Above N Beyond Newsletter October 2019
Here’s the October 2019 edition of the Above N Beyond Quarterly newsletter. In this edition, we’ve explored various facets of employer branding right from what makes a brand valuable to what companies can do to create a brand that is real, relatable, and relevant. We…READ MORE>
The 3 Rs of a Great Employer Brand
For all the Ponzi schemes and absolute debauchery that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street is involved in, one of the remarkable aspects of his organization, Stratton Oakmont, is the unwavering loyalty that it commands from its employees. While the…READ MORE>
Walking the Talk: Employees living your #Brand
While all companies create and articulate a set of stated values, vision and mission (the #brand that the organization wants to be known for), ensuring that these translate into the company’s daily operations and decision making is a whole other matter. November 26, 2008, was…READ MORE>
“How YOU Doin’?”
This September will be the 25th anniversary of a show called “Friends”. Even after all this time, and practically all TV channels still showing reruns (in fact, as this piece was being written!), Netflix paid a handsome $100 Million for the rights to stream the…READ MORE>
What Does it Take to Build a Strong Employer Brand?
It is important for organizations to invest in building a credible employer brand that employees can identify with. When you watch Meryl Streep’s iconic performance in The Devil Wears Prada, one interesting observation is how well the character of Miranda Priestly personifies the brand that…READ MORE>
When Personal Aspirations don’t Align with Organizational Goals (Part 1)
At the start of their careers, most people only have a vague idea of what they want out of their careers. It is only when they progress in their job and gain hands-on experience that they begin to shape a more realistic blueprint of what…READ MORE>
Above N Beyond Quarterly Newsletter – July 2019
Here’s the July 2019 edition of the Above N Beyond Quarterly! Across industries, the biggest overarching theme is ‘change.’ Organisations are finding themselves at a point where change is inevitable in order to survive and thrive. This change extends to everything from technology to people…READ MORE>
We’re Running Out of Water! Can we Wake Up and Act?
Ramchandra Guha recently wrote this evocative piece that talks about Bangalore’s water supply woes over the year and paints a pretty bleak picture of where the city’s water crisis is headed. The severity and urgency of the situation has prompted even PM Modi to launch…READ MORE>
Knowing When to Ditch Your Plan is Key to Success
With the ICC Cricket World Cup in full swing, it seems to be the subject that dominates all conversations and discussions. One of the most awaited matches of the tournament was the India Pakistan face off which happened on June 16. Before the match, there…READ MORE>
Don’t Let Funding Take Out All the Fun
Everyday other day, we hear news of yet other start-up getting funded in millions. Just in the last few days, FreshToHome raised $11 million while CureFit raised $75M. There were many more. In just the first week of May, Indian startups raised close to $250M.…READ MORE>
The Rise of the Female Sultan
Last week, Disney launched a new live-action remake of its animated ‘Aladin’ movie that was first released in 1992. While the storyline is almost the same as the original, there was one small but significant update. In the original, Jasmine’s primary goal was to marry…READ MORE>
When Executive Leadership is Not Aligned
Indigo Airlines, the most successful airline in India currently, has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Media reports say that Indigo’s co-founders Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal, who hold near-equal stakes in the company were not aligned; specifically related to the…READ MORE>
How Do you Scale Culture During Growth Phases?
Each organisation has its own unique culture that defines and differentiates it, even at the start-up stage. It could be the camaraderie among team members or a strong family culture or a certain agility in decision making. As the company grows, there is a real…READ MORE>
How do you Fight Fake News in the Office?
We are online 24x7, connected 24x7 and information is just a click away. But what about the authenticity of information? The Digital Civility Index report by Microsoft says out of the 22 countries surveyed, India encounters the highest amount of fake news (https://news.microsoft.com/en-in/microsoft-digital-civility-index-safer-internet-day-2019/) A New…READ MORE>
What Makes Champions Bounce Back?
