Monthly Archives: September 2013

Growth as a Strategy at General Electric

General Electric

General Electric’s long-term audacious strategy is to grow the company organically two to three times faster than world GDP. This means supporting an average organic revenue growth rate of about 8%. As part of realizing this strategy, GE’s leadership has positioned GE as a leader in all the markets in which it competes. It has dropped underperforming businesses and has aggressively pursued the Ecomagination brand of energy-efficient products.

Lately, GE has its sights sets on becoming the leader in the worldwide energy and power infrastructure market. All this while designing and implementing a process that could consistently lure new revenue streams from existing businesses.

Growth as a Strategy at General Electric

During the last decade, General Electric has avoided the usual portrayal of a conglomerate by syndicating businesses with resilient synergies and prospects for sharing of information and processes across business lines. Supplemented by its capability to devote large amounts of money in expanding businesses, GE can overcome almost any hurdle to enter a new market.

Here are various initiatives that GE has implemented to bring to fruit it’s growth strategy:

  • GE has fine-tuned its aptitude for squeaking out operating efficiencies.
  • GE has aggressively globalized its talent base and sought diversity in its employees and customers.
  • GE managers are empowered to identify particularly effective approaches in one area of the company, share those business practices, and spread them across the rest of the company.
  • Through lean engineering and lean processes, GE has aggressively cast out superfluous costs incurred by overcomplicated processes and proliferation of alternatives in sourcing, product development, and service offerings
  • GE has focused the attention of the top management and organizational resources on promising ideas for efficiency improvements and new streams of organic revenue growth percolating up from anywhere in its organization

The company has been largely out of favor with institutional investors since the financial crisis of 2007–08. GE has really been trying to optimize its portfolio and reduce its exposure to financial services.

GE’s presence in worldwide markets presents it limitless access to more information on the direction of global economic activity than many companies of its size and stature. This has helped GE get its feet on the ground in emerging economies and position itself for growth.

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Posted in Business and Strategy

Behavioral Interview Questions by Competency: Team Work

Behavioral Interview Questions: Team Work

Team Work is the ability to share due credit with coworkers; display enthusiasm and promote a friendly group working environment.

  • Behavioral Interview Question: “Helping a team organize itself to get results is often a difficult thing to do. Tell me about a time when you had your greatest success in helping organize a team. What specific results were accomplished by the team?”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate help create a common goal/vision, and/or use a feedback/reward system, to coalesce a team? Were there an absence of team activity and/or use of pressure to achieve results?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “The term ‘participative management’ has been used for years to describe a technique of building a team spirit by collecting suggestions from others. Describe a time when you used suggestions to build team commitment.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate commit to productive participation by such things as asking meaningful questions, defining group authority and/or provision of adequate resources/time? Was there inexperience with, or rejection of, participative decision-making?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “It is sometimes important to deal with a negative attitude to build team motivation. Give me an example of a time when you confronted a negative attitude successfully with the result of building teamwork and morale.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate recognize a negative attitude in himself/herself or another person, have insight into its causes, and take constructive corrective action? Ws there a reaction to an attitude problem with little evidence for productive action?
  • Behavioral Interview Question: “We cannot do everything ourselves. Give me an example of a time when you dealt with this reality by creating a special team effort. Highlight the special aspects of the situation which best demonstrate your skill in this area.”
    Evaluating the candidate’s answer: Did the candidate use participative decision-making, goal setting, and/or constructive confrontation to build commitment to perform separate tasks in an integrated/productive way? Was there a directive/autocratic style in establishing team roles and supervising performance?
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Posted in Education and Career

25 Secrets of Great Public Speakers

Presentation Most people dread the prospect of being asked to give an oral presentation or public speech. They are fearful of appearing foolish. Here are a few lessons that can make you overcome your apprehensions and help you become a great public speaker.

  • Before your speech, loosen your body and breathe deeply.
  • Incorporate an outline into the talk
  • Work on gestures and your voice
  • Practice makes perfect
  • Finish before you time is up.
  • Have no fear. Be brave. Fear of public speaking is misplaced.
  • Summarize and be prepared for questions
  • Avoid information overload
  • Organize your information. Learn the most effective ways to use props and visual aids.
  • Investigate the audience and the logistics
  • Dress for success
  • Join Toastmasters to improve your speech.
  • Use rhetorical questions to hold the audience’s attention
  • Always end on time.
  • Do not worry if you fumble.
  • Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you have told them.
  • Memorize the first three minutes of your speech or presentation. After those first few minutes, assuming you know the material, speaking and presenting extemporaneously gives you a lot more autonomy to tailor your presentation to your audience and answer their questions.
  • Have something interesting to say.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, and make eye contact
  • Keep everything simple. Simple ideas, simple explanations, simple words, simple illustrations.
  • Do not just read from a prepared comments. Talk to your audience.
  • Prepare for three fourths of the time you are allotted. That will leave you some room for audience questions and stories that might just pop into your head.
  • Make the organization of your ideas obvious
  • Too much practice is actually counter-productive
  • Stick to a few main points
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Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Battle Negativity Uncompromisingly

Negativity

Being positive is more sensible than being negative. A majority of what you worry about never happens. Therefore, you pay for each moment you spend away in negativity with a truly valuable moment of your life.

