Dec 27, 2009

Beach Castle on the Marina Beach

I used to go to the Marina beach (Chennai) with my family usually in the evening. Once we decided to go in the early morning. We were all there before the sunrise. This was altogether a different experience. There was no crowd and no parking problems; the beach was calm and serene. Some people were meditating on the beach. On one side I could see a group of people, belonging to a laughter club, laughing in rhythm and exercising.

As soon as we reached beach, we started playing some games. I introduced some games to the kids; I learned them in the previous week in one workshop on NLP & Personal Mastery. My daughter showed her photography skills by taking some excellent photos of sun-rise (shown above). Hours have gone by in seconds!. When the kids were tired with games, they started building a beach castle. This time it was bigger than in the past, that probably showed their heightened enthusiasm.

It was nice watching how they built the castle; they didn’t start with any plans, but finally it evolved into a beautiful piece of work. Just by putting pressure on the sand, they could build the walls of the castle. My thinking was this. I know several small companies thriving and doing great even without any proper organization structure and processes. It is beautiful like the beach castle and is nimble. But, as the organization grows it requires more than the creativity and juggling of the entrepreneur. You can’t build an organization the way a beach castle is built.

When you want to grow your organization, you need active participation of many people in your ecosystem. Balanced Scorecard is a powerful tool for scaling up your organization. The methodology helps you to get crystal clear clarity on your business vision, mission, strategy, objectives, goals, and lead indicators of success. It helps you focus on what is strategically important for you from the four perspectives: Financial, Customer, Internal Processes (operational efficiency), and Learning & Growth (capabilities). It helps you to build accountability at the next levels. It gives clarity to your employees on what to celebrate. It gives you an approach to track your strategy and achieve business results with certainty.

Balanced Scorecard is a great tool to build a sound architecture for your organization. Read more at

Dec 20, 2009

Aligning Ferret, Aligning Life

Sometimes a thought or small idea is good enough to change the direction of life.

A few months back, I had an opportunity to read a business novel Aligning Ferret : How an Organization Meets Extraordinary Challenges by Swapna Kishore and Rajesh Naik. I enjoyed reading it. I found striking similarities with situations I encountered while leading initiatives in several organizations. It describes an exciting journey of an organization beyond the operational processes and how the organization transformed itself as a real business powerhouse, surmounting several obstacles.

I read this book while I was offering consulting on IT. I was always amazed by the power of IT in transforming business. However, I was also looking for an area to focus on. Aligning Ferret clearly brings out how clarity of strategy supported by a measurement system can have a significant influence on the organization performance. It highlights how tools/methodologies such as Balanced Scorecard and People CMM can be used to address issues faced by several organizations today. I must say, reading this book influenced me to choose Business Dashboards as an area of focus for my consulting offering.

Several organizations face a peculiar situation, on achieving certification of operational processes (like CMMI and ISO). Clients’ expectation go up. Organization thinks they can relax for some time before taking up an improvement initiative. Some of the QA resources are pulled out for ‘revenue generating’ projects and some QA resources leave the company. Even when the celebration is going on, the core delivery process may be operating at level 5, but the enabling processes such as hiring and performance management may be operating at level 1. Often, the combined forces bring quality level back to square-one in a few months time. So, another improvement initiative is undertaken, typically without linking it to the “big picture”.

Aligning Ferret is a wonderful business novel that packs not just several interesting events and humorous situations, but also several deep insights for CXOs, Delivery Heads, Quality Professionals and Project Managers, in their journey towards the next level of excellence.