for doing business. In a free-market society, values of productivity, efficiency, and profits become part of the culture of all companies.
Theories of ethical thought
Consequential theories:
Ethicists, businesspeople, and workers who adhere to a consequential theory of ethics judge acts as ethically good or bad based on whether the acts have achieved their desired results. The actions of a business or any other societal unit are looked at as right or wrong only in terms of whether the results can be rationalized. This theory is best exemplified by the utilitarian school of thought, which is divided into two sub-schools: act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. In general, adherents of this school judge all conduct of individuals or businesses on whether it brings net happiness or pleasure to a society. They judge an act ethically correct after adding up the risks (unhappiness) and the benefits (happiness) to society and obtaining a net outcome.
Deontological theories
Deontology is derived from a Greek word meaning “duty.” For advocates of
deontology, rules and principles determine whether actions are ethically good or bad. The consequences of individual actions are not considered. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is the hallmark of the theory. Absolute deontology claims that actions can be judged ethically good or bad on the basis of absolute moral principles arrived at by human reason regardless of the consequences of an action; that is, regardless of whether there is net happiness. Immanuel Kant provided an example of an absolute moral principle in his widely studied “categorical imperative.” He stated that a person ought to engage only in acts that he or she could see becoming a universal standard.
Humanist theories:
A third school of thought, the humanist school, evaluates actions as ethically good or bad depending on what they contribute to improving inherent human capacities such as intelligence, wisdom, and self-restraint.
Profit-oriented theory
The profit-oriented theory of social responsibility begins with a market-oriented
concept of the firm that most readers were exposed to in their first or second course in economics. Holders of this theory argue that business entities are distinct organizations in our society and that their sole purpose is to increase profits for shareholders. Businesses are to be judged solely on criteria of economic efficiency and how well they contribute to growth in productivity and technology. Corporate social responsibility is shown by managers who maximize profits for their shareholders, who, in turn, are able to reinvest such profits, providing for increased productivity, new employment opportunities, and increased consumption of goods..
Managerial theory
Advocates of the managerial theory of social responsibility argue that businesses, particularly large institutions, have a number of interest groups or constituents both internally and externally that they must deal with regularly, not just stockholders and a board of directors. A business has employees, customers, suppliers, consumers, activist groups, government regulators, and others that influence decision making and the ability of the entity to make profits.
It is whether or not we foster the development of wisdom--through Business Ethics--that will ultimately dictate the direction in which our part of the universe moves. In fact, the idea that human beings are acting as co-creators for the present and future is something that has become a tangible reality. When examining business ethics, one must recognize that the corporations, partnerships, and other entities that make up the business community are a composite of individuals. Corporations, and the culture of a corporation, are greatly influenced by what ethical values individuals bring to them. For an organization as a whole to be ethical, it must have an organizational culture that values ethical decision-making.  The best way to achieve the ethical value in organization is to foster critical thinking in organizations.

I wish you good luck and see you next week!

Saju Skaria

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Organizational Behavior: The Paradigm Shift

“In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time - literally - substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.” --Peter F. Drucker

