Saturday, December 11, 2010

Learning and Observation from Egypt Tour

The three nights, four days tour to Egypt was an eye-opening one especially from a tourist's perspective.The tour was purely a personal one devoid of any professional hook-up and was also finalized at the last moment.The duo, including yours truly decided to venture out to witness this North African beauty known for her historical tradition, heritage, culture, and remnants of many century old structures to name a few.The tour was planned by a leading travel and tourism operator in Oman and prima facie was quite competitive in the sense that, it included insurance cover, both travel, health and other miscellaneous heads apart from the cost competitiveness. However, the travellers didn't realize conduct a thorough analysis of the competitors and therefore wasnt compared with the actual offering given by other players, head to head.The lack of adequte ground work by the traveller, owing to the paucity of time was probably one of the reason to have resulted in creased foreheads when certain things didn't go as per expectation, apropos the presumption while doing the booking.The flying was excellent with Oman Air serving delicious cuisines on board along with the top class beverages, not to forget the on time arrival and departure.The tour operator on the spot was good enough to meet the expectations and it was probably the whole lot of places which could have been ventured upon had the sites being chosen carefully with the help of adequate home-work on the part of the travellers.Nevertheless, one realized that a fantastic destination like Egypt needs at least 15 days and not three nights and four day. The duo can derive solace from the fact that the itinerary was fair enough considering the situations and the factors which were beyond their control.The partner of yours truly being a pure vegetarian initially had some issues with the reciepes served on the resort, and even while on the river nile cruise or during the city tour of Egypt and Alexandria.Felafil the popular egyptian dish came to his rescue.The best thing which drew the attention immediately after landing in Cairo was the electric fast immigration, customs and luggage retrieval resulting in moving out of the airport within 15 minutes flat!Other things which was praiseworthy were very strong marketing skills of the Egyptians encountered while purchasing Egyptian perfume and handicrafts.The marketers are thorough with the product knowledge, having the right mix of marketing acumen and communication skills, with the perfect tinge of soft skills required.A close observation across the pyramids, sphinx, catacombs, largest library in the world based in alexandria, the unique Musuem in Cairo, having mummies, process of mummification,the delicious egyptian dishes would make a tourist to come back to this fascinating destination time and again.They are in true sense a tourist's delight. The cities especially Cairo had some similarlity to India(a blend of Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata), while Alexandria had that historic and unique touch to it.The tour guides were informative,sans afew instances which weren't really good apropos the international standards.Seeking tips in airports/nile cruise after provding a tissue paper in the washroom, or after putting up the luggage for check-in within the airport,taking the tourist for a camel ride with a soft approach and then forcing to pay a specific sum, even though the tourist was hesitant to avail the service are some of the grey areas to an otherwise excellent destination!Our tourist guide explained it all saying, "Egypt has 60% unemployment".

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Live on RADIO for a fourth time

It was the 1st of December 2010, 12 Noon, Oman Standard Time, when yours truly got a call from the corporate relation manager of, Rym Auodia.She invited him for the fourth interview on Oman Radio FM 90.4, on leadership and management.The interview was anchored by the informative host, like it was done on the three earlier occasions.The interview went on for 20 minutes approximately, from 6.00 PM to 6.20 PM, Oman Standard Time and the queries hovered around leadership and management, what makes a true leader and a manager, the difference between a leader and manager, is a leader born or made and many other interesting aspect of the topic often discussed by people from all walks of life.This small endeavour of yours truly is a humble way of giving something back to the society for the welfare of the people at large and its indeed an honour to join the cause by aligning with a novel initiative started by

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A customer comments again.....Service Goes for a Toss!

