Resilience and Rapid Business Recovery

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We are in the midst of a crisis, the kind people have not seen in a hundred years. Neither has all the workforce of the world been kept away from being industrious for such a long time. This lack of activity, lack of being able to produce will have a huge impact on the global economy; on production, trade, services and the flow of money across nations.

What it means to large corporations is that they will have to drain their liquid and non-liquid assets. Smaller business will have to get back to work as if they were starting up all over again. Both, the big and small, will also have to scrape the bottom of their resources. We will have to renew structures, rehash systems and respond to a brand new world, a brand new normal. We will all have to bounce back faster and stronger as if we were an amalgam of steel and rubber.

There are five things that every business may find wisdom in:

1.Assess all impact:

When the earth heaves and hoes, all plant and animal life gets displaced. When the global economy will turn a side, every industry will be impacted. Travel and tourism will come crashing down while food production and delivery will take an upward swing. Education may not win or gain but will have to scramble to stay steady.

Conduct an honest SWOT analysis of how hard you will be hit. Do remember that being hit positively also will require adjustments and adapting. Grabbing new opportunities require renewed strengths.

An extremely popular ramen restaurant in Makati, Philippines has an obsessively loyal clientele. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, people would line up and wait for hours to dine there.  They were an eat-in restaurant only.  Now they’ve had to shift to delivery only and their loyal clients still wait for several weeks for their dinner to arrive. Imagine pre-ordering a dinner three weeks in advance.

It is a happy challenge. It is still something that needs focused attention.

2.Reinforce partnerships:

Most everything atrophies. Most everything atrophies a lot more rapidly when its environment is unsupportive. With the slowdown, the focus of people in all industries will have shifted inwards. As and when they get back to work, they may have difficulty remembering where the power switch to their machines might be. This will not be true just for your own teams but also for the teams of your partners on the supply as well as the demand side.

As and when things begin to look like normal, one of your first priorities ought to be catchup with and energize relationships both with your suppliers and buyers. Get an idea on how they were impacted, what their new needs might be and how you can support them back to their feet too.

No man, no business is an island. Even islands, in reality, are connected to each other inside the core of the earth. When we help our associates, our partners and even those that we consider our competition, providence opens up new connections and new doors for us, for our businesses.

3.Tighten the organization:

Weeks before any bout, professional boxers turn away from indulging, eating or drinking anything that is non-essential to their preparation. They spend a large part of their time training, studying the opposition and visualizing success. The discipline is fiercely rigorous, and it usually brings success.

Likewise businesses will have to cut down fat, inefficient processes and costs. Make your machine a lot leaner than it already might be. Let the fire in your belly rage ethically and consistently. This may also mean letting go of assets, investments and projects that are weighing your ship down. Dump them. Cut losses fast and early. There will come a season to recover.

Seek alignment from your people, work on increasing employee engagement and become obsessive about indulging in value-creating, measurable activities only.

4. Upskill abilities, agilities:

Chances are your empathetic culture makes you carry people-assets that may be slow moving and low on performance. Practicality says let go of low-performers, wisdom claims that this may not be the time because it will dampen the emotional resolve of the whole organization. Instead spend on upskilling them all.  Learning and development is a discipline that aligns itself with the doddering educational industry. It stands on unsteady ground in a crisis such as this, but when tightening your organization and changing the course of your vessel, it is people we will need.

It thus, makes a lot of sense to sharpen the abilities and the agilities of your human resource. Train them fast, train them hard. Enroll them to stretch their limits and master new systems and machinery. Encourage a mindset of maximum frugality when it comes to investing time, money and effort.

Alliance Global Group Inc., which owns Emperador, rapidly swung their ship around, mid-storm, from producing alcohol for consumption to alcohol for disinfecting in less than three weeks in this current crisis. Not only did they swing around their output but they also donated 1 million liters of their produce worth $5 million to the community at large. More than just resetting their machines, they also had to sustain employee engagement and upskill their abilities and agilities.

5. Go beyond borders:

Up from the time when we sent our first email, the world has been going digital but with a certain lethargy towards it. Gartner, Inc., a research and consulting company claimed that only 12% of the world’s businesses were ready for the current crisis and only 32% of the world’s business leaders update their business model.

