On behalf of Octara.com, welcome to Pakistan!
You having a good day Sir?!
Phenomenal day! We have 375 people here in the Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel for a Service Leadership Workshop. The mood and the learning are fabulous!
That’s very good to hear! Given the economic downturn, and the dismal business conditions in Pakistan, there are increasingly fewer and fewer people who can afford things. Service gains more importance in such a scenario, doesn’t it?
Service is important in every scenario, especially so in difficult economic times, service becomes more important than ever, and for so many reasons. Customers have more choice, there are fewer customers, you have more competition, and when people do finally make a choice to spend their money they are often more nervous about whether they have actually made a good choice. So, the service you provide your customers, both during and after the purchase, makes a big difference to give them the confidence that they have made the right choice by going with you.
What is the essence of the message that you’re delivering here today?
The essence of the message is really captured in my definition of the word service. Service is taking action to create value for someone else. So the essence of the message is that what you do in life and what you do at work, it’s not about what you do, but what someone else gets FROM what you do. It’s not about the following of procedures. It’s about whether the procedures you followed created value for someone else, whether a colleague or a customer. The whole focus of our attention should be on who is it that I am doing this for rather than what is it that I am doing.
There’s a new business blockbuster on the block, and it’s called Leadership Insights, co-authored by Amer Qureshi and Qaiser Abbas. It comprises of success strategies from Pakistani business leaders and about time too given the exclusivity American corporate case studies have occupied in Pakistani business schools. Amer Qureshi is an Australian chartered accountant, business advisor and author, and has developed a passion for helping business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals improve their lives in Australia, Pakistan and Dubai during a career spanning over more than 25 years. His aim in life is to ‘educate, motivate, and inspire people’. Qaiser Abbas is the founder and Chief Inspiring Officer of Possibilities Management Development and Consulting, and the author of the bestselling book ‘Tick Tick Dollar’. He is an organizational psychologist, motivational speaker, and a successful entrepreneur, and has overcome adverse circumstances to realize his dreams.
Mind Mapping has a rather sinister sound to it, especially given that we live in the Age of Intelligence. So is this a process to download information and knowledge from the human brain? Quite the contrary, Mind Mapping is all about optimizing the comprehension and retention of information and knowledge uploaded into the brain. “The human mind has developed through the Agrarian, Industrial, Information, and Knowledge Ages, and now in the Intelligence Age it is all about the absorption and assimilation of knowledge in the most intelligent manner possible,” says Graham Moore, International Speaker and ThinkBuzan™ Licensed Instructor, personally trained by the inventor of Mind Maps®, Tony Buzan. There’s no instruction manual on how to use the brain, but we are slowly discovering on how best to do it, and mind mapping is one such method.”
Leadership is in the spotlight. Everywhere one turns leadership is discussed, analyzed, judged, vilified, admired, and dissected. Schools teach it. Organizations develop it. Employees fear it. Ambitious copy it. Cowards shun it. The insecure resist it. The cynics mock it. The weak yearn it.We label it but can’t define it. Look for it, but can’t see it. Leadership is at once simple, complex, seductive and disappointing. It’s the temptress that vanishes in thin air when the beguiled get too close.
Alvin Toffler writer and futurist said “You can use all the quantitative data you can get, but you still have to distrust it and use your own intelligence and judgment.” At times the more data you have, the more confused you are. Dashboard is a tool which will enable you to increase the visibility of the information inside the gigantic data collected from different sources by visualizing, summarizing, validating, correlating & reflecting on the data so you can use your - intelligence and judgment - to take informed decisions.
There are numerous software options available for creating dashboards, Microsoft Excel 2010 is one of my personal favorites, because it is a tool which is available on almost all the knowledge workers’ desks and one of the best tool for both designing and delivery of the dashboards. As Microsoft Excel 2010 started its journey as a modeling tool and over a period it created a reputation for a good tool for collecting data and perform calculations on the same, due to the same fact people have difficulty to accept it as a good information design & dashboard creation tool. This article aims to clear the misconceptions.
