SWOT Analysis – Simplified

SWOT analysis is integral part of ‘determination of success factors’ while planning annual goals and building strategy. This blog post focuses on two key elements – ‘How to segregate business processes at large demarcated between Internal and External elements?’ and ‘ Simple method to run SWOT analysis of sub-processes with one example each from Internal and External processes?’.

Element 1 : Segregate Business Processes

Business processes can be segregated among 4 pillars – Finance, Sales, Operations and Human Resources. Lets divide some key business process among these pillars for manufacturing :


internal external processes

I an in love with the above image which classifies processes beautifully. Internal Processes are grouped under group 1. Blue color denotes Finance process and its sub-processes, orange color denotes Sales process, pink denotes Internal Processes and green denotes HR process.  Group 2 contains external processes. Red denoting typical stake holders and typical key elements. Yellow denoting SEPTEM which is important Social, Economical, Political, Tech, Environmental and Legal aspect can affect business situation.

These internal and external processes can vary depending on nature of business a company has got. The above list is very generic for a manufacturing / service organization. These processes can be further tiered so that specific actions can be identified for work groups withing plants/ sites. Lets look at example of internal process number 1.10 production and lets see a typical example of further tiered level of its further processes. Similarly lets look at example of external process number 2.9 technological and lets see a typical example of its further tiered levels.

internal external processes-sub processes


Element 2 : Running Template for each sub-process to arrive at SWOT results  

Segregation of processes is key to arrive at good planning and to produce successful SWOT outcome. Once processes and sub-processes are identified. A simple template can be run for each process. Lets review one internal process example for sub process 1.10.4 Scrap.

internal SWOT example.png


Lets review one external process example for sub process 1.9.3 New Product Technology.

external SWOT example.png

After collecting results for each sub-process by template-run involving relevant work groups withing organization, one ends up summarizing SWOT summary. This SWOT summary is important element of ‘ Determine Success Factor’ while evolving annual plan in annual strategy meeting of organization.

The SWOT summary can look like below template with clearly defined priority level, activity proposal and savings value.

SWOT summary.png

It provides immense impact on organization planning process to complete SWOT Summary and use it as an input to ‘Determine Success Factor’.

With focused template approach the ‘Annual Goal Setting’ exercise can be completed in 1 day of execution and some planning ahead. SWOT workshop can be completed in half day with multiple groups handling set of processes.

For more details about ‘SWOT’ and ‘Annual Goal Setting‘ process and free templates reach out to author at or +919810637103.  All the best.



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Business and Gita |Introduction


Gita is 5000 year old 700 verses hindu scripture in sanskrit. It’s a narrative between pandava prince Arjuna and his guide n charioteer God Krishana. Gita is about ethical and moral struggle of human life and finding the ‘way’ or the ‘right path’. In business life with growing conflict between earning dollars and saving the planet – Gita is as relevant as it has ever been. In this series we will see parallels between Business and Gita. This is introduction video of the series ‘Business and Gita’.


Annual Goal Setting – Step by Step

Top performance athletes and top performance companies have something in common. Both are aware of power of goal setting and importance of figuring out their annual goal respectively. Irrespective of actual success towards end of the year – goal setting and progress measurement works like a compass in ever increasing complexities to manage businesses – small and big alike.

CipherOn is a mid size organization based out of New Delhi – they have discovered a simple yet powerful way of arriving at their annual goal. 4 steps are involved.

Step 1 : Analyze Potential of Org

Step 2 : Decide on Goals & Objectives

Step 3 : Determine Success Factors

Step 4 :  Plan and Control activities

Lets look at each in further depth

Step 1 : Analyze Potential of Org

In consideration of organization’s ‘Vision’, ‘Business Model’ and ‘Mission’ it is important to access ‘Market Attractiveness’ and ‘Competitive Advantage’.

‘Market Attractiveness’ can be accessed based on ‘Investment Portfolio (risk return portfolio by Harry M. Markowitz, 1952)’, ‘Ansoff Matrix ( Markets Vs Products matrix between new as well as present ones in both by Harry I. Ansoff, 1965)’, ‘Product Life Cycle (profiling under – introduction, Growth, Maturity and Decline by Theodore Levitt, 1965)’, ‘BCG Matrix (Market Growth Vs Market Share to classify Cash Cows, Poor Dogs, Question marks and Starts by Bruce D. Henderson, 1968) ‘, ‘Supply Portfolio (deciding buy/control/make based on Potential for competitive Edge Vs Risk of Outsourcing by James B. Quinn, 2002).

