Latest Posts

building digital into CX delivery

Gautam Borah

It is getting harder by the day for organizations to make customers stick. An integrated approach that incorporating digital into

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think ahead

Joseph A Michelli

Innovative business ideas are invariably founded in deep customer insights—not just understanding their needs and wants, but taking a leap

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to replicate or to renew?

Henk W Volberda Cornelis V 'Kevin' Heij

The speed with which technologies and markets change forces firms to innovate their business model. The two main types of

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win without fighting

Anne Loehr

Even at their harmonious best, many organizations are often a ‘cacophony’ of dissenting views and behaviors, which leads to managers

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nurturing a Store No. 8

Omar Abbosh Paul Nunes Larry Downes

In a marketplace largely disrupted—and now hegemonized—by the digital revolution, is it the end of the road for traditional retailers?

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welcome the unexpected

Roger Firestien

01 only a few people are creative, and they are artists and musicians Creativity researchers James Kaufman and Ron Beghetto

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other highlights

building digital into CX delivery

It is getting harder by the day for organizations to make customers stick. An integrated approach that incorporating digital into customer experience may hold the key. Recently, I was amazed

think ahead

Innovative business ideas are invariably founded in deep customer insights—not just understanding their needs and wants, but taking a leap while they walk —just as Airbnb did. Henry Ford knew

to replicate or to renew?

The speed with which technologies and markets change forces firms to innovate their business model. The two main types of business model innovation are replication and renewal Replication flourishes especially

win without fighting

Even at their harmonious best, many organizations are often a ‘cacophony’ of dissenting views and behaviors, which leads to managers having to deal with unmanageable employees. But, the good news

nurturing a Store No. 8

In a marketplace largely disrupted—and now hegemonized—by the digital revolution, is it the end of the road for traditional retailers? The authors make a case that organizations that focus on

welcome the unexpected

01 only a few people are creative, and they are artists and musicians Creativity researchers James Kaufman and Ron Beghetto have identified four types of creativity: ‘Big-C’, ‘little-c’, ‘mini-c’, and

a case for a sounding board

A leadership position undoubtedly brings with it enormous power and authority; and ironically, a deep sense of insecurity too. Having hardly anyone to connect with and share ideas and thoughts

the Icarus syndrome

Leaders who ignore practicality and set out on overly ambitious ventures, without assessing the risks and fallouts, often run the risk of running the organization into losses, or worse, going

chemistry for success

 People think they have free will over their actions, but the truth is that our decisions are controlled by hundreds of chemicals in our body. In view of this, leaders

stand out, not in

 In an era of sameness, it is tough to set your business apart from competition. Customers have dozens of options to choose from, and your company may get lost in

Sole sentinel

 “Leaders change organizations. And it takes a Virtuoso leader to change an organization in the most positive way.” Fred Kiel, author of Return on Character, told The Smart Manager in

break the bubble

 Leadership loneliness largely results from an interplay of multiple factors—absolute power and responsibility, conflict with teams, attempts by ‘followers’ to limit the leader’s authority, and so on. However, there are

bring forth the ‘you’

Women do not need to be epic and iconic to be a revolutionary. Within you is your own revolutionary who wants to change the story of

leading by fear?

Those occupying seats of power—many a time unknowingly—trigger a sense of fear in their organizations. This makes them unapproachable and kills the synergy that smooth conversations can bring. Leaders may

let in loneliness

Leadership and loneliness are inextricably intertwined, but that’s not always a bad thing. Enterprising leaders should embrace their isolation and view it as a source of inner strength, as well

ethical by example

illustration by swapnil redkar The line between right and wrong is never static, subtly shifting in today’s VUCA landscape. In these ethically challenging times, leaders have

the power of divergent thinking

As the world evolves at a rapid pace, businesses are increasingly getting left behind as they cling to the past. Companies must turn to divergent thinking to carry their company

what really sells

Tom Schodorf, co-author, with David Mattson and Bart Fanelli, of The Success Cadence: Unleash Your Organization’s Rapid Growth Culture, decodes the mantra for successful sales. He is also a consultant

going it alone, together

  illustration by nilesh juvalekar The perceived halo of success and enterprise, many a time, masks the true picture beneath—of entrepreneur loneliness. The reasons are: the

social for hire

illustration by swapnil redkar Organizations must evolve beyond conventional HR hiring processes and look to cutting-edge solutions to find the right talent. Using the micro-social media

know thyself

illustration by nilesh juvalekar First impressions can make or break you in today’s attention-deficit, fast-paced world. Crafting the perfect introduction to yourself is thus paramount, on

shaping the best mould

Marga Hoek is a global thought leader onsustainable business and author ofThe Trillion Dollar Shift. The UN Global Compact asks companies to first do business responsibly

Delphique 2019

‘Startups as a career choice for students’ was the theme of the inaugural panel discussion. The panellists were Munish Dayal, Senior Partner, Baring Capital; Udit Joshi,

the bedrock

illustration by swapnil redkar As many business examples the world over have proven, the implications of an integrity deficit are humungous. Leaders hold the most responsibility

fight it with a purpose

illustration by swapnil redkar Innovation has long been recognized as a lever for growth, and is undoubtedly so. But many a time, relentless pursuit leaves organizations

why leaders go astray

illustration by nilesh juvalekar Our character is reflected by our character ‘habits’, and because how we treat others is a matter of habit, we can change.

