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5 Leadership Lessons from Chanakya

July 28, 2016 in Services

5 Leadership lessons from Chanakya

Chanakya was an Indian statesman and a proponent of efficient administrative management in the era of the 4th Century AD. As the guru and mentor of the Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, Chanakya laid the foundation of a vast empire. Later, he documented his governance theories and principles in the form of Arthshastra. This manuscript outlines the significance of effective leadership that maintains a perfect balance between power and people. This principle is totally applicable in the contemporary times as well. It is imperative for a leader to work collaboratively with his entire team to ensure success in every project. Source

Here are the top 5 leadership quotes from Chanakya:

1. “Once you start working on something, don’t be afraid of failure and don’t abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest.” Source

It simply requires focus and sincerity to complete the work on time. You should never give up an idea for the fear of failure. This innovative thinking can help you achieve your organizational objectives.

2. “In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness; in their welfare his welfare; whatever pleases himself he shall not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he shall consider as good” Source

A leader can succeed in his endeavors only by keeping his people on the forefront. It is crucial for the growth of any business. If your team likes you as a leader, your job is half done.

3. “Before Working On Something, Ask Yourself These Three Questions, Why am I doing this? What may be its results? Am I going to be successful?” Source

If you can answer all these three questions satisfactorily, you can certainly move on with your plans. If you can’t, think again and start afresh with a better strategy.

4. “whoever imposes punishment as deserved becomes respectable. For punishment when awarded with due consideration, makes the people devoted to righteousness and to works productive of wealth and enjoyment:” Source

Chanakya introduced the reward system in administration for encouraging the best performers. Rewards not only motivate to work at the same pace but also to improvise consistently. At the same time, it induces the underperformers to work at par with the achievers in their team.

5. “All urgent calls he shall hear at once, but never put off; for when postponed, they will prove too hard or impossible to accomplish:” Source

This lesson lays stress on the principles of effective time management. In the modern corporate culture, there is no place for procrastination. The competition is stiff and you can’t delay the deadlines and meetings for another day. 

If you can abide by these 5 lessons, you will certainly bring magnanimous changes in your team management and promote a collaborative work culture.

 

“Failures Acche Hain” – Indian startups are failing and why it is good

July 21, 2016 in Services

Failure Achhe Hain

There is a sudden spike in the news related to what is wrong with startups in India and why most of the startups are either shutting down or are getting devalued. Experts have even raised doubts over the professionalism and seriousness towards their work, shareholders and customers of tech startups. Do they exist just for valuation and will they simply fade away when the funding stops?

People have raised one pertinent question – why startups have failed to generate profit over the years?

Most of the startups in India are burning cash in ridiculous discounts to expand their customer base. They rely on repeat sales and volume to generate profit. None of the poster boys of the Indian startup ecosystem like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Zomato or Housing have generated any profits till date.

Global internet giants like Google, Facebook or Amazon have also incurred huge losses in the initial years to expand their customer base. However, these companies invested massively in infrastructure and developed breakthrough technology that was unmatched at the time. This is not the case with Indian startups. Most of the startups in India are “copy-paste” models of the similar startups in the USA and it is likely that they are established for higher valuations rather than the intent of becoming sustainable corporate firms.

The current scenario may present a grim picture of the startup ecosystem in India. However, it is a good thing for India. Let us see why:

1. India is going to be the biggest startup

India is the biggest startup. The growth of new ventures is unprecedented. For long, Indian businessmen and entrepreneurs have been highly conservative in business financing. They put their money in investments which generate a guaranteed return even if the returns are low. This mindset is changing now. Most of the startup founders are young professionals. Many of them are just out of college or have 2-5 years of corporate experience with high risk appetite. They want to move fast and make it big, quickly and ethically. And, this is good for the nation in the long term. It will inspire young entrepreneurs to innovate and solve basic challenges of India which the country is facing since independence. This unprecedented innovation may come at the cost many of startup failures.

2. Digital is here to stay

Globally, 90% of the startups fail within two years of inception.  India seems to be no exception. So what is happening here is not unusual. The smartphone penetration in India is only 20% while the internet penetration is just 35%. There is a huge scope for growth in the internet penetration. Online ordering is going to grow and so will be the growth of the internet startups.

3. India Specific Business Models

When it comes to internet startups, we are following the business models of the USA. VCs look for promising business ideas and invest into them. Initially they focus on hyper growth, and then they consolidate operations to generate profits. India may not have the right infrastructure to sustain this “Americanized” model in the long term. So, entrepreneurs will have to invent Indian business models to succeed in Indian markets, especially in 2nd and 3rd tier cities and rural areas. This is where new business model will emerge. As someone rightly said, “India has million problems but billion minds and hands to solve those problems”. Emergence of India specific business models will solve these million problems which our state and central governments with 55 lakh employees couldn’t solve in 70 years since independence. It is just a matter of time when Startups of India are going to solve these problems. This is one of the reasons why Indian government is promoting startup India scheme.

4. Conclusion

We all know India is a huge potential and we are aware of its daunting challenges. Startups in India are daring to take the first step to solve specific problems. Lack of precedence may have forced or convinced us to choose an American model of Starting up a technology business, however to sustain in the long run, this model will gradually evolve into an India specific business model. It may take time but it is definitely going to happen.

So, let us wish good luck to all young entrepreneur who risk everything to make India a better place to live, and in the process are trying to make a fortune for themselves. Therefore, encourage those who didn’t succeed in their first or second attempts because it wasn’t really a failure; it was a stepping stone for a better India that we will gift to our future generations.

 

Words To Avoid On Your Resume

July 18, 2016 in Services

Words to Avoid on Your Resume

The content of your resume should differentiate you from the rest of the candidate pool!