‘Competitive Advantage’ can be evaluated on corporation level criteria and product level criteria between your org vs competition orgs. Common corporation criteria are market share, financial strength, management, employee skills, R&D potential, Time to market and cost efficiency. While common product criteria are function, quality, cost and reliability. Each of these criterian can be measured on scale of average, good and excellent.

Lastly both ‘Market Attractiveness’ and ‘Competitive Advantage’ can be plotted on 2X2 matrial as suggested by GE-McKinsey, 1970s to complete the visualization of step 1 – Analyze Potential of Org. As a matter of facts, largely most organization are not completing this step due to lethargy of top management.

For each of the above concept a free of cost template is available on request by writing to author at

Step 2 : Decide on Goals & Objectives

Goals and Objectives can be defined in 4 sub steps of building document for each of the following – Strategy Map, Balanced Scorecard, Sales Plan, Business Plan taking in consideration customer needs, supplier capabilities, product portfolio and production/service footprint.

Strategy Map is building four perspectives further.

Financial Perspective : What financial goals & objectives do we need to achieve, not only to survive, but to develop our business?

Customers & Markets Perspective: How do we need to be recognized by our customers, not only to keep,but to develop our competitiveness?

Internal Business Processes Perspective : How do our business processes need to perform, so that our customers recognize us as a competitive, first class supplier?

Learning & Growth Perspective: What kind of resources do we need to acquire and what talents and skills do we need, so that our business processes perform to the expected level?

Each of above can be called Financial perspective, sales perspective, operations perspective and human resources perspective respectively.

Balanced Scorecard is breakdown of strategic objectives into key indicators and each key indicator is assigned a strategic value target. For example sustainability and growth, a strategic objective can be broken into key indicator like productivity and it can have a numeric target like 240 products per man-hour. This enables identifying gap against this target at any given point in the year.

Sales Plan to include number of products/ services to be sold in the year month by month for each customer, for each product group and for each region.

Business Plan to contain resources in form of investment required to achieve proposed sales plan and expected return of the investment by customer, by product groups and by region.

Step 3 : Determine Success Factors

Success factors can be determined by doing ‘SWOT Analysis’ considering potential, new targets & objectives and actual performance. Internal SWOT will map Strength and Weakness of org while external SWOT will map Opportunities and Threats.

For each business process SWOT can be run by asking simple 5 questions for each of sub business process. Lets take example SWOT – Internal of ‘Scrap’ as a subprocess in a manufacturing org:

Q1: In general , what is your status today?

The actual scrap rate is about 3.5%.

Q2: How us the actual position f your direct competitor(s)?

Our direct competitor has achived a scrap rate of 2.2%.

Q3: Did you achieve your defined targets and objectives?

We did not achieve our scrap target of 2.9%.

Q4: Is your status a strength or a weakness?


Q5: What is your improvement action proposal?

Project: Reduce scrap. Target 2.0%. Dollars 500k savings.

SWOT summary of each process can give prioritization of strength, weakness, opportunity and threat to work on.

Step 4 :  Plan and Control activities

Based on the SWOT summary in a priority order for each business process, divide the identified objectives within each process into ‘project of the process -X’ assign a project team to each project and in the process eliminate less important projects if you can not find resources to do it or if you are overloading some specific resource. What you will end up with is to-do for entire organization.

The guided approach enables 1 day workshop with some advance preparation to arrive at ‘Annual Goal Setting’ document for entire organization – irrespective of size. Unprepared Orgs will anyway will not do it or will do it half-hearted for no or poor results. If org evolve and follow what works for them annual goal setting can do wonder in the space of Organizational Performance.

For needed support (free content / workshop) contact author at or +919810637103


INBOX (Zero) – How to achieve email productivity?

