Archive for November, 2012

Community Platform For Ward 103

My wife has today been formally appointed as a “shadow councillor” for Ward 103- Punjabi Bagh /Madipur in Delhi. For all intents and purposes it means she can now do whatever developmental work a good councillor should do without the malas and bhashans.

She has just issued an RFP titled “Technology Platform for Ward 103”. Entrepreneurs who believe that after social networking platforms community platforms may be a big idea worth pursuing may want to get a copy of the RFP from her by sending her an email at If you would like her to upload the RFP on the blog let her know and I can upload the RFP on her behalf on the blog.

She also has an interest in using Ward 103 as an innovation lab. So contact her if you have innovative ideas that can be tested out at a ward level. She has Silicon Valley experience so you will probably find that she understands innovative ideas and can make things happen at a ward level.

100 HR Ideas for better Business : First 5

I was thinking within myself, if I have to give the best reading experience, what is that I can do differently on this Blog. I realized that tons of description may not excite any reader. Keeping it simple and sweet is the only way.  While we want to give the best back to the readers, I decided to write a series of the 100 things that a business owner/CEO/Family Business Owner could do to improve his/her business with specific focus on People Management for better business.

I would be writing small bits of inputs/advise for business owners ,which could be used with ease. I would try not to cover these inputs in a sequence of the HR Process but based on the experiences of  our teams from time to time. I would plan to summarize at the end to compile the series in an e-book for future readers.   This way I would cover the important things first and may be of use for the readers.

In each of the posting I would like to share 5 such Important aspects with Inputs & Ideas if any. Please note these are not necessary in an order of Induction/performance during the course of building business. Use your discretion. If you have any question at any point please do write to me at :  gr(at)

1. Vision & Mission : One of the most important ingredient of organisation building. You may want to focus on what you want to do in future and how you want to achieve the same.  If you are a start-up  you can build this with a team of first few and work with rest to improve and achieve the same. Making sure that every individual is chosen to fit into this framework and win in long-term.  Please do not hesitate to part with people who may not fit into this framework. Link every of your actions/processes/policies for present and future.

Idea : You may build this including the core team and someone who can see your vision. Alternatively can use an external expert help in facilitating this process (Please do not ask external facilitator to draft for you)

2 – Building the Long-term & Short-term Objectives : While you have a vision and mission for your organisation. Even if you do not have a clear Vision & Mission Statements (In most of the organisation its true that they do not have a formal vision & mission statements). Set your clear goals for short-term (for Financial year or Calender Year).  Make sure that the Objectives are Simple, Clear, Time Bound and measurable.  Make it convenient for people to relate it to performance.

Idea: Build at-least Revenue targets with timelines(Sales, Collection etc.,), New initiatives in People practices, Processes and Future Expansion. Make sure that the same is communicated through a mail / team meetings / all employee meeting.

3. Set Expectations & Communicate Clearly: Its always best to set the expectations of performance at the beginning of the relationship with any employee in organisation. The longer the relationship without set expectations, difficult to agree/accept the reality of business.

Idea : Spare few minutes in writing the expectations and end output that measures the success of the individual on a peace of paper and Document(body of text) through an email. This 10-20 minutes of interaction and documentation can save many business days.

4. Share the Business Realities : Do not hide or hesitate to talk about your business situation with the employees. I am sure they are equally aware of what is happening in business. Spare few minutes of time to share the business realities during regular meetings and send common notes through email. This can include information about objectives achievement, new happenings, new competition and any other challenges that the organisation is going through. Do not hesitate to share the difficulties and people would come forward to help.  You would have people come forward to extend help who relate themselves with the organisation

Idea: Set a frequency of communication based on the communication and type of groups to be informed – function, divisions or overall organisation. Eg. Organisational Update to everyone by 5th of every month.

5. Ask for Help : Do not hesitate to ask for that extra-mile help from people who work in your organisation. If you have shared your vision, mission, business realities frequently, it would be easier for seeking such support. You don’t do that every bit of business deliver anyway, you need people to run the business and take those right steps in the path of growth.

Idea: You can ask for any such support from the team immediately reports to you.  In turn encourage the team to take further steps based on the ground realities.

Three Things that One can do to build Second Line at Small & Medium Business (SME / SMB )

Building Second Line is the biggest challenge in SME’s. This may be due to the focus of entrepreneur which is  very internal and personal. Development of Second Line needs a broader outlook and ability to think and create an environment of trust.  Its also to do with the openness of  SME owner to create wealth for their future leaders along with risk taking ability with people.


Identify: Not that every employee who joins you would grow to be a Second Line material. You need to look for the attitude, commitment and passion for your business. Put them through some tough situations of business need and take risk of testing. Identify few potential employees to be able to take the next level of responsibilities with Accountability.

Build & Encourage: After you identified the potential, you can use various occasions to tell them that you are looking at them to grow their career. Here its important that you make it very clear that they need to build that competency and move towards achieving growth. Make it clear that “Its Not Easy Cake Walk“.  Do also make sure that no false promises in terms of position, money etc., at this stage. Be firm on many decisions where you have to be assertive.  Encourage them to take up new and self improvement goals for constant improvement of knowledge and skill.   Also assign some of the futuristic targets and help them to achieve. Take that bit of risk if they fail, plan for backup plan from your end.  Building & Encouraging is all about building the mutual trust and ability to go that extra mile.  

Sustain : Have clear goals for achievement at each stage & review. Set certain higher standards in moving the people to next level. The ideal situation is that the employee can measure and update you on the status of his/her growth as planned. You need to be a mentor and translate your knowledge without being threatened about competition.   Always remember, we out grow our capacity and we need others who have skills to takeover for better growth.

