If you want to change your future….

Hi readers,

This goes out to all you people out on the street, protesting for the past 3 weeks against the pathetic excuse for governance that has been delivered to you by our rulers ( not leaders).

I have mentioned in my posts earlier that HOPE is your opium and will be your undoing!!

https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/opium-of-the-india-people/

However I just read a very interesting article published by Ben Mangan- his article covers the legitimacy of using provocation to induce change in a slumbering society.

I quote Ben ” Being a provocateur is especially important if you work for a nonprofit or social venture. Every ounce of resource in a purely mission-based enterprise should be aligned with the impact we intend to have on the world. Asking why on a regular basis creates the kind of transparency that can keep mission creep at bay.”

I have a logical twist to what he has mentioned- instead of the context of  a non profit or a social venture, I address the countrywide protests across the country by men and women alike screaming for sweeping social change and real power for the people, by the people and of the people!! Isnt what we are protesting in India about a great social venture, a much needed societal and democratic change in our country which has been laid waste by our crass, uncouth, corrupt political class!!

I therefore encourage you all to read this artcle- the link is provided below for your reference..

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130104051308-132220-want-to-deepen-impact-in-2013-be-a-provocateur

 

Five Critical Negotiation Skills for qualified success

Hi readers,

I did write on the subject of negotiation by mentioning 9 rules that may be helpful to executives while negotiating complex deals…and I know for a fact that since the financial debacle of 2008, the deals have only gotten complex !!!

Here is the link to my earlier post of the subject for your reference 9 Rules for Negotiating a Complex Deal

After giving this subject much thought, I decided to share these 5 skills that I personally believe have been crucial to my successes while negotiating with my suppliers, while negotiating with my sales teams, my logistics team, my production staff, my contract labor AND my clients and trade channel partners!!

So here goes….

  • Completely and honestly assess your relative position. Information is everything, and so is making sure you’ve got a completely honest and straightforward assessment of your position and your opponent’s, going in.  In my view it takes guts to look your self objectively in the mirror and say to yourself that given the information that you have you may have to decide a strategy- which may often mean, retraction, or simply “holding your ground”.
  • Study precedent, inside and out. Precedent means terms you and your opponent have agreed to in prior negotiations with other companies. It doesn’t matter if the terms were confidential; assume everybody knows everything. There’s virtually no defense against precedent in a negotiation. But remember, it works both ways.
  •  Plan for all contingencies, up front. Go in with a solid plan: Good cop, bad cop; worst case scenario; bottom line terms; under what circumstances do you walk out; which terms are negotiable and to what extent; when to hold back and when to offer a negotiating chit; the extent of your authority, etc. Anticipate all the same things from your opponent’s side.This definitely requires a 360 degree view and assessment of the negotiation process. Introspect, think , strategise and then act logically, without getting emotionally  involved in the process.
  •  Never negotiate with yourself. Under no circumstances should you offer revised terms until your opponent has countered. Make sure they’ve responded fully on every term before you counter. Of course, feel free to try to use this in reverse, but most are savvy to it and it may hurt your credibility.
  • Always seek to raise your opponent’s risk. This is especially critical in prolonged negotiations with ongoing litigation. Your actions, both at the negotiating table and in the court room, must always be designed to raise your opponent’s risk. Also, your opponent must believe you’re willing and able to go the distance. That means a big war chest and minimal exploitable vulnerability.

Your inputs and ideas are welcome….

 

 

 

10 Rules for Effective Strategic Planning

Hi readers,

I have been sharing my knowledge in the area of sales management and marketing with you all for the past few weeks. I think I did chip in with elements of strategy that I shared with you.

So in order to further this discussion on the subject of strategy , I decided to share this blog with you.

Strategic planning is a time consuming and very challenging process- I would know it because I have had to lead my team in such sessions during my stint as the P&L head for a CPG business in Africa!

I figured that in order to deliver a workable strategy through and iterative process, there were certain fundamentals that one has to be mindful of in the process of strategic planning and delivery.

These 10 rules are

  • The definition. First things first. Strategic planning is any process meant to determine a company’s future direction, including its key goals, strategies for achieving them, and business plans.
  • Executive owner and facilitator. You need a member of the executive staff to own the process from start to finish, plus an objective facilitator from outside the company with expertise in this sort of thing. 
  • The team. The team must be committed to participating in the entire process from start to finish. It’s usually executive management. There can be additions but there’s a size tradeoff: bigger equals more ideas but harder to manage.  
  • Rules of engagement. The facilitator or executive owner sets ground rules or rules of engagement, i.e. attack the problem, not the person; be quiet unless you have something material to add; don’t beat issues to death; no cell phones; that sort of thing.
  • The problem and process objectives. You’re doing this for a reason. Agree on the problem statement and objectives of the process. You can also give it a name if that will help galvanize everyone.
  • Situation or SWOT analysis. Takes time, but it must be brutally honest and objective with no sugarcoating. If you don’t know where you stand versus the competition, the entire process is a waste of incredibly valuable executive time.
  • No sacred cows. Executives get too close to and emotionally wrapped up in their groups, responsibilities, programs, and products. The team has to get beyond all the subjectivity to achieve open and honest perspective. Everything’s on the table.
  • Brainstorm. Be completely open to any ideas. When they’re all listed, have each person pick their top three ideas (weighted first = 3 points, second = 2 points, third = 1 point), then add it up, take the top x ideas, assign each to an exec who develops a business plan.
  • Coalesce. Present the plans, debate, coalesce on company direction, key goals, strategies, etc. Several meetings and iterations are fine, including bouncing off the next level of management and a controlled group of outsiders to get feedback (optional).  
  • Plan and execute. Develop a set of plans for communicating the new direction down through the organization and externally, affecting organizational and behavioral change, product development and launch, marketing and sales, etc. The devil’s in the details. 

My sincere thanks to my teacher, Dr. Daniel Deneffe, Global marketing strategy director, Arthur D’Little, who inspired me to research on the subject and to present this to you all.

Thanks also to all my teachers who taught me at my alma maters, the HULT School, Boston, and IMI, Delhi.