Tim, a senior manager, is hesitant to plan a long holiday this summer. He is serving a critical role in the organization. Last year when he returned back from a week long holiday he jumped off the chair after downloading his 800 odd emails waiting for his response. Average emails Tim is receiving are 150 everyday. How can one optimize handling tons of emails received daily- many of us are not in the luxury to stare at desktop / mobile phone whole day now and then. If some of us has this luxury its shear waste of valuable time to only respond to email and do not employ ourselves to other forms of productive work like engaging a team in person to produce good work. The million dollar question is what can be done about this?

Golden rule is define a regular frequency like once a day or maximum twice a day when you will attend to your email box. Staring at mailbox all the time is big killer of your day’s plan.

Next important thing to do is bucket your emails first always to arrive at INBOX (Zero). This is basic housekeeping like we clean our desks daily before start of work. The bucketing itself does 90% of the job for you. At the end of it you have no email in the INBOX and you have achieved INBOX (Zero) state. I personally like to do bucketing into below 4 categories. The moment i read the subject or first few lines first thing is to identify the bucket and move the email to that bucket. You can create folders by the name of these in your mailbox.

Answer Now : Bucket #1

If you find you can answer an email in less than 30 second go ahead and do it. This saves you from planning and action taking time. Take action right now.

In the bucket #1 you can choose stuff which is urgent and important. Lets understand this. There is important and not important stuff. So there is urgent and non-urgent stuff. There are four combinations of urgent and important stuff – ‘Urgent and Important’, ‘Urgent and not-Important’, ‘Not-Urgent and Important’ and ‘Not-Urgent and not-Important’.

Delegate : Bucket #2

If you find stuff which can be done by your team and falls into the job description of one of your team member or a colleague – do not hesitate to delegate. You can do so for stuff which is ‘Urgent and not-Important’, where you find a person who is directly responsible can add value or a person who would not mind extending you a helping hand.

Next Action : Bucket #3

The stuff which is ‘Not-Urgent and Important’ it is the right bucket. Keep a folder where you park all your such stuff and come back to it when you plan to attend to it. Easy way to handle such stuff is put a reminder. If you need help in a group – schedule a meeting. The calendar will do the rest.

Read later : Bucket #4

The stuff which is going to find place here is ‘Not-Urgent and Not-Important’ – so who cares. Just Chill. You probably will not be visiting this folder at all – just move the email here and  you are all done towards INBOX (Zero).

‘Less is more’ – a phrase from 1855 poem ‘Andrea del Sarto’ by Robert Browning is so relevant while managing your mail box. You have more productive time, once you shrink your mailbox to ‘INBOX (Zero)’.

Happy productive time – Happy ‘INBOX (Zero)’.


Why ERP Implementation Fails?

There are a number of things which goes into planning an ERP implementation project. There are success factors which can contribute towards success if given right attention. The failure reasons described in this blog can become those success factors. The top three reasons majority of implementation fails in the priority order are user engagement, master data quality control and sustenance strategy. Let us look at them individually.


User Engagement

In one of the auto-component company manufacturing site in Sankt Michael, Austria the schedules to vendors were not going because the local plant team could not run the MRP – Material Requirement Planning – Module of SAP. While there was no problem on same topic at another manufacturing site of same company at Munich, Germany going live on SAP simultaneously. Both teams spent similar time for training local users. When investigated what is understood that there was time allocated and users attended training but there was no clear tool to assess whether users have learned what is required to transact post go live. A company need to plan assessments by conducting ‘day in a live scenario’ pre-go-live to ensure success in one go. The troubleshooting team recovered the situation by rushing some central core team resources to site to run MRP module – this resulted in logistics on halt for 2 days which was avoidable.


Master Data Quality Control

Vendor quota numbers were entered incorrect in the master data resulting into wrong procurement quantity in vendor schedule at manufacturing site of same auto-component company at New Delhi site in India. The data upload happens very close to go live date. The last minute hustle can be killing if proper quality control is not in place. One aspect that can help is multi-tiered control layer. Secondly a high frequency tracker is very helpful to check if each tier is able to complete task in time and within quality standard. Lastly data validation checks need to be performed and enough correction time needs to be granted as in the absence of such buffer time team leader tend to skip some checks or delay go live date. The validation checks can be simple like all routing data in a production organization sums to appropriate cost of produced item.