A prelude to organizational behavior study
Traditional management education focuses on competency such as accounting, finance, marketing, operations and information technology related areas. However, with the growth and expansion of organizational needs, it has become essential to understand the process of management to be successful in the competitive global market place. Within this process view of management now the attention is given to the roles, behaviors, and skills that are necessary for effective managerial performance. Some of these behavioral ‘soft’ skills are communicating with peers, subordinates, and bosses; obtaining and sharing information; running meetings; allocating resources to different groups; and handling conflict within or between teams,
The understanding of management processes, often referred to as organizational behavior (OB) extends managerial education to the study of people, groups, and their interactions in organizations. Changing business environment demands broader skill sets that helps in problem solving, decision-making, and handling communication and interpersonal relationships.
Historical background of organizational development
Essence of leadership was first recorded by the Greek philosopher Plato. Aristotle introduced persuasive communication in leadership. Niccolò Machiavelli in 16th century laid the foundation for organizational power and politics. Adam Smith in 1776 brought in organizational structure based-on division of labor. In late 18th century, German sociologist Max Weber introduced the idea of rational organizations. Weber also initiated discussion of charismatic leadership. Soon after, systematic goal setting, and reward was introduced by Frederick Winslow Taylor.  Elton Mayo and his colleagues in 1920’s have done productivity studies in Hawthorne laboratory.
Schools of historical thought on organizational theory
Studies show systematic transformation of the orientation from machine into human potential. In general, while examining the history of organizational behavior, a marked shift from scientific management era to more human behavior approach in organizations is evident. The basic assumptions underlying human behavior were now perceived to be oriented to personal growth, accomplishment, and inner development.  If managers were to become truly effective, it was argued, they must go beyond simply providing fair pay and treatment and attempt to make organizational members feel important.
Understanding an organization
An organization is a tool used by people to coordinate actions to obtain something desire or value—that is, to achieve their goals. The production of goods and services most often takes place in an organizational setting because people working together to produce goods and services usually can create more value than people working separately. Organizations exist because of their ability to create value and acceptable outcomes for various groups of stakeholders, people who have an interest, claim, or stake in the organization, in what it does, and in how well it performs.  Most people have a casual attitude toward organizations because organizations are intangible. Today, many organizations being founded, and particularly those experiencing the fastest growth, are producing goods and services related in some way to new information technology. The increasing use of computers and new information technologies such as the Internet are revolutionizing the way all organizations operate.
Organizational theory is the study of how organizations function and how they affect and are affected by the environment in which they operate.  For any organization, an appropriate structure to facilitates effective responses to problems of coordination and motivation—problems that can arise for any number of environmental, technological, or human reasons that need to be addressed. As organizations grow and differentiate, the structure likewise evolves. Organizational structure and culture are the means the organization uses to achieve its goals; organizational design is about how and why various means are chosen. Further, organizational structure can be managed through the process of organizational design and change.
Global Dimensions of Organizational Behavior
In the globalization age corporate success is increasingly linked to worldwide operations and a global staff. Top executive teams have learned first-hand one of the foremost lessons of doing business in international markets to understand the local culture. All around the globe, people working in large and small businesses alike are facing the many challenges and opportunities associated with business competition in an increasingly complex and “borderless” world.  The ability to respect differences and value diversity is an important key to success in managing organizational behavior across cultures.
Summary and conclusions
Today’s organizations need managers with global awareness and cultural sensitivity. This does not mean that they all must work in foreign lands. But it does mean that they must be aware of how international events may affect the well-being of organizations. They must know how to deal with people from other countries and cultures. Especially for those who cross cultural and national boundaries, understanding these differences is critical for success working in an interconnected world.
Today, managers must be inquisitive and willing to learn quickly from management practices around the globe. Insights into effective management and high performance organizations are not restricted to any one location or culture. Contributions to our understanding about people and organizations can be found from Africa to Asia and from Europe to North and South America. Finally, in the interest of effective and efficient organizational performance, managers should create jobs and organizational structures that allowed people an opportunity to develop their abilities and to experience personal growth.
 I wish you good luck and see you next week!

Saju Skaria

Friday, June 8, 2012

The power of habit!

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

Here is an interesting story about a woman named Lisa Allen, reported by Charles Duhigg, in his recent book, The Power of Habit. Lisa started smoking and drinking from the age of sixteen and by that time she reached thirty, she was obese, troubled with deeper debt, and with unstable jobs.  Here is another status of the same women, in the next phase of her life; lean and vibrant with toned legs of a runner. She firmly established in her job, she is debt free and not touched a drink or smoked for over four years. She lost sixty pounds and ran a marathon since then. She was an interesting study for neurologist, psychologists, geneticists, and sociologists. The researchers’ goal was to identify how habits work at the neurological level – and what it took them to change.

How changes do happen in behaviors? What is causing the transformation? Research findings are very interesting. By focusing on one pattern – what is known as “key stone habit” – one can reprogram other routines as well. In the above mentioned study, Lisa changed her smoking habit which created a chain reaction that lead to change in other habits as well. In a larger context, business organizations get transformed by changing habits, starting with a single key activity change.