Myth One: Poor Data Collection
Throughout my career I have seen people using Excel as a database; they enter data into Excel like sales information, customer relationship information & financial information and use the entered data in several ways
Life as we know it comes to an end, sooner or later. But words and ideas endure through time and continue to influence generations. With this in mind, I thought to myself why not capture some of the essential life lessons in articles and books. Hence I became an author two years ago.
My first book (available in pdf) titled ‘Go For It! Small things make a big difference’, was published in 2010 and launched at YLC (Young Leaders’ Conference), a conference organized by the School of Leadership (SoL) annually. In it, I urged my readers to get on with life instead of just sitting and waiting for things to get better. Being at the mercy of events is a road to ruin.
Due to the public engaging in private journalism, courtesy of Twitter, YouTube, Blogs etc, the response time from the incident to the issue of a statement by the Spokesperson of the Crisis Management Team, can sometimes be reduced to a matter of minutes.
Social Media has changed the rules and increased the range of news enquiry. It used to be that following rumours of corporate malpractice or an incident becoming visible, the media would wait for what was called the Golden Hour for a news release – not anymore – Social Chatter (often monitored by the media) starts within minutes causing Spokespersons to fast track response communication.
I remember when I’d just started launching myself as a hypnotherapist in Dubai. I felt very lost and directionless until my friend Jorn bought me a copy of Jack Canfield’s - ‘The Success Principles’. Jack changed my life! I’d been one of the country’s best known DJ/radio personalities and realized that if I wanted to establish myself as a motivator and really help others, I’d have to distance myself from my old image. With that one book I found the courage to start my new adventure. I felt a new wave of confidence I’d never had before. I threw away all the things that used to mean everything to me. It meant dumping all the perceptions of a rock and roll lifestyle. It meant distancing myself from all the cool interviews I’d ever done in radio. All the premium events and launches I’ve hosted and all the cool superstars I’ve worked with. In short, it was a complete reinvention of everything I’d ever worked towards.But it was worth it. I replaced my interest in music with talking books. I devoured the training materials of my heroes and peers until I felt able to create and launch my own products. Some became my clients and many my friends…It all comes full circle…
Transportation industry fleet managers in emerging markets have the opportunity to avoid mistakes made by their equivalents in developed markets and to by-pass the use of expensive proprietary technologies that have prevented developed markets from operating efficiently.
In the UK, for example, 28% of all heavy goods vehicles run empty, the average lading factor is 60% with some vehicles remaining completely unused. In the UK we have seen total optimisation of dedicated fleets as an impossible task. Unless the Supply Chain Owner’s (SCO) business is in a particularly dense geography where backhauls are always available, there will always need to invest in surplus assets running empty miles at less than optimum utilization. Faced with these issues and highly variable demand, SCO’s fleet managers have reduced their own fleets and outsourced more work to independent subcontracted hauliers. However, using these subcontractors without proper controls often leads to poor customer service and negatively affects the SCO’s competitive position.
CONTROL ROOMS & COMMAND POSTS
Dodge the Tiger - “Eyes on, hands on”
• Same time and same place; On Scene Commander centric
• Point to point communications and adaptability to changing situations
A dollar saved in the supply chain process goes straight to the bottom line. It can be a measure of our failure or success. Our success in achieving Value for Money (VFM) will only be fully achieved when we have processes in place to consistently measure savings and efficiencies across multiple activities correlated to the cost elements of the supply chain cycle. This correlation raises some important questions, for example: Does how we spend money achieve VFM? Is there anything different we can do to improve VFM? Do we collaborate with other organizations sufficiently? Do we measure our VFM achievements to a standard and with challenging targets? The financial and commercial challenges facing us for the foreseeable future means we can no longer rely on the old ways of doing things. Every element where a cost arises in the Supply Chain Cycle must be challenged and managed for VFM. It means for some a radical shift in thinking, approach and culture. We do not have the luxury to be complacent when our futures are at stake.
1) We Are Categorized On Our Date Of Birth – NOT Our Interests
Think about it. Look at your office your closest friends and your social networks. Are you all the same age? Of course not. But you DO have the same interests in common. I guarantee the key things you were interested in up to the age of seven are EXACTLY the same type of things you are interested in right now. The problem is you probably don’t get to enjoy those experiences anymore. If you did, you would be much happier and if you could add those basic pleasures to the daily mix of your business day (or even get a job that allows you to get paid for doing elements of it) you’d never have a bad day again.