Sustenance Strategy

A well tiered help-desk function, tracking of business value additions and augmenting new features plan can ensure stabilization, stake holder motivation and growing value add to business respectively.

A well tiered help desk can mean below structure or what may work in your org like-

Users (example – Production Planning executive)

Key Users – supports Users (example – central planning project core team member)

Consulting Partner – supports Key Users  ( example – IBM)

Product Partner – supports Consulting Partner (example – SAP)

Tracking of business value additions can be additional reports like ‘New Product Development Profitability reports’ using ABAP/other developments. This can include launch of any further DSS – Decision Support System – layer. This layer sits at Level 5 of ISA95 from data collection and usage perspective. This can ensure constantly improved motivation of stake holders of various business processes.

New Feature Plan can ensure continued value addition to business by launching additional features like Ware House Management , Customer Relationship Management as future modules. Thus making the implementation process a continuously evolving and enriching process for organization.


In summary the top three major success factors user engagement, master data quality control and sustenance strategy are discussed. The project scope involves large number of aspects so it also important to focus on overall planning process. Visit change implementation blog to see more elements.  In addition the importance of promotion of project withing organization, making sure process owners in the business are engaged from beginning till end with clear deliverable association, a full time project team as organization of change along with operational team which has process owner who are responsible for final delivery through their teams are very important for project success.


What is Time?

Science and religion both have been intrigued by the question – what is time? Science is attempting to find answers through theoretical physics using mathematical models and abstractions to explain nature of universe and time. Experimental physics does not provide any signs in the near future to explain or simulate experience to travel to past or future. Theoretical physics claims feasibility of time travel according to laws of physics.

Theoretical physicists are dealing with questions like :

Why we only remember past and not future?

Why an egg can turn into omelet but not vice versa?

Why time we experience is uni-direction?

Theoretical physicists are trying to fathom and continue to make effort to provides answers. Some of the physicists are enjoying rock-star status while trying to do so. It will be time which will tell where this branch of science is going to take our understanding of time. Religion on the contrary has used two approaches to explain nature of time – ‘start with a belief’ and ‘perceptional experiments’. In the century of millennials there is increasing trend of people not subscribing to belief based religious doctrine. God created time is too simple belief for our time to accept and feel satisfied. Curiosity prevails.The second approach ‘perceptional experiments’ employs real-time experiments. It gives some promise and growing acceptance. The jury is still out. Lets look at each aspects.


Arrow of time

We remember the past but do not remember future. We can see an egg changes form into omelet but the reverse is impossible. What is behind irreversible direction of time. In 1927, British Astronomer, Arthur Eddington introduced concept of ‘one-way direction of time’ or ‘arrow of time’. Eddington reemphasized discovery made by Boltzmann, Austrian Physicist, in 1872,  relative to ‘Law of disorder’ or ‘Ever increasing Entropy’. According to this 2nd law of thermodynamics – ‘Entropy of an isolated system can only increase’. Eddington has tried to associate ‘Entropy – Law of disorder’ and ‘Arrow of time’. This suggests law of physics does not allow increased level of orderliness. The question remained unanswered why in the first place in the beginning always time starts with lowest level of entropy. What is the connection?



Our visible universe is estimated to be 14 billion years old. It began in the state of great order and it will be winding down to nothing. Important to notice that say a room is messier and some one cleans and makes it orderly. The orderliness has improved but as a system for just the room as additional entropy of other system is increase in the act of cleaning and making it orderly. In the multiverse theory, Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at Caltech points out to existence of a static universe in the middle from where many universes like ours are popping out and pointing to difference arrows of time. This static universe is reference universe according to Carroll and there is no arrow of time for it. There is no future with respect to past and everything is equal to each other. Nothing is happening in this universe but according to quantum mechanics suddenly booms an alpha particle, it comes out, except an alpha particle  is a new universe.


Big bang conditions

Knowing egg to omelet irreversible issue, lowest entropy at big bang , only remembering past not future and our experience of growing old from younger age all question condition of big bang. These conditions of low  entropy attract today’s scientist to explore rationale behind it.