William James (1842 –1910) a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher wrote in 1892, “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits”. Most decisions we make day to day are may feel like well thought over actions, but they are not. They are habits. One of the studies by Duke University in 2006 found that 40 percent of decisions people performed were not actual decisions, but habits.  High performing athletes and other high achievers build their skills but routine practice which eventually become part of their DNA, or their daily habit.

To a greater extent, our habits define our destiny. Although each habit may look little on its own, over time, the way we deal with our day to day activities including what we eat, whom we talk to, how we deal with children, how we deal with money, how often we exercise have enormous impact on our health, wealth, and happiness. Have you ever noticed your own driving habits? There are no special thoughts on your actions at every stage of your driving. If you closely observe you follow a particular patterns based on the habits you developed.

Habits never really disappear. They are encoded into the structure of our brain and that is a huge advantage for us, because it could be awful, if we need to relearn to drive after every vacation. The problem is that your brain cannot tell which is a good habit or a bad habit. So, if you have a bad habit, it is lurking there, waiting for the right cue or rewards. Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can be deliberately designed or can emerge outside our consciousness. They often occur without our permission. They shape our lives far more than we realize. They are so strong that they cause our brains to cling to them, exclusion of all else, including common sense.

The central argument of this article can be very exciting to all. Habits can be changed, if we understand how they work.  We need to make conscious choice of what we want to accomplish. To drink or to run is a choice one has to make deliberately.  Repeat the process till it becomes a habit. Then stop making the choice and the neuron in our brain will ensure we follow the pattern and the behavior will become automatic.

Let me also share some very basic tips that work for you.  Many behavioral scientists have reported that if you repeat an activity at least 21 days without break it may help in habit formation.  So, chose one good activity and practice it to become a “keystone habit” and then sustain it. Always remember that you have a higher purpose in life and choosing the right habits will take you to the destination you wanted to go!

I wish you good luck and see you next week!

Saju Skaria

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The success code!

If you want to become a winner you were born to be, it is going to take changing your daily actions until they become a habit. The fact that you created a vision and understand the true value and purpose of that vision will energize you and give you personal motivation you need to finish well- and achieve exceptional results. Mahatma Gandhi, who led India’s independence, was an average person with limited success in his early career.  Some life changing experiences he had in South Africa as a young attorney discovered his “purpose in life” which motivated him to “persist without exception”. With that vision and purpose he led the entire nation to independence without firing a shot!

Much about success is just the result if simply the ability to follow up, follow through, and finish what you started. You are not beaten by being knocked down. You’re only beaten if you stay down. You are what you are and where you are because of what’s gone into your mind, but you can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind. Choices determine that action you take, and action produces the results of your life. You can only think in ways consistent with the information you have in your mind. So to change what you do, you have to change the way you think, and to think differently, you need to change what goes into your mind.

There are six characteristics that comprise the foundation stones of your life and success. They are: honesty, character, faith, integrity, love, and loyalty. These six foundational stones essentially provide the raw material for your thinking. As such, they become the core characteristics of what you be, do, and have, which ultimately determines the results you get in life. These stones form the code for success or failure because you are thinking and your actions must be consistent with the characteristics of the foundation you build. The idea of value and purpose is linked to the concept of discovering a great good, a mission, or higher calling. This is applicable at individual and at business level. High performing individuals and organizations have discovered this higher calling. Fundamentally, we need to understand one universal principle: You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. This is an other-centered strategy; not self-centered.

Finally, to have success, one must develop the following three dimensions of life. The first dimension is spiritual, the second dimension is mental, and the third dimension is physical. Each dimension is separate, but they work together to create a total person. The most important and the most neglected dimension is spiritual. It is out of our souls our attitude flows, and our attitude defines our altitude in life. The depth of our spirit will determine the height of our success. Our mental abilities are housed in our brains, and if you think our brain as a muscle, you need the importance of exercising it daily to keep it in top condition. The best exercise for brain and your mind is to force it to think which is enabled by continuous learning and education. Taking care of physical condition and health is very essential for our overall success. We need to have good eating and wait control plans and regular exercise. If we want to provide our spirit and mind a top notch house to live-in we need to keep our body in excellent shape.