2) We Are Forced To Learn EVERYTHING – NOT How To Learn Anything
Why did you need to recite so much stuff ‘parrot-fashion’? The ability to adapt and learn new skills quickly is far more useful to you than trudging through years of difficult calculus and trigonometry. You will probably never use them again for the rest of your life. Instead, if you need that expertise, you’ll Google it or hire a specialist (who actually enjoyed it at school).
Concepts in modern finance remain an imperative tool for managers and employees, prompting a debate which offers the prescription of financial education and training to the selected few within the finance department catering to investment or financing needs of the organization.
In a profit propelled environment, it is increasingly important for businesses, regardless of size, to encourage their human resource in at least attaining a basic understanding of financial architecture, how it improves corporate control, and how is corporate governance exercised, and sync all of that to the most intrinsic element: “maximization of shareholder wealth”.
The present is the future unfolding and the past is the key to understanding the present. The universe responds to a law of cause and effect, whether this be through chemical reactions, laws of physics or human behaviour and action.
In our compulsion to envision our futures we tend to completely ignore the past, we fail to realize how our actions yesterday are having a direct effect on our tomorrow. It is of little wonder we keep repeating the same mistakes time and again proving Einstein correct when he said “insanity is to keep doing the same things over and over again expecting different results each time”.
The reasons aren't arcane or esoteric. Ask what the purpose of a performance review is and you'll usually hear that it's meant to identify and incentivize high performers, give accurate performance read-out to all performers, and contribute to a development plan for people. The aim is ‘not judgmental but developmental' we often hear. Much of this is of course poppycock in practice. If you have a boss dominated hierarchical system of review, where the subordinate is being "evaluated" and the boss, allegedly draped in a cloak of pseudo-objectivity delivers the assessment, here are some things that are almost inevitable.
Jerry Brown is the Managing Director of Maximum Performance International LLP, a UK based Consultancy which is aimed at providing its services internationally. Prior to this for 10 years Jerry worked for PMC Consultancy as a Director and specialized in Corporate Cultural Transformation, Leadership Development, Team and Individual Executive Coaching. He has been to Pakistan many times in the last three years, and was here once again partnering with Octara and conducting workshops in Lahore and Karachi on ‘Improving Sales Performance through Effective Sales Leadership’.
The Key Benefits that Jerry undertook to impart during the course of these workshops included building a compelling vision and sales culture (B2B, Direct or Retail); recruiting and training a sales team; setting objectives that connect vision to action and appraising performance; developing robust sales coaching (and feedback) skills and processes; rewarding the right behaviors through incentive schemes; structuring and delivering powerful sales team meetings; creating customer loyalty in tough times; developing and implementing your desired customer experience; and, managing change successfully to integrate your action plans. “In today’s world buyers dominate and sellers are having to work very hard,” says Jerry, whose screening of a clip from California’s fish market served to emphasize the point, with salesmen engaging with clients in a high energy act that involved the throwing and catching of some pretty heavy and slippery fish across sizable distances! “We need to be conscious and aware of our impact, and how we use the process to take the client to a level where business is done in a mutually beneficial manner.”
Have you ever wondered what keeps employees in one place? and how a business enterprise can have a strong and solid work force where they all grow together as one happy and productive family?. The usual workplace struggles with high medical leave issues and inefficiency. Most employees are there for the sake of a job, dragging their days and getting into all sorts of trouble to compensate for the "wrong" job they are doing and the "wrong" relationship they need to maintain, and the living of a life that feels like someone else's choice.That explains the rate of degenerative disease today. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer often result from "feeling blue", i.e. being sad and depressed, and emotionally challenged.
Today 80% of doctors visits are due to depression, and 80% of the people are untreated and think about their condition as personal weakness. Sustainable employment begins with hiring on "work passion" basis and pairing up people with the work they enjoy doing, and helping those who don't belong to your company find their own path with coaching.
Please give us a brief introduction to your line of work.
My mission, as I put it is, TURNING individuals ON. When individuals are TURNED-ON, the families, organizations & society they are part of, thrive! I am in the knowledge industry and contribute by consulting, speaking, facilitating and writing. I am part of the management team at the School of Leadership and also amongst its lead trainers. Torque is the organization I founded as SoL's corporate training function.