Psychological time – Perceptional Experience

Perception comes before understanding. We all have ability to perceive using our senses and ever evolving subconscious. Scientists explain if we understand more deeply about natural mystique force like gravity on theoretical level it will not make any difference on how we experience gravity in our perception.

What this boils down to? Irrespective of how much more we know about ‘nature of time’ or ‘nature of universe’our perceived reality about how we experience time or life will not change. At the same time if we employ our entire perception building resources we can reach to new levels of perceived reality. Therefore the appeal to work done by Buddha employing all his humanly available resources – body and mind in its entirety – is invaluable and contagious. Before Buddha and after him many ‘perception scientists’ – if i may call them so – have achieved an elevated level of perception. In this heightened level of perception mind achieves ‘no thought state’ or ‘no mind state’. What does it do? Is it helpful in any way?


No mind – No time

The thought removal is a process to reach a level of experience where one experience no thoughts and remain an observer. This creates a phenomenal psychological state where relevance of time loosen up. This is a freedom state of the human perception. The most important seed this starts with is to develop special understanding. This special understanding is a claim : a mental state free of goals / desired – temporary or long term  -brings association to completeness of your being as is in this very moment. The moment you are content as is your mind stops to worry about what happened in the past and what will happen in the future. In modern time there are methods in yoga to work on this aspect. All Buddhist meditations are to prepare mind to become no mind. The no mind state has brought higher levels of happiness and peace withing themselves and conduct life which is more rich experimentally, like becoming children again. As Jesus once said ‘It is those who will enter the kingdom of God who are childlike’.


Which side have you taken 

Theoretical physics gives promise to unfold deeper understanding of time. ‘Perceptional experiments’ employs real-time experiments. It gives common man a tool to experiment with own perception and build a heightened perception. One can take a side or enjoy developments happening at both ends. What is your status – please share below.




How to conduct daily staff meeting in less than 10 minutes?

Mr. Junker, Plant Manager, at an FMCG manufacturing company in Munich conducts daily staff meeting which  lasts for 45 minutes to 90 minutes. Thus on an average 600 minutes get consumed daily for about 10 people engaged in-it.  What a waste of time for such an important resource group at the manufacturing site. This is a very typical scenario irrespective of the industry type that either managers are not able to conduct regular staff meetings or they are wasting significant time by being inefficient in conducting them.

Bloggers and consultants always try to bring method to madness and this is how they earn. Let me share my personal experience of optimizing the meetings on time scale while keeping the quality of interaction in easy 3 steps.

Step 1 : Divide your work-area into small work groups like functions or production lines

Divide the workplace you are managing into smaller areas map each area with a person in your team so confusion about ownership is addressed.

Step 2 : Identify top 3 worst performing areas to manage by exception – use daily dashboard

Identify a person in your team who can compile and circulate a dashboard showing performance of each area/ line in worse to best order. If you have 10 manufacturing lines start the output rate % gap between actual and expected. Identify top 3 worst performing areas or set a acceptance limit like only discuss line which are below 90% of expected output. This bring focus for group to focus and contribute to large part of problem with fewer items to deal with – 80:20 principal works here like everywhere.

Step 3 : Let area managers use standard format to respond while explaining failure and resolution   

The number 1 time killer in a meeting is tangential discussion, everything but the key matter. Standardize the response format, here is example. Ask manager of line number 3 which performed 44% output level, worst performance yesterday, to explain only following 3 things (you can evolve format relevant to your business) –

  1. What went wrong (summary of route cause of problem)
  2. What action is taken as countermeasure (Fix -it done)
  3. What can be done differently so problem does not repeat

Ask to answer each question in only 1 sentence.

This way you can discuss 80% of the problem causing stuff in your workplace in 3-8 minutes. This leaves you with additional 2 minutes to discuss any success story (breaking past performance record) and safety/5-S like important daily topics.Since it is a group meeting you can improve decorum by asking 1 person to speak at one point of time. Do not forget to give small open forum of 1 minute if an issue may need contribution from rest of the group. If something needs more prework with longer time to work on it you can not address such stuff in daily staff meetings. Let staff meeting remain a communication forum. More complex issues must get longer meetings in calendar.

Do not forget to hit like / star below. Share feedback

Invite me to your workplace to fix your meeting issues without a dime. Wishing you and your team happy productivity.