Yet in the last six weeks almost 35% of the world’s learning and development community have moved up their services to online versions. They have agrresively reacahed out beyond their usual geographical and familiar limits.

It is not just about getting digital but it is also about harnessing big data, increasing accessibility, improving communications and insuring security and safety on the digital space.

Tata Consultancy Services, the Indian IT services firm, plans to adapt remote working conditions introduced as a response to coronavirus into a permanent working model for 75% of their employees globally by 2025.

Not that these five ideas are the most brilliant in the world. Like all plans and strategies they involve a lot of guesswork and gutwork. Take what works for you. In any and all cases stay eco-conscious and be kind to the earth. A decade ago we were talking about surviving disruptions brought about by technological advances in a VUCA world. This disruption is brought about biological mishaps. Use these five simple ideas to build a brand new, better world ahead. Remember that when the night seems too long, the days ahead will be brighter and beautiful. Check video on Traits of the RESILIENT.

Raju Mandhyan

Tenacity through Tough Times

These are tough times.

Tenacity through Tough Times!

 
These are scary and very unusual times.
 
Neither I nor every elderly person I know or knew have experienced anything like this.
 
Yes, there was scurvy, leprosy, polio, WW1, WW2, Holocaust, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, SARS, HIV and even 9/11. They were all scary, lethal and very damaging.
 
Yet none of them was as invisible, as undetectable and with a potential to shroud and sicken in such large numbers over such vast distances, and at such a rapid speed.
 
It has brought the whole world to its knees, it has even slowed down time.
 
Yet, a part of me is telling me that even though our knees may have buckled, even though our hearts have been grabbed by a chilly, macabre hand our spirits still burn.
 
On the streets of Philippines where I live, where people love being close to each other, support and and care for each were for some days taken by surprise and shock.
 
It was against their very nature to keep away, to not support and not care. In the last two days small gestures and conversations of care, compassion and courage have begun to emerge.
 
Yesterday, I heard a young leader claim that she’d stand behind and support her small team of four, who still had to physically report for work.
 
Half the consultants and coaches I personally know have moved half their value creating work online for their clients at no cost.
 
Many doctors and health workers have swore to stay on and work in the hospitals until this battle is over.
 
This morning, a Sunday, a few homes across my place I heard church services being conducted. To me that is a sign. A big one. A sign that says we will all, across the world, break through and climb over to a shinier and a brighter day, to shinier and a brighter world.
Yes, it will be a totally brand new world from here on and it is bound to be a lot more creative, courageous and compassionate.
 
Raju Mandhyan
On April, I am inviting you to an online chat on “Tenacity through Tough Times,” please click to learn more and sign up. The first 25 seats are complimentary.
Learning to Learn

Nothing Beats Learning to Learn

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A few years ago, I had the honor of interviewing the Director of Application Services of Hewlett Packard, Philippines, one Mr. Noel Mendoza and though the subject of our discussions was information technology and its growing impact on the world, there was something he said outside of the interview that got velcroed to my heart and I share that thought with you here today.

Learning to Learn

Raju Mandhyan at the American Management Association

Noel Mendoza mentioned that his father, the distinguished Professor Gabby Mendoza of the Asian Institute of Management had left an indelible mark on him and that mark stated that nothing is more important in a human being’s life than building and sustaining one’s ability in learning to learn. No diplomas, no degrees or doctorates granted by any institution can match up to one’s ability to become a self-driven learner at work and in life.

And, what applies in our daily lives and in our self-development and leadership initiatives alos applies to selling and serving the needs of our customers.

Years ago there was this humorous story about an inept salesman selling Bibles across the small towns of America was going around the internet. It’s a great story and puts across the point of eagerness and learning.

This Bible salesman would knock upon the doors, mumble his way through his introduction, stumble through his presentation and make an overall mess of what was considered to be an easy sale back in the day.

Upon seeing his inadequacy at his job, most of the people answering the door would get frustrated at his approach and respond with,

“You don’t know a thing about selling, do you?”

“No, ma’am, not really! I am new to this job and also quite clumsy around it.”

“Oh, you nitwit you, there’s nothing tough about selling, you know!”

“Yes, ma’am, you’re absolutely right. I need to trust that fact.”

“Oh, come now,” they’d rebuke, “let me show you how.”