Our success greatly depends on how we align these three dimensions, viz; spiritual, mental, physical. This is my personal testimony. I believed in all three dimensions from very early age in my life, but my priorities were in different order. Some life changing experiences gave me deeper insight which helped me reprioritize the dimensions to the right order: i.e., spiritual, mental, and physical. This change in priority clearly brought greater success and happiness in my life.

I wish you good luck and see you next week!

Saju Skaria

Friday, May 25, 2012

Words and destiny!

“The words you consistently select will shape your destiny” - Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and leadership coach.

Your words have incredible power. They can make or break you; they can help you build a bright future, destroy your opportunities, or maintain the status quo.  You may wonder how such bold statement can be made. Your words reinforce your beliefs… and your beliefs create your reality. Let me share the logical reasoning and how the process flow works.

Thoughts >> Words>>Beliefs>>Actions>> Results

Every end result begins with a thought, positive or negative. Let’s assume someone have a thought that he is not good at his work. He run such thoughts on a regular basis may be hundreds of thousands of times in his life. He starts words that support such thoughts to his friends and colleagues. Here again he repeat these self-talk again and again thereby reinforcing the beliefs. These beliefs get strengthened over a period of time and get embedded in his subconscious mind. What this lead to be taking little or no action in his work area to improve, since he has already resigned to fate based on the belief which is embedded in the mind. To make things worse, he will have more negative words on his activities, reinforcing negative beliefs.. and getting more negative results. It is a vicious cycle! The whole situation would have reversed if he started with the right thoughts, which then lead to right beliefs and actions which will end up with right results.

Rudyard Kipling has famously stated, “words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind". Don’t underestimate the role of words in our destiny.  You can’t keep repeating the negative words and expect to be high achiever, whereas positive language moves you towards your goal. According to Plutarch, “in words are seen the state of mind, character, and disposition of the speaker”. What obstacles you are facing in your life right now? Imagine the power you could unleash if you saw them as “just barely an inconvenience” instead of an insurmountable barrier.  

Words and accountability: When it comes to personal and business relationships avoid “burning the bridges”, but sometimes the only way to move forward in life – and to achieve an ambitious goal – is cut off from the negative people. Always discuss your plans with people who can render an intelligent opinion on the subject.

Words and emotions:  Our vocabulary affects our emotions, our beliefs, and our effectiveness in life. Aggressive words like “furious”, “livid”, “enraged” etc. would infuriate you and add more blood pressure and change in your physiology. Replace them with lighter words like, “annoyed”, “ peeved” etc. which would break the negative emotions completely. In a positive sense, instead of saying “ I’m determined”, why not say, “I’m unstoppable” and instead of saying “I’m OK, try “I’m phenomenal” or “I feel just tremendous”. Always choose words that will point you in the direction of your goals.

Fortunately, you can control your words – which means that you have the ability to build a positive belief system.. and produce the results you want.  Remember, it’s up to you to speak in a way that will toward what you want in life. Therefore, use words that are consistent with the path you truly wish to be on.. take action along the lines.. and watch yourself begin to travel in that wonderful direction!

I welcome your feedback and comments.
See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Risk Management Strategies in the Global Environment

