doakonsult

Consulting.Philosophy.Travel

  • There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

Sunday Freebie!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on March 3, 2013

Click here for your free copy :)……and if you are late or prefer a pdf version….drop me a comment. I’d love to share a copy with you.

 

cover_final_1

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

To think outside the box…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 23, 2013

stepout

…step outside the box.

I have seen several senior executives repeatedly urge their employees to think outside the box. A million minutes each year are spent in meeting rooms to cultivate this thinking in a company and its approach. Sadly, the outcome in most instances is limited to a few momentary flashes of brilliance and then a return to routine.

Most members of leadership teams fail to realize that simply urging their employees to stretch their imagination is just not enough. It is equally important to reveal to them what the ideal state looks like. I cannot expect the manager of a production line in India to meet the expectations of a customer in France unless I have established a channel of communication between the two.

The Innovation Circle at one of the companies I worked with was immensely fruitful. The key to their success was the exposure that the company provided to its employees. Every month, trips were arranged for the line operators. While some of the visits were to other factories in the district, others were fun excursions to neighboring tourist hotspots. The idea was to step outside the factory and expose our senses to something other than the sight and sound of our factory. There was something to be learnt from everything outside. And that learning reflected in the cost reduction and innovation projects that the workers implemented back at work.

The same applies to senior executives. They cannot evolve and innovate until they keep themselves informed about the changes occurring in the business eco-system around them.

No radical change in thought or approach inside is possible without witnessing an equally radical change outside.

To think outside the box, step outside the box.

Posted in Management Consulting | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Immigration

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 19, 2013

Its not easy to be an immigrant. While in most cases it is in search of a better life, it does come with a price, Sacrifice. An immigrant sacrifices his cultural and family ties, he sacrifices the innate bond that he shares with his motherland, the land where he is born. Its not easy to swear allegiance to a new nation.

I find it bewildering that historical references are cited to support arguments on either side of the immigration debate. Here is a beautiful piece from the book “History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300” by Romila Thapar.

One of the current debates relating to the beginnings of Indian history involves both archaeology and linguistics, and attempts to differentiate between indigenous and alien peoples. But history has shown that communities and their identities are neither permanent nor static. Their composition changes either with the arrival of new people in an area, and the possible new technologies that are introduced, or by historical changes of a more local but far-reaching kind. Some areas are more prone to change, such as borderlands, mountain passes and fertile plains, whereas densely forested areas or deserts may retain their isolation for a longer period until such time as there is a demand on them for resources. To categorize some people as indigenous and others as alien, to argue about the identity of the first inhabitants of the subcontinent, and to try and sort out these categories for the remote past, is to attempt the impossible. It is precisely in the intermixture of peoples and ideas that the genesis of cultures is to be found. Such arguments arise from the concerns of present-day privilege and power, rather than from the reading of history.

The world was never an island, and will never be one.

Posted in Political Philosophy | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

Just Published! FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 19, 2013

I have read a lot of books on Strategy Execution and Leadership. But FASTBREAK comes closest to perfection. It is one guide that I as a Business Head can relate with. John doesn’t beat around the bush. He knows exactly what modern businesses need and presents an exhaustive yet simple framework to help senior executives realize their vision. A must read for both leaders and those who aspire to lead.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Limp Sunday

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 17, 2013

cover_final_german

I know I’m happy when I spend my Sunday listening to this

this

and this

and knowing that the German Translation of my essay “You Can Be a Buddha Too: Of Desires and Wants” was read by more than 500 online buyers in January 🙂 You can find it here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Chosen Ones

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 16, 2013

chosen

We are all God’s chosen people, its just that God doesn’t choose us all at the same time.

For me, being “chosen” means to be able to connect with the Divine, to be able to be one with the other world. And that connection is something that we are born with, but fades away as we blend into the ways of the material world. The opportunity to reconnect with the Divine beckons us again, but not when we want it to, rather, when the Divine wishes. It is at that moment that we become the “Chosen Ones”. For some people this reconnection may be momentary, while for others it may last for several years.

And more often than not, the connection is reinstated when times of prosperity have passed us by. It is in periods of hopelessness and despair that the human ego is crushed and this heightens our spiritual senses, making way for the divine contact.

So embrace the difficult periods of life with gratitude. Connect with the Divine. You have been Chosen.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mixtape

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 16, 2013

seven

“…most people, when in prosperity, are so over brimming with wisdom (however inexperienced they maybe), that they take every offer of advice as an insult, whereas in adversity they know not where to run, but beg and pray for counsel from every passer-by.”