And, the customer would then go about teaching this nitwit of a salesperson how to sell correctly. Well, at the end, you guessed it. His sales multiplied and he often made it to superstar status in his company.

His approach might be considered tricky today, but the essence of the Bible salesperson’s story lies in our wanting to learn.  When your buyer senses and is convinced you want to learn about them to help them improve, then they often lean over backwards and hand you their trust in spades.

My belief is this ‘wanting to learn’ is about innate curiosity. This desire to learn and add value is the anti-thesis, the opposite of what has been considered a standard selling process. In the standard selling process, the seller shamelessly shoves features, advantages and benefits to the prospective buyer.  The reversal of this attitude and the desire to learn creates a good vacuum that draws the buyer in to where solutions can be created.

I massively trust and profess success from the process of inquiry and questioning at any time and place.  This is the process of diagnostics and counselling that community workers, therapists, and doctors utilize. It is the process of interacting, learning and understanding our clients prior to prescribing solutions.  Interacting, inquiring deeply to learn about the customer is the true Heart of the Close.

A good teacher makes for a non-intrusive and gentle guide who creates an atmosphere to encourage students to think boldly, to talk freely, and to act judiciously. He makes available opportunities for them to exercise initiative, to grow and shape their own growth and development. A good sales leader does the same for his customers. He helps them create their own solutions and own them for tomorrow.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

Influencing Disruption

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There are two ways to look at disruption.

Influencing Disruption

The first one is to be Zen-like and let the future unfold on its own, organically. The second one is to strike a spark, within our minds first, and then let the flames mold the world.

We would not qualify as the fittest of all the species if we just sat back and let external change take total control of our own evolution. We stand apart from all other species because we make choices and take a step ahead. Thus, we need not just stay ahead of the curve but influence the occurrence of curves.

First, let’s get cognizant of what is changing at an unprecedented pace around us and then figure a way out to step ahead of it.

What is changing rapidly is data exchange, amounts of automation, computing in the cloud and the interactions between these artificial, systemic intelligences with humans and the human mind in real-time.

Though these changes are, originally and essentially, human created and did not drop from unknown heavens, they are creating a sense of trepidation and massive uncertainty among the larger part of the population. It is like all the futuristic stories and the science fiction we created a hundred years ago is becoming reality. It is like all of Isaac Asimov’s imaginations are coming alive. It is like the heavens are sneering down at us and saying “You are getting what you wished for.”

While it is true that 4.0 is our own creation many sectors and industries have no idea what to do. Some believe digitizing and automating their work will place them ahead of the curve. Others are hoping these waves of change will pass them by and they will be good like before. Consider the impact this change has had on traditional publishing, traditional travel services and, of course, the traditional taxi services. In Mumbai, last month, I saw scores of the yellow-black cabs collecting dust by the road-sides and those that were moving were actually stumbling through the times with drivers from times gone by.

To ride these waves of change, don’t play the game ‘tag’ but play ‘follow the leader.’

Recognize that disruption is not just change or adapting to change. Disruption is also not just thinking creatively of innovating. Disruption is smashing the fish bowl onto the ground and making sure that the fish learn to fly and breathe air through their gills. Disruption is putting off all the lights of the world and using the moon to brighten the earth. Disruption is accepting nothing as the status quo and then deeply connecting large variables with precision and razor sharpness.

Think about that. Companies and business models like SpaceX, Airbnb and Uber did not even exist in the wildest dreams of business leaders and innovators twenty years ago. And, given what is looming in the near future, the imaginations off Isaac Asimov will appear like child’s play.

In the world of learning and development where I hail from we believe in the habits of storming, forming and norming. In the world of ancient myth and spirituality it is believed that the world is created, sustained and then disrupted. There are parallels in these beliefs and storming and disruptions are necessary for renewals and evolution.

Here are three ideas on how business leaders can empower their organizations and positive influence disruption.

  1. Hunger with the fact that you need to disrupt your own belief systems and mindsets before you influence the world around you to become new. Do the same with your people.
  2. Practice emotional grit and resiliency towards setback and failures. Empower your people and give them huge space to fail. Recognize that failure is cornerstone for all success. The iPhone did not just come along. Others like Nokia, Handspring and Blackberry had to fail for it to be born,
  3. Recognize interconnectedness and think in systems. Make learning and agility your daily mantra. Everything is about learning. Everything needs to be stormed, formed and then normed and stormed again.

