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Office Secrets: 7 Habits of Very Happy Managers

Imagine a world where managers not only excel at their jobs but also radiate happiness in the workplace. In Office Secrets by Harish Bhat, we uncover seven simple habits that can bring a smile to any manager’s face. From relishing a hearty lunch and planning fun weekends, to keeping presentations brief and even engaging in healthy gossip, these habits offer a refreshing yet practical approach to finding joy and success in the office.

Get ready to discover the secrets that will completely transform your work life, as revealed in this excerpt from Office Secrets.


Office Secrets
Office Secrets || Harish Bhat


Seven Habits of Very Happy Managers

Short presentations, saying no to multitasking and making weekend plans—here are some ways to keep a smile on your face.


Stephen Covey, one of the most admired management gurus of modern times, passed away a few years ago. Most of us have read
his bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Thousands of people have claimed that this book has changed their lives and careers forever.

Here, I pay a simple but irreverent tribute to this influential thinker, on behalf of all office goers. I believe it is important for managers to be both happy and effective. Since Covey has already revealed how we can be highly effective, I tell you what it takes to be very happy at work. Just follow the seven simple habits described below, and you will smile every day.


First Things First, Eat a Good Lunch

As Covey says, we must put first things first. Therefore, a good and relaxed lunch in office takes the highest priority. Without it, you can never really be happy. If you hurry through this essential meal or skip it, you are likely to find yourself in a grumpy mood throughout the afternoon and evening. Your stomach may begin grumbling and you may end up eating too many fat-laden cookies during the rest of the day, which is not good for your waistline or your heartline. On the other hand, a delicious and healthy lunch, had with colleagues, with a good measure of talk and laughter, is a recipe for good cheer


Begin with the Weekend in Mind

Covey’s book advises us to always begin with the end in mind. We modify this advice slightly, and urge you to begin with the weekend in mind. The weekend is an enduring source of happiness, and therefore deserves a lot of attention and planning. Have you made a booking at that Thai spa? Have you decided where to party hard, and with whom? What about dinner with your glamorous ex-girlfriend, who has hinted that she wants to get back in touch with you? If your boss is in a generous mood, could you request him for an off day either on Friday or Monday, thereby creating an extra happy and long weekend? These are just a few of the many complex weekend choices we
are faced with, so clearly we have to begin preparations in earnest by Monday morning.


Keep Your Presentations Brief

We must recognize that no one, not even the chairperson, wants to attend a long and serious PowerPoint presentation these days, when there are many other interesting office pastimes to pursue. So, if you have to think win-win, your presentations must never exceed five slides and must conclude in ten minutes flat. You will find that most things can be summarized within that length and time. Also, your boss will be so happy with the quick ending that he is likely to approve your budgets immediately. If you want to deliver true happiness, begin and end your presentation with an appropriate comic strip visual which makes people smile. That will leave just three slides for the serious stuff, which is just about perfect.


Silence Is Really Golden

Managers love talking at meetings, and this is what gets them into deep trouble in the first place. So, you are likely to be the happiest if you keep as silent as possible, unless you have dramatic views that can potentially change the course of your company’s history. Let others in the room argue and fight among each other, while you remain, like the Buddha, calm and composed amid the gathering storm. Take copious notes, but don’t speak. Once in a while, look up, smile and nod enigmatically at the people who are doing the talking. They will regard these gestures as signs of deep wisdom and understanding.


Engage in Healthy Gossip

Scientific studies have consistently revealed that cubicle gossip is a great source of happiness. If you are a creative individual, you can actually be the source of some gossip. Otherwise you can choose to merely be a conduit for the grapevine. Either way, you are adding to the HQ (happiness quotient) of your office, which is so important in these stressful times. The conference room, email, water cooler, lift, office loo—they are all perfect locations for such talk. There is a caveat to be borne in mind, though. Healthy gossip has boundaries which need to be respected.