Customer is the undisputed king.In a world full of options with competitors vying for the mind followed by market share, no players, be it from product manufacturing or the economic driver of services sector can afford to take the customer for granted.The options available to voice out his dissatisfaction for the disgruntled customer are a plenty, thereby resulting in a cascading negative word of mouth publicity all around.It was the late evening of 15th November 2010 when yours truly decided to come to India from Oman to celebrate three days Eid Holidays with family, friends and well-wisher. As it was a planned visit the customer didn't hesitate to have an advanced booking for the travel with chances of minor alteration once the exact dates are announced.Most of the passenger travelling world wide by air would vouch for their native flag carrier as it gives them solace and satisfaction and sensible few would even think that his own small contribution would find its way into the national exchequer.That, the passengers are compelled to competing carriers owing to the poor quality of services by the national carrier, culminating in being a frequent flier with foreign airlines is indeed a shame for the national or even private carrier of a country.Same was the case with yours truly while he boarded IC886 from Muscat to New Delhi.He was given a window seat and unlike most of the private carrier or rather a regular exercise by all carriers, none of the flight attendant even bothered to come along and explain the nuances, the responsibilities and management of a seat next to the emergency exit.Air India staff were their normal reluctant self with very less of a services led mindset.It was evident that even a 'smile' was hard to come by.To the wonder of all the passengers, the airline provided an old obsolete aircraft,sans televisions, and with many of the AC duct not working including the one at 11F, where yours truly was seated.Repeated requests fell on deaf ears and the least interested lot of old, reluctant air-hostess started giving frailed responses with one saying, no other seats available for a swap, the second voicing her confidence of things falling into place once the plane takes off!Nothing of that sort happened and when yours truly retorted back saying her promise of everything would work after take-off didn't materialize, she was taken aback.After all IC and Air India are not used to such harsh questions from the passengers as most of them travel out of compulsion(read absence of tickets in other airline during festivities, thereby accepting the status-quo)or the passengers generally comprises of people who are semi-literate or at times even illiterate to question the quality of services, the legitimate rights as a passenger/customer and allied activities therein.The second instance which was even more dangerous to witness as a passenger, was when a fellow passenger occupying the seat 10F showed the air hostess the broken inside window pane next to his seat. She immediately called an IC personnel seated in the business class and he assured not to worry as there are two more linings!No wonder why so many air mishaps are averted at the last moment or few actually takes place involving the national carrier of India or its subsidiaries!On the top of it, the flag carrier seem to believe that the gulf market which has been a cash cow for them, would continue to be the same, irrespective of services level enhancement.Wishful thinking as slowly and gradually the market dynamics is changing with more Indian private carriers flying in, not to forget a wide range of world class GCC based carriers.How can Air India and its subsidiaries turnaround a multi crore loss making entity even when small but important things those can facilitate that change is not in place?The mindset of the employees from the top to bottom of the fledgling carrier is a typical that of an India PSU mentality which displays arrogance and 'I don't Care' or 'Chalta Hain'attitude.Indian aviation ministry along with the PMO is fooling Indian citizens by doling out huge public money to the ailing carrier, only to use it as their own fiefdom for their so called professional but personal visits of their OWN choice!The only accolade the airline can deserve is for their quality food and beverages served on board and for a change their fast turnaround time with on time arrival and departure.Was that an exception or a routine, only time can TELL!
A word or two about the much hyped Terminal 3 of IGI International Airport.The architectural beauty resembling the World Class Dubai Airport in terms of interior, offered a sorry figure as it was resembling a typical Indian fish market with passengers running helter-skelter.Surprisingly most of the immigration counters are meant for Business and First Class passengers, Diplomats and Special Officials with only a handful for SAARC and surprisingly none exclusively for Indian passengers, considering a chunk of the travellers are Indians and its THE capital of the country. Seems Indian government have taken its citizens for a jolly good ride, like they do in everything else!
If semi public sector corporations are known for their sub-standard quality of services and lackasiadical approach towards the stakeholders, there are quite a few even from the private sector displaying the same attitude and behaviour.Yours truly had booked a hotel room in New Delhi. Regale Inn, located in CR park happened to be the one where he intended to stay put for the day for some personal work(instead of bothering a host of relatives in Delhi).The deal was finalized with the hotel and the customer after posting a online request from their website.Subsequently, there were exchange of 16 mails including the last confirmation from the customer just a day before travelling and acknowledgement by the general manager of the hotel of sending the hotel vehicle just on time for the pick up of the passenger from terminal 3.An unhappy customer(courtesy Indian Airlines flight IC886 and chaos at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi)was never expecting the same nightmarish horror would continue. To the dismay of the passenger the pick up vehicle didn't even turn up even after two hours of the arrival of the customer.Repeated attempts by the customer to contact the general manager on his cell, who was the one point contact wasn't possible as he was asleep keeping his cell in switch off mode.After that the passenger called up the hotel and the front office guy who took the call, after waking up from deep slumber offered a loose apology and 'rather ordered', albeit mildly to take a cab and come down to the destination(read Hotel Regale Inn).How can such stupids be appointed as service providers that too managing the front office of a hotel or an airline is beyond explanation?Is that sheer ignorance by the decision makers or the entrepreneur who started off the venture isn't serious enough with this project, as its one among many of his small set-up?Or it may be more humble Indian customers vis-a-vis their western peers who are not willing to take such companies to the logical end by filing a case or two in the consumer courts?Kindly add your comments on the same and you can also incorporate your own nightmares pertaining to customer service experience.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My 474th publication-A Case Study on Strategic Myopia of Ilina Ltd.