Benedict de Spinoza, A Theologica-Political Treatise

While Spinoza traces the root of superstition in fear and despair, I couldn’t help but realize how often the above situation plays itself out in the corporate world. While some foolhardy, egoistic CEOs find it demeaning to consult their team members, those on the other end of the spectrum lose sight of the solution in search of way too many reassurances. A true leader is a good assessor of his own judgement and knows where to seek counsel when he lacks the ability to make the right call himself.

On the topic of similarities in geographically separated cultures, here is another one. In Vedic Astrology, every person’s life assumed to be 120 years) is divided into  9 unequal phases, each phase ruled by a planet. One of these phases is ruled by Ketu and has a duration of 7 years. This phase is characterized by the person being stripped off his or her material comforts and being left with the bare minimum required to survive. A seven year period where the person may struggle financially, the material outflow being more than the inflow. Seven years, the duration of the famine in Egypt, stated in Genesis.

Posted in Management Consulting, Philosophy | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 14, 2013

Red Rose

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

[Repost] Management Consulting 101:Have a Problem, Google It!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 14, 2013

I used the phrase “Google it!” twice at work today. Each time I was asked information that could so easily be accessed on any online search engine. So here’s a repost of one of my earliest thoughts on this blog:

This advice goes out to everyone out there doing anything, anywhere. If you have a problem, Google* it! Chances are that many on this planet have faced the same or similar problems and have shared the solutions online. It will save you a lot of time you would otherwise spend banging your head against the wall.

And Management Consultants in particular need to follow this approach. Lets face it, given the nature of capitalism, there are only a finite types of problems in the world. And most of those problems have been tackled and details posted somewhere online in the form of a case study. So the approaches to problem solving are limited and out in public domain. The real value addition lies firstly, in identifying the unique parameters that influence the process in which the problem lies, secondly, innovation in the form of tweaked derivative of an existing solution for the problem at hand and finally, implementing the solution in the unique Eco-system that the problem belongs to.

E.g when manufacturing moved to China, the management there faced production issues that were faced by factories in the United States in their infancy. The new problems were not new in nature but new to the Chinese Eco-system. The solutions that were implemented were derived from US factories and tweaked to adapt to the new environment.

There is no shame in incorporating Googling* as your first step of problem solving. It saves a lot of time and lets you use more of your grey cells in the real value addition.

*Googling refers to the act of searching. This could be both online as well as offline.

Posted in Management Consulting | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 6, 2013

What China does is wrong. It throws the principles of fair trade out of the window….and for some reason we let it get away with it.

Tibetan Blog Station

Source: Lhakar Diaries

deathbychina1013x1463-709x1024This past week, I saw the film ‘Death by China’. This film is based on the book written by Peter Navarro and Greg Autry. I didn’t know what to expect going into this film, I hadn’t heard anything about the film, but my doubts about this film were instantly soothed when I heard the sweet, smooth voice of Martin Sheen begin narrating film. I remembered that he had also narrated Tibet Cry of the Snowlion, so Death by China automatically gained some credibility with me. Like any other documentary film, the footage consisted of many interviews, and within the first, say, 5 minutes of the film, Lhakpa Tsering of the Free Tibet World Bike Tour was shown being interviewed about his views on China’s economic prowess while holding a sign advocating for Tibetan freedom. Throughout the film, Tibet was referred to numerous times.

While I…

View original post 857 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

One small step…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 5, 2013

Aur

I’ve been a shy guy most my life. Till graduation I would not even be able to talk to girls without a stutter. But, for the first and very last time, nine years ago, in a small cafe, I mustered enough courage to walk up to a girl and introduce myself. We talked, went on bike rides, drank, talked, drank and got married.

And in the last six months, two of my best friends have found their soul mates in two of my wife’s friends. Yesterday I was at one of the two weddings. As my friend the groom, and the bride walked down the aisle, sweet memories of that beautiful day nine years back flashed across my mind; the day I had daringly walked up to this beautiful girl and said, “Hi, can I join you for a cup of coffee?”

One small step for me, one giant leap for my friends 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

Your partner is a Capitalist too!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 3, 2013

outsourcing

“If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles… if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In present day world of business globalization, it is equally important to know your “friends” or “partners”.

The past decade has seen an explosion of cross-cultural joint ventures and partnerships as corporations headed to developing countries in search of cheaper labor and a potential market. One of the many vehicles of entry being used is Contract Manufacturing (CM), a quick and low cost way of entering a new market. Unfortunately, CM doesn’t come without its inherent risk, that of being taken for a ride by the local manufacturing partner.