Revolutions and renewals require courage to take action despite uncertainty. There are no best practices and no strategies that guarantee success.  And, as with all things in life, the first step is the hardest. Lift the first stone of your choice and then slam it down to break ground for a brand new world.

P.S.

  1. This and many other articles of mine appear in Business World, Philippines. https://www.bworldonline.com/influencing-disruption/
  2. This article is also a build up towards my speaking tour this July with Scott Friedman of Together We Can Change the World in July 2019. Check: http://twcctw.org/

 

 

Designing a Talk

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Designing a Talk

Designing a Talk

No matter how much I know about the subject or how long I have been in the field…

Designing a talk, a facilitation or an intensive workshop is always much more Demanding than Delivering it.

You’ve got to know what your learners need,
You’ve got to know what they might want.
You’ve got to know what the managers/organizers want.
You’ve got to know almost everything about the subject.
You’ve got to know what the learners might know about the subject.
You’ve got to know what other consultants might have shared.
You’ve got to know a lot about parallel fields and subjects.

Then you’ve got to plan, sequence the flow of principles and practices in a novel way.

You’ve got to put in the heavy stuff. You’ve got to place in the applications and the relevancy.You need to consider inclusivity, interaction and the memorability of the program.

At the end of it you’ve got to Deliver a dish that is as filling as steak, light as a salad and yet be finger-licking fun to participate in.

And remember, thunder and lightning will strike you down if you make do as if you’ve worked hard for it and fish for compliments.

 

My upcoming public workshops:http://www.informa-mea.com/hrsummit

Advanced Selling Skills in Vietnam: http://www.hospitalmanagementasia.com/cacnhadienthuyet?page=5

Appreciative Leadership in Vietnam: http://www.vmi.edu.vn/news/pid/49/search/page/1/id/4544

InSpire Like a CEO: http://www.genesistrainingevents.com/Raju/inspire.html

Appreciative Leadership: http://www.genesistrainingevents.com/Raju/AL.html

Corporate Storytelling in Dubai:http://www.hrsummitexpo.com/

Posts on Facebook: https://goo.gl/MXQEqU

Talks on You Tube: https://goo.gl/dVclfm

Choice Clips from the TV Show, ExPat InSights :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjf3sHaZBSo

 

A Story: A Country in Jail

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Though it is now history but it still doesn’t cease to amaze and awe me how some solo human beings were able grab oceans of injustice and flip them over for a better today and tomorrow. The only things that we as learners of leadership can look into are incidents of their lives and hope to get a glimpse of the power and spiritual structures of these giants. Here’s a peep into Nelson Mandela’s mindset from my book, the HeART of STORY.

“After spending nearly three decades in jail, a tall gaunt man steps out and announces to the world, “I was talking to another inmate in prison and he claimed unhappiness at having been unjustly locked in. At that moment, I had this amazing realization that it wasn’t I who was jailed for almost 30 years but it was my country, my nation that had been in chains much, much longer. This was the truth and it is my mission to free my country.”

Every single day thereafter, until his death, Nelson “Madiba” Mandela travelled the world telling them the story of suffering, of sorrow, and of racial injustice until the world responded to the plight of 50 million South Africans.  He then went on to become that country’s president and to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  He remains a shining example of human rights activism.  During the last few decades of his life, as South Africans worked to heal and build their nation, Mandela’s mission became that of national storyteller.  He did not just talk the promoter’s talk.  He lived his talk, upholding the vision of everything that South Africa hoped to be. Without him weaving in the right values through repeated storytelling, his countrymen might not have gotten to know and love their nation as they do now.

These are powerful stories of influential leaders in their own fields and their ability to employ and leverage the power of authentic and heartfelt stories. Each of them promoted a different core Truth and exercised a unique style through various media, but every single one of them is a raconteur in his own right.”

I am glad you like that glimpse.

Friend and Author Ramon (Mon) Garcia feeding my ego.

Friend and Author Ramon (Mon) Garcia feeding my ego.

On September 2, in Yangon, Myanmar I will run a session on The Leader as a Storyteller for managers and leader-to-be at the Hospital Management Awards.