KNOW THY SELF
We met over breakfast one Saturday morning. Ramiz was returning to Karachi after a gap of 2 months and in the interim had been in Bangkok and Houston. He had been in Changlagali conducting a unique workshop for three days titled ‘Know Thy Self’, helping young executives discover their true self, their goals and aspirations, and reexamine their relationships.
“Before aligning employees with the objectives of the employer it is important to help them establish their personal goals. What is it that they want out of life and certain relationships? And get these priorities cleared in their minds for them. In a workshop I was surprised to find that except for one participant none of the others had any goals in life. A few had vague ideas. They became conscious that they were starting their day not knowing what they were working towards.”
When the first spreadsheet “VisiCalc” was conceived by the Harvard Professor Dan Bricklin in 1979 he might never have thought that the product which he sold for 10,000 USD will make fortunes for others and will be a source of earning to the buyers for millions of dollars. Spreadsheets are so popular due to their magical nature which really has the potential of doing things in minutes which would take hours or at times days, otherwise. But everything comes with its toll, and spreadsheet is no exception. According to a study done by Powell, Lawson, and Baker in 2007 the results shown that 11 out of 25 spreadsheets have errors with non-zero effects. 10 out of these 11 spreadsheets had an error that exceeded $100,000, 6 had impact of error more than $10 million, and 1 had an error not below $100 million. If your company is using spreadsheet, and most probably is, you should know the risks & how to avoid the same. In the discourse that follows we will review the top 5 risks of using spreadsheet in business along with their remedies.
Brands are ubiquitous. There is hardly a category in our overly complicated lives where brands do not play an important role – one far more important than we are perhaps willing or able to admit. It’s a bit like art. We can all say whether something appeals to us, but it is far more difficult to say exactly why.
Dan Adams of the Daniel Adams Company says a brand “…is a set of ideas and associations that exists in the mind. A product or service exists only when we see it, or use it. If hearing the name, or seeing its symbol triggers a set of associations, it is a brand. Otherwise it’s just a product.
“My idea for an alternative model for social and economic development is very simple,” says Shad Moarif, an educationist of international repute who founded READ over 25 years ago. “First, all NGO’s committed to socio-economic development will have to engage the private sector. These should include homegrown corporate entities, multinationals and companies set up overseas by the Pakistani diasporas all over the world.” The first group of such companies, says Shad, would consist of social entrepreneurs. Admittedly, only a small number among them could be called social entrepreneurs. They will need to agree on three fundamental principles:
Ever wonder why Pakistan cricket is always in such a mess? Well, the reasons are too numerous for a short article such as this so we’ll look at two key positions– the captain and the coach.
We corporate-wallas are familiar with all the leadership mantras that come our way on a daily basis and so we know that the critical attributes required to run cricket affairs are sorely lacking. Almost without fail, the captaincy goes to the ‘senior-most’ player, whether he has the capability or not.
Many people believe that creativity is inborn and only a chosen few are creative. While it is true that creativity is inborn, it is not true that only a chosen few are creative. Everyone is born creative. In the process of growing up, educating yourself and adapting yourself to your environment, you slowly add blocks to your creativity and forget that you had it in the first place. The difference between a creative person and a person who is not so creative is not in the creativity that they were born with but in the creativity that they have lost. How can you enhance your creative ability? One possible way is to observe the habits of creative people, identify the ones that you feel will work for you and then make a plan to cultivate them. Here are 16 habits of creative people. If you cultivate some of them, you will feel an increase in your level of creativity. In the process, you will also feel tickled by life!
Understanding the heart of leadership communication – and being able to effectively manage ‘emotion- driven' communication – is a key to leadership success today. It is fundamental to what we now call Emotional Intelligence.
