An Entrepreneurial journey...The way, the will, and the wonder!
By Mr. M. Ramani
MODUTEC Ready Panels Private Limited
Business is all about people, goes a clichéd phrase. We often wonder, do we have the right people in the right places or do we have round pegs in square holes? It’s another practice to imagine, if we were to restart our business, would we opt for the same team? If not, why not? Who are the performers, the developables and the non-developables? Does this introspection help us to improve the alignment? What does it take to survive, sustain and grow? And then glow! Clarity is critical. Clarity is the key. Clarity is the only way! It is not so much about them as it is about us! This has been a revelation, a retribution and a reality that is best seen sooner than later. It all starts with what do I want? What are my business aspirations? WHY? What is my mission? What is the influence I am desiring to make in the world? What do I know best which I am happy to learn more of, package it in a way that would be well received and take joy in contributing this to people at large? What are the products and services that I can best make, seek out the segments and geographies of Customers who would value this most and how do I go about serving them best?
This in short is strategic thinking, positioning and allowing for clarity, in the direction we seek to steer our vocation in. Once, this is in place and we fix our North Star, then we need to break it down into time zones, people verticals and define the functional aspirations. These can be broadly classified into • Sales • Marketing • Operations • Finance • Human Resources • Research & Development • Measurements, Monitoring & Management
Once this is clear, then the team is made to execute in a certain structure that brings hierarchy to help administrative, strategic and role clarity. Here is where the men are differentiated from the boys. The boys allocate, empower and expect results. The men, seek to understand their people aspirations, synergize to find ways to arrive at a mutual win and then jointly agree on the performance parameters, measurements and direction. The beauty of seeking individual aspirations, is that it firstly bonds and then clarifies the individual desires and helps in finding synergies for working at peak performance. Essentially, this happens only when the WHY is clear for both. The time spent together is an investment in mutual growth. Hence, clarity of where each would see themselves 3 years into the future is key to their adrenalin flow. This done, the Entrepreneur has to create the Organization structure within each function so as to have the team empower the departmental objectives and key result areas. These needs to be in alignment with the Business Aspiration. From this will emerge the individual Goal Sheets carrying the respective roles, responsibilities and measurement matrix. Agreements are to be arrived at as to what should be the performance parameters, timelines and reports to be periodically submitted for clarity in progress. The story does not end here, it actually begins. The system thus evolved by Mr. Rajiv Talreja, a maverick entrepreneur, (www.rajivtalreja.com) in his PACE (Performance Acceleration with Clarity, Culture & Competence Enhancement) system for success, is called STOP. It stands for Strategic, Tactical, Operational Performance review structure. This is the time and space when the common ground for coming together is reviewed with the functional teams aligning to reorient themselves with the business targets. Operations Meetings are to be conducted daily and not just amongst cross functional teams but also within teams. This is a stand-up meeting & ideally for not more than 15 mins. The human mind it is often cited to be akin to a drunken monkey that’s been stung by a scorpion. It goes off in multiple directions without an agenda. This daily Operations Meeting helps refocus, realign and review. The leader enquires on tasks people said they would do and checks if they were done or not. The energy created has to be positive, can do and empowering. Team members are encouraged to seek for help and a spirit of collaboration is enabled. The real enabler in these daily huddles is the preparation of the Leader which decides the possibilities for change and progress on this time invested.
Let me jump to the Strategic meetings now that should ideally be held once in 45 days or at least quarterly. The entrepreneur’s preparation combined with that of each Departmental Heads will be the key to progress here. While the context is set by the Entrepreneur, each HOD shares in brief his Departmental Breakthroughs & Breakdowns. Post these, the 360-degree appraisal comes into the agenda with each HOD being given feedback from the other HODs as to what he did well, what he didn’t do well in their opinion and what he could do differently. The learning’s are internalized with mutual respect. Each HOD is then acknowledged & rewarded by the Entrepreneur for their contributions. This celebration brings in bon-homie and a sense of clarity as to what is important for the Organization as well. By now clarity is collated as to what should be the priority focus ‘TO DO Tasks’ till the next Strategic Meeting. The benefits of achieving this (WHY) is discussed and SMART goals enabled and agreed to. An empowering name is given to this goal, just for easy reference & identification. The time will now be right to list the constraints as perceived by each HOD that could hinder greater achievements. Discussions are steered to understand the Root Causes and the Corrective and Preventive Actions thereof with the Why-Why approach. The process followed serves also as a system that gets reinforced in each HOD to enable this method amongst their subordinates in their respective departments. With clarity on the way forward, the list of tasks to be done to scale progress the Strategic meeting ends with a ‘sharing to inspire’ opportunity. Now the tactical meeting is nothing but a follow through on the task list which is by now segregated HOD wise. Ideally, the entrepreneur engages with relevant teams with appropriate broken-down task lists and seeks accountability. Here are the progress & solutions centric questions to be asked: REVIEW: 1. What was the goal? 2. What is done? 3. Because of what was done, what have been your breakthroughs and victories? 4. What is not done? REFLECT: 1. What stopped you? 2. What was missing from your end? 3. What did you learn? 4. Where else is this showing up in your work? RESULTS: 1. What will be different from your end? 2. What will you get done and by when? Here actions are not just evaluated but also celebrated. This is where the true transformation in the minds, spirit and energy of the team players happen. The aura of the team, thus created, reaches not just the length & breath of the Company but also to the Customer, who senses the commitment, the competence and the care for resolving his needs, desires and problems. The stage is set for a transformative drama.
“Make in India” is the call of our Prime Minister. With every Entrepreneur responding to this call with the best practices, as above, imagine what could be the exponential growth that could be enabled, the number of lives touched and the culture influenced! It’s time we all paused to STOP, systematize our way of working and scale our business possibilities. This is not an option, but a duty!
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