ripple effect

illustration by swapnil redkar Culture is a construct that defies any clear definition—it is a combination of factors that go into its making. But who creates

cost of complacence

illustration by nilesh juvalekar Refusal to step out of our comfort zones is a defense mechanism of sorts—making us entrenched in the familiar, keeping change at

complements, not competitors

Illustration by Swapnil Redkar Bias against age is a malaise many fall victim to. Instead, organizations should consider an intergenerational mix as a strength and leverage

take charge

Chris Griffiths, author of The Creative Thinking Handbook and founder and CEO of OpenGenius, the company behind innovative task management tool, unfolds the path to

full tank, always

Jon Wortmann is Author of Hijacked By Your Brain. Energy levels are a highly personal attribute—how much energy we can spend and at what point we

the ‘talentsumers’ are here

Bruce Morton is a Workforce Design and Talent Acquisition Expert. He is Author of Redesigning The Way Work Works. Technology has reshaped the world of work

connection matters

Nicolaj Siggelkow is Professor at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is Author of Connected Strategy. In this fast-evolving world—where technology is advancing at an unprecedented

positive vibes

Bernardo Moya is the Founder of The Best You and Author of The Question: Find Your True Purpose. The workings of the mind are mostly studied

no triangles

Rachael Robertson is an Antarctic expedition leader. She is the author of Leading on the Edge and Respect Trumps Harmony – I don’t like you, but

indicators of change

Kris Oestergaard is co-founder and Chief Learning and Innovation Officer, at SingularityU Nordic. He is author, Transforming Legacy Organizations: Turn Your Established Business into an Innovation

bend, blend, break, build…

Chris Duffey is author of Superhuman Innovation: Transforming Businesses with Artificial Intelligence, and Head of Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Strategy at Adobe. He spearheads Adobe’s Creative

the expertise trap

Corey Phelps is a Professor of Strategy and Associate Dean of Executive Education at Mcgill University. He is also the Co-Author of Cracked It! When faced

reshape the mould

Muniinder K Anand is Managing Director-India and South Asia atCenter for Creative Leadership. As in many other spheres of organizational functioning, the VUCA reality demands drastic

building brand ‘you’

Sandra Jones is a Business Management Consultant and Coach in the area of Strategic Accountability. She is also an Athena Award Winner. In our personal lives

a question of control

Morgen Witzel is a Management Historian, Author of 21 Books, and a Fellow of The Centre for Leadership Studies at The University of Exeter Business School.

power of many

Scott E Page is Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at University Of Michigan, an external professor at The Santa Fe

when social goes digital

Ray Titus is Dean and Professor of Marketing, Alliance school of Business, Alliance University, Bengaluru.The digital is no more a distant reality; it has made deep

symbiotic relationship

Gary Peacock is Head of Innovation and Research at Gordian Business, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is also the co-author

myths busted

Today’s leaders should apply evolutionary theories to their practise to become mindful and lead effectively, says Graeme Findlay, author of Evolve: How Exceptional Leader Leverage the Inner Voice of Human

recognizing failure

Chris Griffiths is a TEDx creativity expert who has previously coached The Dalai Lama, and nobel laureates among others, he is co-author of The Creative Thinking

a class apart

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is a thought leader, author of The Project Revolution and The Focused Organization. He teaches senior leaders at leading business schools worldwide. Agile execution

doomed to fail?

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is a thought leader, author of The Project Revolution and The Focused Organization. He teaches senior leaders at leading business schools worldwide. Driving a

building winning stores

Tim Mason is Chief Executive Officer, Eagle Eye Solutions Ltd. Today, more and more customers are adopting digital platforms to make purchases. However, the most prudent

a culture play

Louis Carter is the author of In Great Company. He was named one of global gurus’ top 10 organizational culture gurus in the world. Leaders should

game changer

India is inching closer to becoming a trillion dollar, digital economy. Digital infrastructure and access to technology are both rapidly expanding in the country. And with an unprecedented data explosion

secret weapon

Business owners and entrepreneurs know that running a business is challenging— extraordinarily so at times. Despite knowing that there are no shortcuts to lasting success, we are sometimes guilty of

culture connect

Company culture is in vogue. If you did a Google search today on it, you would see a huge jump compared to even five years ago. The topic is gaining

networking… the dark side

Formal networking clubs like BNI and many similar [ones] started up at the turn of this century. Before that, networking did not need formal arenas; we just ‘did it’. In

mindset matters

In programming your winning mindset, the key to success, and failure, is simply this…we become what we think about. We have a distinct advantage over every other living creature on

become leadership fit

01 leadership is a skill Leadership by itself is not a skill. It is a collection of skills. This is one reason leadership is so complex. I have worked with

the unconscious impact

Imagine you had to make an important career decision later today. You could be choosing your next mentor, approaching your next client, or hiring someone for a critical role on

path to productivity

Providing feedback to employees and team members has for long been deemed to be a leader’s indispensable skill. As they endeavor to achieve the objectives of the organization, employees need

uprooting bias

Don’t always believe what you think. There are many types of biases, and many definitions, but at heart all forms of bias come back to the same thing—a predisposition towards

how bias got a bad name

The commitment to creating inclusive and culturally competent organizations is more relevant than ever. Workforce, workplace, and marketplace issues, all create an indisputable business case for why organizations should pay

diversity dividend

We all have bias. Bias is an inclination or prejudice in favor or against something, someone or a group, usually considered unfair. Unconscious bias happens out of our awareness. Neuroscience

bias for action!