Don’t Multitask

Many managers think they must display their professional manhood by engaging in several activities at the same time. They believe multitasking is essential, given the multiple demands at the modern workplace. They also feel good that they are intellectually competent enough to do many things at once. Don’t believe in such rubbish. Multitasking is a recipe for being short of breath throughout the day, which, as we know, leads to hypertension and all its attendant ailments. In addition, it ensures that none of the jobs you are doing ever receive your full attention, leading to a state of niggling unhappiness at all times. To be really happy at the workplace, address one job at
a time, and do it really well. By doing this, you may complete fewer tasks during the day, but you will leave the office with a spring in your step


Refresh and Renew Yourself

Covey speaks about the need for reflection and for renewing yourself, the last of the seven habits he prescribes. This habit is as important for happiness as it for effectiveness. Unless you give yourself time every day to think and relax, you will never really be happy with yourself. There are many practical methods to achieve this. Define daily digital blackout periods, when you will not go anywhere near a computer or a mobile phone. Pursue a creative passion outside the workplace—this could range from painting (which is generally safe) to music (which may be dangerous if you are a bad singer and sing in public). Take time out to run or play tennis or work out in the gym, and use this time to blank out your busy mind. Finally, don’t meet or speak to your boss for at least two days each week, and see for yourself how completely this relaxes your entire being


I think the eighth and most important habit of very happy managers is our ability to laugh at ourselves, which is the first step to having great fun at work.


Get your copy of Office Secrets by Harish Bhat from your nearest bookstore or on Amazon.

Competing on Analytics with External Processes

Competing on Analytics provides the road map for becoming an analytical competitor, showing readers how to create new strategies for their organizations based on sophisticated analytics. Introducing a five-stage model of analytical competition, Davenport and Harris describe the typical behaviors, capabilities and challenges of each stage. It is the definitive guide for transforming your company’s fortunes in the age of analytics and big data.

Thomas H. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Professor of IT and Management at Babson College and a research fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. Jeanne G. Harris is on the faculty at Columbia University, where she teaches Business Analytics Management.
The  great  challenge  for  brand  managers  in  the  current  age,  however, is developing a closed loop of analytics describing how customers interact with a brand across multiple channels. With this information, brands can learn not only what ads and promotions customers see, but how  they  react  in  terms  of click-throughs,  conversions,  and  service. Most  companies  find  it  difficult  to  marshal  all  this  data  and  make sense of it with analytics.
One company that does do it well, however, is Disney’s Parks and Resorts business unit. The business has long been highly analytical, optimizing hotel prices, ride times, and marketing offers. Now, however, due to a “vacation management” project called MyMagic+ that cost over $1 billion and began in 2008, it is able to close the loop on how all that marketing translates into a customer experience. The ambitious goal of MyMagic+ is to provide a more magical, immersive, seamless and personal experience for every single guest. From the beginning of planning a Disney park or hotels reservation, the customer is encouraged to register and to supply an email address. The customer can plan a family trip (and, at the same time, register all family members or friends participating in the trip) with the MyDisneyExperience website or app. Disney is then able to learn what activities the customer is considering and what web pages engage different family members. Customers are also encouraged to sign up for the FastPass+ service, which offers them shorter wait times; in exchange, they share information  about  the  park  attractions,  entertainment  options,  and  even greetings from Disney characters they intend to experience.
What really closes the loop for Disney, however, is the MagicBand. Rolled out in 2013, these wristbands are typically mailed to a family before its visit starts. From the customer’s standpoint, it allows access to the park and hotel rooms, FastPass+ entry to attractions at specific times,  and   in-park and hotel purchases. It also stores photos taken with  Disney  characters,  and  allows  the  characters  to  have  personalized  interactions  with  kids.  From  Disney’s  standpoint,  it  provides  a  goldmine  of  data,  including  customer  locations,  character  interactions, purchase histories, ride patterns, and much more. If customers opt in, Disney will send personalized offers to them during their stay and after they return home.
The  scale  and  expense  of  the  MyMagic+  system  is  reflective  of the fact that the ante has been raised for competing on analytics. It may  take  a  while  for  Disney  to  recoup  its  billion-dollar  investment in this closed loop system, but the company has already seen operational benefits in being able to admit more customers to parks on busy days. There is also a belief that the system will deter customers from visiting competitor parks. Key to the ultimate value of the program, however, will be extensive analytics on how marketing and branding programs translate into actual customer activity.
Find this book:- Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning 

Reintroduce Yourself

Reinventing You provides a step-by-step guide to help you assess your unique strengths, develop a compelling personal brand and ensure that others recognize the powerful contribution you can make. Branding expert Dorie Clark mixes personal stories with engaging interviews and examples from Mark Zuckerberg, Al Gore, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and others to show you how to think big about your professional goals, take control of your career and finally live the life you want.