I’d like to tell you about two boys in a schoolyard. These boys had a dispute, as schoolboys - and girls - can do. One of the boys wanted to play the game one way and the other disagreed; he wanted to play it his way. One of the boys said something about the other boy which then upset the other boy and so there was a certain amount of verbal retaliation before they took it to the next level - and stopped talking. Now,
It’s a theme I keep harping on over and over, and not just with regard to career development: take responsibility for your life and then see how things happen for you. But since this publication has much to do with the subject, let’s just stick with career progression.Career progression starts with knowing exactly what you want to do or where you want to go. Then comes the part about making it happen. Sadly, most conversations on this subject start with the employee asking his Line Manager (or HR person): “What do you have in mind for me?” This is akin to going to a travel agent and asking him “Where should I go on my vacation?” Sounds ridiculous, right?
Pakistan seems to be in a lamentable state of affairs. My parents still reside there, so I speak not just from an external perch, but from the visceral experience of loved ones. My father gave his professional life to the diplomatic service of his country and remembers still with moist-eyed pride when Pakistan came into being. The promise of “Faith, Unity and Discipline” has certainly been debauched since and we need to exercise leadership. In this instance, that means no scapegoats and a much overdue look in the mirror.
From the flooded boondocks of Kot Addu to the five star glitter of the Karachi Sheraton, Ramiz Allawala was back in Pakistan plying his trade, engaging with diverse management hierarchies on the issues of relationship and leadership. He cut short his five days workshop with KAPCO in Kot Addu after the first day, and managed to reach Multan just barely ahead of the flood waters that washed away the connecting road. In Karachi Ramiz was conducting a one-day Workshop in High Performance Leadership, spending the day in a huddle with senior management drawn from a cross-section of Pakistani trade, commerce and industry. On the agenda was the development of a positive mindset and the emotional strength to win; focus on inspirational leadership, and the evolution involved in handling the workload growing into the job; and a focus on the organization’s performance improvement for organizational success. “The common denomination of successful leadership is the strategy that places people first,” says Ramiz.
Each industry likes to develop its own lingo and HR is no exception. It is amusing to hear HR practitioners taking themselves seriously, discussing the esoteric aspects of its area. And while new processes and technologies continue to be introduced, so do the buzzwords.
I am often approached to share Shell’s practices on recruitment and performance appraisals. It is also common for HR folk to seek each other’s help in developing policies and stuff like that. There is nothing inherently wrong in this. What does concern me is the fact that there seems to be a rush to adopt the latest fad. What used to be referred to as ‘shameless copying’ is now called ‘Adopting Best Practice.’If I were to pick up Tiger Woods’ golf set, would it make me as good as him? Or Roger Federer’s racquet? That is what this business of ‘Best Practice’ has become.
So the question that arises is: “How do we upgrade HR without just adding on the bits and pieces from a suite of choices?
The other day, just after my last jaunt in the mid east, I was discussing, with my colleagues where I had been lately. They were all surprised to hear of my (almost) regular visits to Pakistan. “Ain’t it dangerous?” – “surely its going to the dogs!” etc. etc. Then to ground me more one asked, “if that country is so good, would you invest in it?” That set me thinking - Would I recommend Pakistan to any entrepreneurs or business angels of my acquaintance?
The last couple of decades have witnessed a profound change in societal mores and their impact on women. That which was once considered taboo has now taken on an everyday occurrence. The right to education has been increasingly asserted by the female, and the rise in the numbers of enlightened males has enabled a quantum increase in the number of qualified, educated women demanding equal opportunity in the workplace. Understandably enough this change in the balance of power between the sexes has come with its fair share of resentment amongst members of the erstwhile Males Only clubs that ran the factory floors and management hierarchies. In more than just a few cases the male reaction has manifested itself in outright hostility. The challenge to the male’s breadwinner status has been met in more than just a few cases by uncouth behavior and the sexual exploitation of female colleagues
Kamran Rizvi is a founding director, trainer, executive coach, keynote speaker and consultant at Navitus, a leading organization development (OD) consulting and training firm in the country. He brings innovative,effective and practical strategies for implementing change in a variety of organizations striving to grow, build sustainability, and improve productivity, efficiency, quality and impact. Kamran pioneered the personal-improvement and OD movement in Pakistan in 1991, after working for fourteen years in retail and commercial banking in the Middle East and the UK.