“Have a bias toward action—let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” - Indira Gandhi, first lady

more than just hearing

‘‘The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.’’ -

chatbots will transform user interaction

Being present in the chatbot space over the last three years has been about making conversational user interface work across different industries with a focus in research and marketing. The

technology to be at the core of how business is done

From the basic expectation of discovering, ordering, and getting a trusted, high-quality product, consumers have evolved to having high expectations from ecommerce players in India. This evolution has been fueled

overcome old mindsets, learn new skills

purpose-driven leadership DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) found that organizations with a well-defined purpose outperform others by a whopping 42 percent. Purpose is an aspirational reason for employees. Getting purpose

project revolution will be led by people, not robots

surge importance of projects in the global economy: in the new economic and development global landscape, projects are becoming the essential model to create value and sustainable development. In Germany,

humans to work in harmony with intelligent technology

evolving interface The physical layer of interface will rapidly vanish with the developments in voice and gaze, leading to frictionless interaction and almost instant access to information. The proof of

the reign of data

data quality management It is not only important to gather as much information as possible. The quality and the context in which data is being used and interpreted also serves

put your best foot forward

01 if you want it done right, do it yourself That is because our limited understanding of what is right and what is possible keeps us from doing our very

the other side of the desk

Take a moment to revisit your first day at your first job. As nostalgia takes over, try to recall your memories of that day—the excitement, fervor, and the sense of

a class apart

What are the conversations that led to the topic of the book, The Made in India Manager? The two of us noticed the appointment of a number of Indian-origin managers

enforced downtime

Kumar looked in bewilderment when he was told that he had damaged his knee ligament and needed surgery and rehabilitation, which could keep him off work for a few weeks.

give and take

We are often told that when it comes to communication skills, listening is every bit as important as talking. The ability to listen, process, and respond to what other people

you can’t listen, if you don’t stop talking

A few years ago, I went on a hike with two friends. After we turned around and arrived back at our cars I remarked, “Wow, walking back took very little

listening to understand

Listening is the ability to accurately interpret and receive messages during the communication process. It is not just a passive process but is in fact an active process that requires

chart your path

I came up through the school of hard knocks. Literally. While I was going to college, I sold books door to door for Southwestern, a producer of educational books. I

listen up

“Why was I not told about this before?” The CFO’s question came with a sharp tone and narrowed eyes. He did not like to be surprised. The monthly review meeting

lend an ear

Engaged employees are a vital force in any successful organization today, yet The Gallup Organization has consistently reported that only about one-third of employees in any organization are actively engaged.

it pays to listen

Teams are where business is done. Whether it is a team within one department, an interdepartmental group, or a team that includes outside parties such as contractors or clients, it

a thumb rule

Human resource professionals are known to develop very articulate management competencies descriptions. They classify them in core competencies, functional ones, by professional families, or by any other criteria they may

a much-needed leadership skill

It is fair to say that leaders across the globe are facing massive disruptions from digital to dealing with a changing workforce. Leaders have increased pressure on them, across India,

celebrate it more often

At school, if I got 90 percent in an exam, my dad would ask, “Why didn’t you get 100 percent?” In many businesses, we expect leaders and managers to get

The biology of change

What is the best way to motivate employees to change? Traditionally, the change literature has encouraged leaders to ‘create burning platforms’ and to ‘manufacture crisis’ in order to activate employee

Decode it right

There is a lot of talk about leadership at the moment and quite rightly so. This is not just because of political or gender issues, it goes wider. Considering it

Soaked knowledge

Could you tell what the SPONGE Learning Framework is about? SPONGE is really just a simple acronym for a learning framework I have created in my new book SPONGE –

Create not pools, but an ocean

For 35 years, I consulted with global corporations on the selection and development of intrepreneurial thinking within corporations. The theory was that if multi-nationals could get just a few people

Stepping stones

“Every failure is a step to success,” remarked British philosopher and historian William Whewell—a statement that holds true in all walks of life, including business. One has heard this statement

How to tame your ‘victim voice’

We all experience moments of failure. One of my most spectacular failures occurred some years ago when I was working on a training contract with Farmers Home Administration. Training has

A case for a second chance

This is what Roger Martin, in his article in Harvard Business Review, (May 2, 2014) had to say about failure: “Most people agree that the two strongest human urges are

Power of data

In the world we live today, data is king. Many economists believe that ‘data to this century is what oil was for the last century’—a driver for growth, change, and

‘Politics’ of failure

Kenneth Andrews did seminal work on why firms fail by studying the failure of many great US companies during the 1960s (Andrews, 1971). That decade was pivotal for US firms

Purposeful mission, profitable opportunities

The fundamental role of a leader is to set a firm direction for the team to follow. As a business leader, you are expected to steer your ship toward opportunities

Equal players

As companies grow, so does the need for expert sales professionals of both genders. Yet, traditionally, and still today, the majority of people selling are men. Why? One reason lies

Building compassion

Over the years, I have had the good fortune of interacting with leaders, organizations, and individuals at various stages of their respective careers. Strangely, I have found a common answer

Embrace the highs and lows

How has the outburst of digital technology altered marketing? Marketers now have the ability to deliver personalized advertising to incredibly targeted audiences over an ever-present distribution network, the mobile phone.

‘Leaders’ of a different kind

Q: How do you lead millennials? A: You don’t. A colleague of mine at the University of Exeter Business School once observed of our students: “These people want to work.

Fight it young

What was the idea behind the launch of Thrive Global? We launched the business in 2016 but in many ways, our journey began in 2007. Our founder, Arianna Huffington, was

Entitlement, a millennial problem?

Entitlement is defined as the belief that we inherently deserve privileges or special treatment. It is also a word commonly associated with that young, unruly group: the millennials. Millennials expect

Dive deep

Deloitte Millennial Survey—a 2016 study across 29 countries including 17 emerging and 12 developed markets—finally broke the illusion of millennial engagement. It revealed a global trend—two in every three millennials

Break down barriers

The renowned Israeli social scientist, Yuval Harari, has said, “The real difference between us and chimpanzees is the mysterious glue that enables millions of humans to cooperate effectively.” Unless, it

One small step, one big change

Is it not interesting that a country which has had a woman Prime Minister, way back in the 1960s and 1970s, still runs a campaign to save and educate the

Blow with the wind

I grew up in the family business. I say ‘grew up in’ literally. My parents worked seven days a week, so my standard location before I could walk was underneath

Creative core

Besides various other things, creativity is the use of imagination. It is a new way of solving problems and crafting value-adding solutions. Creativity, by its very nature, is contextual, solution-focused,

Bright leaders, right opportunities

A few years ago, Professor J Bruce Harreld of Harvard Business School studied businesses around the world of all sizes, in all sectors. Remarkably enough, he found that ‘only 1.7

Before they change you…

I once had a manager for whom every meeting was a battle ground, an opportunity to demonstrate how he was better than others. Slowly but surely, people started avoiding him.

