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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Startups Changing the World

The major companies have an option to cherry pick a few employees from a diverse set, whereas a startup has diverse options to pick up and work upon.
The work doesn’t demand some exceptionally brilliant skills or very high acumen, all it requires is an idea. An idea, that is diverse, relevant and productive. Diverse in terms of the thought, relevant in terms of its applicability and productive in terms of its outcome. What follows next is an ideation process and implementation of the ideas.

Impressed by the productivity and fresh outlook of these companies, the government of India has decided to nurture the upcoming talent. To revolutionaries the process, a new initiative called startup India has been started by the government which focuses entirely on these startups. The website talks about the eligibility about classifying businesses as startups, eligibility for Startup Loans and other services being provided by the government (further details can be found on http://startupindia.gov.in/).

Leading the course

As Albert Camus writes, “Real generosity towards the future, consists in giving all to what is in present.”

Startups use this very principle to make sure they succeed well in their objectives and come up with positive results. The job of leadership today is not only to make money but also to make meaning, and startups these days are more inclined towards making their objective, their idea a success initially and later consider the monetary aspect.

One of the major reasons behind the success of these budding companies is the fact that they very smartly combine the “wisdom” of “great philosophers” from around the globe and apply that aptly in their businesses, setting benchmarks, and thus raising the standards for others.

Another thing is, most of the startups today are successful because they used the right opportunity, to put it better, market opportunity, and played their best shot which led them to their success. Management of finance and right estimation of risks are the 2 basics that need to be kept in mind before venturing into the business.

The real example

Let’s take the example of Reliance Industries Limited, a major player in the market with its business spread over different industries creating value and money simultaneously. The flagship company, Reliance Industries Limited, is a Fortune Global 500 company and is the largest private sector company in India. Dhirubhai Ambani founded Reliance as a textile company and led its evolution as a global leader in the materials and energy value chain businesses.

Find Good Purchasing Agent

1. Language

The agent you are going to hire should have good command of the language spoken in the target country. This includes both written and spoken English and other languages. You know that language plays a great role in communication between business owners around the globe. Therefore, a good command over the desired language is a quality that your agent should have. If the professional is not well versed in the language that is spoken in that country, how can they be able to talk to the sellers in that country? They won’t be able to communicate and bargain well, which will increase their chance of getting ripped off.

2. Good morality

Your desired agent should know how to behave and protect the interests of foreign buyers in the target country. They should not take you to the scammers in the target country. Aside from this, they should be true to their words. In other words, they should have a high standard of morality. If you know that an agent asks for commission from both the buyer and the seller, you should stay away from them and look for some other agent. A good purchasing agent will never indulge in such acts.

3. Knowledge of import and export

A good sourcing agent should have good relationship with local authorities of the target country. They should be familiar with the policies of that country regarding import and export. Moreover, they should be familiar with the regulations related to import and export, which is very important to avoid lawsuits.

4. Purchasing methods

Your purchasing agent should know how to source or buy different items without killing a lot of time. They should know the best markets where your desired products can be purchased. Aside from this, they should know how they could get the best prices. And if you get a product at the lowest price, you can make the highest profit.

5. Familiarity with the product or industry

The agent should be familiar with the product or service you are interested in. For instance, if you want to buy ductile iron castings, we suggest that you look for an agent who is familiar with these products. There is no doubt that this field has certain terms and they should be familiar with these terms.

Generate New Ideas at Work

1. New pathways

Here, this method is used to find the real work challenge or the problem underlying the problem statement. We need to keep asking the question “Why” when somebody uses the question “How to”. We keep asking “Why” a lot of times. This keeps continuing for some time till we reach a situation where each ‘Why” question becomes a “How to” question on its own.

2. Event triggers

We generate a random series of triggers in the in the form of a connected concept, product or a service. We then use this to generate fresh set of creative ideas. We usually start with the current work challenge we are working on and then trigger a chain of events in the form of an associated concept or a product which is connected to the original problem at a higher level or at a lower level. We then stop whenever the event trigger makes us think of a new creative idea.