Small, tangible signals are only part of the battle, however, the biggest challenge is changing your behavior to reflect your new goals and reality. For over a decade, Dan had worked at a large, international technology company, ascending to the rank of engineering director. But when he decided to leave for a newer tech company with a hip reputation, he realized his résumé had some baggage attached. His previous employer was well-known and respected by the public, but in tech circles, it was viewed as an old-line behemoth, resistant to change and full of stuffy bureaucrats, not exactly the image he wanted to project to his new colleagues. “I had to work to get other people to understand I was comfortable in the new environment,” he says. “It’s a grassroots culture, so I had to start building relationships and trust. It was lots of time ‘managing by walking around,’ being as visible as possible. With anything that smacked of a big company, like having a standing staff meeting, I overreacted against it.”
Dan realized he had to make connections quickly to shape his colleagues’ perception of him, but he was starting at a disadvantage. “I discovered my entire personal network was at [my previous employer],” he recalls. “I decided I shouldn’t be in that situation again.” So he embarked on a networking campaign to deepen his connections both inside and outside his new company, and in the process, build a reputation as a forward-thinking, connected executive who understood industry trends. But there was only one problem: his personality.“I’m a fairly introverted guy,”Dan says.“I hate taking these meetings with strangers, the idea of a meeting that’s not going to help me get the job I have in front of me done, or getting to know people without an action item.”
But he forced himself to persist. “I realized it was important, that by the time you need connections, you can’t suddenly make them. You have to be ready.” These days, while his night-owl engineering team is sleeping in, Dan has a steady regimen of breakfast meetings including “people in my industry at other companies, executive search people, leaders at small companies, venture capitalists, a guy who works on corporate turnarounds.” When it comes to making connections, Dan says, “the biggest change is my default answer used to be no, and now my default answer is yes. I’ve focused on reasons to say yes.”
His networking has paid off. He’s now on the pulse of start-ups to acquire and knows which ones are going down (and from which he can poach talent). He’s made himself indispensable to his company and the furthest thing from an old school, bureaucratic manager. In fact, he’s found ways to play with his background and upend expectations. When he discovered his new company required receipts for all travel expenses above $25, whereas his old firm’s threshold was $75, he shook up his colleagues by letting them know it was less bureaucratic at his old company and suggested they change the policy. He recalls with pleasure: “I could use negative branding to my advantage.” And he knows that if he wants to change jobs in the future, he’s positioned himself with the contacts and branding he needs to land securely.
Find this book: Reinventing You

Things You Need To Know About Ravi Subramanian

An author, a banker, a columnist — Ravi Subramanian dons many hats and juggles multiple roles successfully while writing amazing books! Subramanian has not only written several books on his area of expertise — money, but also recently, a gripping thriller. Ravi Subramanian is definitely a man of many moods.
But did you know these facts about the author of In the Name of God?

And now, Ravi Subramanian is ready with yet another book on money, this time, for his younger readers. We know you’re super excited about My First Book of Money too!

9 Ways You Can Become a Better Manager

Most students pursue MBA in hopes of getting hired from a major corporation. Although MBA gets them into the company, but it does not teach how to succeed as an employee and a manager. Every year many employees join management ranks, owing to their top performance. However, as they assume their new roles, they face a fresh set of challenges.
Rajeev Agarwal in his latest book What I Did Not Learn in B-school offers insights on how should new managers tackle these challenges
Here are 9 ways in which you can overcome challenges and become a better manager.
Create a positive and motivating microculture in your organization!

Delegate better!

Creation of the right environment for your team, that helps manifest their potential to the fullest.

Be responsible and accountable for your own goals

Managers must identify their management style and then mould it according to the team members

Your employees’ performance contributes to the success/downfall of the company

As a manager, recognize that training is part of the job.

A motivated team is the key to success

Understand the reason for feedback and give it effectively

Have some more tips to be an effective manager? Share with us.