Gender neutral

01 women just need to work hard to be successful Is it really true that a woman will succeed based on the hard work she puts in and the results

A mandarin narrative

In his 1962 book Strategy and Structure, Alfred Chandler argues that an organization’s structure should be driven by its chosen strategy and, if it is not, inefficiency results. Taking this

A positive delay

Yes or no? Is procrastination a good thing? Chances are if you are like most people, you answered no. That is because we have been conditioned to believe that procrastination

The best course

Research findings show that large, longstanding, publicly traded family businesses grow faster than non-family ones.2 They are more resilient, and outperform market returns by several percentage points. Across the economic

Be a change leader

How drastically times have changed. Most of us would believe that concepts like leadership do not change with time. But the reality could not be farther away from this belief.

A measured step

Traditionally, Indian IT firms have been dependent on the US market for revenue generation. But they have been facing challenges since 2017 because of the US government’s protectionist stance and

From firms to ecosystems

Your book proposes that the new competitive landscape will be shaped less by firm-specific strategies and more by new business models, powered by ecosystem-centric strategies…  Here is what is evident:

Discovering value

In your book, you have introduced the market opportunity navigator—a tool that aids in discovering and evaluating market opportunities. How can an organization reap benefits from it and combine it

Innovation is not everything

Never has keeping ahead of the competition been so daunting. The exponential pace of technology is shrinking product life cycles, providing instantaneous knowledge about a company’s product launches, and has

Beyond the blame game

Adapting to the new digital economy requires organizations to retool not just their networks, but in many cases, core business processes as well. The creation, exchange, and analysis of data—about

Building invicible brands

Warren Buffett once said, “In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.” With Game of Thrones (GOT) making castles once again a much-sought-after asset, his words sound

Customers as a moat

Following Warren Buffett’s first definition of the concept, most companies have sought to find their moat in systems and processes. Superior technology, access to intellectual property, efficiency, and cost control

What is your script?

Transactional Analysis (TA) is essentially a social psychology through which we can learn about our personality by analyzing the way we behave with others. Originally developed as a psychiatric approach

Bridging the gap

 01 the only thing salespeople need from marketers is a bunch of marketing-qualified leads  Granted, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) are the key deliverables for most of marketing organizations. Still, marketing can

The Goldilocks moment

Andy Grove first introduced the concept of strategic inflection points in his 1996 book, Only the Paranoid Survive. He defined such a point as a moment in time when the

The ‘tale’ tells

You barely had a toilet in office (Grindlays Bank in the 1980s) for women on the same floor; a loo on the fourth floor was all that you had, to

Leading beyond assumptions

Leaders are often so focused on the here and now that they may not be aware of problems that adversely affect the organization’s growth—and their own stress levels. As a

Not much apart?

How would you describe the difference between leadership and management? Are they different or interchangeable? The call for leadership, even transformational leadership, is loud in many organizations. At the same

Change your language

A friend of mine is fond of saying that ‘time is the currency of leadership’. If that is true, then most leaders I know do not have much currency (including

When ego takes a back seat

What is transpersonal leadership? Transpersonal leaders operate beyond their ego, continuing personal development and learning. They are radical, ethical, and authentic while being emotionally intelligent and caring. They create performance-enhancing

Dealing with the unpredictable

 Your book begins with the suggestion that every brand is a crisis in waiting. Taking cue from this plausibility, should organizations look at developing a business model with the potential

A journey together

In a business landscape where sudden change is unpredictable, with mergers and acquisitions happening in the blink of an eye, the priority of HR leaders is to ensure that their

Diversity matters

The world of work is becoming more diverse. Each country sees increasing diversity in different ways. For example, as the baby boomers retire there are more Gen X managers with

Not in the spirit of war

We all negotiate with each other, all the time. We negotiate with our bosses and co-workers, with taxi drivers and waiters and hotel clerks, with market traders and bank managers.

Why do negotiations fail?

Negotiations are an important and often-misunderstood component of business success. When you fail to successfully negotiate a potentially good deal, or negotiate a poor deal, the results can have a

People focus

 Generally speaking, people are not very good negotiators—not because they do not care or try; but because the traditional methods of negotiating that are available today do not work very

Negotiations on the leadership path

What is the first thing that crosses your mind when you hear the word ‘negotiation’? Buying some more time for extending the deadline of submission? Bargaining with your boss for

Mindful dialogue

Negotiations are a key strategic skill for leaders. Although it is such an important skill, a number of myths exist about what makes a good negotiator. For example, people believe

