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Sanmargam

unfortunately, remains unwritten. If only Lt Gen Krishnaswami Balaram (1927 – 2010) had put his pen to paper in his life time. Then as an army officer given to action and a practitioner, perhaps writing a book was not appealing to him.

BALARAM Report My Signal PVSM

I heard about him only a few days ago in my evening gup-shup session – an hour-long chit chat about this and that – in the park with a small group of seniors presently in US like me spending a couple of months with their sons and daughters. My source among them is S, a gentleman long retired from employment in the estate maintenance department at Kurukshetra University in Haryana. The anecdotes he shared with us about KB who was then the vice-chancellor of the university piqued my interest I decided to look him up on the net.  What I got was quite scanty. Not unusual – after…

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Some have all the luck!

China 1

2

China 3

China 4

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Source: net

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and the sticks too.

From Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by  Daniel H. Pink via Delancey.com (lightly edited)

 “…

“Behavioral scientists often divide what we do on the job or learn in school into two categories: ‘algorithmic’ and ‘heuristic.’ An algorithmic task is one in which you follow a set of established instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion. That is, there’s an algorithm for solving it. A heuristic task is the opposite. Precisely because no algorithm exists for it, you have to experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution. Working as a grocery checkout clerk is mostly algorithmic. You do pretty much the same thing over and over in a certain way. Creating an ad campaign is mostly heuristic. So are designing new software, inventing new products…

“During the twentieth century, most work was algorithmic — and not just jobs where you turned the same screw the same way all day long. Even when we traded blue collars for white, the tasks we carried out were often routine. That is, we could reduce much of what we did — in accounting, law, computer programming, and other fields — to a script, a spec sheet, a formula, or a series of steps that produced a right answer. … The consulting firm McKinsey & Co. estimates that in the United States, only 30 percent of job growth now comes from algorithmic work, while 70 percent comes from heuristic work. A key reason: Routine work can be outsourced or automated; artistic, empathetic, non-routine work generally cannot.

“The implications for motivation are vast. Researchers such as Harvard Business School’s Teresa Amabile have found that external rewards and punishments — both carrots and sticks — can work nicely for algorithmic tasks. But they can be devastating for heuristic ones…

Rewards, by their very nature, narrow our focus. That’s helpful when there’s a clear path to a solution. They help us stare ahead and race faster. But ‘if-then’ motivators are terrible for [complex conceptual problems]. As experiments show, the rewards narrowed people’s focus and blinkered the wide view that might have allowed them to see new uses for old objects.”

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An interesting example of how a ticklish situation was turned into an opportunity to impress and gain business advantage.

Udaivilas Oberoi

From HBR March/April 2017:

M.S. Oberoi and the front-line obsession

Successful founders understand the economics of customer loyalty. In their early days they know every customer by name. Keeping that up becomes impossible as they grow, but nevertheless they remain obsessed with making sure that someone is looking out for every customer at all times.

Few business leaders have developed this attention to the front line as effectively as M.S. Oberoi, the founder of the Oberoi Group, a chain of luxury hotels in India. Oberoi obsessed about every detail in his hotels that might affect the customer experience. Even in his eighties he kept visiting his hotels to make sure employees were getting everything right, and in doing so he established a culture by which all employees shared in his obsession.

Poornima Bhambal, the assistant manager of the front office at the Oberoi Udaivilas, in Udaipur, described for us the company’s empowerment program, which encourages all employees to do what it takes to delight customers and even gives them access to small amounts of money in order to do so. “We love to surprise and delight guests with little gifts and niceties,” Bhambal said, “and the empowerment program allows this to happen.”

One example, related to us by Vikram Oberoi, a grandson of M.S. Oberoi who now serves as the group’s CEO, was what happened when the staff at one hotel discovered that an American family occupying two rooms was taking all the toiletries — twice a day. This seemed a bit much to the housekeeping staff, and the manager’s first instinct was to go to the family and politely point out that they probably had enough toiletries.

But instead, says Oberoi, after some coaching, “He created a basket of soaps and shampoos and oils used at the hotel’s spa, and wrote a note that was signed by the housekeeping staff. The note said, ‘We notice you like our toiletries and wanted to give you a supply you can take home and share with friends.’ The family loved this. They wrote us after, saying that we were the most fantastic hotel and that they would tell all their friends to visit. That’s a wonderful business result from the investment of a box of lotions!”

Image of Oberoi Udaivilas from theholidayindia.com

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Source: Buzzfeed.com

 

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From Inc. (lightly edited):

Walmart Just Created a Side Hustle for Its 1 Million Employees

By Chad Perry, Senior Sales Leader 
walmart-02-2017_222426

These days, you’ll be hard pressed to find an individual who isn’t working a side gig or side hustle.

In the old days, it was paper routes and second jobs. Today, many side hustlers aspire to be the next internet star or consulting guru. But most are simply looking to make an extra buck or two.

Don’t believe me?

Look around your company and you’re sure to find more than one individual hustling on the side. And that’s from the front lines all the way to the executive suite.

In a brilliant move, Walmart just tapped into the “make money on the side” desire of its employees.

The Walmart Associate Delivery Program

In a Walmart blog post Thursday, Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce, announced the testing of an associate delivery concept.

The model is pretty simple: Associates are able to opt in to deliver groceries on their way home from work.

Associates can choose how many packages to deliver, along with the size and weight, and also which days they want to deliver.

(Some sources report that Walmart will limit the number of associate deliveries to 10 a day. The remaining deliveries will be handled by carriers like UPS and FedEx.)

Walmart then uses technology to match deliveries and associates. The technology will never take an associate too far out of their way home.

Here’s why the move is brilliant.

The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Walmart was once considered the unbeatable juggernaut, gobbling up anything in its path. Today, Amazon has grown to two times the size of Walmart, and threatens to devour it.

Amazon has built a delivery network of over 40 cargo jets, truck fleets, drivers, and, in the not-too-distant future, drones. Many have speculated that this network will be the downfall of Walmart.

But, in one single action, Walmart tapped into the latent needs of more than a million employees, and now has a home delivery force to rival that of Amazon. For little to no extra cost (certainly less than Amazon spent).

The Lesson of Latent Employee Needs

Walmart knows that many of its employees are no doubt working side hustles. We all have employees and co-workers who are doing the exact same thing.

Why not keep it in the family? Why not build greater employee loyalty and improve the customer experience (because your employees are more loyal)?

Why not make the side hustle an on-the-way-home hustle? Why not be both the employer and the side hustle?

And that is the brilliant lesson we can learn from Walmart: There are latent needs in every employee. Tap into them, and you’ll find yourself with an increase in bandwidth, productivity, and skill-sets.

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Source: Inc.com

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From Seth Godin:

” 

And we just had a winner

The local market has a sign that says, “There was a $500 Lotto winner here…”

A cursory knowledge of statistics will help you see that this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make it more likely or less likely that they’ll have a winner today or even tomorrow.

And yet…

And yet sales go up after a big win. And to veer to the tragic, when a friend is struck with a serious disease, we’re more likely to go to the doctor.

Because proximity is truth.

The truth of experience, the truth of immediacy, the truth of it might just happen to me.

That’s why the media has been such a powerful force, because it brings the distant much closer.

And why small communities of interest and connection are still the dominant force in our culture. Because people like us, do things like this.

This throws up interesting possibilities and directions for designing online experiences,

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