Relationships matter more than online presence in B2B selling

Relationships matter most in B2B selling as they act as barrier for competitors and new entrants. These relationships are not based on price but advice. The advice offered is not about being more resourceful technically alone it is about advice that enable customer improve performance. Anyone can offer lower price but this is short term win and not foundation to a sustainable repeat business. By enabling advice that help customer succeed continually one becomes partner than a mere seller. A partner helping company successful is difficult to beat and more difficult to replace. There are two key elements which are foundation to the relationship selling in Industrial goods space.

First important element is expectation of stable supply-chain. This aspect is equally important for big manufacturing customers and their next ties SMEs in the supply-chain. This aspect is equivalent to automation of processes. Without a partner on which a company can rely it will be tough to maintain a smooth supply of necessary products on demand. Based on consumption frequency the products used are classified at runners, repeaters and strangers. The stranger items poses a threat of supply-dry situation if you do not know a regular seller who understand the need to stocking it for the company and supplies it in the eleventh hour of need. If this dependency fails at a tier-1 automotive manufacturer as an effect an OEMs production line will stop which is a heavy loss making situation as hundreds of workers will be idle.

Second important aspect of keeping a relationship barrier driven business is being cost effective. It is a no brainer that it is far more cheaper to maintain cost of services to existing customer than to spend on entire cycle of procuring a new customer by prospecting, communication, sales call and proposal generation etc. The cost of acquiring a customer using online platform is very expensive using digital marketing tools like pay per click model which stands at approx. 25% of revenue comparing approx. 5% in case of for same revenue in case of offline sales. Indiamart has recently stopped operations of Tolexo, its pure online business.

India has seen reasonable infrastructure development with rise of B2C eCommerce in form of efficiency small packet logistics. This aspect has improved turn around lead of time of supply of small volume items or stranger items using eCommerce infrastructure. This has led to ‘instant delivery model’ developed by which is becoming the ever efficient. The progress suggest that this will enable more content of purchase becoming just in time purchase. In addition to lead time another key advantage to offer a hybrid model which includes online presence is transparency in pricing as all product catalog is available online. While relationship selling ensures long term sustainable business relation, eCommerce solutions are bringing added value in form of efficient logistics of small size delivery and transparency.


BW Disrupt (Business World’s wing on startup published guest article on 24-02-2017)




4 Pillars to manage HR Function

Importance of HR management can not be ignored anymore irrespective of size of your organization. Objective HR management is new age mantra considering the paucity of time we all operate in. More objectivity can be supported by becoming more metrics measurement focused.

The master question every HR leader and Business leader is pondering can be summed up as follows:

“What kind of resources do we need to acquire and what talents and skills do we need, so that our Business Processes perform to the expected level?”  

Now lets look at what kind of HR pillars / infrastructures are required in modern organization – noting again – irrespective of size of organization. The 4 pillars are ‘Employee Motivation’, ‘Talent Pipeline’, ‘Acquire’ and ‘Skills’. In this blog we are further going to dive deep and explore key elements within each infrastructure. We will look at each pillar with action phrase and we will nail a tool than can help manage the key element within each Infrastructure or Pillar.

Pillar 1 : Keep and sustain employee motivation

Employee motivation is important metrics. The key element here is engagement to keep and sustain motivation. It is important that at different levels within organization specific initiatives are planned.  In a manufacturing organization levels can be blue collar, middle management and senior management. To keep and sustain motivation level first it is important to measure it. ‘Employee Satisfaction Survey’ can have sections which specifically measures ‘Motivation Score’. The score outcome in each employee level will help to plan engagement calendar. The engagement calendar for IR (Industrial Relations) with blue collar employees can sustain motivation with identification of activities like ‘Plant Manager / Skip Level  dialogue meetings’, ‘Sports events’, ‘Learning Events which are relevant to their job area’ and many more. Similarly an engagement calendar for middle management employees can drive measured motivation score in ‘Employee Satisfaction Survey’ with events like ‘Specific Skill Training’, ‘Family Day/ Annual Day Celebration’,  and ‘Dinner with CEO’ etc.. The key tool here is ‘Engagement Calendar’ for each level quarterly approved for execution by management.