Creative approach

If you are compromising, then you do not know how to negotiate. Good. Now I have your attention. Is compromise part of negotiation? Yes… but a much smaller part than

the impact of connection

Early in my time as an entrepreneur, I knew company culture was important, but I did not bother to learn about and appreciate its deep complexity. It was not until

the effective leader

Every human being has a longing for belonging. We all want to feel loved, accepted, and validated. We want to feel that our lives matter. Deep down, we want to

the community rider

Does your company feel like a community? A community has an environment rich in safety, belonging, mattering. The people within it have a shared identity, shared beliefs, shared expectations of

network perspective

For us to develop deep-rooted connections and a sense of community at the workplace, we need the kind of environment that can help us become rooted. The essence of a

keep it slim

In recent years, many companies have moved towards de-layering or removing managerial tiers to create a flatter organization for various reasons. While for some it has been a matter of

auditing culture

“The world has an employee engagement crisis,” Gallup recently reported. Only 13% of employees working for an organization are engaged. This, they go on to say, has “serious and potentially

presence in the present

As per your research, only 13% of the global workforce is engaged. This could also be interpreted as high levels of non-productivity. How can a ‘mindful’ leader help change this

driving innovation

Much has been written about innovation, but there is no clarity with respect to many aspects. How do we measure the ROI of ‘coming up with’ and ‘implementing’ a particular

packaged goodness

According to an ASSOCHAM survey, India’s packaged food business has grown manifold with around 79% of households preferring to have instant food. What has led to this trend? The main

rock the boat

Ideas—creating and understanding them is one of the marks of being human. They help us make sense of the world around us. When we are faced with problems, ideas bring

customer engagement

There is a popular quote—about the nature of how central a customer is to any business—making the rounds in the customer service world for years. It reads, “A customer is

‘repeat’ value

The digital era helps consumers stay well informed. With news and information being accessed and passed on every fraction of a second, today’s consumers are not only smart but also

change your game

In an era marked by extremely short attention span, brands need to draw new methods for marketing. The most effective methods include creating a connection with the consumer. Young consumers

the core of ‘onlyness’

Nothing matters more than innovation; that something new that creates value. It is innovation that has allowed us to build today’s smartphones, and will let us build tomorrow’s teleportation pods.

project manager as CEO

We all have heard about the VUCA world and the disruptions that are impacting society and businesses—robotics, artificial intelligence, shared economy, block chain, big data. However, there is one extreme

making it happen

01 goals motivate us to take action It is not the goal that motivates us, but our internalized reasons behind the goal that propel us to take action. The word

a glass apart

Corning has made remarkable strides in the Indian market since the late 1980s. How critical is it, considering the high smartphone penetration in the country? India is one of the

building blocks

What is the significance of maintaining balance within an organizational structure? As with everywhere in life, balance is essential in any organization or workplace. Rest too much control at the

virtually yours

The definition of ‘work’ is changing rapidly, especially with the coming of age of artificial intelligence and machine learning and other revolutionary technologies that threaten to automate vast tracts of

navigate with ease

Information (data-driven decision-making has been the differentiator for many successful businesses over decades. The need for precision and specificity in decision has influenced policy makers to adopt analytical processes to

taking center stage

What is it stretching to the horizon? Have you read Origin, the latest masterpiece from Dan Brown? I felt the emerging socio-business environment of today or the one we are

unseen connect

The last decade has brought with it, perhaps, more change and development than the past fifty years combined. It is no longer enough for an organization to be sustained only

value in a digital world: dealing with innovation*

The fast development and adoption of new technologies such as social media, mobile, cloud, the internet of things, artificial intelligence or 3-D printing is creating new human and business development

taking the right lead

Most of us only embark on change if we can travel in ways that reinforce existing patterns. That is the paradox. We seek a new ‘what’ by comfortably using the

ideas for the future

Since we started in 2001, our aim at Thinkers50 has been simple: to scan, rank, and share the very best in management thinking. The ideas and thinkers we feature at

DRIVE to the future

The world’s economies apparently change at random, reacting unforeseeably. However, certain large-scale processes can be understood and predicted as interrelated, evolving mechanisms driving business, government, and societal behavior and decision-making.

beyond trade-off thinking

Could you briefly capture the concept of ‘integrative thinking’? The basic premise of ‘integrative thinking’ is in situations where they are faced with opposing models in the form of an


01 do not get close to your people Ask the next five people you meet about a manager who has made a significant difference in their lives. We did that,

making every opinion count

In the era of digital marketplace dominated by the narrative of consumer engagement, celebrity brand endorsement is fast becoming obsolete. The endorsement space has now been usurped by ubiquitous ‘influencers’

bare essence

development of a positive attitude Many managers complain about politics in the organization-groups, favouritism, bootlicking, cloak and dagger techniques et al. Politics is part of the game—whenever more than two

for a smooth transition

Does working with people from different cultural backgrounds make one a better manager? It is important for a manager to facilitate understanding and set common expectations among a team, so

‘dharma, the very path to sustainable profit and growth’

You have straddled the management world across continents and have gathered insights into its various facets. How strong is culture vis-a-vis an organization’s well-being? Culture is the, relatively, most important

hard to measure?

Technology has changed the way we live our lives. With each passing day, there is some new change we have to adapt to, and accept as a norm. We are

nature matters

Every hiring manager has encountered job hoppers. Many loathe hiring them—and rightly so—because it makes the process time-consuming and expensive for the company. Such job-jumping candidates are often perceived to

the intangible

Organizational culture is one of those fascinating subjects that everyone talks about but no one really understands. Some people actively dislike the entire subject of culture and try to downplay

‘ATMs are poised to grow more intelligent in understanding customer needs’

