Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turn your training center into a profit center David Beecham, Director Training was due to return to the UK after completing his two year stint in I

Turn your training center into a profit center

David Beecham, Director Training was due to return to the UK after completing his two year stint in India. The board had to make a choice between inviting another person from the parent company on a deputation to India for another two years or groom a successor from within the company to succeed David. When David was asked, he felt no one in his department was ready to step up to this role and asked them either to look out within India or check with the HR identify a successor for him. David was also equally forthcoming to develop any candidate the Indian management put up to him and asked them to invite applications to field the position he was vacating.

Everyone was surprised when Anil Sharma, a 35 years young bright engineer MBA was named the successor. This has been the first among the several positions held by the overseas directors that were to have a person of India origin stepping up to the mantle. Speculation and curiosity triggered a corporate grapevine that doubted the fairness and objectivity with which the senior management team had gone about selecting Anil. The HR Director understood the gravity of the grapevine to turn into cynicism and decided to convert the crisis into an opportunity.

Anil was invited to share with all the contenders to this position the approach to training that he recommended to the board. The HR Director encouraged Anil to face up to the ‘heat’ and earn the legitimacy he would anyway require to stay successful in his new role. This is what Anil presented to them.

“I stated my career five years back in this company as a complete novice. Upon joining the company I felt so much overwhelmed by everyone else around me that professed to be an expert while I had to learn everything anew the hard way. It was evident to me right from start that unless I learnt continually, I will never succeed as a professional that I aspired to be.

However I felt that the spirit of the culture of learning that was essential for growth was not reflected in the philosophy we chose to adopt at work nor conveyed faithfully to all the fellow employees.

For example,

    • Our purpose lacked clarity and I aligned it to the development of vocational skills necessary to stay employable.
    • Second, we never mandated that training should translate into results within a short time window.
    • We never bothered to check if the effects of training were enduring enough after the completion of training.
    • Did we align the training intervention to the collective vision of personal and organizational excellence?
    • Not everybody learnt best in the class rooms; why not make it self paced and self assisted?
    • Why were we throwing money and efforts at people who did not demonstrate an appetite for learning?
    • We were giving away our proprietary know how by outsourcing our training.
    • Last of all we did not have a measure of effectiveness reflected against a business goal of market, knowledge or price leadership.

After all it is the measures that drive performance ( see table)

So I recommended giving the position to me so that I can run the Training center as a Learning center with a clear profit motive. I am reassured by the confidence evinced by the Board in my conviction.

I solicit the support of each one of you in making this idea a success.

There is so much at stake for all of us and every one of us in particular.

Thank you”


Measures that drive performance

  1. Subject matter of training
  • Sunset skills
  • Azimuth skills
  • Sunrise skills
  1. Lead time for fruition
  • Instant
  • A week end
  • A 5 day work week
  1. Shelf life of peak performance
  • Quarter
  • Half year
  • Full year
  1. Strategic intent
  • Retention of market position
  • Aggressive advancement
  1. Delivery mode
  • Self paced learning
  • Assisted learning
  1. Learners’ profile
  • Ambitious
  • Audacious
  • Accountable
  1. Content
  • Proprietary
  • Vanilla
  1. Goals
  • Market leadership
  • Knowledge leadership
  • Price leadership

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Market metrics for the hypermarket

Diwakar Kamath, the Marketing Director, was an object of envy for most of his peers. He was not merely endowed with a gift of gab but was also fortunate to live up to all his commitments. He was considered a seer and enjoyed such a high reputation for trust that no one would dare to question him. Yet, they were always curious to know how he was on top of every situation and met every eventualitywith great élan.

Diwakar was presented with a challenge by the board. The board had decided to build a new plant with a capacity of 30,000 units of production per year. The current consumption levels were at a mere 1200 unit per annum. Can Diwakar build up the demand base by 25 times within the next 18 months?

While everyone expected Diwakar to get rattled, he surprised everyone with his customary self assurance and composure in the face of such a daunting challenge. Diwakar sought to allay their apprehensions by electing to share his homework at the next board meeting.

“The magic of marketing lies in the state of preparedness for change. The market today is no different from Twenty 20 cricket; a limited over game that no one can claim to be a winner for ever. As long as we track to the asking rate of wickets or the run rate, we can be a winner. We have to make it our business to win each match we play everyday. That is all that counts. Since the market is so dynamic, we have to anticipate change and be prepared for every eventuality and stay a step ahead of the trends and move in with speed to be a winner.”

Unable to contain their surprise, one of the members proclaimed “Seems too simple to be credible. How would you know how good you are at every moment?”

Chuckling to himself, Diwakar presented his dashboard for market dynamics that tracked the trends of eight indices (see table) he used to continually assess his state of preparedness to meet the exigencies of the market place.

“My competitors will begin their homework not 18 months hence when you reach your full production capacity; as soon as this board decides to invest in a new plant, you will start talking to the financial institutions. That would trigger the competition to get working on their strategies to contain our presence.

If I have to ensure that you sleep peacefully at nights, I have to stay ahead of you in my state of preparedness. I have to ensure that a competent team in marketing researches on the dynamics of the market round the clock and prepares me in advance. If I have to command your trust and enjoy my professional reputation, I have to do my homework and always be battle ready.

The market worships winners and discounts losers.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Have I put your apprehensions to rest?”

Dashboard for market dynamics

  1. Quick Market Intelligence
  • Market share dominance
  • Price leadership
  • Growth engines
  • Triggers for a switch
  1. Lead time for demand creation
  • Replacement
  • Substitution
  • Displacement
  • Innovation
  1. Marketing pilots
  • Quick hits
  • Short term pilots
  • Full scale roll out
  • Preemptive strikes
  1. Order book status review
  • Days of production
  • Rate of growth of consumption
  1. Demand supply equation
  • Receivables days
  • Risk appetite
  1. Stocks in pipeline
  • Shelf life of merchandize
  1. End user dynamics
  • Mark up differential
  • Learning for fun
  1. Market reputation audit
  • Fairness
  • Responsiveness
  • Goodwill