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.” – Bruce Barton
            Today more than ever before, business professionals and leaders are challenged with increasingly difficult and diverse responsibilities, including understanding and employing decisions based on intense and complex business theories. Leaders also face a myriad of internal and external factors driving success or failure in enterprise business. In the age of dynamics and diverse global business enterprise, business professionals need to expand their existing base of knowledge related to various risk management strategies to be successful in the marketplace. Risk management process involves assessing, or evaluating risk and developing management strategies to mitigate them. These strategies include risk transfer, risk avoidance, and accepting some or all the risk. Financial risk management strategies focus on risk managed through financial instruments.
            To achieve sustainable competitive advantage, the organizations have to be creative with innovation and adaptable to dynamic risk management strategies. Today more than ever, the premium comes from the fusion of invention and insight into how to transform how things are done. In addition, the spread of shared technologies and business standards is creating an unprecedented opportunity for global integration, not just within each sector of society, but across them all. As the boundaries between the traditional "estates" become more porous, new businesses can contribute new forms of commerce, learning, and good governance.  One of the way to handle the risk is to integrate the business in a global level.
Globally Integrated Enterprise Approach
            The globally integrated enterprise will require fundamentally different approaches to production, distribution, and work-force deployment. Apart from off- loading non-core activities, the efforts are used for integrating the organization in multiple ways among suppliers, and customers.
Opportunities and risks
            The globally integrated enterprise can deliver enormous economic benefits to both developed and developing nations. The integration of the workforce in developing countries into global systems of production is already raising living standards, improving working conditions, and creating more jobs in those countries. Small and medium-sized businesses everywhere, particularly, are benefiting: as new services— from back-office administration to sales support—create infrastructures once only affordable to large organizations, these businesses can now participate in the global economy.
            Shifting to the model of globally integrated enterprises also presents big challenges for leaders in every sector of society. The very fact that so many more people all over the world are gaining equal access to the production process and the marketplace means much more trade and competition. Although this will create wealth and opportunity, it will also bring disruption and fear, both of which could threaten global integration. Legitimate concerns about job loss and skill shortages must be addressed in realistic and constructive ways.
            The single most important challenge in shifting to globally integrated enterprises—and the consideration driving most business decisions today—will be securing a supply of high-value skills. Nations and companies alike must invest in better basic educational and training programs. New kinds of managerial skills are also needed. Hierarchical, command-and-control approaches simply do not work anymore. They impede information flows inside companies, hampering the fluid and collaborative nature of work today. This is a key consideration in modern day organizations.
            Globally integrated organizations are seen as the next generation which optimizes operations and reduce cost by cutting down non-revenue generating expenses and reduce risk in a global context. Early adapters of this approach like IBM have proved the efficacy of this model.
            Success of any organization depends on organizational leaders. So this discussion brings in challenging questions to board members and senior executive leadership. Are they looking for only short-term financial results or long-term organizational results by handling global risk effectively?  In a fast-changing world, organizations are looking for transformational leaders who have the vision to translate the organizations into high performing cultures in a globally integrated enterprise. This is a challenging task worth emulating.
I welcome your feedback and comments.
See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Friday, May 11, 2012

Some leadership thoughts in troubled times!

I am a student on leadership studies and also a practicing leader with varying degree of success.  There are umpteen numbers of definitions on leadership. My intent is not to define leadership, but share some views on how leadership shapes up individuals and organizations.

Turbulent times build great leaders. Hard conditions reveal a person. Crises contain exceptional opportunity.  The best leaders are the product of most uncomfortable conditions.  We have numerous stories to share on this count from the early days of recorded history.

Average mortals avoid confrontations and in the process miss the glorious chance of our buried potential. Doing nothing in turbulent times is the worst one can do. Failures make us afraid to take bold steps.  In a professional / leadership setting, resisting what make you feel uncomfortable at work and playing safe at wild times seems to be a safe bet, but in long term it’s a very dangerous maneuver.  A great skier achieves his greatness by trying at super-hard terrains regularly. There is no bigger truth than this; when you go to your limits, your limits will expand. The more time you spend outside your comfort zone, the wider it grows. True leaders eat their fear before the fear eats them.

In an organizational setting, deficiencies get amplified in turbulent conditions.  The recent economic conditions really tested many individuals and business organizations. While several organizations got folded up, the smart and agile ones excelled and even grew at a faster pace than the industry standards. In reality, intelligent enterprises got free consulting advice during these stress tests. The key takeaway from our recent experience is that the organizations must learn to become comfortable with discomfort.

How can someone become dramatically more effective? In a leadership and personally development context, this is what I would recommend. Take bold steps. The very things that make you afraid are the doorways into your leadership best. Our natural tendency is to hang on to the safe harbor of the known. Then we’ll never conquer new land or reach the summit. Setbacks are nothing more than tests to see if you are ready for rewards that are available to you. Most people give up while seeing a wall. You please don’t.