Volume II, Issue IV,October 2010 of the International Journal PROFICIENT, has the article of yours truly as the first one from page 1 to page 9.The case study titled,"A Case Study on Strategic Myopia of Illina Ltd." focuses on real life experiences and observations gained by the author, albeit presented under fictitious names and non-existent characters.However, the happenings are real witnessed by a host of other colleagues of yours truly apart from the author himself.More than the characters, the case study throws light on a start-up making it big in a dynamic and vibrant market,however, the closed eye approach is leading to the corporation falling like a pack of cards.The unflinching faith established by the country heads on the top management is leading to a situation when the once successful corporate would have to file for bankruptcy in the not so distant future.The entrepreneurs are allowing the system to rot by facilitating the middle level folks to call the shots, culminating in spending a huge sum of the company's budget on activities that are not at all productive for the organization, not to forget the amount spent on personal fronts.Should you want to read the complete paper drop me a line.Comment back after reading the same.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

US Presidents Visit to India, November 2010

Barack Obama has landed in India. Expectations on the part of sensible Indians are moderate.The recent drubbing Obama and his party got in the mid term polls back home, coupled with his dwindling popularity, not only in the US, but all over the world,provides the American President the best opportunity to claw back to his once envied position at least on the business and economic front.Although Obama signalled his arrival in Mumbai with a US$ 10 Billion worth Indo-US trade deal (complete report from Times of India in a thorough analysis would reveal that its more tilted towards the fledgling US economy rather than the rising Indian economy.On the top of it, Obama's scepticism about India's geo-politcal role vis-a-vis China and Pakistan, along with the bigger and more responsible status in global bodies and agencies starting with the UNSC bid makes the sojourn a lukewarm one from the Indian perspective.That John McCain, the top republican leader understands the significance of such partnership, while the president is showing indications on the contrary, proves the dilemma on the part of the US administration(read ToI report is still on a quandary when it comes to the successful outsourcing model which has given that much needed life support to many of the ailing US corporations.In spite of Obama's frenetic call to ban outsourcing, American voters have given him a thumbs down, indicating towards the fact that outsourcing is here to stay and the model is definitely contributing towards the generation of employment and contribution towards US exchequer , both directly and indirectly.American Defence manufacturers, Nuclear Power and Component Suppliers, IT behemoths, Infrastructure and Manufacturing players are trying to cajole Indian administrators by lobbying hard.They are trying to substitute the typical American carrot and stick approach with that of a pure carrot approach, realizing the importance of an emergent and vibrant India.The one point agenda of the US President's visit is to restore normalcy and accelerate the sedentary US economy, even if it means showing solidarity by lending lip service to India's three decade old problems of violence, terrorism and all other allied activities.Indian business houses are sensible enough to read the writing on the wall, especially when it comes to earning a chunk of their revenues from the US markets. Most of the Indian companies, notably from the sunrise sectors like IT, ITeS, manufacturing are trying to diversify their customer portfolio by focusing on hitherto untapped territories in MENA, China, ASEAN region. In such a scenario would it be apt for the Indian government to go that extra mile so as to accept everything put forth by Obama and his entourage in to-to?Its time to introspect as BRIC economies are the saviour for the so called developed economies of the yesteryear's.Taking things lying down without commanding what the new world order calls for would be a myopic approach on the part of the Indian government.Let the relationship be decided purely on the basis of 'GIVE and TAKE' rather than an age old adage of 'When America sneezes, the world catches cold'.To put it in the modern day perspective, its the other way round, 'When BRIC economies sneezes, America catches cold'.Time for Dr. Manmohan Singh and company to talk from a position of strength.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A new destination for tourism worth trying