How To Foster And Resolve Productive Conflict

Productive conflict resolution
Conflict is an unavoidable, even necessary, part of collaboration, and all teams experience it, not just cross-cultural or virtual ones. “There will, even should be, conflict in a group with a task that has even a minimum of complexity,” according to Jeanne Brett, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and director of its Dispute Resolution Research Center. Teams that don’t disagree also don’t challenge assumptions, investigate ideas, point out mistakes, and motivate each other to their highest performance. Indeed, the whole point of fostering diversity on your team is to bring different viewpoints to the table. To some extent, you want these viewpoints to come into conflict; that’s how creativity and learning happen.
But, of course, not all conflict is useful. Personality clashes and task-related disagreements can bring a destructive toxicity.
Many managers believe that their role is to minimize all conflict on the team. Not so. The trick is to encourage healthy conflict. That means facilitating constructive conflicts and resolving harmful ones. Here’s the difference: healthy disagreements result in a better work product and/or stronger intrateam relationships. Unhealthy disagreements undermine your shared accomplishments and damage the team’s working relationships.
It can be a tough call to make in the moment—“Should I let my employees pursue this disagreement, or is it time to intervene with a conflict resolution?” You’ll have to go with your instinct a lot of the time, but when you’re really torn, ask yourself: Is this productive? Is this moving us closer to or further from a positive outcome?
If your answer to the first questions is yes, your best bet is probably to encourage debate and discussion so that each side can confront the other’s point of view. This isn’t a free-for-all: you still need to be actively involved as a moderator, so that the conversation stays respectful and on track. But if your answer is no, your people may need the structure of a conflict- resolution process to reach closure. Here’s how to handle both situations:
How to facilitate constructive conflict
It’s not easy to fight well, but shared processes help. Clarify your expectations with the team before a major conflict arises, either by posting your own rules somewhere (in a meeting room, on the team site) or by leading the group in a shared discussion of norms. Address these key topics:
Set ground rules.
Naming the behaviors that are and aren’t OK during a conflict will keep disagreements from spiraling out of control. Every team is different, and the specific personalities and organizational culture at play will dictate what makes sense in your particular environment. One rule, though, applies universally: conflict should be handled openly. Disagreeing with someone isn’t inherently disrespectful, and if team members choose not to voice their opinion, they should be prepared to let it go. For other potential guidelines, see the earlier box “Rules inventory.”
Establish a shared process for resolving conflict.
If team members know what to do when friction arises, they won’t shy away from necessary disagreements, and more often than not, they’ll be able to solve their own problems. Clear, step-by-step protocols for handling con- fl ict should be a central part of your team’s normal processes. One such protocol should deal with formal conflict resolution, addressed later. But spell out the lower-stakes alternatives, too. For example, team members should:

  • Respectfully confront the colleague they disagree with before they bring in anyone else, including you.
  • Talk about complicated issues face-to-face or over video chat, not over email.
  • Prepare on their own before they open a discussion with each other, so they come ready to explain their concerns and discuss alternatives.
  • Take turns summarizing each other’s ideas or concerns—in good faith. By forcing themselves to articulate each other’s point of view, they might find new ground for compromise.
  • Put the discussion on pause when they feel themselves losing track of the argument or their own self-control.
  • Escalate the argument without becoming vindictive or angry. When disagreements prove intractable, frame it as “We need help sorting this out,” not “The team leader will decide who’s right and who’s wrong.”

Provide criteria for contentious trade-offs.
When zero-sum decisions arise for a team, it’s helpful to have some well-defined criteria for making trade-offs. Fortunately, your team has these at hand, in the form of your organization’s overall strategy and the purpose and objectives this strategy has already defined for your group’s work. Clarify these points with your people and be specific about your goals and highest priorities. For example, “Meeting the deadline for this assignment is more important than fulfilling its scope” or vice versa.
How to resolve destructive conflict
With practice, your team members may learn to manage constructive conflict mostly on their own, with little intervention from you. By contrast, a formal conflict-resolution process always involves you. Sometimes your employees will bring an issue to your attention and ask for your help. But if they’re not self-aware enough to do this, you may need to take the initiative and ask them to participate. However, you start off, the process should have three phases:
Step 1: Find the root cause.
This step may require some research on your part. If the conflict is complicated or long-standing, you’ll want to know what’s going on before you invite two tense people to a meeting to hash it out. If you do decide to involve other people in your inquiry, try to talk to all parties involved in the conflict separately. And follow up with anyone else on the team whose perspective could clarify the problem, if you can do it sensitively. The questions you want to clarify for yourself through these interviews are:

  • Why are team members arguing with each other?
  • Is there a deeper personality conflict here?
  • Are there organizational causes of this conflict?
  • Is this a recurring pattern?
  • Why does one member always insist on getting his or her way?
  • Is the cause of this conflict a behavior? A clash of opinions? An external situation?

When you have some answers to these questions, you’ll be able to start generating ideas for negotiating a resolution. For example, if the conflict is caused by a personality clash, you’ll probably need to help the team members learn to communicate better with one another and be more respectful when they disagree. If the conflict is caused by project circumstances, you and your team can brainstorm fixes like hiring additional resources, redefining roles, or modifying the scope of the work.
Step 2: Facilitate a resolution.
You may have a few ideas for how this situation should evolve, but it’s best to avoid dictating a solution. Solutions don’t work simply because they make sense or because you said so; they work when they have buy-in from the people who have to execute them. For this reason, compromises that are imposed from above tend not to be as thorough or as resilient as the ones a team arrives at by itself.
Frustrating as it may be, play no more than a facilitating role. Your listening-to-telling ratio should be 4:1, and the “telling” part should mostly be active listening tactics to help team members understand underlying assumptions. That means asking open-ended questions, restating and reframing team members’ perspectives, and encouraging the other people in the room to do the same. Set the tone for this discussion by reminding people to stick to the facts, to talk about behaviors instead of traits, and to follow the team’s ground rules for conflict.
If the team members resist coming to a resolution despite your best efforts, you may need to steer the conversation a little more decisively. Leadership coach Lisa Lai recommends using these five questions to facilitate the conversation:

  1. What does each person really want?
  2. What matters to them, personally and professionally?
  3. What motivates them? What fears do they have?
  4. Where is there common ground?
  5. What’s the difference between their stories?

If the conversation really seems stuck, try these tactics:

  • Ask each team member to share their BATNA. In negotiation parlance, a BATNA is your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement”—basically, what your team members think will happen if they can’t resolve their dispute. Then ask them how their BATNAs will affect the rest of the team. Articulating consequence to the group may help them recommit to finding a solution.
  • Refocus the discussion on the team’s strategic objectives. Sometimes, the team members’ shared interests are strong enough to compel a resolution on their own (see the box “Case study: Focusing team members on a shared goal”). Other times, you may need to push a little harder. Ask the team members to identify together the key priorities that their agreement should address and then limit the scope of the discussion to these issues alone: “This is a very complicated situation, and I can see it’s wearing on everyone involved. But if we can’t resolve all of it right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t resolve any of it. For now, let’s focus on coming up with a solution for X issue.”

This is an excerpt from Harvard Business Review’s Manager’s Handbook – the 17 Skills Leaders Need to Stand Out. Get your copy here.
Credit: Abhishek Singh

