• 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.

Posts Tagged ‘business’

Doing Business Abroad: Cultural Differentiator

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on March 7, 2013

Here is an interesting piece from “Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles” by Ruchir Sharma. It highlights a very subtle yet significant difference between two types of nations/societies, the “high context” and the “low context”. An important lesson for corporates looking to expand business across the globe.

Both India and Brazil are “high context” societies, a term popularized by the anthropologist Edward Hall to describe cultures in which people are colorful, noisy, quick to make promises that cannot always be relied on, and a bit casual about meeting times and deadlines. These societies tend to be family oriented, with tight relationships even beyond the immediate family, based on close ties built over long periods of time. In an environment this familiar, there is a lot that goes unsaid- or is said very briefly-because values are deeply shared and much is implicitly understood from context. The spoken word is often flowery and vague; apologies are long and formal. “Low context,’ in contrast, describes societies like the United States and Germany in which people are individual oriented, care about privacy, and are more likely to stick to timelines and their word. People tend to be on the move, to have many brief relationships, and thus rely on simple, open communications and codified rules to guide behavior.

Business is not just about numbers.

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

Your partner is a Capitalist too!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on February 3, 2013


“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 »

[Repost] Benedict de Spinoza:More Transparency in Both Government and Corporations

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 22, 2012

“It has been one of the songs of those who thirst after absolute power that the interest of the state requires that its affairs should be conducted in secret…But the more such arguments disguise themselves under the mask of public welfare, the more oppressive is the slavery to which they will lead…Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evils secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens.They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in the time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.”- Benedict de Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus

One of the things that have always intrigued me is why Cabinet meetings of our ministers,that discuss important issues and Bills, are held behind closed doors and hidden from the view of the very public that those legislative actions are going to affect. Are they plotting against the citizens during time of peace?

Lets extend this argument to corporate big-wigs.Several strategy decisions are made in secret and for obvious reasons. One, to prevent sensitive data from reaching competition. Agreed. However, an arrangement should be made to video record these meetings and display them to the shareholders once the results of the decisions have been fully realized in the public domain. Shareholders, like citizens in a democracy should have the right to view the decision making process of the executives theyย  pay huge salaries to “protect their interests”.

After 60 years of Independence, India finally has a Right To Information Act. A bittersweet case of better late than never; generations from now it will be recognized as the one legislation that saved democracy in this country.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Free Download Coupon Code for my new Ebook

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 2, 2012

I must admit. This ebook comes totally out of schedule and was not planned until yesterday. A friend of mine who teaches at a local village school asked me if I could put together seven of my posts that she had selected in the form of an ebook. She wanted the essays in a compiled manner to facilitate discussing them in a Debate club that she conducts at the school. So I spent a whole day putting together an ebook for her and her students, yes it took me a whole day because I edited a lot of the posts with thoughts that had come up since they were published.

And since I put in a day’s work into producing this, I decided to share it with you all as well. The ebook is published on Smashwords and as always, for readers of this blog it is free ๐Ÿ™‚ (for a week at least).

Just follow the following steps to grab your free copy.

1) Go to the books page here

2) Enter the Code EZ47H prior to checkout to get your free copy.

I have edited the essays to incorporate thoughts that have developed from subsequent discussions with readers of the posts. Some of the posts are from a while back and you may enjoy reading them. I look forward to your harsh critique ๐Ÿ™‚ Please bear with the editing if you find any glitches. I continuously work on correcting any oversights.

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

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