Monday, October 18, 2010

All is well syndrome…

India bagged 38th gold medals in Commonwealth Games 2010! Surprise victories kept showing up, like in women’s discuss throw, where India won the gold, Silver and the Bronze.

I’m just glad that we got to watch the moments of glory for all the athletes, rather than all the hoopla…that preceded the games.

While there is no reason to write more about the pre game games…there’s a very common pattern that is worth talking about.

…the eagerness to declare “All is well”.

We just don’t like to report a less than perfect status and we don’t like to hear less perfect status. It’s just human nature…everybody loves good news.

For most part, a little sugar coating of the bad news is mostly acceptable… “we are short on this count, but will catch up soon.”. Though there will come a time, when there’s no scope for sugar coating also.

Things get dangerous, when facts distort into fiction. After that it’s mostly another twist to keep up with the last twist.

Denial isn’t gonna work usually…acceptance will.

Once there’s acceptance, the focus is turned towards course correction. Help shows up from unusual quarters…and in the end everybody turns out to be the winner. Almost always…because people want you to succeed, that’s why you were given the opportunity.

Or you may have to cut the losses and bite the bullet and make some major changes…Remember, Tata Nano! The project was in deep trouble, and instead of reporting all is well, the Tata’s voiced their concern…and when week after week assessment wasn’t matching their charted course, they quietly got to working at the alternatives.

IPL  in South Africa…who would have thought Indian league in South Africa…

Another side effect is the loss of credibility, which would happen with repeated fictional reporting. We live is a networked world…word will get out, sooner or later.

Once credibility is lost, we have a larger problem at hand…

So it’s try and keep it real…All doesn’t have to be ‘well’ all the time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Will the replacements take over…

Last week, one business news stood out for me. Nokia lost 20% of the Indian handset market share. (ET Link). Now, THAT is not just a drop, it’s a ‘slide’. I looked at my Nokia handset, which I have been using for last one year and have no real complains.

The product is still solid. Works great but clearly has lost favor in the marketplace.

Something similar happens to individuals also. We are good at something, and we evolve, learn new skills too, but we can still find ourselves out of favor.

Why?... Because being good at something isn’t good enough, you got be ‘better’ and you got to be relevant.

Two dimensions need consideration.

  • the ‘competitive’ dimension
  • and change of pace around us.
Indian hockey is another great example of how people can loose the plot. We were the greatest, especially when it came to ‘dribbling’. However, the game changed due to movement in technology (faster turf), change in rules and rise of other nations, like Germany that excelled. Speed became more important than dribbling.

Are you the best in the field that you play in? Are you the best in the changing field that you play in? Will you “continue” to be the best in the ever changing field that you will play in?

Being good or ‘the best’ at something, also brings in a sense of complacency but that’s not always the case.

The bigger danger is the ‘inward looking’ behavior. You tend to keep looking at yourself, your methodology, your efficiency….so while you continuously improve when compared to yourself last year…it isn’t good enough when it compares to rest of the marketplace.

There are always the new kids on the block, with zero legacy and a burning desire. While they lack the experience, they make it up with the hard work and smart thinking. They change the playing field, up the ante…and every existing player needs to step up.

And, BTW, I’m a Nokia fan. Over the last ten yrs of Mobile phone usage, I must have bought over 20 Nokia phones for myself and family…but I wonder, if my next phone will be Nokia.

Will the replacements take over? We’ll see…

PS: Discalimer: I have no opinion on whether the data in ET is correct or not. It did stand out for me, being a Nokia fan.