The all-pervasive ATM (automated teller machine) has turned fifty this year. John Shepherd-Barron came up with the concept of automatic cash dispenser after becoming frustrated at not being able to

those best sellers

The advent of online marketplaces has spelt a revolution for the Indian economy. Facilitating users to shop remotely, these websites and apps are empowering a burgeoning number of small business

value core

Peter Drucker, probably the best management thinker of the 20th century, provided two unique perspectives on business. First, the purpose of business is to create and retain customers. This was

the perfect marriage

The concept of corporate culture has changed significantly over the years. Today, most companies recognize that while the work that is done is extremely important, it is equally important to

the anchor

Organizational well-being is an indisputable indicator of high performance across industries and geographies. But it is not always universally defined. How do you define organizational health? Organizational health has to

stay connected

The desire of every leader is to create a stable, healthy, and robust organization that is competitive, profitable, and rapidly growing.  There are numerous new books and articles published each

doing well by doing good

Mark looked down as he walked through the front doors of his office building and noticed he was wearing two different shoes. In an exhausted haze this morning, he had

jack trout : a tribute

He coined the term ‘positioning,’ one of the most crucial concepts in marketing. After working for over 40 years in advertising and marketing, he went on to start his own

in search of the obvious

The brain behind some of the freshest ideas in marketing over the past few decades, Jack Trout is easily the world’s foremost marketing strategist. His concept of positioning is widely

positioning is equally relevant today in a completely cluttered world of brands

John Francis ‘Jack’ Trout died on 5th June, 2017 in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, US. Jack Trout, as he was known for the bulk of his effervescent years, succumbed to colorectal

marketing forgot him— and that shows

Whether the concept of positioning is thriving or has gone the way of the USP and the dodo may be arguable, but Jack Trout’s most important work was perhaps his

return on trust

As is well known, trust needs to be earned. Trust can be ‘granted after reflexion’, ‘given according to how one feels’, or otherwise ‘built over time, stone by stone’. The

add in numbers

In today’s marketing context, 1:1 is the name of the game. The relevance of big data has been growing over the last couple of years and this trend will only

switching gears

Advertising is a necessary evil. Not everyone buys into this argument. From an advertiser’s perspective, it is definitely necessary, and from some (if not all) audience’s perspective, it could be

native narrative

As you point out at the outset of your book, ‘native advertising’ is one of the least understood terms. How would you untangle its complexity? In 2013, the Interactive Advertising

content driving growth

For those of us from the era of advertorials and sponsored ads, terms like content marketing and native advertising sound like old wine in a new bottle. So when I

an immersive future

Disruptions and innovation in technology have been so rapid that the latest becomes obsolete even before you have mastered it. The rapid progress is towards minimizing human intervention and making

digital pivot

“Most cars don’t improve over time. By contrast, Model S gets faster, smarter, and better as time passes... [It] actually improves while you sleep. When you wake up, added functionality,

building on unfamiliar turf

The liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s led to a chaotic housing boom in Mumbai. Thousands of real estate developers jostled for space in a sellers’ market, throwing

putting customers first

Across the world, some of the best companies are popular today because of their products and product-driven approach. This is quite evident in the case of companies such as Apple


Within the discipline of personal security which is that set of ‘portable wisdom’ we should take with us when outside of the protective, familiar cocoon of our homes or workplaces,

the unseen key

What is the difference between ideation and innovation? Why is ideation an integral part of a company’s business strategy? Ideation is a process. Innovation is an outcome. Ideation is the

strategic stroke

In the more than 80 years since Camlin was established, customer needs/ demands have undergone a major shift. How has your marketing journey adapted to this change? Brand Camlin has

the digital shift

Employees are one of the most important stakeholders in any company. The role of digital in recruiting, developing, managing, and engaging them has been increasing on a continuous basis and

the story of telling

In its dictionary, the American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, symbol, design, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in

chasing the new wave

“Entrepreneurship has become mainstream,” Sachin Bansal, co-founder of Flipkart, told me. His was one of more than hundred interviews I had conducted as part of research for my book, Boom

suiting the world

A prominent management thought leader once told me that a good business strategy is one that can be outlined in a short time… without any bells and whistles. Gautam Hari

gift of time

For much of human history, life was well described by Thomas Hobbes’ famous quote as ‘nasty, brutish and short.’ However, continued scientific, economic, and social progress over the centuries has

the new normal

An essential starting point in a company’s digital journey is a thorough and grounded understanding of how digitalization impacts the external business environment. That view and assessment are critical in

change tracks

Times have not been better for Indian startups and MSMEs. Volatile policies in foreign lands, government initiatives to propel growth, and an ambitious young generation spell good times ahead for

the art of giving back

There seems to be an intangible spirit that drives Akshaya Patra. How would you define it? We began our journey with the vision, ‘no child in India shall be deprived

leveraging diversity

There have been numerous studies on the influence of individual cultures on the performance of project teams and the success of these projects. But the influence of varied cultures on

listening in a different way

Risk, uncertainties, and disruption on one hand and stress, anxiety, and worry about the future on the other, are giving sleepless nights to business leaders who are operating in today’s


With more strategy executions failing than succeeding—67% succeed according to our 2016 research—my aim is to challenge your beliefs. Why? Because if we constantly fail at something more than we

thinking that matters

Fascinating, enthralling, and scintillating. These are some of the attributes we assign to individuals such as Ram Charan, Noam Chomsky, J K Rowling, and Stephen Hawkins; and organizations such as

content, context, and conversations

To become market leaders, you say, organizations should exert influence on the context of market conversations... Markets are at their core conversations between buyers and sellers. The topic of the

innovation happens elsewhere: rethinking your business to grow and compete

Open innovation is a way to stay on top of the competition, reduce costs, spread risks, and bring new products to the market more quickly. It takes place in two

taking the big leap

John Dunning described two reasons why companies expand overseas. They are, he says, either seeking new markets, or seeking new resources. Perhaps the domestic market is saturated and there is

delivering delight

At Grofers, our prime focus has always been on providing the best customer experience at every touchpoint. Be it procurement of products, technology and innovation, training programs (for all teams

suiting the world

A prominent management thought leader once told me that a good business strategy is one that can be outlined in a short time… without any bells and whistles. Gautam Hari

greed is good

Which brand do you desire most? It is a question that we have asked people time and again. There are some suggestions that come up fairly consistently, such as Apple,

build bonds that bind

In his 1998 HBR article ‘What Makes a Leader’, Daniel Goleman says, research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of

the age of AI

Most people, I know, typically prefer to read a particular newspaper also for its coverage style, presentation, and language. However, if they were told that the articles were being written

which business models are most affected by digital?