Sultanate of Oman has always been the main draw for tourist connoisseurs, when it comes to natural beauties. Salalah is already there in the radar for all who would like to enjoy the kharif season.Little, however is known to them about Masirah Island, especially those outside the Sultanate or even in the region(read GCC)and the world in general.It was a recent drive from Ibra to Mahoot, followed by a voyage in ferry to the island, which opened the eyes of yours truly to such a beautiful destination, that would definitely add to a tourist's delight.One can witness a whole gamut of things like a long drive cruising at high speed till one reaches Mahoot, from where one can take his belongings, self and even the vehicle in a ferry, which in itself is worth the try.Add to it the unique experience of fishing, going along in a motored boat at high speed in the calm sea,searching for turtles in the darkness with the background sounds of the sea shore or even indulging in sports in the virgin beaches of Masirah, makes it a holistic and absorbing one for any travel geek.Yours truly along with some of his colleagues were elated to experience the composite package first hand. Starting from the warm hospitality right at the shores, when an Omani citizen based in Sinaw was about to leave for his ancestral home in Masirah, aided and guided with all the information, hitherto unavailable in totality on the web, till the time the entourage was leaving the island, everything got etched firmly in the minds of the travelers, pointing towards Masirah as a memorable experience.The yummy delicacies comprising of Arabic, Indian, Pakistani and Turkish food joints only adds to the overall excitement, fun, frolic and enjoyment.It is ideal to take along ones own car, or rent a car, even while reaching the island from the other side of the shore.One can navigate through the island in the car so as to have an all around experience of the geography.The relaxed environs and easy going approach of the people, enables in de-stressing the tired minds and souls.There are rumours saying that a bridge is going to be constructed so as to connect the island with the mainland, however, from a tourist's perspective its better in the present form as one can experience an altogether new feeling while carrying self and his vehicle in that one and a half hours ferry journey across the calm seas, kissed by the cool winds.The destination however needs to be marketed aggressively so that it can join Salalah and Nizwa in drawing more foreign tourists.The time is ripe for the tourist operators to cash upon this unique spot.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Understanding LCC business model from a customer's perspective

Low Cost Carriers (LCC)have brought in a revolution in the global skies.Infact during the trying times that the aviation sector is currently witnessing, most of the LCC are giving the Full Service Airlines(FSA)a hard run for their money.Yours truly witnessed quite a few of these LCC and FSA first hand as a customer with a background of understanding Business and Management.The latest one which was experienced in the last couple of days was Fly Dubai while flying on Muscat-Dubai-Muscat route for a weekend visit to the Emirate.On expected lines Fly Dubai had a good customer service experience to cater with a wide range of merchandise being sold on board at compelling prices, akin to many other Gulf based carriers.The diversified background of the cabin crew, along with their friendly and warm hospitality would make even the most jaded passenger to feel fresh and happy.However, a complete and truly satisfying service was not to be as there were some lacunae that created creased customer foreheads. Two such instances were-There wasn't any mention about the departure terminal in the e-ticket especially while boarding from a big airport like that of Dubai International Airport, which is always there in case of all FSA airlines like that of Oman Air, Emirates and Etihad.The second instance was in fact more appalling as it led to customer inconvenience and harassment. On landing in Dubai, the immigration and customs official told, as per the new amendments in the entry and exit rules of all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)residents, a passenger having their visa expiry date less than six months from the date of travel are not allowed to enter the Emirate.This resulted in many passengers travelling into Dubai via Fly Dubai from destinations like Muscat, Kuwait and Doha had to face inconvenience at the airport.Thanks to a friendly immigration and custom official at Dubai International Airport, who helped in routing the cases through a known travel agent so as to complete the visa proceedings apropos the new rules in vogue.Imagine what may have gone through with those passengers who are travelling in the sector for the first and without any contact in Dubai, leave aside knowing a travel agent!However, even the best of his efforts(customs and immigration) couldn't stop the passengers from wasting their precious 4-5 hours by being stranded at the airport.As a responsible service provider Fly Dubai would have sought all details about the passenger, his passport and visa status while he booked his ticket online and also during checking-in so as to avoid such inconveniences at the last minute.Although the other aspect of the service are truly world class, Fly Dubai need to pull up socks with players like Air Arabia fast catching up with the international best LCC practices.Indian LCC can definitely pick a lesson or two from the Middle East based LCC and their FSA counterparts.These players have strong business sense and coupled with fast reaction players like Emirates, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Etihad to name a few are giving a tough fight to all the European carriers.Gulf based carriers are smart enough to leverage the export credit benefit, along with smart services to the passengers. The European hub is being fast taken over by the gulf based carriers owing to their opportunistic approach based on strong customer service.In such a scenario can the two instances of Fly Dubai be classified as an abberation?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Observation and Learning from CWG-2010