What many companies fail to recognize is that partners in new markets are Capitalists too and they too are in it to maximize profits. Their incentive to stray off the ethical path is strong, and many local companies fail to resist the temptation. In corruption ridden developing nations, statutory compliance is merely a piece of paper signed by a bribed authority. It is impossible to detect by carrying out a day long audit. Entrepreneurs have mastered the art of passing every audit under the sky. Another art that local businessmen have become proficient in is “cover up”. Manufacturing units that in routine business look like hell, get turned into 5 star facilities when there is a client visit. Having a third party conduct due diligence is just not enough. You have to know your partner yourself, not from second hand information.

So if you are a company that is looking to expand operations into a developing country, know your local partner. And the best way to know your partner is to be close to him. While I am in favor of reducing capital costs by sharing machinery and facility with a local partner, I firmly believe that leadership and management should not be outsourced. Have your own hands and feet on the ground. Recruit your own local team that works closely with the local partner. Run your partnership like a marriage and not a long distance relationship.

You can occupy new territory with leased weapons, but you cannot hold it with leased soldiers.

Posted in Management Consulting | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

state of nature vs State Authority

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 29, 2013

“In the state of nature, therefore, sin is inconceivable; it can only exist in a state, where good and evil are pronounced on by common consent, and where everyone is bound to obey the State authority. Sin, then, is nothing else but disobedience, which is therefore punished by the right of the State only….in the state of nature, no one is by common consent master of anything, nor is there anything in nature, which can be said to belong to one man rather than another, all things are common to all.”

Benedict de Spinoza, Ethica

Somewhere along the road, we drifted from living in a state of nature and slid into a civilized society living under a State Authority. This transition is  reflected in the way our religions have evolved, from ancient beliefs that were so closely aligned to natural elements to modern tenets that reek of authoritarianism. In India, Vedic Hinduism gave way to the Bhakti and Brahmanic movements. In Europe and Middle East, the Abrahamic religions replaced ancient pagan beliefs. Tortured by the excesses of an authoritative state, people found comfort in the arms of an authoritative God. Only an aggressive protector could save us from the struggles of a life that was now being governed by a State. We did not believe in the “passive” Nature Gods anymore because we did not live in a state of nature anymore.

The bottomline though is that we are intrisically a part of nature. Solutions to problems relating to our bodies, minds and souls cannot be found in the artificial state we have created around us. Hence I encourage people to try to connect with our roots, to connect with the elements that have formed us. Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Space hold the answers to all our questions. Adding to them the sixth element, our mind, completes the puzzle of life.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Pakistan bashing week?…..nah!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 28, 2013

After publishing my last post, I thought of dedicating this week to bashing my neighbors. With the recent beheading of Indian soldiers on our western border, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been an all out military confrontation. In fact I’m surprised that we haven’t attacked them in more than a decade. While my heart goes out to the families of the martyrs, Im glad that our government has exhibited a lot of wisdom by showing restraint.

And in line with my government’s position, I too shall be kind to my ill-guided neighbors. Why waste my thoughts on a country that had no logical reason for being created? Why bother about a country that is an economic disaster? Why wage war with a bunch of provinces adamant on self-destruction? Why engage with an entity that can boast Afghanistan and Iran as its neighbors? Why write anything about a country, when even my laptop crashes when I am writing this post about it?

Not worth it. A patriot has spoken.

Posted in Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

(Political) Joke of the Day

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 28, 2013

Enjoy 🙂

A Sardar (A Sikh from the state of Punjab in India), a German and a Pakistani got arrested consuming alcohol which is a severe offense in Saudi Arabia , so for the terrible crime they are all sentenced 20 lashes each of the whip.

As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik announced:

“It’s my first wife’s birthday today, and she has asked me to allow each of you one wish before your whipping..”

The German was first in line, he thought for a while and then said: “Please tie a pillow to my back..”

This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes & the German had to be carried away bleeding and crying with pain.

The Pakistani was next up. After watching the German in horror he said smugly: “Please fix two pillows to my back.”

But even two pillows could only take 15 lashes & the Pakistani was also led away whimpering loudly.

The Sardar was the last one up, but before he could say anything, the Sheikh turned to him and said:
“You are from a most beautiful part of the world and your culture is one of the finest in the world. For this, you may have two wishes!”

“Thank you, your Most Royal and Merciful highness,” Sardar replied.

“In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you give me not 20, but 100 lashes.”

“Not only are you an honourable, handsome and powerful man, you are also very brave.” The Sheik said with an admiring look on his face.

“If 100 lashes is what you desire, then so be it.

“And what is your second wish, ?” the Sheik asked.

Sardar smiled and said, “Tie the Pakistani to my back” !!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Divine Sunday

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 27, 2013

bless you

Came across an interesting piece this morning.