Four types of businesses where technology is speeding up change. In most industries, the competitive landscape is rapidly changing and as a result, companies speed through their life-cycles at an

obey the digital illusion

Technology today is ubiquitous; it has penetrated every phase of our lives. Be it for shopping or getting directions, the digital natives are highly dependent on the internet to make

let data speak

Retail is becoming an increasingly data rich environment as more of the business goes digital, creating many more data capture opportunities. The challenge for retailers is to capture the right

machine power

..what is machine learning, exactly? Stanford University computer science professor Andrew Ng defines it as “the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.” In fundamental terms, machine

into the neural depths

When you asked Siri to look for the nearest restaurant, did you ever wonder how it actually worked? How could it recognize your speech and fulfill the task? The answer

becoming the person you want to be

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an idea that has oscillated through many hype cycles over many years, as scientists and sci-fi visionaries have declared the imminent arrival of thinking machines. But

monitoring customer service 24/7

Ever since its inception in 1976, Acer has been focussing on enhancing people’s lives—through its various product offerings that include PCs, servers, tablets, smartphones, wearables, and so on. This Taiwanese

the native edge

Over the next five years, marketers will especially embrace mobile. Mobile will drive up spending on video, search, display, and social, and propel the migration of ad dollars away from

bots at your service

As an industry, we are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence—Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft said at

lean is in

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of economic growth—they provide a source of income and employment for themselves, create employment for others, produce new and innovative products or services, and drive greater

small efforts=big impact

01 great leaders possess great confidence 02 middle management is becoming irrelevant 03 leaders can always recognize wrongful behavior As one of the most revered college basketball coaches in American

nurture your inherent strengths

Very often people tend to emphasize weaknesses while overlooking positive traits, be it professionally or personally. This prejudice towards improving negativity can adversely affect performance. Bill Munn suggests ways in

trust deficit?

In 1942, author and professor Isaac Asimov introduced his Three Laws of Robotics, one of the most well-known attempts to establish workable rules integrating artificial intelligence, or AI, into society.

human psychology, marketing

Ever since its inception in 1976, Acer has been focussing on enhancing people’s lives—through its various product offerings that include PCs, servers, tablets, smartphones, wearables, and so on. This Taiwanese

now, and the future

Today, the number of people on social media is rising every second and the volume of conversations is escalating rapidly. Social intelligence is the tool of choice for businesses to

not every client is a good client

the customer is always right Really? The customer is always right? Are they right when they will not pay? Are they right when they return heavily used merchandise? Are they

India innovates

With its high demographic dividend, a vast talent pool, strong domestic market, and roots in frugal innovation or jugaad, India has all the ingredients to become a global leader in

healthy employee, healthy business

Organizations with strong wellness programs had lower rates of obesity than “low-effectiveness” companies, and had lower unplanned absence rates (3.3 vs. 4.0 days/year).* Today your wellness is not just your

the mark of a leader

Leaders and the value they bring to organizations have always been a topic of much discussion. But what often gets forgotten in this dialog is the equally vital aspect of

Customer never on the back seat

Comprehending ever-evolving customer needs, empowering employees, and constant innovation have led BookMyShow’s customer service culture. For example, they  changed the ticketing process at the box office based on customer feedback.

intrinsic motivation: the missing piece in changing employee behavior

“Intrinsic motivation is about helping employees become more productive, engaged, and happier in their work.” Shlomo Ben-Hur and Nik Kinley talk about fostering a culture of intrinsic motivation and how

the balancing act

Is it possible for businesses to meet the performance requirements of the current business—one that is still thriving—while dramatically reinventing it? The challenge to do this goes beyond being ambidextrous.

Through the advertising lens

“While American cultural historian Jackson Lears dismisses advertising as ‘the folklore of industrial society’, I believe Indian advertising, considering the last few decades, provides not just folklore but also some

move into top gear

“It is a concept that the modern leader is wise to adopt—one part courage, one part can-do spirit, and one part recognition…” In his new book Moxie: The Secret to

a note of harmony

… we stand in awe of visionary entrepreneurs like Apple’s Steve Jobs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, eBay’s Pierre Omidyar, and P&G’s A.G. Lafley. How do these people come up with groundbreaking

own your dream

According to the 2014-15  OLX CRUST survey, goods worth R56,200 cr are simply lying locked at people’s homes in the form of items which are no longer being used, across

how Pokémon Go poked the world in action!

Niantic Labs has redefined gaming and the realm of augmented reality with Pokémon Go. Thousands got hooked instantly and there was stampede, literally, at various locations for catching rare Pokémons.

how to make giants nimble

With increasing industry disruption, efficiency is fast becoming of secondary importance to innovation and agility. Many large organizations have too little capacity for external sensing, strategic reflection, and business transformation.*

becoming the person you want to be

In every waking hour we are being triggered by people, events, and circumstances that have the potential to change us. These triggers appear suddenly and unexpectedly… They can be pleasant,

driving digital

Digital’ does not have a universal meaning... so what is digital? To the 21st century, digital is what the railroad network, electrical power, and the telephone combined were to the

finding the middle path

IT and intuition work best when placed  next to each other Rajesh Maurya   In a new digital age of ‘big data’ and quantitative analytics, does a manager’s intuition matter

customers for life

At Chevrolet, one of the key values is to keep the customer at the center of everything we do. With this in mind, we plan to further enhance our network

designing efficiency

It is axiomatic that well-designed products are of better quality and will find favor with consumers (providing of course that the product has features that the consumer wants). Ikea, Rolls-Royce,