CWG-2010 being held in New Delhi, India was a fairy tale case of event management, till the stupendous inaugural ceremony stole the limelight and wiped out all the miserable happenings grabbing international headlines for more than a fortnight. These rapid developments made all and sundry sit back and ponder at the sudden emergence of the 'Numero Uno Commonwealth Games Ever' from the throes of doldrums.Even the most unorganized instances of event management wouldn't have imitated the callous approach, complicated processes and corrupt practices witnessed till the completion of the work for this global event.Thanks to the free Indian press, which left no stone unturned so as to publish all the scoops thereby publicizing the wrong doings involved in tarnishing brand India. Suddenly the billion mind powered democracy was airing their discontent, anguish, disgust and agony all over the media-print and electronic.CWG-2010 suddenly became the discussion everywhere,real and virtual.Twitter and Facebook simply complemented the platforms already available, thereby having a multiplier effect on the whole incident.All the stakeholders, save the prospective audience and the citizens were involved in alleged corruption cases, ignorance, blame game and was up in arms against the CWG bigwigs like Mike Fennel.Allegations and counter-allegations flew thick and fast and a pall of gloom descended just a few days prior to the game.The fire fighting exercise on the part of the global organizing committee wasn't enough and they soon realized the magnanimity of the situation and therefore started to ring the alarming bells in front of the government doors.The cabinet ministers, along with the Prime Minister got up from their slumber and were running helter-skelter, till someone took up the reins of turning around the preparation head-on.A handful few days to go for the gala event to take center stage, the Central and Delhi government along with the private corporate bodies collectively joined hands to avoid a complete white wash of India's brand image.The last minute saviour enabled India save the blushes, notwithstanding the jolt received by brand India, as a global emerging power.The discrepancy in a banana republic was obvious with none taking up the gauntlet of saving the country, till it became suicidal.
The major learning from the event leading to the opening ceremony are listed below for analysis and brainstorming-
(1)The decision makers in the governing bodies of Indian Sports Associations are still the powerful, corrupt and hungry politicians, whose main interest is to loot the exchequer and mar the image of the country, so as to boost up their own coffers
(2)Government takes less interest till something big erupts jeopardising national image, IPL-2010 was the latest pointer before the CWG fiasco
(3)Providing best facilities to the sports person are the last in the priority list of the sports administrators, with cricket being the exception
(4)National brand building through such a global event isn't being completely leveraged by all the concerned stakeholders
(5)Politicising events of national importance portraying myopic vision of various political parties
(6)Lack of fixed accountability, authority along with associated deadlines, and making them public for the awareness of the people at large
(7)No details of funding and the usage of the same, the source of the funds, available in public domain
(8)Hierarchical structure not known to anyone except the people having vested interests
(9)Collective effort on the part of all the states, to make the event a memorable one for the nation at large is absent owing to the shortsighted approach of the central and state governments
(10)Pre, during and post games plan so as to leverage the event in the larger interest of the national brand building is sorely missing
(11)In the information age even the smartest corrupt administrators would be under the scanner within no time

There could be more than what have been listed above. Although the grand opening ceremony have shut down the mouth of international bodies, India would find it difficult to market the destination for Olympics, thanks to the brand dilution till the resurrection exercise was initiated.Are the major decision makers listening?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The unexplored part of India

India is gradually moving up the ladder as far as a destination for leisure tourism is concerned.The ranking is quite high when it comes to medical and spiritual tourism.Places like 'God's own Country' Kerala, 'Go Goa', Shimla, Mussorie, Kashmir and the metros like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru to name a few are right up there in the mind of all foreign tourists.What they probably need to explore and try is the Northeastern part of India, which in itself would provide an altogether different experience than any other part of the country.The lush green surrounding embedded with ice clad mountain tops, people of mongoloid origin would for a moment make one sit back and ponder, whether its China, Southeast Asia or India.The infrastructural bottlenecks, notwithstanding, NE India with places like Sikkim, Guwahati, Shillong, Itanagar, Dimapur, Kohima, Agartala are worth the try.The central and state government are trying their best to market these destinations, what is needed is that momentum which can come only from the private sector,the absence of which unfortunately happens to be the shortcoming for that region of India.The hospitality extended to the tourists would second to none,and with literacy rate quite high, the locals(read service providers) would have no problem in managing the communication in English, even when it comes to the ordinary citizen.Companies like Cox and Kings are already trying to market these destinations,but more such concerted efforts has to come especially through public-private ventures.This can also boost up local employment, apart from the Indian exchequer earning foreign revenues.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Protectionism the synonym for Free Trade?

Protectionism should be the last word in the lexicon of a country which is supposed to be the most developed economy in the world.Seems they are yet to learn their lessons in spite of the recession which is gradually subsiding and supposed to be the biggest since the great depression.Proponents of free trade especially to the emerging economies namely the BRIC nations are now eating their own words only to save their own skin from the domestic audience.Creating barriers in the form of banning government outsourcing contracts citing a silly excuse like boosting up of local employment/reducing umemployment or hiking up the fees for H1 visas are wishful thinking to say the least.For every job outsourced to an emerging nation the developed nation generates at least three jobs directly and indirectly in their own backyard and what about the foreign exchange they earn in the whole business process, which is substantial enough.China is probably the only country which has taken the bull by the horns.They have a tit for tat measure in place either in the form of the currency devaluation of the Yuan vis-a-vis the US dollar or the low cost manufacturing coupled with their huge domestic demand, which makes even the most dynamic economy beg for uniformity, albeit diplomatically.The other three emerging nations in unison with other countries should join hands so as to neutralize the impact of the protectionst moves carried out by the US and its allies.Crying hoarse in global forums like WTO or G-20 wouldn't bring much respite to these emerging economies as everywhere US or their proxies would ensure that their vested interests are kept alive, even if it means digging their own grave yard in the long run.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Is the Indian aviation landscape changing?

