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There was a story posted here sometime ago how one man successfully turned around a murky vitiated ambiance in an org with some ordinary common-sense ideas.

Here comes another story how a dark horse turned around a loser into a shining paragon of performance! Of course his ways were different and very interesting with applicability far beyond in org dynamics, public institutions, government of the land…A war of a different kind.

Read on:

<<an extract>>

On a blustery October day in 1987, a herd of prominent Wall Street investors and stock analysts gathered in the ballroom of a posh Manhattan hotel. They were there to meet the new CEO of the Aluminum Company of America—or Alcoa, as it was known—a corporation that, for nearly a century, had manufactured everything from the foil that wraps Hershey’s Kisses and the metal in Coca-Cola cans to the bolts that hold satellites together.

Alcoa’s founder had invented the process for smelting aluminum a century earlier, and since then the company had become one of the largest on earth. Many of the people in the audience had invested millions of dollars in Alcoa stock and had enjoyed a steady return. In the past year, however, investor grumblings started. Alcoa’s management had made misstep after misstep, unwisely trying to expand into new product lines while competitors stole customers and profits away. So there had been a palpable sense of relief when Alcoa’s board announced it was time for new leadership. That relief, though, turned to unease when the choice was announced: the new CEO would be a former government bureaucrat named Paul

O’Neill. Many on Wall Street had never heard of him. When Alcoa scheduled this meet and greet at the Manhattan ballroom, every major investor asked for an invitation.

A few minutes before noon, O’Neill took the stage. He was fifty-one years old, trim, and dressed in gray pinstripes and a red power tie. His hair was white and his posture military straight. He bounced up the steps and smiled warmly. He looked dignified, solid, confident. Like a chief executive.

Then he opened his mouth.

“I want to talk to you about worker safety,” he said. “Every year, numerous Alcoa workers are injured so badly that they miss a day of work. Our safety record is better than the general American workforce, especially considering that our employees work with metals that are 1500 degrees and machines that can rip a man’s arm off. But it’s not good enough. I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for zero injuries.”

The audience was confused. These meetings usually followed a predictable script: A new CEO would start with an introduction, make a faux self-deprecating joke—something about how he slept his way through Harvard Business School—then promise to boost profits and lower costs. Next would come an excoriation of taxes, business regulations, and sometimes, with a fervor that suggested firsthand experience in divorce court, lawyers. Finally, the speech would end with a blizzard of buzzwords—“synergy,” “rightsizing,” and “co-opetition”—at which point everyone could return to their offices, reassured that capitalism was safe for another day.

O’Neill hadn’t said anything about profits. He didn’t mention taxes. There was no talk of “using alignment to achieve a win-win synergistic market advantage.” For all anyone in the audience knew, given his talk of worker safety, O’Neill might be pro-regulation. Or, worse, a Democrat. It was a terrifying prospect.

“Now, before I go any further,” O’Neill said, “I want to point out the safety exits in this room.” He gestured to the rear of the ballroom. “There’s a couple of doors in the back, and in the unlikely event of a fire or other emergency, you should calmly walk out, go down the stairs to the lobby, and leave the building.”

Silence. The only noise was the hum of traffic through the windows. Safety? Fire exits? Was this a joke? One investor in the audience knew that O’Neill had been in Washington, D.C., during the sixties. Guy must have done a lot of drugs, he thought.

Eventually, someone raised a hand and asked about inventories in the aerospace division. Another asked about the company’s capital ratios.

“I’m not certain you heard me,” O’Neill said. “If you want to understand how Alcoa is doing, you need to look at our workplace safety figures. If we bring our injury rates down, it won’t be because of cheerleading or the nonsense you sometimes hear from other CEOs. It will be because the individuals at this company have agreed to become part of something important: They’ve devoted themselves to creating a habit of excellence. Safety will be an indicator that we’re making progress in changing our habits across the entire institution. That’s how we should be judged.”

The investors in the room almost stampeded out the doors when the presentation ended.

One jogged to the lobby, found a pay phone, and called his twenty largest clients. “I said, ‘The board put a crazy hippie in charge and he’s going to kill the company,’ ” that investor told me. “I ordered them to sell their stock immediately, before everyone else in the room started calling their clients and telling them the same thing.“It was literally the worst piece of advice I gave in my entire career.”