There are only 3 ways in which God responds to our prayers.

1) Yes.

2) Not yet.

3) Wait, there is something better in store for you.

Reminded me of my post “Its not about If…its about when”

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

A Perfect Constitution for Imperfect People

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 26, 2013

indian_flag

On this day in 1950, India formally adopted its Constitution and became a Republic. The unthinkable was achieved and an unknown future awaited 350 million people. A population that had been oppressed for over thousand years by hundreds of invading armies, was free. Indians finally had a country to themselves and for the first time in history, the right to vote. We became a democratic republic. Were we prepared for it? I doubt it.

My belief in the righteousness of the Indian Constitution is total and unwavering. A country as diverse as ours has been a stable democracy for over 60 years. We have faced no military coups or major religious conflicts. If that was not miraculous enough, we have grown into a significant economic entity and are headed in the right direction. Slowly, yes, but surely.  Everytime I look at the demographic spread of India, my respect for the founding fathers and their foresight only grows. The fact that we are still a united country is a testament to the greatness of our Constitution.

But what explains the ills that pervade the Indian society today? Why are we ranked so low in almost all human development indices? Why are women still not safe in India and why is there so much poverty and destitution in the country?  Any panelled discussion on the above topics inevitably ends up pointing fingers at our politicians and their corrupt ways. While I do not agree with the attitude of blaming our politicians for all the mess, I am particularly disturbed when the “civil society” raises doubts about our constitutional institutions. And this questioning of our Constitution and our system has become a fashionable trend lately. To all these people my answer is clear, “Ours is a perfect constitution”. We are “Imperfect People”.

In a democracy, the government and politicians are a reflection of the people. In India, I have absolutely no doubt about the verity of this. We have corrupt politicians and bureaucracy because we are corrupt. Women do not feel safe on our cities’ road because we in our houses do not respect our women. The devils that commit heinous crimes like rapes are no strangers to our land. They have come from among us. We do not have good infrastructure, because we refuse to pay our taxes. We have such economic inequality because our caste system has tuned us into accepting an unequal society. We have a population explosion problem because we “f#@ked up”, literally! I could go on and on.

The devil lies within us. Lets not blame the politicians or the constitutional institutions for our own failures. Lets be thankful that our great constitution gives us a chance to become the greatest nation in the history of the world. We can do this. Lets become the greatest human beings in the world, and leave the rest to the constitution.

Thats it. I’m done.

Posted in Philosophy, Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

If it sounds good, then it must be true – A Symptom of Denial

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 24, 2013

Denial is a dangerous state of mind. And most recently I have seen some of the best “leaders” display it.Much to my dismay.

Management consulting is a wonderful experience. I am usually called when something is either going wrong or is already in the pits. And many times it is too late. I wish people called me during there good times instead, because it is then that lasting improvements can be seeded in an organization’s working. I often mention Genesis 41:54 and how Joseph’s plan saved Egypt. In the corporate world it is even simpler. Preventive measures can keep the “famine” away forever. And these preventive measures need to be undertaken during good times.

We live in a world that bombards us with data. True data and false data. All conceivable calculations and estimations are presented to analyse trends and strategize businesses. However, sometimes excessive data is injurious. Especially during times of crisis. And this effect is amplified when the decision makers enter a state of denial. In such a state, people tend to look at data that conforms with their plan of action, no matter how wrong that action is.

If it sounds good, then it must be true. If the data presented to them justifies their ill-planned actions, then the data must be true. If the data does not agree with their plan of action, then it must be false. Alas! Denial is an easy state to slip into. It makes us see things the way we want to see them and not for what they really are.

Antidote:

Do not put the cart before the horse. Do not plan actions before analyzing data, both subjective and objective. Pre-conceived ideas and actions corrupt our analytical appreciation and interpretation of reality.

As always, comments welcomed.

Posted in Management Consulting | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Lets Do This

