Archive for the Category »Professional «

* My professional insights

I am using the convenience of this web site to share my professional insights and experiences. These insights helped me break free from the tyranny of past experience in the places I worked. I combined these insights with constant search for authentic knowledge, countless hours of work, and lack of fear in challenging popular beliefs, practices and people at all levels.

This approach helped me in radically transforming the places where I worked, in a year or two. If some of the posts in this ‘Professional’ category help a few young managers, I would feel my efforts amply rewarded. What prompted me to begin these posts? It was the the following e-mail from one of my wonderful ex-colleagues in ITC PSPD, R.V. S. S. N. Raju that triggered my dormant intention.

“I have worked under your guidance for nearly eight years at the beginning of my career. I learned a lot then and continue to learn. But, honestly the work culture that I maintain, has roots back to those days. The principles of the book you made us read “Built to Last: Successful habits of visionary companies” (1) made a lasting impression on me that I still benefit from. I am very thankful for everything you taught me and the principles you sowed in my mind.”
R.V.S.S. N. Raju, President Meridiansoft (3)

Periodic posts will follow. Meanwhile please see my  power point charts ‘Basic Management Concepts’ (2).

(1) ‘Built to last’ by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras
(2) Basic management concepts – Power Point charts 
(3) Meridiansoft

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* It happened suddenly!

As a maintenance engineer in a continuous running plant, I had to face sudden stoppages of continuous running machines due to mechanical defects. I had to answer the management for the consequent losses to the company. The persons responsible for avoiding the unplanned stoppages of the machines would tell me that the machine was running fine yesterday and even a little while back and it failed suddenly. They claimed they could not have detected and prevented the failure. Of course this is not true for mechanical parts. But how to drive this point home without arguments? I used to practically demonstrate what might have been happening this way.

I pick up a paper weight and place it in the middle of a small table. The table is clear of any objects form the paper weight to the clear edge. I move the paper weight intermittently in steps of a few inches. After the first move I stop, look at them and say “Nothing happened!”. Again I move it a little and say “Nothing happened”. Again I move an inch and say “Yes, nothing is happening”. I keep on moving the paper weight inch by inch till it falls on the hard floor with a thud. Then I shout and say “The paper weight has fallen suddenly. It was OK a few seconds back!”.

People watching this demo invariably smile and admit that something adverse or unusual was happening gradually before the failure that they were not observing carefully. Or they were seeing some unusual symptoms but felt they were harmless, not worth any corrective action. The gradual deterioration from the healthy condition has to lead to total failure some day, there can be no escape.

This could apply to many aspects of life – sudden burst of reactions of people, sudden crisis of some kind etc. We ignore the preceding symptoms and underestimate their significance. These accumulate over a period of time and one day result in a (sudden?) failure of some kind.

If we keenly observe what is happening around us in things and people and know what is a normal and healthy situation and what is a significant deviation, we can predict where this gradual negative change will ultimately lead to and what could be it’s consequences.

If we take corrective actions in the early stages when we see the adverse movements taking place, the adverse event can be aborted. The so called sudden developments can only happen when we close our eyes and minds to what is  happening gradually or choose to underestimate or ignore their significance.

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