Kamran’s session at the LearnFest was pure dynamite! 'Leadership Paradigm - BREAKING NEWS with a difference' occupied two sessions, and could have easily gone on for the entire week,
The bane of ‘foxhole-ism’ and turf warfare is an attitudinal dysfunction manifest in most, if not all, organizations, irrespective of their positioning on the maturization curve. This accounts for the ‘paranoia about anonymity’ when fielding survey questions, as stated by you. You also say that ‘Organizations are fundamentally networks of people engaged in achieving or furthering common goals’, and that ‘Management itself is ultimately a social technology’. What recommendations do you have to counter the bane of foxholeism, and inculcate a high trust culture within an organization,replete with an attitude of sharing and caring?
Fox-holes develop in wars. They imply militancy, "high alert", divide and conquer cultures. There is a competitive streak in high performers often. However, that has to be channeled out into the market place and in taking on competitors to provide greater value to customers. Battling each other to the death is stupid. Lou Gerstner, in leading the turnaround of IBM, told everyone that the enemy "is out there" and we are here to win in the market. More companies need to get that. The second expedient is to craft goals that cannot be achieved without collaboration, that are enterprise-wide, be it a customer delivery goal, a talent development goal, a process breakthrough, valuebased cost-effectiveness or otherwise -- and then hold people unromantically accountable for them like any other KPI. We can't measure individual showboating and expect trust and social amity.
For a woman to be truly successful, in today’s world would involve a complicated micro-neural surgery or a lobotomy of the cortex which stores the cultural conditioning. The society conditions the gender of certain norms to conform by, which might have been applicable several centuries ago but are now a dormant baggage – specially for women.
The age old concept of a woman being the gatherer still exists in the memory of our ancestral DNA and is being reinforced by the society with slight modifications over the years. These socio-archetypes are so deeply rooted in our psyche that even hypnosis cannot bring it to light. The evidence of this conditioning is so obvious by the way both the genders are treated irrespective of Geographical coordinates.
I have the rare privilege of regularly speaking to and working with business leaders around the world – from every type of business be they family, not-for-profit, publicly traded or private and from every business sector imaginable. Over the last two years I have made a number of visits to the beautiful country of Pakistan and worked with business leaders in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Men and women in pharmaceuticals, refining, bottling, banking, communications, insurance, confectionary, medical, advertising, engineering and many others, running their own businesses, or running publicly traded corporations, charities or subsidiaries of overseas multi-nationals.
So, I am often asked, what are my experiences of Pakistan business leaders and how do they differ from elsewhere?
Management is about improving today; leadership is about creating the future. This is the overwhelming consensus among practitioners, gurus, wits, and savants. the title makes the point: we need leaders first. But we need more than rhetoric-gushing futurists. Grand visionary plans for the future are often far too abundant in developing countries – as they tend to conveniently distract from the nettlesome and more dispiriting realities facing us today.
Everybody’s got within them the capability to do different things, but sometimes we limit ourselves to one niche,” says Leon. “Personal empowerment is the issue closest to my heart, and this is across gender, minority syndrome, the disadvantaged syndrome, or anything other such thing. The power does not reside outside the person. It is inside of us. The negative beliefs and hurdles are all inside of us. It is a matter of courage, and not analysis. It takes courage to make the decision. The solutions are all inside of us as well.
The senior HR presence at Eastern Federal Union insurance company is Arshad Abdullah, a veteran of corporate training, and amongst the pioneers of the field in Pakistan. Arshad spent 30 years at PIM, with the last 10 as its Director, retiring in 1994, and handing over its reins to Zarrar Zubair who continues to hold the fort at PIM to this day. He is the first academician to move to the private sector after retirement, joining EFU at the top management level of Executive Director HR.
It is often said that Pakistan’s perception overseas is worse than the reality on the ground. What is the reason for that, and how can this imbalance be rectified?
People in the tissue of their everyday lives find coping mechanisms. So things are never as bad as they are reported. Moreover, most of the examples of excellence, good citizenship, daily heroism, enterprise and more are not newsworthy...as news is in search of the sensational. This isn't peculiar to Pakistan. It is exceptions that get reported. Hong Kong has a thriving economy, but it doesn't make the news each day. Pakistanis have to stop complaining about unfair coverage and extol genuine role models. There are plenty of them -- but we have to project them rather than waiting for our virtues to be "discovered".