Please remember; if you have not failed, you have not tried enough. You can’t get a break through without going through a period of breakdown. Change is always messiest in the middle. Everything in your past, including the hard times and bitterness you experienced, was necessary preparation to bring you to the edge where you are finally ready to make the true leader you are capable of. Looking silly feels uncomfortable for a minute, but letting your doubts and fears own you feel uncomfortable for a life time.

Let me close this blog with a statement from the legendary world cycling champion, Lance Armstrong, who faced several adversities. Armstrong said, “pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever.” He fought hard the cancer pain and made a huge comeback to life and to his beloved spot of cycling and never gave up. Great leaders and organizations never quit. They are not afraid of failures or initial setbacks. So in this troubled economic times, let’s keep our focus on the goals for the better future for all.

I welcome your feedback and comments.

See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Positive Intelligence: A game changer for your potential and performance!

Your potential is determined by many factors, including your cognitive intelligence (IQ), your emotional intelligence (EQ), and your skills, knowledge, experience, and social network. But it is your Positive Intelligence (PQ) that determines what percentage of your vast potential you actually achieve. When your mind is on your side, you flourish; when your mind works against you, you flounder. People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge.

Shirzad Chamine, Executive Coach and NY Times Bestselling Author of ‘Positive Intelligence’, shares compelling reasons for focusing on, measuring, and improving your Positive Intelligence. Positive Intelligence is ultimately about action and results. Its tools and techniques are a synthesis of the best practices in neuroscience, organizational science, positive psychology, and Co-Active® coaching.

With Positive Intelligence you can significantly improve the percentage of time that your mind is acting as your friend, rather than as your enemy. This will permanently shift the balance of power inside your mind so you can achieve more of your vastly untapped potential and help others do the same.


Current breakthrough research in neuroscience, organizational science, and positive psychology validates the principles of Positive Intelligence and the relationship between higher PQ and both performance and happiness. As mentioned, PQ measures the percentage of time that your brain is working positively, in your best interest, versus negatively, in self-sabotage.  Though different researchers have used different methods to track positivity and calculate positive-to-negative ratios, the results have been remarkably consistent.

Here are some of the research results reported by Shirzad Chamine in his book ‘Positive Intelligence’.
  • An analysis of more than two hundred different scientific studies, which collectively tested more than 275,000 people, concluded that higher PQ leads to higher salary and greater success in the arenas of work, marriage, health, sociability, friendship, and creativity.
  • Salespeople with higher PQ sell 37 percent more than their lower- PQ counterparts.
  • Negotiators with higher PQ are more likely to gain concessions, close deals, and forge important future business relationships as part of the contracts they negotiate.
  • Higher-PQ workers take fewer sick days and are less likely to become burned out or quit.
  • Doctors shifted to higher PQ make accurate diagnoses 19 percent faster.
  • Students shifted to higher PQ perform significantly better on math tests.
  • Higher-PQ CEOs are more likely to lead happy teams who report their work climate to be conducive to high performance. Project teams with higher- PQ managers perform 31   percent better on average when other factors are held equal.
  • Managers with higher PQ are more accurate and careful in making decisions, and they reduce the effort needed to get their work done.
  • A comparison of sixty teams showed that a team’s PQ was the greatest predictor of its achievement.
Besides impacting both performance and happiness, higher PQ can also literally impact your health and longevity:        
  • Research has shown that higher PQ results in enhanced immune system functioning, lower levels of stress-related hormones, lower blood pressure, less pain, fewer colds, better sleep, and less likelihood to have hypertension, diabetes, or strokes.
  • And, most amazingly, Catholic nuns whose personal journals in their early twenties showed higher PQ lived nearly ten years longer than the other nuns in their group. Higher PQ can literally help you live longer.

If your PQ score is 75 or higher, then your mind is on your side, and it can help you spiral up.  Shirzad writes: “… the PQ score of 75 is a critical tipping point.  Above it, you are generally being uplifted by the internal dynamics of the mind, and below it you are constantly being dragged down by those dynamics.”

To measure your PQ, you can do so at

A high measurement of the PQ score is not a bad sign at all. It is a wakeup call to realize where you stand and what action you need to take.

I welcome your feedback and comments.

See you next week!

Saju Skaria