55 wins, 5 losses. Last Sunday, Kento Momota made history again, becoming the first Japanese men’s singles player to win the All England title. You don’t need to understand badminton as a sport to see the talent, grace and almost Zen-like approach that this 24-year-old…READ MORE>
How to Keep Pace with Rapid Growth
Sustaining growth isn’t easy, especially when it happens rapidly. During the course of its existence, every organisation goes through different phases of evolution. Each phase, in turn, brings in a growth curve which presents its own share of excitement, opportunities and challenges. Add to this…READ MORE>
A ‘G-Local’ approach to building Global Capability Centres
This is not another piece about the ‘India Technology’ journey. While the initial drivers for the growth of capability centres in India were cost arbitrage and operational proficiency, these are no longer a significant consideration. Today, all global organisations acknowledge India’s ‘deep-technology’ prowess and huge…READ MORE>
Through the Looking Glass for 2019
2018 has been an interesting year for all of us. As we step into a new year with new excitement and anticipation, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the year gone by and see what lessons it holds for the new year.…READ MORE>
Above N Beyond Turns 3!
And just like that, it has been three years! We officially launched Above N Beyond in November 2015. Since then, we’re proud and humbled to see how we’ve gone from strength to strength in terms of our client profile, breadth of work, as well as…READ MORE>
What Does it Take to Drive a Successful Transformation?
We live in a competitive, dynamic age where change is the only constant. All around us, we see organisations that are in the race to transform so that they are prepared to survive and thrive in the new reality. Yet, a large percentage of transformations…READ MORE>
How do we Challenge the Norm?
A few days ago, India watched with bated breath as the spirited quartet of Hima Das, M R Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad and Vismaya Velluva Koroth sprinted their way to a gold medal in the 4x400m relay at the Asiad Games 2018 in Jakarta. While the…READ MORE>
Data, Data Everywhere, But How do we Use it?
Today, each organisation produces a humungous amount of data. Companies today are also more tech-savvy than ever before and are investing in data analytics and business intelligence solutions to gain actionable insights from the data. Despite all this data, organisations today struggle to define the…READ MORE>
The Key to Effective Communication – Understanding ‘Their’ View
We always stress on the importance of communication within an organisation. Unless you constantly communicate your goals and values to your team, they are unlikely to align with the company’s vision and mission. Discussing short-term and long-term objectives of an individual, team and the organisation…READ MORE>
The Bane of ‘Business as Usual’
Consider this: the Indian arm of a software MNC was a few years old in India. The company had seen phenomenal success during the first few years – sales growth was through the roof, attrition was minimal, and there was great work happening on the…READ MORE>
How to be a Self-Aware Leader
In today’s dynamic business world, today’s leaders are consistently being challenged to achieve organizational business outcomes. As technology evolves at a frenetic pace and the millennial workforces redefine the nature of work, leaders need to equip themselves to address these many challenges. There are several qualities…READ MORE>
Expert Take: How to be an Effective CEO
By Ashok Sudarshan, CEO - Complexcare Solutions. For any professional, becoming the CEO of a company, large or small, is an incredible privilege and an opportunity for a tremendous amount of learning. But it can also be a stressful experience knowing the pivotal role that…READ MORE>
The ‘Winning at All Costs’ Culture
In September 2015, Volkswagen, the highly respected auto giant was in the news for all the wrong reasons. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had found that several VW cars sold in the US have been fitted with something called a ‘defeat device’ that basically…READ MORE>
Employee Motivations Evolve as they Progress in their Careers
People management is one of the primary concerns for companies in the knowledge economy. Hiring the right people is only the first piece of the puzzle. The bigger challenge is around creating a positive environment and having the right processes in place to allow these…READ MORE>
Are Boys and Girls equal? A question to ponder upon…
By Vivek Subramaniam ‘Are boys and girls equal’? A question to around 150 boys of class 6 and 7 graders… Guess the answer? A unanimous ‘No’. Boys are stronger, boys are more active, boys are smarter, boys are doctors, boys are astronauts, boys are mechanics and…READ MORE>
Diverse Minds, But Shared Values
Often, when we think of diversity, we tend to view it through the extremely narrow lens of gender, race, language. While these are certainly valid, the kind of diversity that truly matters for an organisation is diversity of thought. Building a diverse organisation isn’t about…READ MORE>
Workplace: Into the Future
By Pradipta Banerjee, Vice President - Human Resources, CGI When we think ‘future’, the images that are conjured in our minds are of a digital age, replete with robots, artificial intelligence, automation and technology. Organisations and businesses have been at the helm of embracing new…READ MORE>
What Will it Take to be a Successful Leader in 2018?