The Elements of a Successful Business Model

EVERY SUCCESSFUL COMPANY ALREADY operates according to an effective business model. By systematically identifying all of its constituent parts, executives can understand how the model fulfills a potent value proposition in a profitable way using certain key resources and key processes. With that understanding, they can then judge how well the same model could be used to fulfill a radically different CVP—and what they’d need to do to construct a new one, if need be, to capitalize on that opportunity.
When Ratan Tata of Tata Group looked out over this scene, he saw a critical job to be done: providing a safer alternative for scooter families. He understood that the cheapest car available in India cost easily five times what a scooter did and that many of these families could not afford one. Offering an affordable, safer, all-weather alternative for scooter families was a powerful value proposition, one with the potential to reach tens of millions of people who were not yet part of the car-buying market. Ratan Tata also recognized that Tata Motors’ business model could not be used to develop such a product at the needed price point.
At the other end of the market spectrum, Hilti, a Liechtensteinbased manufacturer of high-end power tools for the construction industry, reconsidered the real job to be done for many of its current customers. A contractor makes money by finishing projects; if the required tools aren’t available and functioning properly, the job doesn’t get done. Contractors don’t make money by owning tools; they make it by using them as efficiently as possible. Hilti could help contractors get the job done by selling tool use instead of the tools themselves—managing its customers’ tool inventory by providing the best tool at the right time and quickly furnishing tool repairs, replacements, and upgrades, all for a monthly fee. To deliver on that value proposition, the company needed to create a fleetmanagement program for tools and in the process, shift its focus from manufacturing and distribution to service. That meant Hilti had to construct a new profit formula and develop new resources and new processes.
The most important attribute of a customer value proposition is its precision: how perfectly it nails the customer job to be done—and nothing else. But such precision is often the most difficult thing to achieve. Companies trying to create the new often neglect to focus on one job; they dilute their efforts by attempting to do lots of things. In doing lots of things, they do nothing really well.
One way to generate a precise customer value proposition is to think about the four most common barriers keeping people from getting particular jobs done: insufficient wealth, access, skill, or time. Software maker Intuit devised QuickBooks to fulfill smallbusiness owners’ need to avoid running out of cash. By fulfilling that job with greatly simplified accounting software, Intuit broke the skills barrier that kept untrained small-business owners from using more-complicated accounting packages. MinuteClinic, the drugstore-based basic health care provider, broke the time barrier that kept people from visiting a doctor’s office with minor health issues by making nurse practitioners available without appointments.
Designing a profit formula
Ratan Tata knew the only way to get families off their scooters and into cars would be to break the wealth barrier by drastically decreasing the price of the car. “What if I can change the game and make a car for one lakh?” Tata wondered, envisioning a price point of around US$2,500, less than half the price of the cheapest car available. This, of course, had dramatic ramifications for the profit formula: It required both a significant drop in gross margins and a radical reduction in many elements of the cost structure. He knew; however, he could still make money if he could increase sales volume dramatically, and he knew that his target base of consumers was potentially huge.
For Hilti, moving to a contract management program required shifting assets from customers’ balance sheets to its own and generating revenue through a lease/subscription model. For a monthly fee, customers could have a full complement of tools at their fingertips, with repair and maintenance included. This would require a fundamental shift in all major components of the profit formula: the revenue stream (pricing, the staging of payments, and how to think about volume), the cost structure (including added sales development and contract management costs), and the supporting margins and transaction velocity.
Identifying key resources and processes
Having articulated the value proposition for both the customer and the business, companies must then consider the key resources and processes needed to deliver that value. For a professional services firm, for example, the key resources are generally its people, and the key processes are naturally people related (training and development, for instance). For a packaged goods company, strong brands and well-selected channel retailers might be the key resources, and associated brand-building and channel-management processes among the critical processes.
Oftentimes, it’s not the individual resources and processes that make the difference but their relationship to one another. Companies will almost always need to integrate their key resources and processes in a unique way to get a job done perfectly for a set of customers. When they do, they almost always create enduring competitive advantage. Focusing first on the value proposition and the profit formula makes clear how those resources and processes need to interrelate. For example, most general hospitals offer a value proposition that might be described as, “We’ll do anything for anybody.” Being all things to all people requires these hospitals to have a vast collection of resources (specialists, equipment, and so on) that can’t be knit together in any proprietary way. The result is not just a lack of differentiation but dissatisfaction.
By contrast, a hospital that focuses on a specific value proposition can integrate its resources and processes in a unique way that delights customers. National Jewish Health in Denver, for example, is organized around a focused value proposition we’d characterize as, “If you have a disease of the pulmonary system, bring it here. We’ll define its root cause and prescribe an effective therapy.” Narrowing its focus has allowed National Jewish to develop processes that integrate the ways in which its specialists and specialized equipment work together.
For Tata Motors to fulfill the requirements of its customer value proposition and profit formula for the Nano, it had to reconceive how a car is designed, manufactured, and distributed. Tata built a small team of fairly young engineers who would not, like the company’s more-experienced designers, be influenced and constrained in their thinking by the automaker’s existing profit formulas. This team dramatically minimized the number of parts in the vehicle, resulting in a significant cost saving. Tata also reconceived its supplier strategy, choosing to outsource a remarkable 85% of the Nano’s components and use nearly 60% fewer vendors than normal to reduce transaction costs and achieve better economies of scale.
At the other end of the manufacturing line, Tata is envisioning an entirely new way of assembling and distributing its cars. The ultimate plan is to ship the modular components of the vehicles to a combined network of company-owned and independent entrepreneur-owned assembly plants, which will build them to order. The Nano will be designed, built, distributed, and serviced in a radically new way—one that could not be accomplished without a new business model. And while the jury is still out, Ratan Tata may solve a traffic safety problem in the process.
This is an excerpt from HBR’s 10 Must Reads (On Strategy). Get your copy here.
Credit: Abhishek Singh

Managing ADT (Attention Deficiency Trait)

D Overloaded Circuits by Edward M. Hallowell DAVID DRUMS HIS FINGERS on his desk as he scans the e-mail on his computer screen. At the same time, he’s talking on the phone to an executive halfway around the world. His knee bounces up and down like a jackhammer. He intermittently bites his lip and reaches for his constant companion, the coffee cup. He’s so deeply involved in multitasking that he has forgotten the appointment his Outlook calendar reminded him of 15 minutes ago.
Jane, a senior vice president, and Mike, her CEO, have adjoining offices so they can communicate quickly, yet communication never seems to happen. “Whenever I go into Mike’s office, his phone lights up, my cell phone goes off, someone knocks on the door, he suddenly turns to his screen and writes an e-mail, or he tells me about a new issue he wants me to address,” Jane complains. “We’re working flat out just to stay afloat, and we’re not getting anything important accomplished. It’s driving me crazy.”
David, Jane, and Mike aren’t crazy, but they’re certainly crazed. Their experience is becoming the norm for overworked managers who suffer—like many of your colleagues, and possibly like you— from a very real but unrecognized neurological phenomenon that I call attention deficit trait, or ADT.
Caused by brain overload, ADT is now epidemic in organizations. The core symptoms are distractibility, inner frenzy, and impatience. People with ADT have difficulty staying organized, setting priorities, and managing time. These symptoms can undermine the work of an otherwise gifted executive. If David, Jane, Mike, and the millions like them understood themselves in neurological terms, they could actively manage their lives instead of reacting to problems as they happen.
As a psychiatrist who has diagnosed and treated thousands of people over the past 25 years for a medical condition called attention deficit disorder, or ADD (now known clinically as attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder), I have observed firsthand how a rapidly growing segment of the adult population is developing this new, related condition. The number of people with ADT coming into my clinical practice has mushroomed by a factor of ten in the past decade. Unfortunately, most of the remedies for chronic overload proposed by time-management consultants and executive coaches do not address the underlying causes of ADT.
Unlike ADD, a neurological disorder that has a genetic component and can be aggravated by environmental and physical factors, ADT springs entirely from the environment. Like the traffic jam, ADT is an artifact of modern life. It is brought on by the demands on our time and attention that have exploded over the past two decades. As our minds fill with noise—feckless synaptic events signifying nothing—the brain gradually loses its capacity to attend fully and thoroughly to anything.
The symptoms of ADT come upon a person gradually. The sufferer doesn’t experience a single crisis but rather a series of minor emergencies while he or she tries harder and harder to keep up. Shouldering a responsibility to “suck it up” and not complain as the workload increases, executives with ADT do whatever they can to handle a load they simply cannot manage as well as they’d like. The ADT sufferer therefore feels a constant low level of panic and guilt. Facing a tidal wave of tasks, the executive becomes increasingly hurried, curt, peremptory, and unfocused, while pretending that everything is fine.
To control ADT, we first have to recognize it. And control it we must, if we as individuals and organizational leaders are to be effective. In the following pages, I’ll offer an analysis of the origins of ADT and provide some suggestions that may help you manage it.
This is an excerpt from HBR’s 10 Must Reads (On Managing Yourself). Get your copy here.
Credit: Abhishek Singh

Everything You Need to Know About Level 5 Leadership

IN 1971, A SEEMINGLY ordinary man named Darwin E. Smith was named chief executive of Kimberly-Clark, a stodgy old paper company whose stock had fallen 36% behind the general market during the previous 20 years. Smith, the company’s mild-mannered in-house lawyer, wasn’t so sure the board had made the right choice—a feeling that was reinforced when a Kimberly-Clark director pulled him aside and reminded him that he lacked some of the qualifications for the position. But CEO he was, and CEO he remained for 20 years.
What a 20 years it was. In that period, Smith created a stunning transformation at Kimberly-Clark, turning it into the leading consumer paper products company in the world. Under his stewardship, the company beat its rivals Scott Paper and Procter & Gamble. And in doing so, Kimberly-Clark generated cumulative stock returns that were 4.1 times greater than those of the general market, outperforming venerable companies such as Hewlett-Packard, 3M, CocaCola, and General Electric.
Smith’s turnaround of Kimberly-Clark is one the best examples in the twentieth century of a leader taking a company from merely good to truly great. And yet few people—even ardent students of business history—have heard of Darwin Smith. He probably would have liked it that way. Smith is a classic example of a Level 5 leader—an individual who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will. According to our five-year research study, executives who possess this paradoxical combination of traits are catalysts for the statistically rare event of transforming a good company into a great one. (The research is described in the sidebar “One Question, Five Years, 11 Companies.”)
“Level 5” refers to the highest level in a hierarchy of executive capabilities that we identified during our research. Leaders at the other four levels in the hierarchy can produce high degrees of success but not enough to elevate companies from mediocrity to sustained excellence. (For more details about this concept, see the exhibit “The Level 5 Hierarchy.”) And while Level 5 leadership is not the only requirement for transforming a good company into a great one— other factors include getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and creating a culture of discipline—our research shows it to be essential. Good-to-great transformations don’t happen without Level 5 leaders at the helm. They just don’t.
Not What You Would Expect
Our discovery of Level 5 leadership is counterintuitive. Indeed, it is countercultural. People generally assume that transforming companies from good to great requires larger-than-life leaders—big personalities like Lee Iacocca, Al Dunlap, Jack Welch, and Stanley Gault, who make headlines and become celebrities.
Compared with those CEOs, Darwin Smith seems to have come from Mars. Shy, unpretentious, even awkward, Smith shunned attention. When a journalist asked him to describe his management style, Smith just stared back at the scribe from the other side of his thick black-rimmed glasses. He was dressed unfashionably, like a farm boy wearing his first J.C. Penney suit. Finally, after a long and uncomfortable silence, he said, “Eccentric.” Needless to say, the Wall Street Journal did not publish a splashy feature on Darwin Smith.
But if you were to consider Smith soft or meek, you would be terribly mistaken. His lack of pretense was coupled with a fierce, even stoic, resolve toward life. Smith grew up on an Indiana farm and put himself through night school at Indiana University by working the day shift at International Harvester. One day, he lost a finger on the job. The story goes that he went to class that evening and returned to work the very next day. Eventually, this poor but determined Indiana farm boy earned admission to Harvard Law School.
He showed the same iron will when he was at the helm of Kimberly-Clark. Indeed, two months after Smith became CEO, doctors diagnosed him with nose and throat cancer and told him he had less than a year to live. He duly informed the board of his illness but said he had no plans to die anytime soon. Smith held to his demanding work schedule while commuting weekly from Wisconsin to Houston for radiation therapy. He lived 25 more years, 20 of them as CEO. Smith’s ferocious resolve was crucial to the rebuilding of Kimberly-Clark, especially when he made the most dramatic decision in the company’s history: selling the mills.
This is an excerpt from HBR’s 10 Must Reads (On Leadership). Get your copy here.
Credit: Abhishek Singh

Cracking the Code of Transformation

Comparing theories of change
Our research has shown that all corporate transformations can be compared along the six dimensions shown here. The table outlines the differences between the E and O archetypes and illustrates what an integrated approach might look like.

Dimensions of changeTheory ETheory OTheories E and O combined
GoalsMaximize shareholder valueDevelop organizational capabilitiesExplicitly embrace the paradox between economic value and organizational capability
LeadershipManage change from the top downEncourage participation from the bottom upSet direction from the top and engage the people below
FocusEmphasize structure and systemsBuild up corporate culture: employees’ behavior and attitudesFocus simultaneously on the hard (structures and systems) and the soft (corporate culture)
ProcessPlan and establish programsExperiment and evolve
Plan for spontaneity
Reward systemMotivate through financial incentivesMotivate through commitment—use pay as fair exchangeUse incentives to reinforce change but not to drive it
Use of consultantsConsultants analyze problems and shape solutionsConsultants support management in shaping their own solutionsConsultants are expert resources who empower employees

This is an excerpt from HBR’s 10 Must Reads (On Change Management). Get your copy here.
Credit: Abhishek Singh

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