Ramesh Jude Thomas

President & CKO, Equitor Management Consulting

Over a series of performance workshops we recently held, one of the elements being debated was the role of Employee Satisfaction in driving shareholder value. According to a Wharton Research, between 1998 and 2005 Fortune magazine’s “ The 100 best companies to work for in America consistently outperformed the stock market by a factor of 2. The outperformance was consistent in both booms and recessions, and held steady when the sample was pulled back to 1984.

If we agree that capital and technology are essential but not substitutes of people, then what drives people to drive value…?

We often hear responses like “ responsibility, empowerment, personal growth,compensation, enabling environment” et al. If you notice, each of these seem to re-inforce the notion that generating share holder value is the responsibility of the organization as some amorphous entity and not the individual. In which case why is it that winning organizations are always about a group of highly motivated individuals(Infosys, Nike, Virgin, Microsoft,) and the rest are about alibis for mediocrity.Why is that there are so many more of the second type than the first.

To explore the difference between these two types of organizations, I used to let loose the word “Co-creation” in the late afternoons . It certainly woke them up but they just rubbed their eyes and thought “what is this new consulting concoction”?

Just as they were ready to doze off again , I asked “have you ever heard of a dog that made a rocket, or a cat that wrote a piece of software?”

The fact is that of the 1.6 million odd known species that inhabit our planet, many share common Maslovian needs of Physiology, Safety, Intimacy and Acceptance. However the only species that ever been invited to “actualization’ is the human being.

The sad reality is that most of us choose “co-existence” over “co-creation”, i.e. managing our insecurities rather than our individuality. Two outstanding examples might help make the point:

Steve Jobs built one of the most influential organizations of all time around the notion that man was born to create. Then why do so many of our species prefer to stand by and watch?

Australia’s dominance of world cricket for over the last one and a half decades was founded on the premise that every player is and must be a match winner in his own right if he wants to keep his place in the team. How many times have we seen them pull out of impossible situations, with one guy each time taking the opposition apart.

Do we think organizations really understand the power of hiring and inspiring for individual contribution. Or will we always prefer to wait for one Tendulkar to deliver Shareholder Salvation?


IPL is the Bluest Ocean Around

Ramesh Jude Thomas
President & CKO,
EQUiTOR Management Consulting Pvt Ltd.

Last week an old colleague of mine who runs Interbrand Australia mailed in for a ringside sense of the IPL phenomenon. And that’s exactly what it is. As much as we all have issues with the way cricket is run in this country, one has to admire the sheer audacity of the idea and indeed the way it has been executed and administered so far.
My mind went back instantly to a Blue Ocean session at INSEAD where I had used Kerry Packer as an outstanding example of breaking market boundaries. What IPL has managed is to successfully do a Packer on the “traditional” one day format. I can’t think of a better example of classic Blue Ocean than IPL.
1. Like Packer, IPL demonstrated brilliant business thinking which extended far beyond cricket. IPL is actually a new entertainment medium in this country. It competes seriously with Bollywood. And if ever proof was required here it is: some multiplexes have already decided to screen the IPL matches instead of the scheduled movies on the match dates
2. Like the Low Cost Carrier or I-tunes, it has successfully brought in new customer segments into the market. Housewives, old in-laws and young kids are prepared to give up F1, dinner or video games during matches.
3. Its most laudable achievement is that it has finally monetized the dominating share of mind the game has always enjoyed amongst 1.5 billion people across 8 countries. It was a shame that with the fan following it had, cricket as a legitimate commercial activity has always remained a fraction of the value of tennis, FI or even golf.
4. The most telling evidence of its reach and power is the attention it has received from the politicians. IPL shifted to SA only because the politicians tried to bully them out of the original schedule which clashed squarely with the general elections. In fact South Africa is a great blessing because the 4 hour time difference will now allow Indians to return from work and watch entire matches.
Any organisation can take a leaf out of Lalit Modi’s business leadership book: for sensing big opportunity, outstanding execution and smart conflict management.