Pillar 2 : Fill Talent Pipeline

It is apparent that 20% of the employee base contributes to 80% of results. Therefore it is so much important that those 20% of key employees are identified. In addition to identification they deserve higher level of engagement. In my experience at Anand Automotive it is very impressive to observe that this list is personally monitored by top 2 people in the group comprising of 8000+ employees. The filled pipeline and employee engagement results are impressive and better than other peers. This list of employees need to be overlapped with the functional positions needed to be filled in this year and 3 years from now to spot gaps. The gaps can be filled through training the people with challenging on job assignments so they can be elevated and fill those gaps. Another approach is lateral hire. Lower the need of lateral hire optimizes employee cost for the organization. This infrastructure therefore is key to build a sustainable business.I rate Anand Automotive as best organization in India on this metrics to measure this infrastructure of filled talent pipeline.


Pillar 3 : Acquire / Hire 

This pillar is critical and large number of organizations are struggling to perform adequately on this. Two key issues need to be addressed -first, the process of hiring itself as it seems it take forever to on-board needed talent and second, hire employee with higher potential than current level of people in the organization for the same job.

Process of hiring can be tracked through simple stage gate matrix. It is important to assign target SLA for each stage gate after approval to hire happens. Example:

Stage Gate                                                                                                        Standard SLA

Job Description Final by Manager (not to change ideally)                    5 Days

Collection of 20 CVs of similar profiles matching JD                             5 Days

Shortlist 5 CVs for Phone/ In Person Interview                                       5 Days

Interview by at-least 3 panelist (Group or Individually)                      5 Days

Offer letter + Backup second best engagement                                       5 Days

Once the actual performance is tracked it is possible to give feedback to stage gate where SLA is higher than acceptable standard. Easier said than done – not impossible 🙂

Second key issue of hiring employee with higher potential than current level of people in the organization for the same job helps keep raising the competence level of organization. One of the 3 panel member in the interview can focus of just this aspect of hiring. Decision making can avoid ignoring feedback from all panel members.

A very good practice to follow is involve high number of employees in hiring panel interviews. It is a win-win as it gives chance to existing employees to research more about own organization and improve pride of belonging. It gives also acceptance to new incoming employees by at-least panelist and it is not a bad start.


Pillar 4 : Skill Employees

Appropriate skill set is critical ingredient. Organizations are not implementing skill programs well due to lethargy of managers to assess and record skill gaps quarterly or bi-annually. Without measure gap and skill need identification one can not work on this.Useful one on one meetings can ensure this. If HR manager drives gap assessment half the work is done. Once you have documented gap analysis it is enough motivation for all involved Employee-Manager-Management to approve best of affordable cost skill programs for employees. If you have large employee base you can run knowledge center in-house and offer incentive to employees who support as trainer. In case it is difficult to start a goal like minimum 40 hrs of annual training is good metrics to measure.

HR management is vast area and no document will be ever able to capture all what is takes to become a great HR practitioner in a constantly evolving world. I wish all the success to your organization – happy managing.

At we are very passionate about these 4 HR pillars. If you would like to learn more please contact author.




How to implement major change initiative across organization?

Every organisation big or small in order to remain relevant to its customers need to constantly improve. A recent study by Forbes suggests that majority of initiatives fail to produce intended results. ‘8 Infrastructures’ or ‘8 Success Factors’ is a practice which is evolved by Rishi Diwan by practicing these success factors while running mid size to large organizations. The original concept is evolved by Professor Shoji Shiba where he wrote in his book ‘A New American TQM’ about 7 Infrastructures. With practical insights the concepts is further augmented.

The initiative can be divided in four phases – setting up, empowerment, sync and link. Setting-up Phase is preparation phase where first two success factors are addressed. ‘First Success Factor – Goal Setting’ and ‘Second Success Factor – Organization Setting’ are conducted.

Empowerment Phase can last between 2 and 3 years which comprises of next three success factors. ‘Third Success Factor – Training and Education’, ‘Fourth Success Factor – Promotion’ and ‘Fifth Success Factor – Diffusion of Success Stories’ are the success factors of this phase.