On Septemper 12, Mumbai, India I will run a session titled Change Your Stories, Change Your Lives targetted for people from all walks of lives who want to get a grab on what their aspirations are, what is currently happeneing in their lives and then maybe knead and mold their own futures.

If you bring me a hard copy of my book, the HeART of STORY, plus leave me a compliment on Amazon I promise to gift you with a copy of my Pit Bulls & Entrpreneurs which is also a fun book filled with powerful, motivating stories about successes in starting up running your own enterprises.

Have fun and I hope to see you!

 

Stories as Strategies for Selling and Marketing:the HeART of STORY

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Ever since the first salesperson stood up on a soapbox and plugged away the scripted benefits of a heal-all, cure-all and save-all snake oil, people have become wary of commercials. They are tired of producers and salespersons pushing new products with added features in their faces. Commercials have not just invaded our homes through magazine, radio, and TV ads; they have also appeared on our dinner place-mats, sports arenas, and our hand-held devices and phones.  A former actor-comedian John Cleese, now a professor of creativity and marketing, claims marketing professionals are aware that 70-80% of their commercials and advertisements have no direct impact on sales. Yet, according to him, marketing and advertising professionals continue plaguing the world with commercials for the sake of keeping their industry alive.

Connect, Engage and Influence your World Creatively!

The same is true about other forms of direct selling, whether to individual customers or large businesses.  Salespeople keep on making linear, unidirectional, hackneyed presentations about how useful, and beneficial their products are without being concerned if all the noise they make with their flyer distributions, PowerPoint presentations, and product demonstrations make any impact at all. The truth is buyers do not buy when they are told to or sold to. They buy when their minds, memories, and emotions do a pivot upon hearing a story. It is a story that reaches out and touches them, and it is that story that engages them and turns their hearts around.

A very simple example might be that of a salesperson talking about how good the location, the construction, the price, and the potential appreciation of a piece of property is.  The same salesperson becomes amazingly more effective when he explains how the former owner, Mrs. Anderson, personally supervised the construction of the place. He can follow with another story about how the present price–much lower than the current market value– helped Mr. Smith sell his property down the street with a whopping 25% gain within a year of having purchased it.

The whole tenet of wrapping real, valuable truth in the colorful images of a story promotes the truth easily and happily.  The stories, of course, must be relevantly parallel and put across a simple, honest truth—buying the product makes good sense.

So, next time on site visit to one of your properties:

  1. Dig through the history of the property and the people that used to live there.
  2. Who were they? What was their life like? What experiences did they have in that house?
  3. Chose the happy, productive and life-changing events that occurred in that house.
  4. Tell those stories to the new, potential owners.
  5. Back up the story with the numbers and paint a picture of a happy future they can have in that home.

For more such ideas and insights to hone up your influencing skills take up storytelling as a hobby and a practice.

Here’s the book Amazon: the HeART of STORY 

 

 

 

It’s an amazing thing – this trait called intention.

Taken from the book: Pit Bulls & Entrepreneurs http://tinyurl.com/of4nnk9 

It’s an amazing thing – this trait called intention.  I can’t really tell you where exactly it is born in the human mind. In the human brain, I suspect it begins as a spark through a neurological synapse deep within the amygdala, the part of the brain referred to as the heart of the brain or the beastly brain.  I am slightly biased towards the term “beastly brain,” because once a desire is unleashed from there, it turns into a raging, screaming animal wanting to rip apart anything and everything that gets in the way to its goals.

In our previous chapters, we gave weight to identity, intelligence, imagination, and integrity as traits that enable the entrepreneur to systemize, sympathize, and synergize with reality and nature towards attaining one’s goals and entrepreneurial ambitions. Intent integrates all these traits together to drive the entrepreneur into action and consequent success.

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Stories as Drivers of Engagement and Innovation

Stories may be truths wrapped in roses, rainbows, and rhythm, but they also create the future–that which is possible and which can indeed be beautiful.

When organizations slow down or arrive at a difficult bend in their developmental journey, people within the organization need hope.  They need new dreams and fresh inspiration.  Success stories from the past empower us, but it is the stories into the future–stories yet to be lived–that catapult us into action and success.

These words are etched on the mental corridors of workers in this company that supplies milk and milk derivatives to nearly half the world.

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