Breaking silos

The corner office is a universal symbol of power. Managers across the world aspire to have an enclosed room of their own, with a large desk, high-back chair, an entourage

match the context

It is a given fact that a good workplace design will incorporate company culture—this is not a new phenomenon. For example, why do spaces for startup companies look so different

advancing women is not a women’s issue, it is a business issue

Around the world, in cultures as diverse as the individual leaders themselves, companies are experiencing a unifying theme. They want to see more women in leadership roles. Getting there is

harness your distinct advantage

a brand is a company’s logo A brand used to be considered a logo, a slogan, a particular design or color combination, an advertisement, or even a brochure. But today,

building a quality culture

Motivation is concerned with human behavior. Managers succeed when they employ the forces of human behavior to achieve results. In order to manage quality, managers must acquire an understanding of

sprint to excellence

The concept of ‘lean,’ which focusses on the identification and elimination of waste, was originally developed and implemented by the manufacturing industry. However, now a number of other industries have

a symbiotic relationship

Startup founders are self-made entrepreneurs, but they too need handholding, since they often tend to fall in love with their ideas. This sometimes makes them myopic. They need a sounding

blockchain-“you say you want a revolution”

It appears that once again, the technological genie has been unleashed. Summoned by an unknown person or persons at an uncertain time in history, the genie is now at our

four scenarios to stress test your strategy

Change has been relentless since the turn of the millennium, and the pace of change is only expected to accelerate as we move into the next decade. Several factors are

‘we have to get used to a world that is continuously in beta mode’

Anant Gupta, President and CEO, HCL Technologies Limited, in this exclusive interview with The Smart Manager talks about how the company has redefined customer engagement and how they are investing


Franchising as a business model has been fairly popular worldwide. But in India, it became a trend only a decade ago when the economy opened up. International brands started coming

is performance management an organizational priority?

Over the weekend I was thrilled to receive a call from a friend, also a successful senior executive with a reputed firm. Amongst many topics that only friends can banter

creating a cohesive organizational culture

In an era of unpredictable market and organizational changes, it is important that every company creates a culture where talent can thrive. At present, nearly two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion

what are you doing wrong?

The root causes of failure are often buried deep within an organization. How does a culture of incompetence come into being? The usual cause is a combination of inattention on

corporates and startups: engage or else!

Singapore-based DBS Bank is Southeast Asia’s largest bank by assets, but its leaders are not taking continued prosperity for granted. Nor should they, knowing as they do that Asian banks

the secret sauce

Failing forward’ is seemingly the motto of Silicon Valley companies. How rewarding can “expecting failure and embracing failure” be? It can be rewarding when one understands the concept. Failure is

chase the value

Sustainability is one of the most difficult and troubling—but at the same time most important—concepts in business today. On the one hand, the word ‘sustainability’ has been so grossly overused

putting the customer in the driver’s seat

From the beginning, a conscious decision was made to have good customer service as a strong differentiation point for Nissan Motors India—something most people would expect from a global corporation

not just one true calling?

Multipotentialites or multipods are individuals who hold multiple interests and are hence engaged in varied creative pursuits. These interests can be simultaneous as in the case of ‘plate spinners’—having twenty

for profits, for purpose, for people

How would you interpret the relevance of sustainability as a growing imperative for businesses? We believe we belong to an interdependent ecosystem comprising shareholders, consumers, associates, employees, environment, and society.

sustainability and the brand

When we think of pollution villains, the first one to come under the spotlight today is automobiles. Very few people know, however, that automobiles came into being as a cleaner

making sustainable beautiful

Could you elaborate on L’Oréal’s perspective on sustainability? L’Oréal is a 100-year-old company. Through its long history and development, it has adapted and kept pace with the changes in the

bake it in

Philip Kotler’s 4Ps have held sway for many decades but in August 2004, American Marketing Association articulated a new definition of ‘marketing’ as follows: ‘marketing is an organizational function and

through a different lens

In the words of the Aditya Birla Group’s Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, the Group’s Sustainability Vision is: “By 2017, the Aditya Birla Group endeavours to become the leading Indian conglomerate

contours of leadership

According to a study (2009) on the millennial generation conducted by the authors, one of the biggest crises in contemporary societies, in addition to environmental and energy crisis, is leadership.

mutually inclusive

creativity is condensation of experience Kaiwan Mehta Experience well articulated helps us build bonds with our culture and society. Experience is the building up of knowledge and understanding—when we travel

separation does not amount to divorce

An organization is made up of individuals—people who might be different from one another, but are true to a shared goal. In a fast-growing setup such as Zomato, the enthusiasm

From Start-Up To Global Success: The Zensar Story

Since its inception in 1922 as a tabulating machine manufacturing company in the western city of Pune in a country still under British rule to its rise to supremacy in

You Are The Key: Unlocking Doors Through Social Selling

The Internet has melted boundaries and restrictions of the human mind, making it easier to interact with people from different cultures. Today it is the internet and the power of

how to avoid being ‘Uberized’

a lesson from the taxi industry Uber is hitting headlines daily. Whether you love it (as most customers do) or hate it (as most competitors do), you cannot argue with

being startup ready

most startups succeed overnight Entrepreneurship is like a roller-coaster ride. You need to hold on and stay the course but that is what makes the whole experience exhilarating. I have

the balancing act

multitasking: only when done right Think of a craftsman. The craftsman that built the Taj Mahal, Konark Sun Temple, Pyramids of Egypt, etc. What attributes do you associate with this

grappling with the future

“Being future strong is living at the intersection of today and tomorrow: where living in the moment and who you have chosen to become dance together as one.” How would

why your company might be risking a Kodak moment

You can be an innovative company and still go bankrupt. Take Kodak for example. They were a pretty innovative company, but that did not prevent them from going bust. Despite

drawing together the path to innovation

We have been watching teams of corporate leaders draw together for over twenty years. Using the medium of tape, their drawings have overwhelmed the walls of training facilities, engulfed the