However, that rarely happens. Many candidates use sweeping terms or phrases to describe their accomplishments. In fact, they do so to hide their non-performance or inexperience.

Excessive use of jargons reflect negatively on candidates and recruiters get an impression that either they have copied the resume or simply written anything and everything to fill the pages.

If you are not getting any response from recruiters, try making few changes in your resume. For instance, delete generic or irrelevant terms and add words or phrases that describe you better.

Here is a list of 19 words and phrases you must avoid writing on your resume, at any cost:

1. References available by request – As the interview progresses to an advanced stage, you will be asked for professional references. Writing this phrase shows you are old fashioned.

2. Team Player – Who is not a team player? It is better to show this by writing a suitable example on how your collaboration skills helped your company.

3. Microsoft Word – All jobs today require some basic proficiency in Microsoft Office. Until you are an expert at Word, don’t waste your resume space by mentioning this skill.

4. Hard Worker – You are a hard worker and so is everyone else. Instead, write a particular instance where you went an extra mile to accomplish the task.

5. Honest – This is one basic requirement for getting any job. No one will say they are dishonest. So, instead of writing you are honest, show them an example of your honesty.

6. Punctual – Isn’t it mandatory for every job? Then why do you need to highlight it?

7. Successfully – “I successfully managed . . .” is one the most common sentences in a resume. If you have written something on your resume, it means you are successful in it. Who writes their failures in their resume? So avoid this cliché.

8. Best among the breed – Instead of writing this most irritating phrase, write what makes you ‘best among the breed’.

9. Results driven – Write about the results you achieved and how you achieved them rather than “Result-driven approach”

10. Strategic thinker – What makes you believe you are a strategic thinker? Write the specific challenges you faced and how you addressed them.

11. Dynamic – This term has become so generic that it has lost its meaning completely.

12. Detail Oriented – This term irritates most interviewers. Avoid this phrase until you have a particular instance that differentiates you from the crowd.

13. Think outside of the box – This phrase is overused; no one wants to read it anymore. If you really think out of the box, then show it through examples.

14. Developed – This is a cliché. Use a better alternative

15. Value Addition – Write the value that you added rather than simply writing ‘Added value’

16. Self-motivated – This is a generic phrase used commonly by applicants.

17. Proactive – Write specific instances where your proactive attitude helped the organization.

18. Salary Negotiable – Yes. Recruiters know it. You don’t need to waste precious  space on your resume.

19. Responsible for – The moment a recruiter reads this term, they know you are an average candidate. Be direct, concise and use active verbs.

Moral of the story: Use instances, examples and facts that relate to you, rather than generic words that have lost their real meaning.

This is not an exhaustive list and you may have come across several words that make a negative or neutral impression. Please suggest your opinion on which other words should be avoided on resumes.

Automation Makes You Obsolete – Truth vs. Hype

July 13, 2016 in Services

Blog 2- Impact of Automation

Automation is the latest buzzword!

Numerous public speakers, consultants, and research firms are coming out with scary statistics which seem to suggest that you are going to be jobless sooner rather than later. Let us get out of this scaremongering and analyze the case of workplace automation on a factual basis. This will help us conclude if Artificial Intelligence is really going to make workers jobless or it will enrich knowledge that can advance your career to the next level.

Organisations across the world adopt new technologies to scale business, increase earnings, improve productivity and reduce operating costs. Cloud computing, mobility, lower costs and ease of use have set the pace of technology adoption at a much faster rate and a much wider level than ever before.

Historically, the adoption of new technology has led to increased demand for skilled labor. In 1800, 90% of the Americans were employed in agriculture sector whereas today only 2% of them are employed in the farm sector. Despite this change, there was never a mass unemployment in America except at the times of recessions. This happens because the new technology changes the nature of jobs, thereby creating new opportunities instead of eliminating the current jobs. The new job opportunities created due to the adoption of advanced technology require specialized knowledge, skill sets and better mental ability of job seekers. That means technology requires its workers to continually upgrade their skill set.

If it is just about upgrading the skill set, then why is there hue and cry over the anticipation of loss of jobs due to automation?

It is more because of the nature of recent technological advancements. Earlier, technology was able to perform manual and repeat jobs whereas today’s technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to perform intelligent tasks. Recent technological advancements can automate a significant part of activities performed by highly skilled individuals. The main concern is if machines start performing mental jobs then what would humans do?

However, there is a major loophole in this argument:

According to a study on workplace automation by McKinsey:

#1 For organizations, the benefits of automation can be three to ten times of its cost.

#2 Activities and Occupations are different – An occupation involves several types of activities –  To automate an occupation, its entire set of activities and inter-linkages among them have to be automated which is not possible with the current or advanced technologies – Only 5% or less occupations can be automated entirely.

#3 In general, 45% of the activities that individuals perform in a job can be automated – the remaining 55% would have to be carried out only by humans. It means that the nature of occupations will be refined to accommodate new technologies and improve productivity rather than eliminating those occupations.

#4 In fact, 20% activities of the CEOs can be automated (but that will never remove the job of the CEO in an organization).

These findings clearly indicate that most organizations will adopt automation as their core business strategy. However, the opportunities of automation will go far beyond the labor savings like better quality of output, increased operational efficiency, improved reliability, etc. And yes, your job will definitely change over the next few years. Depending on your ability to learn and train yourself, you may be promoted, demoted or fired. So, upgrade your skill and knowledge before it’s too late.

And, last but not the least, gradually improve your emotional quotient and learn soft skills like negotiation skills, behavioral skills, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Technology will never learn these skills, at least not during our lifetime!

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