3. No action taken

What would happen if you don’t act? Just be still. There are possibly two outcomes for this. One, we will have a clear and a better idea of the benefits that we will accrue for not acting. The benefits so accrued will be cues to our creative ideas. Two, we might also know the difficulties for not taking the action.

4. The three charts.

Hang three charts or white boards. In the first chart, mention briefly the current situation. In the second chart, mention the obstacles for achieving your goals and in the last chart, mention where you want to be. We would begin to notice as we write down that most of the obstacles can be converted to “How to” problem statements on their own.

5. Reading articles and stories

Now and then we should keep reading articles and stories that we have not read before. We need to be aware that we are following this method. Creative ideas bounce off when we come back. We need to keep the problem statement active in our sub-conscious mind. When we come back and look at the current problems, we would be finding it in a totally different light. It would be a surprise that we have not thought about this before.

6. Take a walk

Take a walk in the park and come back to revisit the challenge. You will notice something different already.

7. In other’s shoes

Whenever you are in your organization, spend some time observing your organizational hierarchy. People work in different roles and grades. You can start visualizing the problem from a senior’s perspective. For e.g. “How the CEO of the company would look at the challenge” then go on to do it in the middle management positions of the company and also how the same problem would be handled by an employee at the lowest level. See yourself in their shoes and view the problem and see how it would affect them and their world.

8. Deadlines

Generally, when a deadline is imposed we would look at the problem differently. We would state the problem and its requirements in a different manner. It is good to view this under different time scales in days, weeks and months.

9. Consider “What if” scenarios

Consider different scenarios that would make a different assumption about the problem. Ask “What if” to generate different “How to” statements. For e.g. “What if a war broke out” and how would you see the problem now?

10. Go beyond the normal Look for scenarios

where you deliver beyond the normal. Kind of being extraordinary. Instead of the usual 10-20% improvement, go for 70-80% improvement in your product or service and then see how you would rephrase or look at the problem in a totally different view.

11. Huge resources at your disposal as a gift

Visualize what you would do if you had huge resources at your disposal given to you as a gift to handle the problem. How would you view the problem? How would you direct your staff to get your work done? What work would they do? What can you learn from this? These are some the scenarios to consider to view the problem in new light.

12. Shout the drawbacks of your best product or service

Find faults and drawbacks of your best product or service in market areas and niches where they are actually hopeless. This way you will end up finding far more useful ideas for improvement. You will be seeing the problems in new light.

Get Approval for Project

Here it is… during the past few months, I’ve noticed that customers are complaining about incomplete and wrong orders. In one case, we sent a unit without the power cord. My guess is that shipping is overwhelmed with the number of orders we’re receiving, and they’re failing to perform the necessary quality control steps. There’s no doubt that getting more orders is good, and we can’t tell the marketing group to stop advertising, so it’s best if we initiate a project to identify the root cause of the problem.

My research during the past 35 days shows that 6 orders out of 100 are wrong. In the past, when we had fewer orders, only 1 order out of 100 was incorrect. Again, we can’t just assume that the increase in orders is the reason for the additional mistakes we’re making, so this is why I recommend that we launch a project to investigate the underlying problem.

I know that people are super-busy, and I doubt that anyone can take on the extra work of running this project. Therefore, with your permission, I can assume the project manager role. As you know, I will need your approval to get started, and I suppose you will need to get clearance from the higher-ups. As part of this work, it’s essential that I speak to stakeholders in various departments, such as shipping, marketing, operations, IT, and others. If approved, I will need to schedule a meeting with these individuals.

I know I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, but I know this project can make a big difference in the way we do our work, and the value we provide our customers. Please take the time to think about my proposal, and let me know if I can proceed.

I’m sure you have questions, so please feel free to ask.