Critics do not count. The external world is full of people who can call attention to how you can stumbles, and how you could have been better. Nevertheless, a strong-willed person attempts to strive courageously even in the face of extreme adversity.

Some of the greatest achievers of every discipline of human endeavor exempt themselves from what outsiders think about them. Their sense of their self-worth and achievement hardly ever depends on the feedback they receive from the external environment. Whenever you confront negativity, reframe your negativity. By working hard and happy, you will learn to endure the hardships of life, and produce a sense of peace and serenity.

When you stop to pay attention to every criticism, or take action on them, you will cease to focus on your strengths. Learn to resist the temptation to protest or defend yourself and do your best in spite of all the criticism. At the end of the day, your critics will yield to you.

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Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Be Hit with your Customers by Adopting Ten Traits

Hit with your Customers

A professional who delights a customer builds a huge pool of goodwill and positive word of mouth for his company, his team, and for himself. Employees don’t need to be too creative or imaginative to wow the customers they serve. All they need to do is treat customers as they would like to be treated if they were themselves in the customer’s shoes:

  1. Listen-ability. Asking coherent questions and listening with great attention with an intent to add value to the customer.
  2. Imagination. Going beyond the accepted procedures once in a while to try something new and add to the delight of customers.
  3. Congeniality. Being forthcoming and appreciate the variety and individuality of people.
  4. Hard, steady work. Doing what’s necessary and going beyond within the framework to help customers succeed.
  5. Prudence. Balancing the specifics with the overall picture, weighing the cost versus the benefits and making logical decisions.
  6. Individuality. Inventing new ways of doing things, if it works for the customer without additional resources.
  7. Passion. Uncovering and mapping customer journeys with creative, innovative action.
  8. Trust. Cultivating the outlook that all people are worth trusting.
  9. Flexibility. Being compliant yet pliable and adapting to altering conditions.
  10. Cheerfulness. Taking a positive view, embracing constraints as a source of creativity, and focusing on the positive before the negative.
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Posted in Education and Career

Twelve Steps to Get Things Done

Twelve Steps to Get Things Done

  • Avoid big talk. People who talk big are chronic underachievers.
  • Make things happen. Do not hope and wait for things to work out.
  • Get a better attitude. Develop a long-term positive outlook for yourself and for your environment.
  • Watch what you eat. Food and drink have a major impact on how you feel about yourself.
  • Care about others. Do random acts of kindness.
  • Simplify life. Do not make life any harder than it needs to be. Life is plenty challenging as it is.
  • Do important things when you can most concentrate. For most people, the time to be productive is early in the day.
  • Focus on what you can change and let go of the rest.
  • Stop obsessing about things. Do not over think, over analyze or over prepare.
  • Accept your weaknesses and mistakes. Delegate or hire help to address your weaknesses.
  • Take it easy on yourself. You are good enough in your own respects and you deserve all the happiness.
  • Be thankful for what you have learned
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Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Secrets of Shorter, Efficient Meetings

Shorter, Efficient Meetings

For every meeting to be effective, well organized, and purposeful, the convener needs to be focused. There are no more than two practical intentions for having a meeting: (1) to update key people, and (2) to ask for their inputs and seek their approvals.

Use this as a measure to determine if you need a meeting and weed out ineffectual meetings. Compel yourself to spell out the agenda into these two objectives, persuade your participants and conduct more effective meetings.

Three questions you might consider before calling a meeting are, “Is there an alternate way to achieve the objective of this meeting?”, “Is having a meeting imperative to a valuable result?” and “Is the approval from several key people and consensus necessary for successful implementation of my ideas?”

Here are some guidelines for convening and running meetings in the most useful way possible:

  • Determine a clear objective for the meeting. As part of the agenda, describe the required homework and inputs that each participant needs to bring in.
  • Invite only those people who are essential to achieve objectives of the meeting.
  • Reduce the duration of meetings. Instead of an hour-long meeting, choose 45-minute meetings. That will leave the attendees to note down action items, check email, and prepare for their subsequent tasks.
  • Begin meetings on time. When you start meetings late, you are effectively penalizing all those who arrived on time. Start without the late-comers
  • Manage the meeting as a conversation. Keep track of responses, decisions, and action items. Follow-up with those that have could not attend the meeting.
  • After the meeting, send a short summary of the meeting with established points and actions.
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Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

What is a Strategic Partnership or an Alliance?