Within a year of O’Neill’s speech, Alcoa’s profits would hit a record high. By the time O’Neill retired in 2000, the company’s annual net income was five times larger than before he arrived, and its market capitalization had risen by $27 billion. Someone who invested a million dollars in Alcoa on the day O’Neill was hired would have earned another million dollars in dividends while he headed the company, and the value of their stock would be five times bigger when he left.

<Impressed?>

So how did O’Neill make one of the largest, stodgiest, and most potentially dangerous companies into a profit machine and a bastion of safety?

By attacking one habit and then watching the changes ripple through the organization.

“I knew I had to transform Alcoa,” O’Neill told me. “But you can’t order people to change. That’s not how the brain works. So I decided I was going to start by focusing on one thing. If I could start disrupting the habits around one thing, it would spread throughout the entire company.”

<end of extract>

Grab the book ‘The Power Of Habit” (2012) by Charles Duhigg and go to pages 97-109 to find out more on how the miracle was wrought. Of course there are many other interesting anecdotes too and theories in the book also worth perusing.

A copy of this book was available here for reading (copyright implications not known). The link does not work now. May be it is moved to a new site.

End

Source: pdfbooksinfo.blogspot.com and image from Amazon

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The Asian Entrepreneur

Competence and wisdom of a source of information, instruction or inspiration, be it a book, a teacher, a consultant or the net, can show a simpler and surer way out or mire one in unending complexity.

Here’s a metaphorical illustration from Ray’s Daily:

**

The new family in the neighborhood overslept and the six year old daughter missed her school bus.

The father, though late for work, agreed to drive her if she’d direct him to the school. They rode several blocks before she told him to turn the first time, several more before she indicated another turn.  This went on for 20 minutes — yet when they finally reached the school, it proved to be only a short distance from their home.

Asked why she’d led the father over such a circuitous route, the child explained, “That’s the way the school bus goes, and it’s the only way I know.”

**

End

 

Source: image from asianentrepreneur.org

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as long as algorithms work like this one did.

Clicking on a link given to me took to me as intended to a book on the renowned temple town of Srirangam:

(some parts edited out and some reformatting for clarity)

” 

krblog-sirangam-amazon

Srirangam Bhooloka Vaikuntam (First Edition) Hardcover – 2016

by J. Ramanan (Author), Vrindaramanan (Editor)

4.4 out of 5 stars    5 customer reviews

See all formats and editions

Hardcover 1,800.00

Delivery to pincode 600001 – Chennai between Mar 11 – 13. Details

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Description for Srirangam Bhooloka Vaikuntam (First Edition)

Pictorial tribute to Srirangam, the first of the 108 Divyadesams, this volume “Srirangam Bhooloka Vaikuntam” contains a compilation of interesting mythological legends, historical facts and figures, art and architecture & fascinating festivals. The highlight of this coffee-table book are the mesmerizing photographs of the temple precincts; of Nam Perumal, decorated and seated on various vahanas; the exile of Azhagiya Manavalan in the forests of Seshachalam at the foot hills of Tirumala and the frenzy festival fervor of the shrine, all captured by J. Ramanan, with an appealing narration by Vrinda Ramanan.

Tell the Publisher! 
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don’t have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

If you didn’t notice, people who bought the coffee-table book on the temple town also bought 1 Kg of detergent and a book on colonial history of India, so Amazon tells us!!!

So we’re safe at least for now!

End

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This short piece is taken from: The Tact of Teaching: The Meaning of Pedagogical Thoughtfulness By Max Van Manen

“…

www.clipartlord.com boy22

.
10-year old Jason is not diligent about brushing his teeth in the evening.

As he is about to skip brushing his teeth before bed time his father remarks:

‘Only brush the ones you want to keep.’

Humor is a way of telling the truth without being less truthful.

The child does not experience the truth served up through humor as a judgment that crushes, denigrates or condemns.

Tactful humor disarms while derisive humor or brutal truth might have driven the person to estrangement, hostility, loss of face, alienation.

…”

Well, why with only Jason?

It applies as well to our interactions at work-place with our co-workers: bosses, peers and reportees too, I thought.

How often we see meetings degenerate into acrimonious arguments? A bit of tactful humor is sure to grease the wheels.

What do you think?

End

Source: clipartlord.com (boy22)

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