Sync Phase or Synchronization Phase starts after 2-3 years and not at the beginning. This phase comprises of next two Success Factors i.e. ‘Sixth Success Factor – Incentive and Awards’ and ‘Seventh Success Factor – Diagnosis and Monitoring’.

Link Phase is usually the last phase where assessment of concluding the initiative is done followed by a successor initiative which will then repeat Success Factor 1 through 7. This phase comprises of last Success Factor, ‘Eighth Success Factor – Conclude and Link’.

Lets look at each Success Factor or Infrastructure to launch organization wide change initiative. This set of 8 tools is very effective to launch initiatives like ‘Work Place Transformation’, ‘LEAN’, ‘Green Organization’ and so on. The comprehensiveness of the tools presented and practiced shows that organizations can save millions of dollars by running a well communicated and success factor enabled program.

                                                       Phase I : Setting-up

Success Factor 1 : Goal Setting

To segregate imaginative ideas and closure to ground ideas it is recommended to create goals at three levels of hierarchy. Start with defining ‘Noble Goal’ which more philosophical goal and relevant in 5 years from now. Arrive at ‘Intermediate Goal’ which is relevant for the initiative in the 3 years from now. Then define very specific SMART goal as ‘Annual Goal’ – include expected results. The split of 3 will help in communication to all kinds of stake holders. Name your initiative which is easy to remember and refer.The name should be crisp, funny if possible and referring to the goal. Some example are ‘SPRINT – a performance matrix improvement’, ‘C and C – Customer Satisfaction and Cost Reduction in a process’, etc.

Success Factor 2 : Organization Setting

It is important for an initiative which is large scale and impacts whole organization, two parallel complementary organizations are in place. First is ‘Organization of Daily Operations’.This comprises of regular organization like plant leader/ site leader with his functional heads. Second is ‘Organization for Change’. This consists of ‘Full time Promotional Organization’ and ‘Committee’.  This factor is of utmost importance as many a times all participants of initiatives are part time ones lead to failure.

                                                       Phase II : Empowerment Phase

Success Factor 3 : Training and Education

First create a homogeneous segment of participants – General Managers and Line Managers may not suite fit for same content. Utilize line managers for teaching as they are closest to ground realities. Use real examples from your business. You can follow learn-apply-learn. Once a learning is given using a training let the participant apply at workplace and then again get together to learn from it. Continue to do so to improve on learning and implementation repeatedly

Success Factor 4 : Promotion

It is important aspect of implementing change to promote the initiative well. The is at the base of needed communication. This can be worked at three levels.

Logic level – Flyer, Brochure, Process Flow etc.

Image Level -Video, Motto, Flags and Symbols.

Events Level – Education, Presentation, Drinking, Eating, CEO crusade

Remember logic level is required but least effective. Image level is powerful way of communication. Most impact-full though is event level. Do you recall the CEO talk over a beer.

Success Factor 5: Diffusion of Success Stories

Small achievements in the beginning can boost moral and are most vital. Without success stories no snowball can happen. This makes key part of Phase two of Empowerment. Combine celebration and fun during presentation of success stories.

                                                       Phase III : Synchronization Phase

Success Factor 6: Incentive and Awards

This is one of the two pull factors of the third phase. This success factor to be conducted after 2-3 years an initiative is running. This can include promotion, cash award, recognition –  individually or in a group.

Success Factor 7: Diagnosis and Monitoring

This is one of the two pull factors of the third phase. This success factor to be conducted after 2-3 years an initiative is running. This includes reviewing the whole program and each level of it, resource restructuring and progress measurement.

                                                       Phase IV : Link Phase

Success Factor 8: Conclude and Link

This is important that in about 5 years journey of an initiative the success and contribution is measured and recognized. This can be an event which explains the journey of the initiatives-  highlighting gains and leanings. No organization stops growing if intending to innovate. Link the conclusion of this initiative with a new launch and run success factors 1 through 7 again.

All the best with change initiative in your organization. If you have any questions write to Rishi Diwan. You can visit where one such initiative is going on. You can watch out for blog space to learn more on practical side of the conceptual framework given here. One of the upcoming article will be on successful ERP implementation experience across 5 manufacturing sites and 17 distribution centers across India.