Indian aviation sector has improved by leaps and bounds. My recent visit to India and while traveling across the length and breadth of the country during those two months summer holidays made me realize quite a few changes observed in the aviation landscape. I flew Air India, Jet Konnect and Jet-lite, Kingfisher, Indigo, Spicejet and paramount. Some of the observations which stuck me are as follows-
Indigo coming up as one of the most admired budget carrier and would definitely create a positive mark internationally once they get approval from the regulatory body, Their focus on the minimal turnaround time by involving the on board passenger is commendable, the changes in the uniform, hair style of the cabin crews and announcing the languages spoken by the crew on board on the lines of Emirates is a point to note, first by a domestic carrier. One thing which was not fitting into the bill was the fact that while the staff on board speaks more than one Indian languages quite often I have seen the languages aren't commensurate with the sector they are flying into. Overall,, Indigo as a carrier is doing a great job by being a true no frills airline. Spicejet gave me a different feeling, which wasn't a positive one at least on two counts-one their time lines and two the laid back approach of their cabin crews especially when the dinner packets were exhausted much before even half the passengers were being catered to while I was flying Pune-Chennai sector. Jet is feeling the heat from Kingfisher, while Air India is partially out of their slumber, but they have miles to go before they can clean their balance sheet completely. Air India may have roped a high flying expatriate executive; however the turnaround calls for brave and forward looking steps by the ministry of civil aviation, which I am afraid won't be there, thanks to the vote bank politics.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Take on the Indian Healthcare Sector

Healthcare sector in India gave me a mixed feeling.My prior experience in the Indian pharmaceutical sector while based in India, coupled with my insights into the sector as management trainer, consultant and also as a customer(read as patient and their dependents)gave me lot of food for thought. I am sure this small note would activate the grey cells of many of my Indian friends so as to put forth their opinion on the topic which is of immense significance to all and sundry.Indian healthcare sector are broadly classified under the following heads(Manishankar's classification)-Organized chains of corporate hospitals, mom and pop hospitals and nursing homes functioning as semi organized players and the dilapidated public sector players, not to forget the traditional medicinal players and the quacks trying to pitch their own offerings.Corporate chains are good in many aspects, especially when it comes to offering quality treatment along with their composite services which provides a good experience for the patient and their dependents. The pricing strategy is questionable especially when there is an absence of a regulator which can monitor the services, benefits and the pricing strategy followed by different chains.They have very good medicos and paramedics, however, a wide gap is existing especially when it comes to reaching out to the masses, vis-a-vis that of the classes.My experience with two chains in Nagpur and Chennai were reasonably good, sans the opaque feeling a customer have, especially when it comes to the pricing policy adopted by the players and some service related constaints encountered while the patient is metamorphosed from an out patient to the in patient.One shouldn't deny the fact that these chains offers the best services, be it the medical staff and quality paramedical support to complement each other.The loopholes exisiting in their processes are minimal, what calls for immediate attention is to target a wide range of segments through flexible pricing policies.Quasi organized players in the form of mushrooming private nursing homes and hospiatals are minting money with the exception of a handful few which are offering value for money to the consumer.As far as the public healthcare players are concerned, apart from a minsuscle few, most of them are sustaining only because the masses have no option but to lean upon so as to save their lives and that of the dependents.The handful few public operators which are benchmark of sorts are located in some metros as a result of which a chunk of the citizens who otherwise cannot afford the private players are deprived of them owing to locational disadvantage.Moreover, typical of any public sector players, red-tapism is the biggest bane which need to be resolved at the earliest if India is to serve its billion citizens who are dying only because they cannot access quality medical care.The traditional service provider have created a niche for themselves and are also making waves of sorts in the global market, especially when the awareness level of the end user is ever increasing thereby opting for something having minimal side effects.The quacks are trying to play on the ignorance of the rural household.One thing which is common across the sector is being leveraged by a wide range of unethical professionals who consider that their patients and the dependents should treat them as demi gods and never question their decision.The awareness level is always increasing with every bit of information available at the click of the mouse, the improved educational standards reaching out to the nook and corner of the country could only test the approach of the doctors and their supporting staff.Would wind up with an article read recently,authored by a professor from CMC,Vellore, where he emphasized on the importance on humanities in the Indian medical and healthcare sector sums it up all, doctors need to be good human beings first, understanding their profession always have an element of service towards the human kind, the monetary benefits would simply follow, if one knows this core value.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ohio ban on Outsourcing would bounce back on US

The ban on outsourcing by Ohio government to any of the emerging countries is more of a rhetoric, rather than a mature business move.Every sensible American knows that outsourcing is here to stay and in many ways it contributes towards the developmental curve of their nation.Unfortunately, a dwindling support base and popularity for Barack Obama and his team both at the federal and county level have compelled them to take steps in hara-kiri, which defies even the basic business and common sense.Ohio ban may be imitated by many other state governments so as to deviate the attention of common Americans as the job losses encountered with every passing day is in no way related to the outsourcing model adopted by American corporations.The most vociferous voices for free trade had to bite the bullet, simply because of the lack of proper checks and balances culminating in the global crisis is indeed a matter of shame.Emerging nations especially G-20, BRIC nations should take up this move in a very serious matter so that their unified pressure makes the US administrators to realize the stupidity they have committed.If the same move is reciprocated by the group of emerging nations notably India and China, US companies have to run for cover, as most of their toplines and bottom lines are coming out from these markets, instead of their home turf.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Seminar at Tripura University

On 25th of August 2010, yours truly under the banner of, an NGO conducted a philanthropic exercise at Tripura University, a central university, located in Tripura, India, for the welfare of the student community of North East India. The 4 hour seminar was divided into two parts for the MBA and BBA students of School of Management Studies of Tripura University. The deliberation focused on Opportunities for Placements, challenges post placements, and opportunities, challenges for Management Professionals. Active assistance in organizing the event was received from academic luminaries like assistant professor, Nishikant and Pro VC, Prof. Agrawal, along with the persistent effort of enabled the knowledge seeking budding managers and entrepreneurs to sought response to plethora of queries hovering around placements and career development

Seminar at TIT

Yours truly conducted a seminar for the final year engineering students of Tripura Institute of Technology (TIT) a government funded engineering college of state Tripura, India. The budding engineers of Electronics, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, and Computer Technology were taken through a lively session titled, ‘Preparations and Challenges for engineering students’. The enlightened minds were inquisitive to know about the prevailing placement scenario both in India and abroad. The students heard with rapt attention so as to know the nuances of securing the dream job. Prof. Anghsuman and Prof. Bibash were instrumental in arranging the seminar. It was part of yours truly’s philanthropic activity. The seminar was held on the 24th of August 2010.

Seminar at Raisoni's Institute of Management and Research

A seminar was conducted on the 12th of July 2010 during the induction program for the new entrants of MBA batch 2010-2012.Yours truly spoke on Management Profession and the challenges, which was gladly received by the students and staff of Raisoni's Institute of Management and Research,Nagpur, Maharashtra,India.The illuminating minds posed many queries facing the professionals in the light of the bouts of recession and slowdown experienced by the world at large.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A new Link on Soft Skills

I was sifting through google so as to know my standing while searching for 'Manishankar Chakraborty',when I stumbled upon which had good insights on soft skills written after referring to one of my paper published in The Journal of Soft Skills and quoting from similar other authors.
I found it quite interesting and presume would be interesting for my blog followers and readers as well.

Please read the link and comment.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Relationships from workplace to home.

Professional relationships are fast being catapulted into personal ones. Reasons are not difficult to find. The colleagues are the ones with whom people spend a substantial amount of time in the workplace and they comprises of those with whom a person shares those intimate moments even if that means sharing a personal opinion on an issue which otherwise is the exclusive domain of his near and dear ones.Colleagues are the ones to whom people have started to confide a whole range of issues, notwithstanding the competitive pressure and professional under-currents, perennially present in the working environment. Workplace related romance are seen in full bloom these days.People often tend to forget that a colleague with whom they have to share a relationship and stop somewhere so as to avoid crossing that line separating personal and professional attachment, goes much beyond that, culminating in a colleague taking center stage in their life.They enjoy festivities, special days like birthdays or any other day for commemoration together in their lives.Even after one partner departs from the organization where the relationship blossomed, they are in touch, through email, telephone or even occasional personal meetings, sharing their professional and personal issues with ease, unless they decide to convert that into a full fledged personal relationship and bonding .At times they tend to open up more in such relationships, rather than the one which is either blood related or with a close acquaintance.The flip side of such relationships can be disastrous as well.If one is unable to draw a line separating a professional relationship from a personal one, especially when the trusted partner is not worth to be included in the personal network, there can be instances when the so called friend can take undue advantage of the same while encountering professional challenges and hardships. In a dog eat dog environment, where survival of the fittest holds the key in a competitive workplace, quite often such relationships takes ugly turn, spelling disaster not only for the person involved, but also by vitiating the working environment.To add to all these, personal relationships at the workplace may create in personal bonhomie and lead to some sort of illicit rapport between the two, drawing unnecessary attention from onlookers.Seniors, peers or even junior colleagues may at times use such relationships to their own advantage, embarrassing the people engaged in the relationships, by leveraging professional milieu out of it.The bottom line is to understand the pros and cons of such relationships before taking the plunge by metamorphosing a professional contact into a personal one.

Friday, June 25, 2010

When myopia takes over from a professional approach

Teamwork is always a beneficial proposition for a modern day organization. The benefits accrued from group beats the disadvantages hands down and therefore, almost all the forward looking organizations encourages team work to the core.The de-merits if not being managed well can snowball into a crisis especially while managing teams of knowledge workers.
A small case-let is providing valuable insights into such happening-
Ram was a trainer of a leading company offering management training solutions to a diversified list of clients.The company boasted of trainers who were as different as that of chalk and cheese,however,notwithstanding their differences, they used to gel up in the overall interest of the organization.Being knowledge workers, possessing a high proportion of intellectual know-how the bunch of trainers often had ego clashes amongst themselves on petty issues.In fact these clashes resulted because of the presence of a myopic approach adopted either on the basis of seniority, project experience, training exposure one was having, apart from the scholastic profile.The departmental head being a balanced person often mitigated such issues by nipping them at the bud.It wasn't possible every time for him to know about the existing under-currents prevailing within the team of trainers.It was time for making question papers for the trainees, which happened to be the responsibility of the course coordinator, after which the same was to be approved by all the trainers involved in imparting training on the same subject, albeit to a different set of audience.The coordinator made the paper and as a routine protocol was taking it through the panel of other trainers, for their remarks, suggestions, feedback and approval, when one of them behaved indifferently.He took the paper, kept it for two days, and after the second day, when the coordinator went for seeking his feedback, he politely said the paper wasn't up to the mark, so a new one is to be made.He also added that he needed five pages to write down his comments, to which the coordinator accepted.The coordinator tried to explain him that even though a new paper is being made, there are bound to be differences as every trainer's perception is different, their target customer's vary and the like.He wasn't ready to accept that in spite of assuring the coordinator to make the comments therein, escalated the matter to the higher-ups without the knowledge of the coordinator.The departmental head as usual understood the rationale of the move by that trainer and suggested him to take the initiative of making the paper and then circulate to the team of trainers through the coordinator.He made the paper and as expected there were plethora of comments coming from all quarters so as to develop the paper apropos the requirement of the target audience.
It was myopic approach taking over the professionalism conduct essential while working in a team.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rejuvenating from work related pressure

Rejuvenating after a hard day's work is extremely important for all, especially when the work life balance is heavily tilted towards the former.On the top of it meeting stiff deadlines and challenging targets aggravates matters.Familial pressure and appetite to rise higher up the career ladder adds up to the woes. It is important for everyone to know the de-stressing technique(s) which is not only easy to implement, but can give that much needed respite at a short notice.Listening to music soothing to the ears, meditating, reading, brisk walking,swimming, jogging, playing a game of one's liking are few of the techniques adopted by the common man employed in organizations of all stature.There are certain myths which if properly analyzed and removed could lead one to realize that the so-called rejuvenatory techniques, supposed to activate the tired mind and body is instead having a negative impact on the efficiency of the individual in the long run.Popular among those are hitting the deck of the night clubs with booze and high decibel music generally on the eve of the weekend. The exposure can not only have a debilitating effect on ones body, but can also lead to permanent disabilities of the heart, ear and even the biological clock if persuaded for weeks and months together.Although sensible organizations are trying their level best to put in place healthy work-life balance practices, the resultant impact on the masses (read employees) is not that encouraging.This also has lot to do with the upbringing of the individual as the childhood sans the health maintenance related education can often lead to an uni-dimensional movement in the latter part of ones life, especially when he or she is employed with an organization and is also having his/her own family to look after.Professional excellence at the cost of the health is one of the flip side of the modern day workforce.The concept work hard and party hard is killing many a talented professional even before they could realize their true potential and leverage the same.