As the countdown to 2018 begins, we can look back at 2017 as a year of some fairly dramatic trends, especially around technology. We saw some strong strides made in automation, robotics, machine learning etc. that have forced us to relook at how we plan…READ MORE>
Driving the Transition from Secretaries to Celebrity Managers
By Vijay Subramaniam, Founding Partner, KWAN Entertainment & Marketing Solutions Pvt. Ltd. For the longest time, Bollywood celebrities have worked mostly with ‘secretaries’ whose primary job responsibilities were to liaise with producers/directors to push their ‘talent,’ managing the star’s calendar- shooting schedules, appointments etc. This…READ MORE>
The Fuss About Ownership and Rightly So
Some common questions that leaders ask us: I just hired a very senior person with the hope that s/he would make changes. But, this person is just not taking ownership We are growing aggressively and there is a need for people to take ownership and…READ MORE>
My Learnings as an Entrepreneur
By Nupur Prothi Khanna, Founding Principal, Beyond Built I am an urbanist with an education in Planning, Landscape Architecture and Heritage Conservation. Beyond Built Pvt. Ltd. (BBPL) was set up in 2003 in Bangalore (subsequently moving to Delhi) to deliver best practice spatial design based…READ MORE>
Above N Beyond Newsletter: Edition 5
In the September 2017 edition of our newsletter, we have put together some interesting insights on leadership styles, employee core values and the metamorphosis of organisations. Happy reading! http://mailchi.mp/b3e78f6f34e9/above-n-beyond-newsletter-edition-5READ MORE>
Customer experience: The importance of being human
Above N Beyond Founder Vivek Subramaniam writes in YourStory about the importance of the ‘human experience’ in any business relationship. In a world where business results are often measured using cold, hard numbers, the human angle or the experience we go through seems to be…READ MORE>
Hands Open or Fist Closed Leader?
Over the last few months, the ongoing developments at Tata and Infosys have shed light on the very real challenges that organizations face in bringing in new leaders and enabling their success. While it would be unfair for us to sit in judgement without knowing…READ MORE>
Above N Beyond Newsletter: Edition 4
The July 2017 edition of the Above N Beyond Newsletter includes some interesting perspectives on leadership, scaling up and the importance of execution. Hope you find it useful and engaging. Happy reading! http://mailchi.mp/63bca0fe5f87/above-n-beyond-newsletter-edition-4READ MORE>
Do Your Employees Live Your Core Values?
For the past few days, Corporate India has been buzzing with news of a leaked conversation recording where an unfortunate tech employee was asked by HR to put in his papers by 10 am the next day, or get terminated immediately. Expectedly, it caused a…READ MORE>
Leadership in the Age of Automation
To say that we live in uncertain times is an understatement. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to robotics to Supercomputing to the ubiquity of the Internet, technology has been revolutionising the way we live our lives and run our businesses. Automation is changing the way we…READ MORE>
Why Integrating New Leaders Well is Crucial for their (and the Organization’s) Success
In an earlier blog, we’d written about why it makes sense to consciously build a leadership pipeline internally; and why it needs to be done much before you actually need them to deliver. So, why should it be any different when it comes to hiring…READ MORE>
Execution: The Secret Ingredient for Scaling Successfully
The most difficult part of a start-up is not the starting up, but the scaling up. This is because a start-up is a different organizational entity than a large established company. As the organisation grows, you need to actively work on acquiring a completely new…READ MORE>
Vivek Subramaniam in People Matters: Aligning Capability Quotients with Business Imperatives
People Matters magazine recently published an article written by Above N Beyond Founder Vivek Subramaniam on how organisations need to align capability quotients with business imperatives. Every organization is composed of unique individuals who come from different backgrounds, talents, drivers and priorities. It follows that…READ MORE>
Above N Beyond Newsletter: Edition 3
Here’s the April 2017 edition of the Above N Beyond Newsletter. In this edition, we’ve tried to put together an assortment of interesting perspectives on building an effective organisation, including on performance management. Hope you find it useful and engaging. Happy reading! http://mailchi.mp/2911e…/above-n-beyond-newsletter-edition-3READ MORE>
Most founders will agree that the biggest challenge in a start-up is not the starting up, but the scaling up. This is because start-ups are not just small versions of big companies. Rather they are different in every possible way – from goals, to measurements,…READ MORE>
Start Building Your Leadership Pipeline Much Before You Need them to Deliver
In the early days of an organisation, building a leadership pipeline isn’t top priority. The focus of the founder/s is on growing the business, on getting things done. As the organisation scales, the founders start feeling the need to delegate because there are too many…READ MORE>
Performance Management needs to keep up with the times
A few days ago, the NASSCOM HR Forum hosted a very thought-provoking session on the changing face of performance management. The event, titled ‘Decoding Performance Management,’ had three speakers who brought an interesting mix of perspectives on the issue through an HR leader, business leader…READ MORE>
Diversity beyond metrics
A few interactions I have had over the last month: Interaction 1: My daughter plays football (soccer). She started going for football classes about a month ago and is one of the 4-5 girls amongst many boys. This was a sport she picked for herself…READ MORE>
Above N Beyond in My Big Plunge: Becoming a people-centric consulting organization, focusing on execution
In a world where consulting is perceived by many as something that is a lot of ‘gyan’ delivered through jargons, Above N Beyond has always been about making a difference on the ground. MyBigPlunge recently published a byline by our founder Vivek Subramanian that captures…READ MORE>
The Devil Leader
There is a small tailor shop in our neighborhood. After staying in the locality for over 25 years, I heard the story of the ‘Devil Leader’ for the first time a few weeks ago… A story that that had Courage, Clarity, Candor and Care. Right…READ MORE>
Above N Beyond Newsletter: Edition 2
Here’s the second (Jan 2017) edition of the Above N Beyond Newsletter. We’ve compiled some interesting insights around running an organisation and helping you get the most value from your people. Do read and let us know your feedback. http://us13.campaign-archive2.com/READ MORE>
Investor-Founder Relationship – Finding the Right Balance
For a start-up, getting an investor is an important milestone. It gives founders some reprieve from the persistent cash-flow issues that start-ups seem to struggle with, and provide the impetus for growth. Also, there is a sense of validation because someone is giving you a…READ MORE>
Technology Adoption is Tricky, but Hugely Valuable for Business Growth
A few days ago, we heard a very interesting talk by an industry leader who said that technology is no longer just an enabler for businesses, rather it is a driver. Essentially, this means that while for so long, we were telling technology what to…READ MORE>
Why Reskilling is the Need of the Hour…And so is Responsible Growth
Given the rapid rate of change that we are witnessing, there is a good chance that the job you’re doing today may not even exist 20 years later. A report by CBRE has predicted that nearly 50 per cent of occupations that exist today will be redundant by…READ MORE>
Why Emotional Intelligence Deserves more Attention in the Corporate World
The term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ has been around for close to three decades now. From a scientific standpoint, emotional intelligence is the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and…READ MORE>
What my Yoga Class Taught me about Leadership Styles
I go for yoga classes to a studio near home. There are two teachers who take the classes and it is interesting to note two very different styles of teaching for the same style of yoga. One teacher has an approach where he does not…READ MORE>
Execution May be Unglamorous and Tedious, But it’s What Brings in the Results
Most discussion on management is heavily skewed towards aspects such as approach, strategy, concept and other ‘cool’ management jargon. But in all of this, ‘execution’ usually gets very little air time. In most cases, it is almost an afterthought. This is problematic because effective leadership…READ MORE>
Above N Beyond Newsletter: Edition1
Delivering Organizational Success - Above N Beyond Newsletter Q4 2016 EditionREAD MORE>
Structured Change Management Aligned with Business Goals is Crucial for Success
A couple of years ago, Adobe made a major corporate shift from perpetual licensing to a subscription-based model. To make this transition successful, the company made several strategic structural changes that helped it align better with the new business model. Firstly, it aligned its digital…READ MORE>
Introducing the Above N Beyond Blog
The why, what and how of a balanced approach to organisational consulting It’s been over three decades since Arthur N. Turner wrote his defining piece on consulting titled ‘Consulting is more than giving advice’ in the Harvard Business Review; but every point that he’s made…READ MORE>
Sikander, The Tourist Guide, The Guide on Customer Experience…
We were in Agra a few days ago and as we were entering the Agra fort, a gentlemen walked towards us and asked if we needed a guide to show us around. He mentioned that he was one of the certified guides and would be…READ MORE>
Business Recruiter or Postmaster?
Hiring is exciting, challenging and plays a significant role in an organization’s growth. In my mind, it is one of the most complex and interesting aspect of people practices. After all, the talent pool is finite and almost everyone is vying for the same set…READ MORE>
How to Create a Great Day 1 at Work…
One of our friends recently moved into town. Their child goes to the same school as ours and is in the same class. She called a couple of days back asking if our daughter could help her daughter settle in class better. As a new…READ MORE>
About the Golden and Platinum Rule…
‘Knock, knock, knock’… and it grew louder. I sprang out of my bunk to check what the time was and it was around 1:30 AM. This is back in my shipping days and on that day I was the duty engineer. On a ship when…READ MORE>
About Offers and Counter Offers…
PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmarkar – Thank you. You make us proud. You fittingly deserve all the accolades and rewards coming your way… This blog, however is not about them, but about the interesting article that was doing the rounds last week –…READ MORE>
Celebrate and Celebrate in Absolute
I was speaking with the founders of a company that has done very well and grown fairly rapidly over the last few years. They, like many organizations, are going through the challenges of scale and growth and trying to overcome them meaningfully. As the discussion…READ MORE>
Better pay yes, but what about experience?
‘The person gets paid well, and hence should get the job done’, is a statement that I get to hear fairly often. This is said with very little thought on the experience that the individual goes through. While the theory that high pay means higher…READ MORE>
The Need For Drama (NFD)…
The other day, I was chatting with a friend about reunions. It seems like ‘that’ time of the year, for most in our age group. He mentioned that while it’s great fun to attend reunions, being there is even more interesting! Everyone is there, trying…READ MORE>
What is your ‘breaking point’?
Like any other organization, my partner and I were discussing about how we want to run and scale our company, when she turned around and asked a very interesting question: “What is your breaking point? Because the answer in turn will define a lot of…READ MORE>
I, me, myself…
A very nice advice I once got from a captain from my sailing days was – ‘As a leader, before you make a decision always try and wear the other person’s shoes’. He also said, when in doubt ‘Ask’ and ‘get advice and inputs because…READ MORE>
Office receptions and culture…
The next time you walk into the reception area of any office, look around… There is a fair chance you will get to learn a lot about the company. To create the first impressions, companies spend a lot of time doing up the decor, jazzing…READ MORE>
Paradoxes in Leadership
Consulting is a very interesting field and it forces one to re-evaluate every rule in the book, to constantly observe, and to quickly learn and adapt. As consultants, we come across many paradoxes in organizational methodology, environment, etc. One such paradox is the ‘Paradox in…READ MORE>
Rules, Rules and Rules…
Rules! Are they good? Are they bad? Some are carved in stone, some unspoken and some, my favorite type - just gentle guidelines. How does one choose - when to make rules, when to stick to them and most importantly, when to break them? Well,…READ MORE>
Women Fighter Pilots in IAF – Breaking the glass ceiling…
Amidst all the major headlines that hit last week, one news that came as refreshing and away from the stereotype was about women fighter pilots being commissioned in the Indian Air Force. Earlier this year, the President of India had announced that the government has…READ MORE>
The Art of Consequence Management!
Last week, I was at a forum with some senior industry leaders and the topic of challenges in growing and scaling their organizations came up. Many of them felt that one of the biggest challenges was creating the right next level, to manage scale and…READ MORE>
Patience – Is it a lost virtue?
Last week, I was on a packed flight back to Bangalore. Once boarding was complete, due to air traffic the plane was in the tarmac for about 45 minutes. People were getting upset, consistently asking the crew why the aircraft was not taking off and…READ MORE>
Say so long, farewell… but with a human touch…
In the world of business, hard decisions demand to be made constantly. From start-ups to large organizations, to institutions and even as individuals, we are all at some point in time faced with the challenge of taking some hard decisions. There has been some recent…READ MORE>
Understanding the context before saying – Yikes!
The other day at home, I walked up to the lunch table, saw a box of sweets and instantly said ‘Yikes!’. My mother and my wife gave me looks that could have killed me. I am trying to be on a low sugar diet and…READ MORE>
To risk or not to risk…
Last week my wife’s laptop charger stopped working. It was late in the evening and she was working on something critical, when her laptop went out of charge. She needed to finish the work that night, so a charger was critical. We called the manufacturer…READ MORE>
Growth yes… At what cost though?
This week, I had an interesting conversation with a very senior individual who has invested in multiple organizations. The conversation was around how, in today's competitive market many organizations are just driven by revenue only. The observation was that it was important to build a…READ MORE>
Automation, the road ahead and responsible governance…
This week saw some interesting news on trends and forecast of changes happening due to automation in our workplaces. There were three articles in particular that got me thinking on what potentially lies ahead. Broadly, this is what the articles said: 1. Indian IT industry…READ MORE>
Sir, please open the vent…
This one is from my initial shipping days. We were sailing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when suddenly the engine of the VLCC (very large crude carrier) stopped. As part of the normal drill, the entire engineering crew assembled in the control room…READ MORE>
Why I am ‘Dravid-ified’
It is the Indian Premier League (IPL) season and like all previous years, this year too there is excitement, animated discussions between colleagues at work, between friends after work, and once at home, with our families! Because, you know, when it comes to Cricket, everyone…READ MORE>
Rude, Ruder, Rudest…
The other day, I was at the airport early in the morning, dropping my parents. As you may know, the Bangalore airport gets very busy in the early hours and there is a lot of traffic, with people trying to find a spot to stop…READ MORE>
How do you deal with a fist closed leader?
This post is in continuation to my last week’s post, ‘Hands open or fist closed leader’. Many of us have had bosses who are 'fist closed' leaders. Dealing with such bosses for most parts, can be stressful, unpleasant and an experience that is not quite…READ MORE>
Hands open or fist closed leader?
A very wise person once told me, ‘when you try to hold sand in your hands, you have two choices. You can either try and close your fist, in which case the sand will only fall out of your hand and you will be able…READ MORE>
Sandwich to eat or say?
I once had a manager tell me during my appraisal, ‘Vivek, you have great potential, your intent is good but there are some very fundamental things that you are missing, you need to fix that quickly or else there will be impact but you are…READ MORE>
Am I not here and human?
The other day I stopped at my usual coconut water seller to buy some coconut water. Usually there is a young guy, with the kindest of smiles who I talk with. But that day, there was an elderly man sitting instead of him. I asked…READ MORE>
No… We Don’t Understand!
The other day, in a Leadership workshop with senior level managers, someone asked me – ‘How do you manage a person of the other gender?’ Not sure of the question, I checked on what he meant and he said ‘I am not comfortable having difficult…READ MORE>
It is an idea whose time has come! It almost seems like we have made the legendary Bell Curve, the ultimate villain of the performance story and in true movie style, it is ‘Kill Bell’ in many organizations. In my many discussions with managers over…READ MORE>