My SME Journey in UK 2012

I landed in London Heathrow at 9 pm on 19th September 2012 along with my Associate. We head straight to tube station which I heard a lot about, while I was in India. We thought that we would reach destination in next 20 minutes. We reached Holborn station and the pilot ! announced that due to technical difficulty we are terminating this train here. That was an experience that after-all we are human beings and dealing with Machines.  We came up asking for a taxi, it took about 10 minutes for Taxi to arrive. As expected a chilly cold wind welcomes to you to UK…. that reminds me of a friend sent a note before “Welcome to cold and Wet UK”. I did not understand the word WET but yes it was pretty cold.  Day One : is so important that every employee who joins an organisation remember.  I am no exception for an Induction into a New country. I remember this for ever.

I spent next few days meeting people in Central London, Harrow on the Hill, Liverpool Street, London Bridge to be able to explore the opportunities.  I had one meeting which was definitely productive at London Bridge on a Friday evening ( I know I was holding the person to get into a weekend mode) to talk about some opportunities. I understood why he was not so keen initially to meet us because of his few of his India Experiences (Nod Head for every thing and forget to fulfill – I guess the sample may be very less to judge), but ultimately client has own opinions to formed based on his/her circumstances.  During the conversation one thing which was repeated that if you can’t do something do let me know now. We did not promise much to move ahead and thought for ourselves that our work should speak volumes.  Here goes the test, we survived the first week, thank to Naresh Deevi for making it possible with his team back in Delhi. In the process we have made sure that we educated the Indian environment in-terms of the Human Resources scenario and the challenges to make him appreciate the other side of the fence, Now, Its in auto pilot and I do hope that we build a value for their company as we did for many in India. Lesson: In an excitement accept business we commit so many thing which we can’t fulfill and it haunts you for ineffectiveness. It is always better to be bitter in the beginning and close to reality than to spoil a long-term relationship with any business partners. I guess they are more than willing to understand if you speak realities, set less expectations and ofcourse, deliver more.  A key lesson for SMEs growth.

SME Market in UK : I looked at the figures of SMEs in UK and there are 16% of organisations less than 10 people. 43% of organisations account for employees more than 10 people and  less than  250. Only 41% of the organizations have more than 250 employees.  A View of economic activities is more at SMEs in UK with more than 60% accounting for SME’s in London Areas.  While the Wales economy is primarily on SME organisations with 95% of them are less than 250 employees.  Of course for me more SMEs means more fresh oxygen.

The Welsh Encounter : Me and my Associate traveled to Cardiff, Wales via Birmingham. It was a heavy rain all through and first time UK experienced floods worst in 10 years.  Now I know the meaning of WET England   First, We arrived at Birmingham International station and a good HR friend from LinkedIn connections picked us up. After meeting and his excitement of information sharing, I was convinced that the journey with SMEs in any country would be a great opportunity.  We had the whole of afternoon spent in understanding the perspectives and what we do back in India. He dropped us at the Birmingham Street Station with a lots of hope and anticipation that we work together.  I am sure the time spent would be of great help in working together in future, we are exchanging notes since then. What I realised that every other HR person I met are aware of the opportunities in SME market (I wish my fellow HR Professionals wake-up to this reality soon in India) .  While some took plunge in their own enterprise, others working currently but eventually be there.

My Visit to Cardiff and Swansea in Wales : My first feeling landing at Cardiff and looking around “Yes – I am in an English Country”. We have encountered every where helpful People with warmth in dealing. I was amazed to see the efforts of the government to promote business is amazing.  They have taken every care to make sure that we get the information that we are looking for. We have been supported by a person during our meeting in both places. While we met the people who are key for establishing business in Wales, we also attended a program organised by Wales Government, Indian High Commission with SME business owners from India on 27th September 2012 at The Park Plaza, Cardiff. It was an exciting meet to know the eagerness to promote the business by the Minister of Industries and the local Business Associations. We have met many Indian SME owners and also the Wales based SME business owners. As in any networking event it was an unwritten theme of “What’s in it for me” every business owner trying to promote his business. We also had the opportunity to share thoughts with the Indians who are based in UK working in multiple disciplines.

We moved to Swansea at Wales an hour train journey from Cardiff. The landscape on the way is awesome and it remains in your memory. We attended a program organised by the South Wales Chamber of Commerce in association with University of Wales at Victoria Stadium @ Swansea. I can feel the excitement in everyone whom I met about a football match that took place at the stadium few days ago. This time the meet was with the members of Chamber members along with Professor Medwin Hughes – VC & team of Wales University. This event was organised by the Business Incubation center of University of Wales and the students a did a tremendous job of organising this wonderful event. We had the opportunity to meet all the 20 SME business owners from Swansea attending this event. The University Incubation center helps the start-ups to locate themselves and provide the Business services like any other Business Center.  They help the startups to grow to 2-3 people and help them settle in their business independently. I felt that was a great Eco-system for development of Business and entrepreneurship. The Camber of commerce created a HR Help line for the members - hearing that was music to my ears.  The awareness about the HR is quite high among the SME owners whom I interacted.  May be because of the stringent administration of employment laws and appreciation of HR Systems support for business growth.  But of-course, the opportunities for employees are less and they stick to the company that they get an opportunity.  That’s one of the challenge for SMEs in UK to upgrade their skill level and Government has a great provision of grants for the businesses to upgrade skills for their workers. This means a great opportunity for HR companies to identify the Skill gap, Training needs and build support for SMEs.