Strategic Partnerships & Alliances

A strategic partnership is a structured, formal alliance between one company and another company for the purposes of sharing risk and reward.

Each company individually possesses business assets that will help the other partner, but those which the respective partner does not wish to develop internally. This lets each partner to leverage the other’s strengths for strategic gains.

By definition, a strategic partnership is much more than a mere commercial relationship where the partners collaborate in the form of a simple transactional link in the supplier-customer chain. In such cases, each partner reciprocally contributes to product development, branding, advertising, marketing, or other purposes.

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Posted in Business and Strategy

William “Bill” Ackman’s Recommended Books on Investing

William 'Bill' Ackman's Recommended Books on Investing

William “Bill” Ackman is the founder and CEO of New York-based hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management. Bill is the subject of the book “Confidence Game” by Christine S. Richard. The book explains how Bill Ackman used credit derivatives to short municipal bond insurer MBIA.

  • 'The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America' by Warren E. Buffett, Lawrence A. Cunningham (ISBN 1611634091)
    The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America: Warren E. Buffett, Lawrence A. Cunningham is a thematically arrangement of the lengthy writings of Warren Buffett. This classic book provides an understandable and consistent understanding of the principles and logic of Warren Buffett’s attitude to life, investing, and business.
  • 'Security Analysis' by Benjamin Graham, David Dodd (ISBN 0071592539)
    Security Analysis: Benjamin Graham, David Dodd is the most is perhaps the most influential books on investing and finance ever written, ever since it was first published in 1934. Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd’s classic discourse on valuing securities and their timeless value investing philosophy.
  • 'Quality of Earnings' by Thornton L. O'glove (ISBN 0684863758)
    Quality of Earnings: Thornton L. O’glove on the importance of reading corporate reports, understanding of accounting practices and changes thereof, and how interpreting data related to accounts receivable and inventory levels might help spot problems with a company before these trends can affect a stock’s price.
  • 'The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel' by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig (ISBN 0060555661)
    The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel: Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig updates timeless “value investing” wisdom from the greatest investment teacher of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham. This beloved book has been the investors’ bible since its original publication in 1949.
  • 'Confidence Game' by Christine S. Richard (ISBN 0470648279)
    Confidence Game: Christine S. Richard on how hedge fund manager Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management used credit derivatives to short municipal bond insurer MBIA.
  • 'One Up On Wall Street' by Peter Lynch, John Rothchild (ISBN 0743200403)
    One Up On Wall Street: Peter Lynch, John Rothchild describes a well-revered bottom-up approach to investing in stocks by selecting companies familiar to the investor followed by a comprehensive fundamental analysis with emphasis on a company’s prospects, its business, it’s competitive environment, and then determining a reasonable price for the company’s stock. Peter Lynch is Vice Chairman of Fidelity Management & Research Company.
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Posted in Investing and Finance

Title Song Lyrics from the TV Series Mahabharat (Hindu Epic)

Title Song from Mahabharat (TV series)

The TV Series Mahabharat was a fixture on Sunday Morning televisions across India when it first broadcast on the state-owned television channel Doordarshan from 02-Oct-1988 through 24-Jun-1990. The 94-episode series was produced by acclaimed Hollywood producer B. R. Chopra and directed by his son Ravi Chopra. Rahi Masoom Raza (a person of the Islamic faith) composed the script and songs. The music director was Rajkamal and most of the songs were sung by veteran playback singer Mahendra Kapoor.

Title Song, Part 1

Atha shri Mahabharat katha
Mahabharat katha
Katha hai purusharth yeh ki
Swarth ki parmarth ki

Translation / meaning: “This is the story of Mahabharat. It’s a tale of honour, greed, the ultimate truth.”

Title Song, Part 2

Sarthi jis ke bane
ShriKrishna Bharat Parth ki

Translation / meaning: “This is the story of Lord Krishna who had become a charioteer (in the Kurukshetra battle) for Arjuna who is descendant of Bharat.”

Title Song, Part 3

Shabdh Dighoshit Hua Jab
Satya Sarthak Sarvatha..

Translation / meaning: “When the great words (Bhagavad Gita) were proclaimed, they showed the path (of righteousness) … the words signified truth that was fit and entire.”

Verse from the Bhagavad Gita (Gita 4-7)

Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
Abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham

Translation / meaning: “Whenever and wherever there is a decline in righteousness, O Bharata, And a predominant rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself”

Verse from the Bhagavad Gita (Gita 4-8)

Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskritam
Dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge

Translation / meaning: “To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, To re-establish the principles of religion, I manifest myself era after era …”

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Posted in Faith and Religion