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 11, 2013

62 Fast Tips to Get UnStuck
By Robin Sharma
Author of the #1 Bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”

1.        Believe in your vision and gifts when no one else believes in your vision and gifts.
2.        Start your day with 20 minutes of exercise.
3.        Make excellence your way of being (versus a once in a while event).
4.        Be on time (bonus points: be early).
5.        Be a celebrator of other’s talents versus a critic.
6.        Stop watching TV. (Bonus points: sell your tv and invest the cash in learning and self-education).
7.        Finish what you start.
8.        Remember that your diet affects your moods so eat like an athlete.
9.        Spend an hour a day without stimulation (no phone+no FaceBook+no noise).
10.        Release the energy vampires from your life. They are destroying your performance.
11.        Write in a journal every morning. And record gratitude every night.
12.        Do work that scares you (if you’re not uncomfortable often, you’re not growing very much).
13.        Make the choice to let go of your past. It’s dusty history. And polluting your future.
14.        Commit to being “Mozart-Level Good” at your work.
15.        Smile more (and tell your face).
16.        Do a collage filled with images of your ideal life. Look at it once a day for focus and inspiration.
17.        Plan your week on a schedule (clarity is the DNA of mastery).
18.        Stop gossiping (average people love gossip; exceptional people adore ideas).
19.        Read “As You Think”.
20.        Read “The Go-Getter”.
21.        Don’t just parent your kids–develop them.
22.        Remember that victims are frightened by change. And leaders grow inspired by it.
23.        Start taking daily supplements to stay in peak health.
24.        Clean out any form of “victim speak” in your vocabulary and start running the language of leadership and possibility.
25.        Do a nature walk at least once a week. It’s renew you (you can’t inspire others if you’re depleted yourself).
26.        Take on projects no one else will take on. Set goals no one else will do.
27.        Do something that makes you feel uncomfortable at least once every 7 days.
28.        Say “sorry” when you know you should say “sorry”.
29.        Say “please” and “thank you” a lot.
30.        Remember that to double your income, triple your investment in learning, coaching and self-education.
31.        Dream big but start now.
32.        Achieve 5 little goals each day (“The Daily 5 Concept” I shared in “The Leader Who Had No Title” that has transformed the lives of so many). In 12 months this habit will produce 1850 little goals–which will amount to a massive transformation.
33.        Write handwritten thank you notes to your customers, teammates and family members.
34.        Be slow to criticize and fast to praise.
35.        Read Walter Isaacson’s amazing biography on Steve Jobs.
36.        Give your customers 10X the value they pay for (“The 10X Value Obsession”).
37.        Use the first 90 minutes of your work day only on value-creating activities (versus checking email or surfing the Net).
38.        Breathe.
39.        Keep your promises.
40.        Remember that ordinary people talk about their goals. Leaders get them done. With speed.
41.        Watch the inspirational documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.
42.        Know that a problem only becomes a problem when you choose to see it as a problem.
43.        Brain tattoo the fact that all work is a chance to change the world.
44.        Watch the amazing movie “The Intouchables”.
45.        Remember that every person you meet has a story to tell, a lesson to teach and a dream to do.
46.        Risk being rejected. All of the great ones do.
47.        Spend more time in art galleries. Art inspires, stimulates creativity and pushes boundaries.
48.        Read a book a week, invest in a course every month and attend a workshop every quarter. 
49.        Remember that you empower what you complain about.
50.        Get to know yourself. The main reason we procrastinate on our goals is not because of external conditions; we procrastinate due to our internal beliefs. And the thing is they are stuck so deep that we don’t even know they exist. But once you do, everything changes.
51.        Read “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”.
52.        Know your values. And then have the guts to live them–no matter what the crowd thinks and how the herd lives.
53.        Become the fittest person you know.
54.        Become the strongest person you know.
55.        Become the kindest person you know.
56.        Know your “Big 5″–the 5 goals you absolutely must achieve by December 31 to make this year your best yet (I teach my entire goal-achieving process, my advanced techniques on unleashing confidence and how to go from being stuck to living a life you adore in my online program “Your Absolute Best Year Yet”).
57.        Know that potential unexpressed turns to pain.
58.        Build a strong family foundation while you grow your ideal career.
59.        Stop being selfish.
60.        Give your life to a project bigger than yourself.
61.        Be thankful for your talents.
62.        Stand for iconic. Go for legendary. And make history.

This is YOUR time. Now’s YOUR moment. Let’s do this! 🙂

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

My management lesson for the day

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 9, 2013

Civilizations may be likened to mountain ranges, rising through aeons of geologic time, only to have the forces of erosion slowly but ineluctably nibble them down to the level of their surrounding. Within the far shorter time span of human history, civilizations, too, are liable to erosion as the special constellation of circumstances which provoked their rise passes away, while neighboring people lift themselves to new cultural heights by borrowing from or otherwise reacting to the civilized achievement.

McNeill, The Rise of the West

I find McNeill’s thought very universal. It can be effectively applied to a company’s growth in a competitive market. Market leaders need to realize that “circumstances” which provoke their rise are destined to pass away. Competitors will sooner or later, by either “borrowing” or “reacting”, nullify that advantage. There can be no stronger case against complacency. Continuous innovation and improvement is an eternal truth. Accept it or quit the game.

Posted in Management Consulting, Philosophy | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: